§ Clause 45, page 57, line 46, leave out from "in" to end of subsection, and insert "Trustee Securities."
§ The Commons disagreed to the above Amendment for the following Reason—
§ Because it is desirable that the moneys in the central guarantee funds should be invested in Government securities or securities guaranteed by the Treasury.
§ Moved, That this House do not insist on the said Amendment.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ VISCOUNT SWINTON
My Lords, I do not think this is a big point in the amount involved, because the whole of this fund cannot exceed £5,000,000. On the other hand, it seems to me an unfortunate principle to put into the Bill. We are asked to put back the provision which 1302 takes away from the Gas Council the power to invest this reserve fund in whatever trustee securities are best suited to their purposes and which compels them to invest in Government securities. I think in principle that is wrong. After all, the Gas Council should be the judges of what are the best trustee securities in which to invest. It may be that they can get Corporation securities of just the right kind of date they want. It is a great pity that they should not be given that latitude of choice. It seems that the only reason why the Council are to be forced by the Government, either by Treasury control or by Act of Parliament, to buy Government securities is to bolster up artificially the price of Government securities. I must say that the Minister gave the most explicit undertaking in another place that nothing would induce him to invest in "Daltons." He went out of his way to say it would be a most unwise investment and that we must rest assured that this fund would be invested in short-term securities which would not depreciate in value. I am glad to know that, unlike some of the funds which have been used for that purpose, this fund will not be used to bolster up these timeless, depreciating investments. If I may paraphrase the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor, who, when we have done rightly, hopes "that this will not be treated as a precedent," I would say that if I invite your Lordships to give way (which I think is wrong) because it is a little matter, I hope that will not be treated as a precedent on other occasions.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.