Discretionary Share Option Schemes in the Privatised Utilities

Part of New clause 1 – in the House of Commons at 5:30 pm on 3rd April 1995.

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Photo of Mr Tim Smith Mr Tim Smith , Beaconsfield 5:30 pm, 3rd April 1995

I will not give way, because the hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity to make his views clear in the debate.

Our suggestion is reasonable and feasible, and the Government can have no argument for not accepting the new clause, which is in the public interest. The regulators of the privatised utilities might also find such a report helpful.

Professor Littlechild of Oftel agreed prices with the regional electricity companies, and was subsequently surprised when Northern Electric found an additional £560 million to defend itself against the bid from Trafalgar House. That shows that the resources were not quite what he expected. Mr. Byatt showed equal surprise when North West Water found an additional £35 million to split between customers and shareholders.

Against that backdrop, it is sensible and in the public interest, and that of taxpayers and the public purse, to have precisely such a report and information as an essential guide to enlightened policy.