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Companies (Government Shareholding)

Volume 885: debated on Monday 3 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry what measures of controls are being exercised or will be exercised over those companies in which the Government has taken a shareholding.

The Government take whatever measures they consider appropriate to protect their investment, according to the nature of the enterprise and the form of assistance being provided.

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it appears from the Industry Bill that in future the only control is to be conferred on his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry, and that the only body not to get control or information will be Parliament itself?

According to the Bill, an annual report will be published. Also, the 1972 Industry Act of the hon. Member's own Government continues as before; therefore the Minister will be as responsible to Parliament as he has always been in the past.

Why is it that one of the two Government directorships of BP has been vacant for 15 months, since the death of Mr. John Stevens?

That is the responsibility not of this Department but of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.