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Private Banking Accounts (Examination)

Volume 414: debated on Wednesday 17 October 1945

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asked the Under-secretary of State for Air in how many cases, and in what circumstances, the powers conferred on Secretaries of State under the Bankers Act to demand access to private banking accounts of civil servants had been exercised in the case of Air Ministry staffs in the last three years.

Under the Bankers' Books Evidence Act, 1879, on the application of any party to a legal proceeding a court or a judge may order that such party be at liberty to inspect and take copies of any entries in a bankers book for any of the purposes of such proceedings. Power was also vested in the Secretary of State, under Regulation 80A of the Defence (General) Regulations, 1939, which required private individuals to produce certain information. I am not aware that either of these powers has been exercised in the last three years in order to obtain access to the private banking accounts of civil servants in my Department.