John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Friday, February 04, 2005
  Mike's Vodafone Shares
Just to explain the situation with Mike Whitby's Vodafone Shares.

Councillors (and MPs) need to declare "pecuniary interests" where they may be influenced by a conflict of interest between their own personal finances and those of the common good.

As far as shares go a "pecuniary interest" or "prejudicial interest" is defined as having shares with a nominal or face value of 25K or over 1% of the company. Note that this is not a market value of 25K.

The reason for this limit is that for a large company (eg Vodafone) whether or not one or even 20 masts are installed will not affect their market value. Hence the two matters do not conflict.

Mike Whitby was criticised for not declaring that he held 2,014 shares in Vodafone which have a Nominal Value of 107.13 whilst having a market value of around £2,800. Either way the shares are well below the 25K limit.

(For those new to Birmingham Mike Whitby is the leader of the Conservatives on the City Council and Leader of the City Council whilst I am Deputy Leader of the Council)


 
Comments:
As you appear to have attemted to justify your Leader's actions in the same manner as you have done on my site, I will repeat my comment, it is not about having a financial benefit. It is about ensuring that everyone knows where you are coming from. 25k may be nominal to you, but most people have to work all year to earn that as a gross sum. Why on earth, otherwise, would you have to declare any hospitality or gifts OVER £25. The whole thing should be absolutely transparent. That is our advice to all of our Group members.
 
The point is that there is a definition of what is a pecuniary or prejudicial interest.

There is a separate argument as to whether or not the 25K figure is right. However, the rules are quite clear up to a nominal value of 25K there is no need to declare an interest.
 
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