HC Deb 07 July 1959 vol 608 cc1121-3
The Solicitor - General (Sir Harry Hylton-Foster)

I beg to move, in page 24, line 7, to leave out from the second "and" to "operates" in line 8 and to insert: by reason of assignment or otherwise, the payment". This is the first of seven Amendments all directed to one point only. I hope that I may be allowed to refer to the other ones so as not to have to plague the Committee with more than one speech. The Amendments deal with a point to which my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) drew attention in Committee. Subsections (2) and (3) of the Bill are drawn on the basis of references to policies assigned "to" a person and the person is called the "donee". Therefore, if the donor has not given the policy direct to the beneficiary but to trustees in trust for the beneficiary, under the system of the Clause at present it would be the trustees who would be the donee.

The trouble with that is that subsection (4, b) of the Clause makes provision in relation to valuation of the policy where the beneficiary has divested himself of the policy before the death of the assured, and the policy's value in that case is to be the value at the time of the disposal. That is the perfectly right result when whatever has happened to the policy alters the beneficial ownership of it, but it produces the wrong result where, for instance, all that has happened is that there has been an alteration in the trustees and the beneficiary still in effect has his policy.

It is to get rid of that difficulty that these Amendments, of which this is the first, are proposed. The gist of the matter is in the Amendment suggested to page 24, line 36, to alter paragraph (b). The effect is to make the subsection apply only when the policy is disposed of in a way which alters the beneficial interest in the policy. The other Amendments are consequential.

There is one point of substance to which I should draw attention. Subsection (3) as at present drawn is in terms of reference to an "assignment". We want a wider term than assignment to cover one case, namely, the case where the donor makes a gift of the policy by way of a declaration of trust but the policy remains in his name. Hence "any dealing".

3.45 p.m.

Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)

Obviously, this is a matter which should concern the beneficiary's interest and I entirely agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman that so much ought not to turn on the death of the trustee, even a bare trustee miscalled the donee.

Mr. Charles Fletcher-Cooke (Darwen)

As my right hon. and learned Friend has kindly reconsidered this matter and put these Amendments in a form which no doubt is much better, I thank him for that. I am sorry that the more specific matters I raised on Clause 28 have not been so kindly received, but one must be thankful for small mercies.

The Chairman

I take it that I have the leave of the Committee to put all these seven Amendments together.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 24, line 18, leave out from "of" to "property" in line 20 and insert: any dealing with a policy of life assurance".

In line 23, leave out "assignor" and insert "assured".

In line 24, leave out "assignor's" and insert "assured's"

In line 28, leave out "assignment" and insert "dealing with the policy".

In line 36, leave out from "apply" to "its" in line 45 and insert: in relation to any payment of a premium or dealing with a policy if any dealing with the policy has subsequently taken place either so as to alter the beneficial interest in the rights under the policy or by way of surrender, but in such a case the value shall be ascertained by reference to the time of the subsequent dealing (or of the first, if there has been more than one), and shall be taken to be the value at that time of the consideration therefor, or if there was no consideration or (in the case of a dealing other than a surrender)".

In page 25, line 3, leave out from beginning to end of line 6 and insert:

  1. (a) where paragraph (a) of the foregoing subsection applies, have been paid before the maturity of the policy, or
  2. (b) where paragraph (b) of that subsection applies, have been paid before the time by reference to which the value of the policy falls to be ascertained.—[The Solicitor-General.]

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.