MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
To ask the Postmaster-General can he state the total amounts respectively of Post Office Savings Bank deposits and withdrawals in the year ending 31st December, 1903, and the six months ending 30th June, 1904, the total balance due to depositors (including interest) on 31st December, 1903, and 30th June, 1904, respectively; can he explain how it occurred that, on the 31st December 1903, the assets valued at the market price of the day, held by the Government on behalf of the Post Office Savings Banks, were insufficient to meet the total amount of deposits by the sum of £11,033,060 12s. 1d.; and can he explain why his Report for the year ending 31st March, 1904, is not yet issued.
(Answered by Lord Stanley.) The deposits in the Post Office Savings Bank during the year ending the 31st December, 1903, amounted to £40,857,206, and the withdrawals to £42,786,025. The corresponding figures for the six months ending the 30th June, 1904, are £19,502,295 and £20,309,709 respectively. The total amounts standing to the credit of depositors on the 31st Decemher.1903, and the 30th June, 1904. were £146,135,147 and £147,083,000 respectively. The latter figure is only approximate. The reason why the liabilities of the Savings Bank were in excess of the assets, valued at the market price of the day on the 31st December, 1903, is to be found in the fact that the greater part of the Consols and other Government Stock held by the National Debt Commissioners on behalf of the Bank were purchased at a higher price than that current at the date in question. As pointed out, however, in my Answer to the hon. Member for North Camberwell on the 28th March, † a comparison of this nature is misleading, and does not give a correct view of the† See (4) Debates, CXXXII, 814256 situation, seeing that the payment of the lawful claims of depositors is guaranteed by Government, and that they have as security the whole credit of the nation My Report for the year ending the 31st March, 1904, is now in the press, and will be issued shortly.