HC Deb 04 February 1897 vol 45 cc1270-2

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether his attention has been called to the following complaint, contained in a letter from a well-known gentleman at Belfast, with respect to the rejection of deposits of odd pence by the Post Office Savings Bank: "To be a real poor man's bank, there should be given every facility to the working classes to save pence as well as shillings and pounds. The other day I was asked to deposit a sum for a poor man—one pound one shilling and tenpence. The tenpence was refused; no odd number of pence under twelve—one shilling—could be received "; whether he is aware that the calculations for interest on deposits usually come out in odd pence, and that high officials of the department have declared that the acceptance of odd pence with a shilling or more would impose no great additional labour on the clerks engaged; and, whether, with a view to encourage thrift, especially among children and the poorest classes of depositors, he will recommend the abolition of the rule forbidding the acceptance of odd pence over and above the minimum deposit of one shilling?


The exclusion of odd pence from an amount of Savings Bank deposit is prescribed by the Savings Bank Act of 1861, and not by a mere Departmental rule. The Postmaster General's attention has not been called to the remark attributed to a well-known gentleman at Belfast. The calculation of interest—which is entered only once a year—does of course include odd pence, but this is in no way comparable to the inclusion of odd pence in all the numerous deposit entries throughout the year. The Postmaster General is not aware that any high officials have expressed the opinion that the acceptance of odd pence with a shilling or more would impose no great additional labour on the clerks engaged. He is on the contrary advised by the high officials that such a change as the hon. Member suggests would enormously increase the labour and cost of the Savings Bank transactions. The Postmaster General believes that the system of allowing penny stamps to be affixed to slips to make up deposits of a shilling—originally introduced by Mr. Fawcett—is all that is necessary, and he has no intention of recommending a change in the law.

MR. W. JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)

asked whether the right hon. Gentleman could state the name of the "well-known gentleman" in Belfast?


said he could not give the name.


said that as a matter of explanation he might state that the name of the gentleman referred to was Mr. John Ward, J.P., of Lennoxvale, Belfast. The original letter was sent to the Postmaster General.