HC Deb 06 September 1909 vol 10 cc894-5

asked whether a friendly society providing life assurance and paying bonuses in cash would come under the definition of a society which divides any part of its funds under the Amendment to be proposed to Clause 25 of the Finance Bill?


I understand that my hon. Friend refers to the payment of bonuses in connection with the assurance business of a friendly society. It appears to my right hon. Friend that in such a case the payment of a bonus would imply a division among the insuring members of a specific surplus, and not a division of any part of the society's funds; and in these circumstances he does not think that a payment of the kind would prevent the society being considered as a registered society within the meaning of the Amendment.


Does the right hon. Gentleman desire the House to understand that a surplus belonging to a society is not part of the society's funds?


I mean that there is a specific surplus which can be assigned to a particular portion of the profits, in this case arising from life insurance of a society, but inasmuch as they divide that specific pant of their revenue amongst persons who contribute to that specific revenue, as at present advised, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is of opinion that that would not exclude them from the benefits under Clause 25.


Is it within the power of any such society by dividing funds, not as dividends, but as bonuses, to come under the Clause?


That raises rather a difficult legal question on which I cannot give an opinion. If the hon. Gentleman will give notice I will endeavour to give an answer.