§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
As I said in regard to another Bill, it is a pity to stop the speedway in the passage of a Bill of this kind, but we should like some information upon this one Clause, as to which we are not quite sure. Clause 37 deals generally wth savings bank annuities and insurances, but we understand that the Post Office have relinquished the whole of their life assurance business, except as regards existing policies—that they are not going to issue any more. We understand from the Financial Secretary that this Consolidation Bill does not make any alteration in the law. That may be so, but would he be good enough to explain the position with regard to the Post Office Insurance Department, having regard to the fact that the law is not being amended in the process of consolidation?
Here is the explanation quite simply. The Clause provides that:Subject to the provisions of this Part of this Act and of the regulations made thereunder, the Commissioners may, either themselves directly, or through savings banks or parochial or other societies or other duly authorised agents, grant savings bank annuities.It then goes on to state the different kinds of annuities, and thatSubject as aforesaid, the Commissioners may also in like manner enter into contracts (hereinafter referred to as savings bank insurances)—There is no difficulty about the position. It also lays down that
- (a) for the payment of a sum of money on the death of the person or one of the persons with whom the contract is made; or
- (b) for the payment of a sum of money to be made on the attainment by the person with whom the contract is made of a specified age, or sooner in the case of his death."The Commissioners may refuse to grant a savings bank annuity or a savings bank insurance in any case where there are, in the opinion of the Commissioners, sufficient grounds for refusing so to do,and that:The Treasury may by warrant addressed to the Commissioners discontinue the granting of savings bank annuities or insurances if they think fit so to do.No alteration has been made in the law. If hon. Members will look at page 3, of House of Commons Paper No. 71, they will see the actual points to which the attention of Parliament is drawn by the Joint Committee. Clause 37 makes no alteration whatever in the law; otherwise, it would be so stated by the Joint Committee. Consequently, the fear as to Clause 37 which may exist in the hon. Member's mind that some alteration has taken place is, I am glad to say, without foundation.
§ Mr. SHINWELL
I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman has misunderstood the point which my hon. Friend put to him. It is, as I understand it, whether the provisions which the hon. Gentleman has just read apply to existing policies, or whether they relate to new policies that may be taken out by persons interested. The point of substance is whether the provisions of this Measure are to apply 1921 fully for the purposes of life assurance, and on that point the hon. Gentleman has maintained silence.
I think the hon. Member is under a misapprehension. I am not in a position to discuss the law as it exists, but the law is left as it stood before, and it is not altered by the Measure.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clauses 38 to 70, inclusive, ordered to stand part of the Bill.1922
§ Schedules agreed to.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; read the Third time, and passed, without Amendment.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.