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Sixth Schedule—(Acquisition Of Certain Assets)

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 3 May 1949

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I think it would be for the convenience of the House for the next two Amendments, in page 75, lines 13 and 22, to be taken together.

I beg to move, in page 75, line 13, to leave out paragraph 5.

The object of the Amendment is not a very wide one. Under the present drafting, compensation for assets recovered by a notice of acquisition under Clause 23 must be in stock. I think that this method will prove very cumbersome and unnecessary. I admit straight away it is quite understandable that the securities of companies which vest under the Bill should be compensated for in stock, but the kind of transfer which is anticipated under Clause 23 will take place very rarely and will be of a very minor character. I think that the person from whom such assets are to be acquired should at least be given the option to take them in cash rather than in stock. I think the Minister will agree with this. Clause 23 (1, a, ii) covers, amongst other things, patent rights for which the consideration might be £500 or less. It will be inconvenient if that has to be settled in stock. In such cases it would be well for the owner to have the option to take cash.

I understand that the Opposition desire that in cases of this kind, instead of stock being issued for compensation or in settlement, cash should be given. I am advised that these assets would normally not have been disposed of and therefore they would form part of the undertakings owned by the companies whose shareholders are to be compensated for the vesting of their securities by the issue of Iron and Steel Corporation stock. I am advised that it is right that the recovery of assets under Clause 23 should be similarly compensated, particularly as the purchase and disposal of the assets must have been made at the time when the provisions of Clause 23 and the Sixth Schedule had been made public.

We are very anxious, where possible, to meet the Opposition on small points—[Interruption]—on points other than those of principle. I am sure the noble Lord the Member for South Dorset (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) would not desire us to go against our own principles, any more than we would expect him to do so. Where it is not a matter of principle, we are willing to meet the Opposition on drafting points. Here I am told the point is one of some substance and we are unable to accept the Amendment.

Amendment negatived.