HC Deb 17 February 1887 vol 310 cc1752-3
MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)

asked the Postmaster General, Whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that by means of the system of selling, through the Post Office, Government Securities in sums of £10 at a time and upwards, more than £2,500,000 of such Government Securities is now held by about 30,000 persons; and, whether he is willing to extend the system by reducing the £10 minimum investment, so as to bring this mode of investment in the National Securities more within the reach of the working classes, as is the case in France with the French Rentes?

THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES) (Cambridge University)

The question of fixing a minimum amount for investment in Government Securities through the medium of the Post Office Savings Bank was very carefully considered in 1880, when the Savings Bank Act of that year was passed, and the minimum is fixed by the Act. It was thought that the Savings Bank itself afforded ample facility for the deposit and safe keeping of sums under £10, and that for less than that amount it would not be worth while for an individual to incur the expense of commission chargeable on the purchase and sale of a portion of so small an amount. The interest on a Savings Bank deposit is 2½ per cent; while the interest on a Stock investment at the present time barely roaches 3 per cent. Therefore, on a sum of, say, £9, the Savings Bank would give 4s. 6d.; and, taking the Government Stock at 3 per cent, the interest would be 5s. 5d., while the commission would be 9d. Judging by the average amount of each investment, which is about £50, there does not appear to be any demand on the part of the public for a reduction of the minimum; but I shall be glad to consider any representations on the subject.