HC Deb 06 December 1979 vol 975 cc607-8

18. Mr. Chapman asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to complete his review of the types and conditions of issue of national savings certificates.

Mr. Peter Rees

The terms and conditions of all National Savings instruments were reviewed recently. Following this review, my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary announced to the House on 15 November the introduction of a new nineteenth issue of national savings certificates and an increase in the maximum holdings limit for retirement issue certificates from £700 to £1,200.

Mr. Chapman

I welcome, particularly, the increase to £1,200 in the maximum holding of the retirement issue national savings certificates. However, will my hon. and learned Friend look sympathetically at the proposal that men between the ages of 60 and 64should also be allowed to secure that special issue, to avoid incurring any charge of sex discrimination?

Mr. Rees

I have noted the views that my hon. Friend expressed on 8 November in his question. The House will appreciate that the national retirement age provides a convenient and readily understood qualifying condition. In view of that, and the wide range of national savings facilities that are available, we believe, for the time being at least, that the present age qualification for men should remain as it is. I assure the House and my hon. Friend that, as with all other terms of national savings, the matter will be kept under review.