asked the Secretary of State for Industry, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Lloyd) Official Report, 22 May, column 297, if he will outline what the very difficult issues would be if it were decided retroactively to amend the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act 1977 to provide fair compensation for those stockholders for whom the Government have great sympathy.
Difficulties would arise essentially from the position of other parties. First, since the terms of compensation were announced in March 1975 by the previous Administration transactions in the shares of companies affected by the nationalisation measure have been carried out in the knowledge of those terms; to change the terms now, five years later, and more than three years after the Act was passed would cause obvious difficulties. Secondly, compensation has been settled for 14 of the 25 companies nationalised.In addition, to amend the Act would not speed up the settlement of compensation, but rather impose further delays because of negotiations arising out of the new basis for settlement.