HC Deb 26 October 1899 vol 77 c734

I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can state the present condition of the balance sheet of the Post Office Savings Bank; whether the balance due to depositors, which on 31st December, 1898, was £123,144,099, has increased or diminished; whether the value of the securities held on 31st December, 1898, and which were valued according to the average price on that day at £132,953,361, has increased or diminished; what the value of those securities is at the average price of the present day; whether he is aware that the average price of 2¾ per cent. Consols, amounting to £77,380,718, included in those securities, has fallen from about 111 to about 104 per cent. since 31st December, 1898;whether the surplus of assets over liabilities shown in the balance sheet to 31st December, 1898, as £10,702,556, still exists; and, if not, by how much has this surplus diminished; and will he reconsider the method of valuing assets at the average price on the day of valuation.


I cannot answer a catechism of this kind except by a Return; and I see no reason why a Return should be given in anticipation of the usual period—namely, the end of the year when the accounts are made up. I may say, however, generally, that the balance due to depositors in the Post Office Savings Banks shows a normal increase; and, of course, the securities held against it have also increased. Owing to the fall in the market price of Consols, the assets if valued at market price on 31st December next will doubtless show a diminished surplus as compared with last year. But there is no reason to anticipate that, even if valued at par, they will show a deficiency. I do not see what better method of valuation could be substituted for the present system.