HC Deb 17 May 1966 vol 728 c1116
35. Mr. Weatherill

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the estimated cost of allowing holders of 3½ per cent. War Loan the option of converting such stock to Premium Bonds.

Mr. Diamond

If holders of War Loan were allowed to convert at par into Premium Bonds, the effect would be the same as if they were given the option of redeeming their holdings at par. The cost of such a redemption would be £1,909 million.

Mr. Weatherill

But will not the right hon. Gentleman agree that many people who purchased 3½ per cent. War Loan were small investors who believed that they were being patriotic and that they could not put their money into a safer investment than Britain? Does not the present price of 51 per cent. amount almost to a national scandal, and ought not an opportunity to be given now to those who have held this stock for 20 years or more to go into Premium Bonds and save at least some part of their shrinking capital?

Mr. Diamond

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that this matter has been discussed many times by Governments of all parties but, because of the difficulties in dealing with the matter and selecting worthy cases, it has not been found possible to make the kind of advance he suggests.

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