New Clause. — (Restriction upon dis- closure of information.)

Orders of the Day — War Damage Bill. – in the House of Commons on 12th February 1941.

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No information obtained by the Commission under Section thirty-nine (Power to Commission to obtain information) of this Act with respect to any proprietary interest or the identity or address of the owner of any such interest or of a mortgagee of any such interest or to any other fact referred to in that Section or by a person authorised in that behalf by the Board of Trade under Section forty-six (Power of Board of Trade to obtain information) of this Act with respect to any business and the books accounts or other documents relating thereto shall (without the consent of the owner or mortgagee of the interest as the case may be or the person carrying on the business) be disclosed otherwise than in connection with the execution of this Act, and if any person discloses any such information in contravention of this Section he shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds, or to both such imprisonment and such fine, or, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds, or to both such imprisonment and such fine.
Provided that nothing in this Section shall apply to the disclosure of any information in so far as it is required to be disclosed for the purpose of legal proceedings under this Act (including appeals to one of the panel of referees appointed under Part I of the Finance (1909–10) Act, 1910 and appeals to the Special Commissioners) or of any criminal proceedings which may be begun, whether by virtue of this Act or otherwise or for the purpose of any report of such proceedings as aforesaid.—[Brigadier-General Brown.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Brigadier-General Brown:

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

It is usual in a Bill of this kind to have a Clause safeguarding business people from the disclosure of any confidential information. If any information comes to light which may prove injurious to the people concerned, I hope the Chancellor will see that it is not used.

Photo of Captain Harry Crookshank Captain Harry Crookshank , Gainsborough

My right hon. Friend finds it very hard to believe that any kind of information connected with this Bill will result in a disclosure which might be dangerous, but as my hon. and gallant Friend has some fears that this may be so we are agreeable to accepting the principle and putting into the Bill some words to safeguard a hypothetical position.

Question, "That the Clause be read a Second time," put, and agreed to.

Question, "That the Clause be added to the Bill," put, and negatived.