§ Mr. JESSON
asked the President of the Board of Trade if the Registrar of Friendly Societies has stated that he is unable to register any further thrift, loan, or other share-out clubs under the existing law unless they are for agricultural or horticultural purposes; and whether, having regard to the large number of poor people who are defrauded every year by bogus and unregistered share-out clubs, the discouragement this causes to habits of thrift, and the need for adequate protection for thrifty people, he can see his way to compelling all promoters of loan, thrift, sick, or other share-out clubs to register all such societies or clubs under the Friendly and Provident Societies Act?
I have been asked to reply. The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. The special authority under which loan societies were registered has been withdrawn except in the case of such societies when formed for the purpose of agriculture, arboriculture, and horticulture, because of the great abuses which had arisen in societies registered under that authority, but the type of society so registered was not the type of society which the hon. Member has in mind. The Registrar is perfectly prepared to register any thrift or share-out club, the purposes of which are within the Friendly Societies Act, 1896. As regards the second part of the question, I fear compulsory registration would not in itself enable the Registrar to prevent fraud and embezzlement.