§ SIR H. HOWORTH (Salford, S.)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if his attention has been called to the recent great increase in the deposits in the Post Office Savings Bank, making at the present rate an increase of twenty millions a year; whether, inasmuch as this money is lent at call, and is virtually invested in and secured by an investment in Consols, he proposes to take any steps to prevent a sudden call upon these deposits, and to provide a suitable remedy in case there should be one, by giving the Government special powers to deal with it or otherwise; whether, inasmuch as the Government competition as a buyer of Consols is increasing so largely, with the result of inflating the price of Government securities in a corresponding manner, he can see his way to enlarge the area of investment in respect of these deposits, so as to include the stocks of different municipalities secured by rates as well as Consols; and, whether the Post Office authorities could give greater facilities and encouragement to the actual purchase of Consols by the present investors in the Post Office, Savings Bank rather than their present mode of investment, and thus increase the class corresponding to the French peasant investors?
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
I have observed with great satisfaction the enormous increase that has taken place recently in the Post Office Savings Bank deposits. It shows the power and the will of the humbler classes to save money. As regards the other questions, I shall generally answer them in the negative: but, as I have already stated with regard to the high price of Consols, a Departmental Committee has been appointed to consider this question with respect to the deposits in the Savings Bank.