HC Deb 14 February 1895 vol 30 cc751-2
THE HON. J. S. MONTAGU (Hants, New Forest)

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the cost per cent. of management of the Savings Banks for every £100 of deposits; what is the loss, if any, on every £100 deposited in the Savings Banks at the present price of Consols; whether he proposes to take any steps to minimise the loss, if any, to the Exchequer; and what is the increase in the amount of deposits for the months of November and December 1894, compared with the same months in the previous year?


I am informed by the National Debt Commissioners that the securities held by the National Debt Commissioners on account of deposits in Post Office Savings Banks have hitherto earned more than sufficient to pay the rate of interest to depositors in addition to the expenses of management; and though the price of Consols has risen to above par, it is not estimated that the expenses for the year to December 31, 1895, will exceed the income. But the margin would be extremely narrow, owing to the combined operation of the high price of Consols and the low interest upon Consols; and I propose to appoint a Departmental Committee to investigate this subject to see what can be done upon the matter. With regard to the question of the hon. Member for Lime-house, the figures are not yet sufficiently ascertained to state the cost of management per cent. The increase of receipts in Savings Banks in the months of November and December 1894, as compared with the corresponding months in 1893, was about £730,000.

MR. W. ST. JOHN BRODRICK (Surrey, Guildford)

May I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he sees any objection to granting a Select Committee of this House to inquire into the rate of interest, instead of a Departmental Committee?


I think that would not be at all desirable. The matter ought to be carefully and depart-mentally examined, and I do hope that nothing will be said here or elsewhere which will raise any doubt in the mind of the public on the subject of the solvency of the Savings Bank. I have every confidence that there is no foundation for any suspicion of the kind, and nothing could be more injurious than to disseminate in the minds of people, who have no means of judging in this matter, any notion that there was any doubt or hesitation about the perfect solvency of the Bank, and its ample means of meeting its liabilities.