HC Deb 17 February 1887 vol 310 cc1775-6
MR. HOWELL (Bethnal Green, N.E.)

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether information has reached the Government with respect to serious defalcations on the part of the Secretary to the Bishop Stortford Trustee Savings Bank; and, whether the Government will take action to protect, as far as possible, the poor people whose hard earning are thus jeopardized by the dishonesty of a public official?

THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

It has been notified to the National Debt Commissioners by the trustees and managers of the Bishop Stortford Savings Bank that an examination of the books of that Institution discloses a deficiency of £8,250. The Secretary admits his defalcations to that amount, and has been arrested with a view to his prosecution. It would appear, from a statement made to the National Debt Office, that the trustees and managers have neglected, in their administration of the bank, to comply with the requirements of the Savings Banks Act. If, on investigation, such should prove to be the case, they will have forfeited the exemption from liability afforded by the Statute, and will have to make good the deficiency. The Secretary of the bank is in no sense a "public official." He is a servant of the trustees, who, and not the Government, are responsible for the manner in which he performs his duty.