Clause 2 - Community benefit societies

Part of Industrial and Provident Societies Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 13th February 2002.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Shadow Spokesperson (Transport) 10:30 am, 13th February 2002

The amendments would restrict the scope of the clause to new community benefit societies created after the ''commencement of this Act''. It would confine the provisions to what is already good current practice.

It might benefit the Committee if I rely on the excellent Library note that is available on the subject. It states:

''It is normal practice today for the registration authority to require that community benefit societies include in their rules a provision that neither the assets of the society nor its profits may be distributed to members. The expectation is that any profits will either be ploughed back into the society to develop its business or that they will be used for another purpose similar to the society's main object (such as philanthropic or charitable purposes). This accords with the principle under which community benefit societies are registered, that their business exists not primarily for those who are members of the society, but for the interests of society at large.''

That is normal practice in registering new societies. I do not believe that it is the practice for existing societies and is a condition for their continuing registration. There is no reason why the provisions of the clause, which I should like to amend, should not be restricted in that way. Otherwise, there is a restriction on the rights of societies to continue to operate under

their rules. If a time comes when the registrar or Parliament wants to change that provision, they could, but it could also be changed back again.

This is a modest probing amendment, as I understand that the Government have concerns about clause 2, although not necessarily about subsection (1). I hope that we will be able to draw out the Government a little further.