HC Deb 13 February 2004 vol 418 cc59-60W
Harry Cohen

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her policy is on company ownership arrangements which grant a majority voting right for a minority share holding. [154453]

Jacqui Smith

Differential voting structures in companies (such as multiple voting rights or non-voting shares) were considered by the independent Company Law Review sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry, which reported in November 2000 on this issue and concluded ("Completing the Structure", paragraph 5.47)We propose that the law should continue to place no restriction on the freedom of companies to have separate classes of shares with different voting (or other) rights.

On the basis of the review's findings, my overall approach to such differential voting structures is that, provided they are properly disclosed to the markets and others having dealings with the company, they do enhance freedom and flexibility for companies to structure themselves according to their needs. I shall, however, continue to keep this matter under review.

The Company Law Review documents are published on the DTI website at http://www.dti.gov.uk/cld/ review.htm.