asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If he is aware that the construction put upon the Registration Clause in the Friendly Societies Act by the Chief Registrar is likely to necessitate the cancelling and re-registration of a large number of registered Courts and Lodges of United Societies, at very great expense; and, if he will take any steps to prevent such an expenditure of the funds of these societies?
in reply, said, he knew the matter was causing some interest. It stood in this way—Formerly all branches of Friendly Societies were obliged to be registered independently. Under the present law it was possible to cancel that registration and get them registered as branches of the society to which they belonged. The jealousy of Parliament guarded all such cancelling of existing registration by the necessity for advertisement notices which wereof an expensive character. He should be glad to facilitate the re-registration of branches, if it were possible, by a short Act to exempt them from the necessity of issuing these advertisements. That, however, was a matter on which there was a good deal of difference of opinion among the societies, and although the central body in some cases desired to have the branches registered as such, many of the lodges did not desire it themselves. There was, therefore, great difficulty in dealing with the case; but if there appeared to be a general wish for it, he would not object to introduce a short Bill to do away with the necessity of re-registration in cases where the registrar was satisfied that all parties were agreed.