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ADVISORY COMMITTEE IN RESPECT OF s. 2(2)(b) SCHEMES

Part of Orders of the Day — SCOTTISH DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (No. 2) BILL [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st October 1975.

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Photo of Mr Bruce Millan Mr Bruce Millan , Glasgow Craigton 12:00 am, 21st October 1975

The hon. Gentleman has just admitted that the information will be publicly available, and if it is publicly available I imagine that well-informed people such as the hon. Gentleman will soon be able to obtain the information from the public registers.

There will have to be provision for the accounts of the companies to be consolidated with the accounts of the Agency, That will be done in accordance with the best commercial practice under a further amendment, so the information will be publicly available.

I am not in favour of writing into the Bill that there shall be the kind of statement provided for in the new clause. The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) sensibly said that the Agency, in its discussions with management of undertakings for which it will be responsible, would no doubt be talking about financial objectives and so on, but I have seen no reason why the Agency should be in the position, which no private company is in, of setting out for all to see a written statement of financial objectives and so on, and then including in its annual report statements about whether or not the objectives have been met, met only partly, or perhaps not met at all.

There will be an overall obligation on the Agency to pay its way in its industrial function. The information will all be publicly available, and if the Agency is not meeting the financial guidelines laid down by the Secretary of State that will be obvious in its report. I am not in favour of placing on the Agency obligations well beyond those that would be placed on a private enterprise company or holding company. I am not in favour of any of the enterprises which would be subsidiaries of the Agency being excused from any of the normal obligations of the Companies Act and other legislation, but, equally, I am not in favour of their having additional burdens placed upon them.