Clause 2. — (Capital Expenditure for Purposes of Post Office Savings Bank Not to Be Paid Out of Post Office Savings Bank Fund.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Post Office and Telegraph (Money) Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th June 1952.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Paget Mr Reginald Paget , Northampton 12:00 am, 13th June 1952

I thought I referred to the 1931 Election, but I may have made a slip of the tongue. I am most grateful to my hon. and gallant Friend. I am sure that the Government would not wish to expose themselves to a similar charge, and I feel sure that we on this side of the Committee would not be so disreputable as to make it.

Time is running short and I do not suppose we shall get the opportunity to discuss fully this Clause today. That will have the advantage of providing the hon. Gentleman with an opportunity of consulting the Law Officers to ask what this alteration provides for.

There is a second proviso here which may also have surprising results. It says: all moneys accruing from or in connection with the sale, exchange or lease of any land purchased or buildings provided under this section— and the Assistant Postmaster-General will bear in mind that that expressly includes the bank buildings which we are here referring to and dealing with— —exchange or lease of any land purchased or buildings provided under this section, or of any part of any such land or buildings, shall be invested by the trustees as if they were moneys received for special investments. That, of course, involves the question of the two categories, the deposits and the money placed in the bank by the executors, and such cases as those in which the bank is a trustee; but, apparently, they are to be treated in the first category —or is it the second?—and, in consequence, the matter falls within the variation which we are now affecting.

The next purpose here which we have to consider—and all these purposes are, of course. affected—is: The value of any land purchased or buildings provided under the provisions of this section shall be taken at such an amount as the Commissioners may from time to time fix and shall be included in the annual valuation. It provides for annual valuation the normal definition which would be equally applicable if we were concerned with a rating question. So that matter would seem to be relatively simple in construction. The only question is whether the purposes set out in Section 8 are intended or not intended to be transferred by this Clause. I should have thought it rather surprising if that were the intention, although it certainly seems to be the effect of the words.

The next provision, which, I do not think, is quite so simple, is the provision with regard to the limits of the savings banks annuities. Section 11 provides that the limit of the amount of an annuity granted to any one person under the Government Annuities Act. 1864, and the Government Annuities Act, 1882, shall be £300 a year instead of £100 a year. These annuities are now, apparently, according to Section 5, being transferred to the Post Office. Are they transferred subject to this limitation, or are they not?