HC Deb 17 July 1986 vol 101 c1164
9. Mr. Amess

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many individuals have purchased premium bonds in each of the last five years; and what was the total prize money paid out in each of those years.

Mr. Ian Stewart

The number of premium bonds purchased in 1985–86 was approximately 2¼ million, and total prize money in that year was £135 million. I will arrange for the figures for earlier years to be published in the Official Report.

Mr. Amess

Is my hon. Friend satisfied with those figures, or does he agree with those who feel that premium bonds are rather old hat, with unexciting prizes and disappointing returns for the Treasury? Does he agree with those who would like a new form of national lottery?

Mr. Stewart

I do not accept what my hon. Friend says about premium bonds being unattractive or unsuccessful. Whether they are old hat is a matter of judgment. They have been going for 30 years, during which time they have accumulated very large sums of money—the current figure is about £1.8 billion—and about 24 million of our fellow citizens hold them. That can hardly be described as an unsuccessful exercise. As to lotteries, we had a debate a few years ago, and there was little support for the idea. What I think has been suggested when that idea has been put forward is that it might have a substantial effect on other forms of betting and gaming, and one cannot necessarily expect it to be a very substantial exercise in this country.

Following are the figures:

Number of Purchases Million Value of Prizes £ million
1981–82 3.58 101.1
1982–83 3.36 104.3
1983–84 3.44 110.2
1984–85 3.25 12.17

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