§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that, in the year 1880, there was a deficiency estimated by Mr. Gladstone at £3,565,000 in the Trustee Savings Banks, the amount being arrived at by valuation of the securities held; that the deficiency was provided for by the creation of a terminable annuity to run for twenty-eight years, the term being afterwards extended to 1917; that the cost of making good this deficiency has been borne, and is now being borne by the taxpayers in general; and that the same method of valuation would reveal a new deficiency, quite apart from the old, in the Trustee Savings Banks, and a deficiency of over £10,000,000 in the Post Office Savings Bank; and whether, regard being had to the circumstances, he will consider the expediency of making provision for reducing and finally extinguishing these deficiencies (if they exist) by setting up terminable annuities, as was done in 1880 in the case of the Trustee Savings Banks.
§ MR. ASQUITH
I am aware that the Trustee Savings Banks deficiency annuity was created in 1881 to make good an estimated depletion of the assets of the Trustee Savings Banks Fund, which had been caused primarily by the practice, pursued in earlier years, of paying interest out of capital. The fund has not been allowed to incur any further deficiency from that cause, as since 1876 every deficit on the annual income account has been made good by the Votes of Parliament; nor has a similar deficiency ever been incurred by the Post Office Savings Banks Fund. I am not prepared to ask Parliament to take the same steps for making good any deficiency which might appear upon an arbitrary valuation of the 919 securities as were considered necessary when there had been a real inroad upon the assets of the fund.