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Transfers And Chargeable Transfers

Volume 887: debated on Thursday 6 March 1975

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I beg to move Amendment No. 42, in page 16, line 23, at end insert:

'or at a price such as might be expected to have been freely negotiated at the time of the sale'.
This amendment honours an undertaking I gave in Standing Committee to reconsider provisions dealing with the transfers of unquoted shares. The effect of the provision was that a sale of unquoted shares for less than their full market value could not be exempted from charge as one made without donative intent and on arm's length conditions unless it were at a price freely negotiated at the time of the sale.

The amendment allows a sale to be excepted also if it were made instead at a price which might have been expected to be freely negotiated. This deals with the problem where in an unquoted company it is possible, as the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South (Mr. Parkinson) appreciates and pointed out in Standing Committee, that there are problems in the case of the sale of unquoted shares. There may be a situation in which there could be a sale at less than the full market value but still a perfectly reasonable transaction. The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that there is no problem in that respect.

I know that the Opposition have tabled Amendment No. 529, which would seek to exclude all unquoted company transactions in this respect. But I hope that the Opposition will agree that that would be to go much too wide. I think that the Government amendment would deal with the problem that was pointed out in Standing Committee.

As the Chief Secretary says, the amendment goes some way to meet problems raised in Standing Committee. The Opposition amendment, which you, Mr. Speaker, have selected—Amendment No. 529, in Page 16, line 20, leave out from 'Act' to end of line 23 and insert:

'but notwithstanding the other provisions of this subsection, this subsection shall not apply to a sale of shares or debentures not quoted on a recognised stock exchange'.—
is one we should like to press strongly but, as we are denied the time to discuss these things properly, we cannot do so. Under protest, we would not move that amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move Amendment No. 43, in page 16, line 27, leave out '25th' and insert 26th'.

With this it will be convenient for the House to discuss Amendment No. 44, in page 16, line 27, leave out '25th March 1974' and insert '12th March 1975'.

There are a large number of other amendments that are consequential upon this amendment. This arose, as hon. Members who served on the Standing Committee will recall, out of the birthday of my hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn and Hatfield (Mrs. Hayman).

We learned that it was her birthdaly on 26th March. The hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare (Mr. Wiggin) had moved an amendment to start the tax operating from 3.30 p.m. on 26th March. I suggested that, rather than have a start ing time in the middle of a day, it might be better to start on the following day.

As the Chief Secretary says, the amendment honours an undertaking which he gave in Standing Committee. There are serious fiscal reasons, as well as romantic reasons, for the amendment. We welcome it.

We should have liked to debate our Amendment No. 44, but we are denied the time. Therefore, under protest, we shall not move it.

Amendment agreed to.