§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ SIR F. BANBURY
thought they ought to have some explanation of the measure which it appeared enabled the Public Trustee to put funds which were at his disposal in the Post Office Savings Bank. The Government, at twenty-five minutes to twelve, moved the Bill, and there was nobody there to tell them what it was about. The Bill had only two clauses, but it repealed the provisions of a great number of sections of the Post Office Savings Bank Acts, and it altered the declaration to be made by depositors. It said that the provisions repealed were not to apply to the Public Trustee, and unless the object of that was to allow that official to deposit large sums of money in the Post Office he did not know what it meant. He had, however, understood that that was not the case. Unless he got a satisfactory answer he should certainly oppose the Bill.
§ THE POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. SYDNEY BUXTON,) Tower Hamlets, Poplar
said the general provisions of the Bill had been come to in agreement with those representing bankers who were the only persons interested in it. It was in no sense compulsory, and only enabled the Public Trustee in regard to a small estate, which at the present moment had no banking account, or had some money in the Post Office Savings Bank, to open or continue an account there. Each estate was subject to the limit of the savings bank, but the Public Trustee could open several separate accounts which no private individual would be able to do. It was obvious, and in the case of the Public Trustee who had to deal with a large number of estates the whole amount of which was already in the Savings Bank, that it very much hampered his powers if he could only open one account, and was limited in the ordinary way. His powers were, however, strictly limited, and he would not be able to deal with estates already in the hands of bankers. He hoped this House would allow the Bill to have a Second Reading.
§ MR. HARMOOD-BANNER (Liverpool, Everton)
was glad that the Bill did not enable the Public Trustee to transfer money from bankers, because there was a distinct promise when the Public Trustee Bill was passed that there should be no interference with the rights of bankers. Of course, if, as the right hon. Gentleman said, the limitations of the Post Office Savings Bank applied, and if it was only intended to place this power in the hands of the Trustee in regard to some small estates which had already deposits in the bank, he should not object, though he still had a feeling that it would give the 1416 Trustee power to deal with large sums of money eventually.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House for to-morrow—(Mr. Joseph Pease.)