HC Deb 26 January 1955 vol 536 cc178-9

4.26 p.m.

Mr. F. J. Erroll (Altrincham and Sale)

I beg to move, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the law relating to the superannuation benefits payable in respect of service with trustee savings banks and their inspection committee. This small Measure is designed to improve the pensions and superannuation benefits for members of Trustee Savings Banks staffs and their dependants. At present, benefits payable to employees of these Trustee Savings Banks and their Inspection Committee are regulated by the Trustee Savings Banks Acts, and this means in fact that any change in the benefits payable or in the conditions relating to the payment of such benefits necessitates the passing of a new Act.

This Bill, if introduced and passed by this House, would eliminate the necessity of fresh Trustee Savings Banks Bills for such purposes, because it is designed to give the Treasury power by means of orders to authorise the payment of new or altered rates of benefit. The Bill would provide for these benefits to correspond to, but not exceed, those which are currently payable to civil servants under their various Superannuation Acts, and there would be a proviso in the Bill that the benefits could not exceed those payable to civil servants. I may add here that payments are at present made by the Trustee Savings Banks out of their own funds, and, therefore, the result of this Bill would not mean any charge on public funds whatever.

There is a second purpose to the Bill which is, in my view, an equally important one. It is to make possible provision for widows, children and other dependants of deceased employees of the Trustee Savings Banks. This also would be done by Treasury order, and the benefits and other payments would be limited to the corresponding benefits payable to the dependants of deceased civil servants. Any such scheme would, of course, be contributory, in the same way as are the present superannuation schemes applicable to civil servants.

At present, the absence of such provision for the dependants of Trustee Savings Bank employees causes very severe

hardship for those dependants whose husbands or fathers died while employed by Trustee Savings Banks, because at present the banks are unable to make any substantial payments to widows and other dependents.

I might quote two examples which occurred quite recently. There was the case of a branch inspector who died in September last at the age of 53. He left a widow and one boy aged six. The total estate only amounted to £500, and no provision could be made for the widow or the son. Another example is that of a branch manager of a savings bank who died in March last year at the age of 45, leaving a widow and three children, two of whom are still at school. There is no private income in this case, and his former employers, the savings bank, are unable to make any provision for the widow and the children.

I would add that any orders made under this Bill would, of course, be subject to the annulment procedure of the House so that they could be fully scrutinised by the House before being finally approved. I also wish to mention that I have already consulted hon. Members on both sides of the House who, I know, are interested in the affairs of trustee savings banks and they have been so good as to indicate to me that, in general terms, they approve of the purpose of this Bill. I therefore commend this small but useful Measure to the House, and hope that leave may be granted to bring it in.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Erroll, Mr. Hoy, Mr. N. Macpherson, Sir I. Clark Hutchison, Dr. Broughton, Mr. Grimond, Mr. Fleetwood-Hesketh, Mr. W. R. A. Hudson, and Mr. T. Brown.