§ Now I will give some figures—I hope I am not wearying the House—I think they are figures which the House and the country ought to know. I refer to the Savings Banks. Now, this bears very remarkably upon the topic to which I referred a short time ago—I mean the condition of the people. I know no more satisfactory indication of the improvement in the condition of the people than is to be found in the Return of the Savings Banks and Friendly Societies. The net receipts in excess of withdrawals, beginning with what I call the prosperity year of 1890, were—1890–1, £958,000; 1891–2, £323,000; 1892–3, £2,131,000; 1893–4, £3,330,000; and 1894–5, £7,169,000. That is to say, they were £6,000,000 more in the past year than in the prosperous year 1890. The great 307 increase in the past year is due, no doubt, to a very considerable extent, to the additional facilities which the Bill, introduced two years ago, gave for investment in the Savings Banks; but it is not merely the facilities that you give which these figures evidence, it is the thrift on the part of the people who save and their disposition to invest. I have given the excess of the deposits over withdrawals, which may be regarded as permanent investment. That does not show the amount of money which the people save for the moment and which they may spend within the year. Therefore, I will give these figures. The total amount deposited in Savings Banks for the years ended March 31 was as follows:—1891, £30,650,000; 1892, £30,750,000; 1893, £32,800,000; 1894, £35,200,000; 1895, £41,500,000—an increase last year of £11,000,000 upon the figures of 1891. This shows that there has been an ever-increasing margin available for investment mainly in the wage-earning class. They have consumed more, and at the same time have saved more, than in the years which are regarded as exceptionally prosperous.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
No. They are for the whole of the Savings Banks. For the first time I am glad to say that the Trustee Savings Banks have shown an increase as well as the Post Office Savings Banks.