HC Deb 08 April 1930 vol 237 cc1960-2

asked the Postmaster-General whether he will state, for each year during which the cash-on-delivery service has been in operation, the number of parcels carried and the percentage returned undelivered; and whether any extension of facilities is contemplated in the near future?


The numbers of inland cash-on-delivery parcels carried were, in round figures, in 1926, 767,000; in 1927, 1,521,000; in 1928, 1,863,000; and in 1929, 2,290,000. The percentages of parcels returned as undeliverable during those years were 2.29 per cent., 2.15 per cent., 2.19 per cent. and 2.49 per cent., respectively. The figures include packets sent by letter post since the service was extended to the registered letter post on the 30th of April, 1928, but those comprise only a small proportion of the total. The question of extending the service is continually kept in mind.

79. Sir B. PETO

asked the Postmaster-General what was the percentage ratio to the premiums of the expenses of conducting life assurance business of the Post Office during the year 1929?


During the calendar year 1929 the expenses of conducting life assurance business amounted to £3,232 and the premiums received during the year amounted to £13,726 14s. 8d. The charges for management were therefore 23.55 per cent. of the premiums received.


Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that is a very high percentage, and will he take some steps to increase the use of the Post Office for insurance purposes?


The percentage is lower than that of any industrial insurance society in the country. With regard to increasing the use of the Post Office for this purpose, I may explain that my difficulty is that the late Government abandoned a large part of it.


Has not this been a complete failure from beginning to end?


May I ask whether the present Government propose to reinstitute the insurance scheme?


To reinstitute it fully would require legislation.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say why the percentage ratio of the Post Office is only 1 pex cent. less than offices like the Prudential, who send weekly to the homes of the insured persons, whereas the Post Office demand that the insured people shall attend at the Post Office in order to pay their premiums?


Is it proposed to introduce legislation?


Will the right hon. Gentleman say why there is only 1 per cent. difference, when other offices send weekly to the homes of the insured persons, while the Post Office insists that people should go to the Post Office to pay their premiums?

80. Sir B. PETO

asked the Postmaster-General on what bases the liabilities are valued under Post Office life assurance contracts, apart from annuity contracts; whether the valuations during the past 10 years have disclosed surpluses; if so, how much surpluses, derived from the premiums of the assured, have been dealt with; and whether any bonuses have been declared and, if so, at what rates?


At the date of the last two statutory quinquennial valuations at 31st December, 1920 and 31st December, 1925, the liabilities under life assurance contracts were valued so far as mortality is concerned on the basis of the table deduced from the mortality of healthy males insured with life insurance companies as published by the Institute of Actuaries in the year 1872 known as the H M table, with a rate of interest of 4 per cent. There is no separate fund in respect of life insurance contracts granted through the Post Office as the Act 27/8 Vic. c. 46—which was repealed and re-enacted in 19/20 Geo. V. c. 29—created one fund in respect of both deferred life annuity contracts and life insurance contracts. The last two quinquennial valuations of the assets and liabilities of this fund showed that the liabilities exceeded the assets and a contingent liability of £244,785 in this respect is, in accordance with Section 3 of the Act 27/8 Viet. c. 46—repealed and re-enacted in Section 67 of 19/20 Geo. V. c. 29—shown in the Finance Accounts, 1929. It will thus be observed that as the Valuations disclosed a deficiency of assets the question of disposal of surplus does not arise.