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Volume 894: debated on Friday 4 July 1975

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made in reviewing the statutory limits on shareholdings in agricultural and horticultural co-operatives which are registered as industrial and provident societies.

The Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1975 which received the Royal Assent yesterday raises to £5,000 the statutory limit on the shareholding an individual member may have in a co-operative society, and allows further changes in the statutory maximum to be made by order. To enable societies which have the existing statutory limit on shareholding of £1,000 written into their rules to take immediate advantage of the increase the Act permits them to change those rules by a committee resolution. The Central Council for Agricultural and Horticultural Co-operation and other interested organisations have pressed for an increase in this statutory limit for some time. I hope agricultural and horticultural co-operatives will use it to full advantage.