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New Clause 3

Volume 98: debated on Wednesday 4 June 1986

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Power To Amend, Etc, To Assimilate To Company Law

'(1) If, on any modification of the statutory provisions in force in Great Britain or Northern Ireland relating to companies, it appears to the Treasury to be expedient to modify the relevant provisions of this Act for the purpose of assimilating the law relating to companies and the law relating to building societies, the Treasury may, by order, make such modifications of the relevant provisions of this Act as they think appropriate for that purpose.

(2) The "relevant provisions of this Act" are the following provisions as for the time being in force, that is to say—

  • (a) so much of Part VI as relates to investigations or inspections;
  • (b) the provisions of part VII (management);
  • (c) the provisions of Part VIII (accounts and audit); and
  • (d) so much of Part IX as relates to winding up.
  • (3) The power conferred by subsection (1) above includes power to modify the relevant provisions of this Act so as to—

  • (a) confer power to make orders, regulations, rules or other subordinate legislation;
  • (b) create criminal offences; or
  • (c) provide for the charging of fees but not any charge in the nature of taxation.
  • (4) An order under this section may—

  • (a) make consequential amendments of or repeals in other provisions of this act; or
  • (b) make such transitional or saving provisions as appear to the Treasury to he necessary or expendient.
  • (5) The power to make an order under this section is exercisable by statutory instrument but no such order shall be made unless a draft of it has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

    (6) In this section—

    "modification" includes any additions and, as regards modifications of the statutory provisions relating to companies, any modification whether effected by any future act or by an instrument made after the passing of this Act under an Act whenever passed; and
    "statutory provisions" includes the provisions of any instrument made under an Act.'. — [Mr. Ian Stewart.]

    Brought up, and read the First time.

    4.37 pm

    I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

    The new clause provides that if in future changes are made to the law relating to companies such as are also appropriate for building societies, comparable provisions can be made by statutory instrument to apply those changes to building societies.

    By way of example, I should mention clauses 57 to 60, which deal with loans to directors and cover matters which were enacted for companies in 1980 but which had to wait for several years for primary legislation to extend them to building societies. The power proposed in new clause 3 would enable building societies to be brought into line and to avoid that problem in future.

    The Opposition have nothing of substance to argue with in the new clause. If company legislation is amended and the Government want to amend building society legislation accordingly, the new clause empowers them to do that without too much fuss. We believe that that is quite logical.

    As building societies are to have more commercial purposes and as large sections of the Bill are derived or borrowed from company legislation, it seems logical to empower the Treasury to relate new and amended company legislation to building societies without primary legislation.

    Only one matter has occurred to the Opposition upon which we would like assurance. In the first place, the legislation would be thoroughly scrutinised by the House if the House wished to take that opportunity. Will the Minister explain why such alterations were contemplated? Under subsection (5), that must be done by affirmative resolution. There will be ample opportunity for scrutiny and questioning about its purpose and relevance. Therefore, the Opposition do not take issue with the Government over the new clause.

    Question put and agreed to.

    Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.