HC Deb 01 July 1959 vol 608 c458
28. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Postmaster-General the total amount standing in unclaimed balances in Post Office Savings Bank accounts in which there have been no transactions for more than twenty years.

Mr. Marples

The amount is estimated to have been £5,770,000 at 1st January, 1959.

Mr. Allaun

As the balances are mostly in the names of depositors who died without relatives or heirs, would the Minister consider transferring them to the Exchequer, subject to reclaim at any later date? Does not this involve the even bigger question of the hundreds of millions of £s lying in the joint stock banks, the Big Five, which are using them for their own purposes? Is not the nation entitled to this money?

Mr. Speaker

Order. The Postmaster-General is not responsible for the joint stock banks.

Mr. Marples

I am grateful to you, Mr. Speaker. As you truly said, I am not responsible for the joint stock banks. Deposits in the savings bank cannot be diverted to some other purpose because that is precluded by the Post Office Savings Bank Act, 1954. Under that Act deposits must be held without limit of time subject to withdrawal at the demand of the depositor or other legally entitled person.