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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Mr. SmithM:

I am sure that my hon. Friend is pleased about that, because the customers will benefit along with the shareholders. That has been the double benefit of privatisation.

I still think that the hest way to tackle share option schemes is to try to persuade shareholders to do something about them. The Greenbury committee has been criticised because it consists, or so it is alleged, of the very people who are abusing the system, but they are the people best placed to deal with the matter.

Behind institutional shareholders stand the millions of people who put money into pension schemes. Every hon. Member has an interest, because our pension scheme has no doubt been invested in British Gas, and in water, electricity and other companies. If we consider the pension scheme's accounts, we shall find that it is no different from any other pension scheme.

Pension scheme members and people who invest in life policies stand behind institutional shareholders. If those people were able to have more of a say in the matter, something would be done about it.