HC Deb 16 June 1925 vol 185 cc275-6
62. Mr. GROVES

asked the Postmaster-General whether accounts opened under the Poet Office Savings Bank are strictly guarded and retained until either the persons who deposited the money have authorised its withdrawal or in case of decease the legally declared authority; is he aware that when persons having accounts with the Post Office Savings Bank become inmates of a county asylum their savings bank books are claimed by the local board of guardians' officials and amounts drawn from the book equal to the charge for maintenance; and whether he will inquire what action has been taken by the West Ham Board of Guardians respecting bank book No. 22,809, which the officer of the guardians requested from the relative of an inmate of the West Ham County Mental Institution?


Generally speaking, savings bank deposits can only be withdrawn by the depositor or his authorised agent, or in the event of his decease by his legal representatives. But as regards insane persons, I would refer the hon. Member to the Regulations under the Savings Bank Acts and to Section 299 of the Lunacy Act, 1890, which provides that where a lunatic is chargeable to a Poor Law union, the guardians may obtain a justice's order for the seizure of such money belonging to the lunatic as the justice may think sufficient to pay the expenses of maintenance. No communication has been received from the guardians with respect to the account in question.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that those conditions are not printed on the Post Office books; and is he also aware that in the case I have mentioned the book was obtained by the guardians' representative before any justice's order had been applied for?


As regards the first question, I am not aware of that, and perhaps the hon. Member will put the question down. As to the second, all I can say is, that no communication in regard to this account has taken place with the guardians or anyone else, and, in fact, no money has been withdrawn from it.