HC Deb 19 March 1908 vol 186 cc794-5

I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the sum of £88,190 is estimated to be required to make good the deficiency in the Post Office Savings Bank in the year 1908–9; and whether he will consider what steps can be taken to relieve the taxpayer of the obligation to pay a subsidy to those persons who invest their savings in the Post Office rather than in some other form of investment.


A Select Committee of this House in 1902 considered what steps should be taken to make good the deficiency on the Income Account of the Post Office Savings Banks Fund which would result from the reduction of the interest on Consols in 1903. They recommended that the rate of interest allowed to depositors should be reduced by one-eighth per cent. The late Government took the sense of the House of Commons on that proposal, and decided, with the general approval of the House, not to carry it into effect, because conditions had altered since the date of the Committee's inquiry in such a way as to increase the earning power of the National Debt Commissioners on new investments, and to hold out some prospect of the account being balanced without a reduction of interest. I see no sufficient reason at present for departing from that policy; but the subject is one which requires to be, and is, kept steadily in view.