asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether, in view of the fact that in the last periodic review of the business done in life annuities through the National Debt Commissioners and the Post Office Savings Bank (Cmd. 298, 1912) no statement is made as to the actual profit or loss arising, he will arrange that in the forthcoming periodic review this profit or loss is clearly shown calculated on the ordinary insurance actuarial basis?
The Noble Lord's comparison is not feasible. The moneys received for the purchase of life annuities are by Statute applied forthwith to the purchase and cancellation of debt, the life annuity becoming a charge on the Consolidated Fund. Consequently no life annuity fund (comparable to that of an insurance company) exists, and it is therefore not practicable to present an account relating to Government life annuities in the form prescribed for life assurance companies' accounts. The mortality investigation now proceeding is undertaken mainly for the purpose of estimating the financial effect of the annuity operations, and the Report to be presented to Parliament will give the results of the examination.
Are we to understand from that answer that the Govern-in doing this business, keeps no account as to whether profit or loss arises? Why are not accounts kept in a similar manner to that in which insurance companies have by Act of Parliament to keep their accounts?
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in the report in question there is no statement of profit and loss at all; is he aware that in the opinion of the best actuarial experts in the City, the result of the Government's business in life annuities is to give them a very heavy loss which they have hitherto succeeded in not disclosing to the public through this House?