HC Deb 18 June 1912 vol 39 cc1492-3
68. Mr. HORNER

asked the Postmaster-General what is the present deficiency of assets as regards the liabilities of the Post Office savings banks, the trustee savings banks, and friendly societies with respect to depositors in Ireland?


The reference in the question to a deficiency of assets no doubt alludes to the fact that the securities held for these funds would not, if valued at the current market price, represent a sum equal to the liabilities of the funds. The deposits in the Savings Bank are guaranteed by the State, and a deficiency is therefore not possible. The question was considered by the Select Committee of 1902 of which Lord St. Aldwyn was Chairman, and the conclusion arrived at was that, as these securities are practically held as permanent investments, no valuation on a basis of current prices could give a correct view of the real position. The Committee accordingly recommended that an annual statement of the nature and amount of the securities should be substituted for the former valuation, and effect was given by Parliament to this recommendation by the Savings Banks Act, 1904. The information asked for by the hon. Member cannot therefore be supplied. As regards Irish investments in the Post Office Savings Banks, the latest published statement shows that on the 31st December, 1910, the total liabilities were £168,890,215, of which £11,929,922 (about 7 per cent.) stood to the credit of accounts opened at Post Offices in Ireland. The liability of the National Debt Commissioners to Trustees of Savings Banks in Ireland at the end of last year was £2,613,504 as against a total liability for the United Kingdom of £53,762,618, equivalent to nearly 5 per cent. The similar figures for friendly societies are £2,781, and £1,233,885, or less than ¼ per cent.