§ Sir V. BOWATER
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware that upwards of 30,000 small investors have placed their savings in co-operative investment trusts registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act; whether the auditor is directly appointed by His Majesty's Treasury; if any steps are taken to see that the trusts are conducted on sound lines; and what steps will be taken to safeguard the small investors from a possible collapse of trusts with holdings in speculative securities?
The membership of the societies referred to is estimated to be approximately as stated in the Question. The societies are required to submit their accounts for audit to a public auditor,1520W selected by the society from the list of public auditors nominated by the Treasury under Section 72 of the Industrial and Provident Societies Act, 1893. The Societies are also required to send to the Registrar of Friendly Societies annual returns, as specified in Section 14 of the Act of 1893, accompanied by copies of the auditor's reports. As regards the concluding portion of the Question, the statutory safeguards and conditions by which the conduct of these societies is regulated are contained in the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts, 1893 to 1913, to which I would refer my hon. Friend.