§ 45. Mr. Kirkwood
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's plans in addition to privatisation to effect wider share ownership.
§ 27. Mr. Tim Smith
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures in addition to privatisation he plans to take to encourage wider share ownership.
§ Mr. Moore
Providing encouragement for wider share ownership is an important objective of Government policy. Several tax measures have been introduced to promote employee shareholding. Other tax changes, including the abolition of the investment income surcharge and the reduction of stamp duty will promote wider ownership of shares. Clause 43 of the Finance Bill proposes that, for share disposals made after the Bill receives Royal Assent, the period after which shares appropriated to employees under an approved profit sharing scheme may be sold without any income tax liability should be reduced from seven to five years. The scope for further measures will be kept under review.
§ 32. Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his recent meeting with the Wider Share Ownership Council.
§ Mr. Moore
My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke to the Wider Share Ownership Council on 11 June, on the occasion of the Maurice Macmillan memorial lecture. In his speech, he recalled Maurice486W Macmillan's dedication to policies aimed at the creation of wealth and its diffusion among the people at large. He referred to the sharp increase in individual share ownership as a result of the Government's privatisation programme and our measures to promote employee share schemes. He also described the success of our efforts to promote home ownership, with over 60 per cent. of all households in Britain now owning their own homes. He put all these measures in the context of the Government's fundamental belief in the idea of a property-owning democracy.