§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
asked the Postmaster General, If he can state whether the total amount deposited in Savings Banks in Ireland in 1879 has increased as compared with previous years; and, if so, the amount of that increase; and, whether there has been any increase in the amount of savings deposited in the eight counties, in the year 1879, in which distress is said to be most keenly felt, and the amount of such increase?
§ MR. FAWCETT
In reply to the Question of the noble Lord, I find there has been an increase in the deposits in the Post Office Savings Banks in Ireland in every year since their establishment. In the year ending the 31st of December last, the increase in the deposits in the Post Office Savings Banks was £91,500. I find that this is a larger increase than has taken place in any year since 1870, excepting the years 1871,1876, and 1877. The latest available Return is for the quarter ending the 31st of March of the present year. The increase in the deposits in the Post Office Savings Banks has not only been maintained, but has gone on in an increasing ratio; for in this quarter the increase has been 1252 £32,000, or at the rate of £128,000 a-year. This increase may be said to have spread itself almost over the whole of Ireland, for it occurs in every county except two—Kildare and Longford; and in these two counties the decrease has been very insignificant, amounting to only £700. With regard to the eight counties scheduled as distressed counties—Clare, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Mayo, Roscommon, and Sligo—I find that in every one of these distressed counties there has been an increase in the deposits in the Post Office Savings Banks. This increase amounts, in the aggregate, to £24,600; but when we look to the old Savings Banks—the Trustee Savings Banks—these conclusions are considerably modified; for in these Savings Banks there has been a decrease in the last year of £86,000, which brings out the result that, taking them and the Post Office Savings Banks together, there has been throughout Ireland an increase of £5,500. In five of the distressed counties there are no Trustee Savings Banks, and in one of the three in which, there are the increase in the Post Office Savings Banks deposits considerably more than counterbalances the diminution in the old Savings Banks; and, therefore, we arrive at this net result—that, taking the eight distressed counties, and taking all the Savings Banks deposits, there is an increase in six of those distressed counties and a diminution in two. But, as the Question of the noble Lord relates to the savings of the Irish people, I ought to state further, from information furnished by Dr. Neilson Hancock, that during the three years, 1877, 1878, and 1879, there has been in the general bank deposits and in the note circulation of Ireland a diminution of about £5,200,000, and in 1877 and 1878 there was a diminution in the amount invested in Government Stock of £1,400,000; but in the last year, 1879, there has been an increase of £603,000 in the amount invested in Government Stocks.