HC Deb 23 March 1964 vol 692 cc3-5
4. Sir R. Nugent

asked the Attorney-General when the official inquiry into the allegations made in relation to the conduct of the Public Trustee Office will be completed.

The Attorney-General

My noble Friend the Lord Chancellor has com- pleted his investigation into the allegations made about the Public Trustee Office. My noble Friend has written to my hon. friend the Member for Solihull (Sir M. Lindsay). In view of the interest shown by hon. Members in this matter, I am arranging for copies of his letter to be available in the Library.

Sir R. Nugent

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for that reply. Is he aware that I hope that it will contain something which will allay the many anxieties which exist on this matter? Is my right hon. Friend aware that at the present time, when the unit trust is so widely used by so many small investors, there is a general expectation that the Public Trustee Office should concern itself and base its policy not only on the need to protect the finances for which it is responsible, but to see that there is a growth element in them?

The Attorney-General

My right hon. Friend will be interested to read the report. It is detailed and, I think, generally reassuring about the way in which the Office of the Public Trustee works. It is true, of course, that the Public Trustee is advised by an investment advisory committee which has some very experienced people as its members, and he does look for and is anxious to see that there is growth. But there are many trusts which contain limited powers of investment and trustees have to balance the interests of the life tenant who requires a high income against the interests of the reversioner who may want growth.

Sir J. Barlow

Can my right hon. and learned Friend say how this inquiry has been carried out? Was it purely an internal departmental inquiry, or was it held by sonic other people?

The Attorney-General

It was an inquiry by the Lord Chancellor himself.

Sir M. Lindsay

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that, meticulously as, no doubt, this inquiry has been carried out, the 80 people who have made allegations that their affairs have not been properly conducted will not be satisfied with an inquiry into allegations against the Public Trustee Office which have been investigated in the Public Trustee Office?

The Attorney-General

Hon. Members will probably desire to read the report and see the nature of it before they form a judgment on that matter.