§ 4. Mr. EDE
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will remedy the flaw in Section 134 of the Companies Act, 1929, as disclosed during the recent case in the Criminal Court, by amending the Act so as to require that an auditor's certificate to the profit-and-loss account shall be published with the balance sheet, and to provide further that the public shall be protected by the publication of the de- 660 tails of any profit-and-loss account required by the Companies Act instead of the certification of the balance of profit and loss?
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister)
These suggestions have been noted. Under the existing law the profit-and-loss account must be laid before the company in general meeting.
§ Mr. EDE
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether among the measures for securing the progress of industry in this country mentioned by the Minister of Health last night is an Amendment of the Companies Act to assure shareholders of the security of the money they invest?
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
Any further Amendments of the Companies Act will require very careful consideration, and obviously that cannot be carried out by this Government.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Does the right hon. Gentleman support the view of his former Leader, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bewdley (Mr. S. Baldwin), that you cannot prevent fools losing their money?
§ Mr. MAITLAND
Is it not a fact that the present Section already provides that there should be some reference to profit and loss account included in the balance sheet? Is it not also a fact that the balance sheet must contain a balance of profit and loss account, and, if the profit and loss account contains any improper items, the balance transferred from that account will be incorrect and therefore the balance sheet itself will be incorrect and not subject to certification? In view of the great importance of this matter, will the right hon. Gentleman consider appointing a committee to consider this question, which is very important to the accountancy profession as well as to the public and trading community?
§ Sir P. CUNLIFFE-LISTER
I have already said in my answer that the profit and loss account has to be laid before the company.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Does the right hon. Gentleman still take the point of view which he took when piloting the last company law through Parliament, that it required no further amendment?