Public Limited Companies (Financial Regulation)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:02 pm on 13th March 2003.

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Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Conservative, Huntingdon 3:02 pm, 13th March 2003

It is a question of priorities. I did not say that there was no need to examine corporate governance; I specifically said that it has evolved, is evolving and will evolve in the future. It is not something that we need not consider, but I suggest that the Government's priorities are currently wrong. If we look at what is happening in the stock markets in this country and around the world at the moment, we see that chief executives and chairmen have other things on their minds than dealing with corporate governance. The Government are clearly taking the alternative view. They will deal with corporate governance and then start to look at the Companies Acts. They have got it the wrong way round.

I note that the Government's response to the report says that the precise timing of Companies Acts legislation will depend on the parliamentary timetable. I suggest to the Financial Secretary that that is not an acceptable response to every company in this country that is affected by those Acts and that, for the most part, will be assisted by new legislation. I ask her again: when will we have the Bill?

Paragraph 31 of the report states that the Committee is

"generally opposed to the use of share options as a significant source of remuneration in public companies."

However, I was somewhat bemused that the hon. Member for Dumbarton equated stock options with a life of luxury, because the rate of remuneration is dependent on the success or otherwise of the company concerned. I note that the Government response did not address that point.