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Volume 86: debated on Thursday 14 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) whether he will make a statement on those institutions privatised since 1979 where the rules in respect of the investor passing on entitlements in the event of death are the same as those governing the share bonus and bill voucher of the British Telecom offer;(2) how many people he expects to be affected by the statement on page 57 of the British Telecom prospectus in respect of entitlement to share bonuses and bill vouchers of those receiving holdings in British Telecom on the death of the original investor;(3) what representations he has received in respect of the rules made by British Telecom about the entitlement to bill vouchers and share bonuses of those left holdings in British Telecom on the death of the investor; whether he is satisfied with the rule; and whether he will make a statement.

The 1982 Britoil sale is the only other Government share sale in which an incentive of this type has been offered to investors. The share bonus arrangements for that sale also involved loss of entitlement in the event of the death of a sole investor. It is not possible to predict how many shareholders will be affected by these rules in the BT case. I have had few complaints. I am satisfied that the rules were both necessary and clearly set out in the BT prospectus at the time of the offer.