HC Deb 12 February 1917 vol 90 cc270-3
56. Mr. CURRIE

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to correspondence between a firm of lawyers in Aberdeen and the Comptroller of the Post Office, which shows that sums tendered to the post office in Aberdeen for investment in War Savings Certificates were rejected on account of some alleged difficulty arising out of considerations of purely English law; and whether, pending alteration of practice on such points, temporary instructions have been given that such technical obstacles are not to be placed in the way of Scottish subscribers to the War Loan either in England or Scotland?


My attention has been drawn to the matter by my lion. Friend, who has, I understand, already had the matter explained to him by the Treasury and the Assistant Postmaster-General. There is no question of any difficulties arising out of differences between English and Scottish law. The sums tendered were rejected because the firm of lawyers were unwilling to associate the names of the beneficiaries in the investment, as must necessarily be done if the arrangements under which not more than 500 certificates can be held by or for the benefit of any one individual are to be complied with.


Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that some other way of safeguarding the Treasury with reference to the £500 limit might easily be found so as to get rid of this difficulty?


I am afraid that I do not quite follow the difficulty. The object is to prevent anyone having more than the amount fixed, and I do not know in what way that can be done better than the way in which it is done at present.

57. Mr. CURRIE

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in addition to the withdrawal of numerous fees hitherto payable at the Bank of England in connection with business in the public stocks, he can see his way to have discontinued the special charges levied on investors who leave their dividends in the hands of the Bank to be accumulated as further investments of War Loan, etc.?


No, Sir. In this case the Bank performs a special service involving considerable labour, for which otherwise the investor would have to pay a stockbroker's commission. The small charges made by the Bank are, in my opinion, not unreasonable.

58. Mr. CURRIE

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether a firm in Scotland is allowed to invest sums in War Savings Certificates in its own name at a post office in the same way as it can take out a deposit receipt at every Scottish bank; and whether postal authorities are authorised to reject sums so tendered for investment, notwithstanding that certain of the business forms in use in the post office provide for the alternative use of Scottish or English documents of title?


War Savings Certificates are designed as investments for the savings of individuals, and neither in England nor in Scotland are they allowed to be held except for individuals.

59. Mr. CURRIE

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if anyone in Edinburgh who offers £20 to the savings bank there for investment in War Savings Certificates is asked to sign his name nine separate times; and whether he can say what authority, if any, exists for this requirement?


If the facts are as stated they are due to some special requirement of the Edinburgh Trustee Savings Bank. I am causing inquiry to be made into the matter, and will communicate, with my hon. Friend.

60. Sir H. NORMAN

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if it is still his intention to lay upon the Table of the House a list of subscribers to the War Loan, with their addresses and the amount of their subscriptions; if so, will this list include subscribers who have requested bankers not to make public their names or subscriptions; and can he give a rough estimate of the number of millions of names to be thus printed?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. As I stated at Bootle on Friday last, I have found since I expressed the hope that it would be possible to publish such a list that the work of compiling it so as to include the holders of War Savings Certificates as well as holders of the various other War issues would be of such magnitude that I should not be justified in calling upon the officials concerned to undertake it, especially having regard to the present depleted condition of staffs.

66. Mr. KING

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, having regard to-the statement made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Local Government Board that the War Loan to be a success it must mount up to £3,000,000,000, he will say whether this amount includes conversion or is the minimum amount desired of new money?


I fear I am not as sanguine as my right hon. Friend, and I have never contemplated that such a total would be reached, even including the proceeds of conversion.


(by Private Notice) asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether it is the intention of the Government to bring in a Bill forthwith to empower trustees to borrow money and to sell securities for the purpose of enabling them to subscribe to the new War Loan; and whether such Bill will contain a full indemnity to trustees who may, before or after such Bill is passed, borrow money or sell securities for that purpose?


Yes, Sir. It is the intention of the Government at the first opportunity to obtain legislation with retrospective effect expressly authorising trustees to borrow money or to sell securities for the purpose of subscribing to the new War Loans. This Bill will contain a complete indemnity (following the lines of Section 3 of the War Loan (Trustees) Act, 1915) to trustees who have borrowed money or sold securities for that purpose.