HC Deb 03 December 1959 vol 614 cc1353-4
12. Mr. MacColl

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will arrange that all notices and advertisements concerning Premium Bonds include the information that the odds against winning a prize are over 10,000 to one.

Mr. Barber

No, Sir.

Mr. MacColl

Does not the Economic Secretary think it desirable that savers who are trying to compare one channel of investment with another ought to have the facts put fully before them by those who are asking for the investment? Should not the Government set a good example in this matter in placing the facts in perspective?

Mr. Barber

I agree that an investor should consider all the facts relating to each of the possible investments that he may make. But an isolated figure like the one which the hon. Member suggests would be misleading because investors rarely purchase one bond in one draw. I might mention that a booklet about Premium Bonds was recently issued by the Post Office. It deals with all these matters in considerable detail and sets out fairly the possible odds.

Mr. Snow

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it was in a letter written by the Chancellor to me that the fact was disclosed that the odds against winning a prize are about 11,000 to 1? Having myself purchased Premium Bonds when the odds were about 2,000 to 1, and wishing nothing but well for the scheme as a whole, might I ask if it would not be a good thing to ensure that more prizes are offered so as to reassure the public that this is a reasonable proposition in which to enter?

Mr. Barber

The prizes are related to the rate of interest, which has not been changed since the scheme was started. As to the odds, I would repeat that all the relevant odds are referred to frankly and honestly in this booklet which has been published by the Post Office.

28. Mr. Hendry

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will in crease the maximum holding of Premium Bonds to 1,000 to give a greater incentive to accumulative buying and retention.

Mr. Barber

No, Sir. The great majority of holdings are still small and the present limit is not frustrating any appreciable volume of genuine small savings.

29. Mr. Hendry

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will give instructions to the Estate Duty Office to accept Premium Bonds in lieu of cash on payment of death duties exigible on the death of the holder of the bonds.

Mr. Barber

This proposal could not be implemented under the terms of issue of the present Bonds. However, I understand that my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General is prepared in future to allow encashment of Bonds before probate for the purpose of paying death duties. This should be a help in the type of case my hon. Friend has in mind.