§ 17. Mr. Kenneth Baker
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will introduce legislation to bring property bonds within the scope of the Prevention of Fraud (Investments) Act, 1958.
§ 52. Mr. Ridley
asked the President of the Board of Trade what proposals he has for bringing property bonds within the scope of the Prevention of Fraud (Investments) Acts.
§ Mr. Baker
Is it not about time that the sales of property bonds were subject to the same rules affecting the sales of unit trusts and ordinary shares on the Stock Exchange? Is the hon. Lady aware that many people feel that small investors are not protected on such issues as the valuation of the underlying properties, their basis of valuation, management 1531 charges and gearing? As this is an important matter, can we expect action quickly?
§ Mrs. Dunwoody
I would agree with the hon. Gentleman that there are some aspects of property bonds that need examining, and we are examining them. Nevertheless, the sort of legislation that already exists might not necessarily meet the points he has in mind. We are consulting now with the Associated Scottish Life Offices and the Life Offices Association and are hopeful that this will produce useful information.
§ Mr. Ridley
Is the hon. Lady aware that this is an area where the entire City believes that it is appropriate for the Government to intervene to prevent fraud? Why is she being so slow to intervene when it is the Government's job and yet so quick to intervene when it is not?
§ Mrs. Dunwoody
I will accept the point made by the hon. Gentleman, that it is rare that the City gives wholehearted agreement to Government intervention. What I would add is that we are getting on with this right now but we must take time to talk to the people concerned. If we came to this House with legislation which had not been agreed on the right basis, he would be the first person to complain.