HC Deb 17 March 1818 vol 37 cc1156-7
The Chancellor of the Exchequer

rose, to move for leave to bring in a bill to amend the Saving Banks, act. The object of the bill was to obviate several difficulties which had been found in carrying the act into excution: for instance, it required an order to receive the principal, and another order to receive the interest. The present bill would authorize general orders for both principal and interest. During the recess, gentlemen would have opportunities of becoming acquainted with other difficulties which it might be proper to remedy. He congratulated the House and the country on the establishment and rapid progress of the Saving banks. Their growth was far beyond expectation, and would have given great delight and satisfaction to the author of the measure (Mr. Rose) had he lived to witness it. It would possibly surprise the House to learn that, since the 6th of August last, when the operation of the bill commenced, to the 11th of March, 1818, no less a sum than 657,000l. had been deposited in Saving banks. He concluded with moving "That leave be given to bring in a bill to amend an act passed in the last session of parliament, to encourage the establishment of Banks for Savings in England."

General Thornton

did not think it would be proper that the money paid into Saving banks should produce a high interest. It would induce persons to put money into them, for whom such banks were not originally intended. It would be better that the interest should be 1l. 11s 3d. than 4l. 11s. 3d. From his knowledge of the lower orders of the people, he was convinced that all they wanted was security for their money. They had rather an aversion to a high rate of interest [a laugh].

Sir John Newport

was glad the chancellor of the exchequer had taken this subject into his hands. The greatest advantages would result from it. As to the paradox of the hon. general, that the lower orders did not wish to make their money productive, it was too absurd (he did not mean any offence) to need refutation. Thinking as he did on the subject, he should deprecate any measure which tended to counteract the present mode of proceeding. That it might long continue was his sincere wish, as he conceived much good would result to the lower classes from the establishment of Saving banks. He thought great credit was due to the chancellor of the Exchequer for his continued exertions on the subject, and should most willingly support the introduction of the bill.

Mr. Babington

thought the public would be repaid by the improved morality of the lower orders; but there was some danger that persons of an improper class would avail themselves of Saving banks. He belonged to one from which all but servants, mechanics, and other persons in the same rank of life had been excluded; but it was astonishing how many persons in a superior rank endeavoured to avail themselves of it. One gentleman possessed of above 40,000l. wished to put in money in the names of his six children. He knew of many other instances. He thought the chancellor of the exchequer would do well to provide in this bill, that the lower orders alone should be benefited by it.

Mr. Thompson

agreed with the hon. member, as to the propriety of preventing any but the lower classes from placing their money in Saving banks. He knew several cases where persons of affluent circumstances vested sums in Saving banks on account of their children. If such a system were allowed, persons who had money to spare would not place it in country banks nor in the funds, nor in other securities from which a less interest was derived, but from which a greater benefit would arise to the public. He hoped the chancellor of the exchequer would introduce a clause in the bill to prevent all but the lower classes from vesting their money in these banks.

Leave given to bring in the bill. It was accordingly brought in, and read a first and second time.