§ 55. Mr. W. THORNE
asked the Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware that during the last eight years seven million policies have lapsed in one assurance company; that the holders lost every penny of the premiums paid; and if he will state whether, in consequence of the Industrial Asurance Act, 1923, not meeting the situation, the Government will agree to set up a commission of inquiry?
I have no information as to the number of policies which have lapsed during the past eight years. As I informed the hon. Member on the 5th March, the Act of 1923, which will come fully into operation on 7th June next, embodied the results of very careful investigation by a Committee presided over by Lord Parmoor, and I do not think that a further commission of inquiry at the present time would serve a useful purpose.
§ Mr. THORNE
Is the hon. Member not aware that if he would inquire further 1923 into the number of lapsed policies in the case of one of these firms, it would prove to his satisfaction the absolute need for an inquiry?
If I might make a suggestion to the hon. Member it would be to point out that Section 24 and Section 34 of the 1923 Act were put in for the purposes of giving effect to the recommendations of the Parmoor Committee on the points now under discussion. I suggest that the hon. Member should wait until after the 7th June next when those Sections come into operation, and give the two Sections time to be tested adequately; then he might put another question if he finds it is necessary.
§ Mr. THORNE
What is the good of waiting when people are being robbed every day of their money and their rights?
As the hon. Member has raised this matter in the House, a report will no doubt appear in the Press, in that way the public will be warned.
§ Mr. PALING
Is there any evidence that when the Act comes into operation lapsed policies will be dealt with under it?
It will be open to the hon. Member to draw attention to the matter after that time when the Act has come into operation and been tested, and then I shall be glad to deal with the question again if the hon. Member should think it desirable to return to it.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
Is it not a fact that many of these people, owing to unemployment, have lost the benefits which would otherwise have accrued to them and will the hon. Member promise to have some sort of inquiry or investigation made into these policies at the time that they are issued.
§ Mr. WALLHEAD
The Parmoor Committee sat quite a long time ago, and these are matters which have arisen during the past two or three years.