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Cake And Biscuit Manufacturers' War Time Alliance

Volume 389: debated on Thursday 27 May 1943

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food what percentage of the voting rights of the Cake and Biscuit Manufacturers' War Time Alliance, Limited, is controlled by his Department?

The Articles of Association of the Cake and Biscuit Manufacturers' War Time Alliance, Limited, presently provide that the Minister of Food or his duly authorised representative shall have on the Committee a number of votes exceeding by one the total number of votes which could be cast by all the other Committee men entitled to vote. It is expressly stated, however, that the Minister or his authorised representative may not vote upon any resolution fixing the amount or basis of a contribution to be made by members or affecting the finances of the Alliance nor upon a resolution whereby any recommendation is made to the Government or any Minister or Department thereof.

The Minister's voting powers have not, so far, been exercised at any time and notice was given to the Alliance on 11th December, 1942, that in accordance with my Noble Friend's policy in regard to the relationship between my Department and "War Time Companies" it was proposed to relinquish such powers and to retain only the right of veto at a General Meeting of members of the Alliance. The Articles of Association are now in course of revision with the object of giving effect to this and other changes on the occasion of the next General Meeting of the Alliance.

Would it be permissible to ask the Minister to read that answer over again and to read it more slowly, so that we can get to know what he says? Nobody knows what he says.

As the Question was simply, What percentage of the voting rights of the Cake and Biscuit Wartime Alliance, Limited, is controlled by his Department, will my hon. Friend say what the percentage is?

I am sorry. It was rather a long answer, and I thought I had better not go too slowly, as the House is sometimes a little impatient at long answers. It is not possible to state a precise percentage because there are complicated conditions governing the exercise of voting rights which I have set out in my reply; and further, there is shortly to be a material change in the exercise of control, and that is clearly set out too, and I think that my hon. Friend will appreciate this.

Do I understand the Parliamentary Secretary to say that the Government representatives have rights of voting they are now giving up?