HC Deb 14 June 1881 vol 262 cc468-9

asked the Postmaster General, If he will consider whether the rule of his office, which prohibits the giving information as to the state of depositors' accounts in the Post Office Savings Bank, might with propriety be relaxed in cases where such information is required for the purposes of justice?


In reply to the hon. Member, I have to state that the Post Office Savings Bank Act, 24 Vict. c. 14, s. 4, directs that the officers of the Postmaster General shall not disclose the name of any depositor nor the amount deposited or withdrawn, except to the Postmaster General or his officers. Where criminal or civil legal proceedings are pending in a Court of Justice, and an order or subpoena is served upon an officer of the Post Office for the production of papers relating to any particular account, it has been customary to produce such papers; but where no such proceedings are pending and inquiry is made of a tentative character to ascer- tain if a criminal charge should be preferred or a civil claim advanced, it is not usual to disclose particulars of the account of a depositor. I think it will be obvious that persons in a humble station of life who are depositors in a Post Office Savings Bank are entitled to the same protection with respect to the privacy of their banking account that depositors in any private bank are ordinarily recognized as being entitled to.