§ 51. Major OWEN
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether, in view of the fact that deposits in the Post Office Savings Bank are allowed to remain for long periods and that the rate of interest has not been increased since its inception, he will consider the desirability of raising the present rate of 2½ per cent.?
Deposits in the Savings Bank, however long they remain, are withdrawable on application and in those circumstances the payment of a higher rate of interest could not be defended. A higher rate can be earned by investment in Government securities including Savings Certificates, and such investment is encouraged. A special Post Office Register of Government stocks is maintained to assist the small investor and the widest facilities are available for the purchase of Savings Certificates.
§ Major OWEN
Will the hon. Gentleman inform the House what profit is being made by this Department annually, and what proportion of it goes to the Treasury? Can he say what use is made of the profits which accrue yearly in this Department?
This is a question which involves two answers, and they are very intricate. I should be glad if the hon. and gallant Member would put his question on the Paper, and I will look into it.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
Is it not the case that, so far from deposits in the Post Office Savings Bank being withdrawable on demand, seven days' notice is required unless the sum is under £1?
I cannot carry the exact conditions in my mind; but I know that the Post Office give the safest facilities that it is possible to give.
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
Is it not the case that the hon. Gentleman in the answer which he gave to my hon. Friend's question said that the deposits are withdrawable upon demand? Is it not the case 968 that seven days' notice is required unless the sum of money to be withdrawn is under £1?
§ Mr. ALBERY
Is it not a fact that the seven days' notice is chiefly required to safeguard the interest of the depositors in order that wrong withdrawals may not be made.
Would it not be a simple matter, in view of the profits made by this Department, to devise a scheme for granting a higher rate of interest where sums of money have been left untouched for a period of six or 12 months.