HC Deb 27 July 1977 vol 936 cc249-51W
Mr. David Watkins

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list all Acts of Parliament for which his Department is responsible that require companies to disclose information, stating under each Act what information has to be disclosed, how, by when and to whom.

Mr. Les Huckfield

The following Acts of Parliament, for which the Department of Industry is responsible, include measures which may be used to require companies to disclose information. Copies of the Acts are available in the House of Commons Library.

Statistics of Trade Act 1947—This confers powers on those Government Departments that are competent authorities within the meaning of the Act, by notice in writing served on any person carrying on an undertaking, to require that person to furnish, in such form and manner and within such time as may be specified in the notice, such periodical or other estimates or returns about such of the matters set out in the schedule to the Act as may be specified in the notice. The Act also requires the taking of an annual census of production and authorises the taking of an ad hoc census of distribution and confers powers on competent authorities to require the furnishing of information on matters set out in the schedule to the Act in connection with any such census.

Industry Act 1975—Part IV of this Act empowers a Minister who has made an order under Section 28 of the Act to require a company to furnish him with information in connection with matters specified in Section 30(2) and in reasonable time. A Minister may subsequently require the company to provide some or all of such information to representatives of relevant trade unions. If the company claims that it should not, for special reasons, furnish the information, the Minister may be required to refer the matter to an advisory committee, although he is not bound to accept the recommendations of the committee.

Iron and Steel Act 1975—Section 31. The Secretary of State for Industry has power, by notice served in writing on iron and steel producers—other than BSC or a publicly owned company—to require information in respect of forecasts of output and capacity to produce such iron and steel products as may be specified in the notice. The information must be supplied within such time and in such form as may be specified in the notice.

Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act 1977—Section 51 lays a duty on specified persons to produce to any person authorised by the Secretary of State such books of account, records and documents, and to supply copies of or extracts from such books, records and documents, and to furnish such other information, as may reasonably be required by a corporation or the Secretary of State for the purposes of the Act. This provision ceases to have effect two years after the relevant vesting date.

Wholly-owned Subsidiaries of Nationalised Corporations—In addition to the above, various Acts dealing with nationalised corporations for which the Department is responsible place on them a requirement to supply to the Secretary of State certain information regarding their wholly-owned subsidiaries.

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