HC Deb 20 December 1915 vol 77 cc44-5
66. Mr. WATT

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether his attention has been recently called to the number of deceased's estates in England that are being dealt with by the Public Trustee, amounting in the year ending 31st March, 1915, to 1,543 acceptances of executorships of wills and other trusts with a total value of £11,623,429, and estimated to have increased since then owing to deaths in the War by 35 per cent. in number and 38 per cent. in value; whether, in view' of the evidence that these figures afford as to the public need for such an office, he intends to refuse such privilege to Scotland; and, if so, will he say why he does not introduce a measure setting up a Public Trustee in that country?


My right hon. Friend is aware generally of the volume of business transacted by the Public Trustee in England, and although the conditions in the two countries differ in material respects he agrees that the success which has attended the institution of the office of Public Trustee in England must be taken account of in considering whether legislation on similar lines is expedient for Scotland. So far, however, there is no evidence of any widespread demand in Scotland for a Public Trustee, nor is the time propitious for legislation of this nature.


Are we to understand that because the Scottish Office made up its mind to that effect three or four years ago it will never change it, notwithstanding the circumstances of the case?


My hon. Friend would be quite mistaken if he came to that conclusion.