§ Mr. Barber
I beg to move, in page 9, line 21, to leave out from "give" to the end of line 30 and to insert:a direction—
- (a) prohibiting the issue by the building society of advertisements of all descriptions, or
- (b) prohibiting the issue by the building society of advertisements of any description specified in the direction, or
- (c) prohibiting the issue by the building Society of any advertisements which are, or are substantially, repetitions of an advertisement which has been issued and which is specified in the direction, or
- (d) requiring the building society to take all practicable steps to withdraw any advertisement, or any description of advertisement, specified in the direction which is on display in any place, or a direction which contains two or more such prohibitions or requirements ".
§ Mr. Speaker
It might be convenient for the House to discuss with this Amendment the Amendment in page 9, line 31, leave out from "may" to "be" in line 34.
§ Mr. Barber
Yes, Mr. Speaker. It has been pointed out in another place that, as drafted, the power to control advertisments in this Clause virtually empowers the Chief Registrar to draft a society's advertisements, which was certainly not the intention. I dealt with this matter at some length in Committee and undertook to introduce, on Report, 964 Amendments which would have the effect of reducing the scope of this provision. The Amendment is to subsection (1), and the House will see that it deletes the powers originally proposed, which included the power togive directions as to the matter which shall or shall not be included in advertisements, and as to the form of any advertisements.
§ Mr. Mitchison
I do not wish to take up the time of the House unduly, and I do not think that we should divide against the Amendment, because we agree with its general intention, but I am not sure that it has not gone a little too far. It gives power to prohibit the issue of advertisements of all descriptions or of any specified description, and then deals with other cases. I should have thought that the Chief Registrar ought to have had power to say to a building society, "You shall make this, that or the other statement about liquidity of reserves." I wonder whether the Economic Secretary can assure us that that power will not be taken away from the Chief Registrar by the Amendment. If it will be taken away, have the Government considered the advisability of doing so?
§ Mr. Barber
There is a later provision, in Clause 10, dealing with the contents of advertisements, circulars and so on. I think the hon. and learned Member will find that under that provision the Chief Registrar has the power—in the Statutory Instrument which it provides he may make, with the consent of the Treasury—to lay down rules as to the matter to be included in advertisements.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Is that the same thing? Those are general regulations; this is action in the case of a society which has not reached the stage of what I might call Clause 6 action, but requires something to be done under this Clause.
§ Mr. Barber
The hon. and learned Member is correct. This Amendment is concerned solely with prohibitions. There is nothing in the Clause which would in law enable the Chief Registrar to insist upon a particular figure or matter being included in an advertisement. I have not had an opportunity of consulting the Chief Registrar on this point, but I should have thought that, 965 in practice, he might well say to a building society, "Unless you include certain particulars which give the fair position of the company I will exercise my discretion."
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made: In page 9. line 31, leave out from "may" to "be" in line 34.
In line 40, leave out from "and" to end of line 44 and insert:
specifying the considerations which have led him to conclude that it would be in the interests el persons who may invest or deposit money with the building society to give the direction, and shall also serve on every director of the building society a notice stating that he proposes to give the direction;
(b) the Chief Registrar shall consider any representations with respect to the notice made to him by the building society within the period of one week from the date on which the building society is served with the notice and, if the building society so requests, afford to the building society an opportunity of being heard by him within that period:
(c) on giving a direction under this section (other than a direction revoking a previous direction) the Chief Registrar shall serve on the building society, and on every director of the building society, a notice of the giving of the direction, and shall serve on the building society a notice specifying the considerations which have led him to conclude that it is expedient to give the direction in the interests of persons who may invest or deposit money with the building society; and the Chief Registrar shall not have power to give a direction under this section unless all of those considerations were those, or were among those, which were specified in a notice under paragraph (a) of this subsection;
(d) a notice under this subsection may be served on a director of a building society by sending it by post to his address, or latest address, as notified to the Chief Registrar or registrar by the building society or the director, and failure to serve a notice under this sub-section on a director shall not affect the validity of a direction under this section.—.[Mr. Barber.]