§ 2. Mr. Waller
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the success of TESSAs.
§ The Minister of State, Treasury (Mrs. Gillian Shephard)
TESSA has got off to an excellent start. The scheme is playing an important part in restoring the habit of saving.
§ Mr. Waller
Does my hon. Friend agree that any improvement in the underlying savings ratio, which has been relatively low in this country, has beneficial effects on the economy? In view of the success of TESSAs, will my hon. Friend and her colleagues consider similar stimuli for this year and in the future generally?
§ Mrs. Shephard
My hon. Friend is right. There has been a very good improvement in the savings ratio, which is now back up to 8.8 per cent. That has been encouraged by the number of developments in savings schemes introduced by the Government. As for my hon. Friend's further request, I remind him that I can give no idea of what might be in the mind of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 19 March.