HC Deb 21 February 1922 vol 150 cc1723-4

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what is the profit or loss arising from the sale of life annuities through the National Debt Commissioners and the Post Office Savings Bank for the financial years 1919, 1920, and 1921, respectively?


The gain or loss to the Government on life annuities is only reflected in any variation in the actual mortality experience of the lives involved as compared with the mortality basis of the tables on which the annuities are granted. It is not possible to give figures of profit or loss for individual years. Periodic investigations are made into the mortality experienced amongst the annuitants, and the tables are revised in conformity with the results disclosed. The results of the last investigation were published in 1912 (Cmd. 298–1912), and a further investigation is at present proceeding, the results of which will be reported to Parliament in due course.


Can my hon. Friend inform me whether it is possible to find anywhere any account, profit or loss, for a period of years of this important portion of Government finance, and, if not, will he take an early opportunity of publishing a Paper on the subject, in view of the fact that large sums of money are involved?


The answer is really contained in what I have said, that the only manner in which to arrive at whether profit or loss is being made, is to review a period of years after seeing whether the mortality experience during these years has been in favour of the State or of the annuitants. Such a review is contained in the Paper to which I referred, and such review will be contained in the subsequent Return on the same subject.