HC Deb 14 July 1975 vol 895 cc1031-2
1. Mr. Wrigglesworth

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will give a timetable for the proposed legislation for the development of the national Giro service.

The Minister of State, Department of Industry (Mr. Gregor Mackenzie)

My right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State for Industry told the House on 12th March of the Government's intention to introduce legislation early in the next Session. This is still the Government's intention.

Mr. Wrigglesworth

Is my hon. Friend aware that all those who have the best interests of the Post Office at heart will welcome the fact that legislation will be introduced? Will he confirm that the legislation, when it appears, will remove the unfair competitive advantage which the clearing banks have had and put Giro in the same position as the trustee savings banks as a result of Government legislation?

Mr. Mackenzie

The whole purpose of my right hon. Friend's statement on 12th March was to ensure that Giro could offer a wider range of banking facilities, to effect capital reconstruction and to set a financial target. As my hon. Friend knows, we intend to publish a White Paper setting out the Government's aims and proposed actions on this matter. That White Paper will be published before the Bill is published so that hon. Members on both sides of the House will have an opportunity to look at the whole matter in detail.

Mr. Tim Renton

Can the Minister assure the House that when the legislation is published the same regulations about reserve assets and ratios will apply to the national Giro as to the joint stock banks? Can he further assure us that no pressure will be put upon people working in the public sector to deposit their savings with the national Giro rather than with banks or building societies?

Mr. Mackenzie

If the hon. Gentleman will wait until the White Paper is published, he will see the various options that are set out concerning that matter.

Mr. Golding

Will the Minister ensure that the Government use Giro as much as possible and that there is no duplication of facilities with the Paymaster-General's Department?

Mr. Mackenzie

My hon. Friend knows that this is a matter which we have all been concerned about for a long time. It is gratifying to know that certainly in the public sector Giro has made some considerable progress with both local authorities and some Government Departments. I shall continue to draw to the attention of my colleagues in all Government Departments the valuable services which are offered by Giro.

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