HC Deb 02 March 1865 vol 177 cc959-60

said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, What steps he intends to take in order to bring the New Regulations with respect to the purchase of Government Annuities and of Payments at Death prominently before the notice of those persons for whose benefit the regulations have been framed; and also whether every reasonable facility will be given for effecting the purchase of small Annuities, taking into consideration the means of information and the position of the probable annuitants?


, in reply, said, he need hardly say that the Government were very anxious to take every means in their power for the purpose of placing the public in possession of all information connected with the making of insurances and the purchase of annuities, and great advantage had arisen from the manner in which public attention had been directed to the subject, both by discussions in that House and in the public press. The regulations and the tables made for the purpose of working the system in the General Post Office had of course been drawn up with great fulness and submitted to Parliament in that shape with a great deal of detail, because it was necessary to give to Parliament all the regulations, whether they referred to the conduct of the officers who were to be employed in administering, working, and controlling the system, or whether they referred to the proceedings to be taken by those who might be desirous to become insurers or purchasers of annuities. These papers were to be had at a very small charge. The great bulk of those papers would be a great objection to the public in general and those whom the Government had particularly in view; and, therefore, the same course would be taken in regard to this system as was adopted in the case of the Post Office Savings Banks, and adopted previously in one or two other cases where it was desirable to make the law popularly and extensively known—namely, an abstract would be prepared, not with a view of presenting a comprehensive or complete idea of the whole subject, but of placing in the hands of those who were concerned, in the briefest form, all which it was important for them to know. Great facilities would be afforded for circulating that abstract through the medium of the Post Office and other channels. With regard to the latter part of the Question, as to information to be given to persons desirous to become purchasers of annuities, he begged to refer the hon. Gentleman to a portion of the pamphlet which had been presented to Parliament, and at pages fourteen and fifteen of that pamphlet he would find a good deal of the kind of illustration it had been thought desirable to afford, in order to put parties in the way of understanding what steps they ought to take if they wished to become purchasers of annuities.