Clause 2 - Community benefit societies

Part of Industrial and Provident Societies Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 13th February 2002.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Party Chair, Co-operative Party 10:45 am, 13th February 2002

The hon. Gentleman is right. The clause would prevent the assets—the cash in the bank—from being distributed to the members of the society. However, it would not prohibit the members from giving the money to the Royal British Legion charity or giving it for another community-benefit purpose. The key to the clause is that it protects assets that may have built up over many generations from being given to only the members who are around.

I recognise that there are further worries about the breadth of the clause, and I shall allude to them during the stand part debate. However, I tell the hon. Gentleman that the clause offers flexibility for how a community-benefit society may act. It is designed to prevent assets built up over generations from being distributed to people who happen to be members only at a specific time.