HC Deb 25 July 1910 vol 19 cc1897-8W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that, according to the Return relating to Post Office Savings Banks, the securities held on the 31st December last by the Commissioners for the reduction of the National Debt to meet the liabilities of the Government to depositors included £60,078,813 of Two and a Half per Cent. Consols and only £5,308,188 of Two and Three-quarters per Cent. Guaranteed Land Stock; whether, as interest at the rate of 2½ per cent. is paid on deposits in the Savings Banks, the investment in Consols yields any contribution as a set-off against office and management expenses; and whether he can see his way to recommend a gradually increasing investment of deposits both in the Two and Three-quarter per Cent. Guaranteed Land Stock and in the new Three per Cent. Land Stock?


The figures given in the question as regards the holdings of Consols and 2¾ per Cent. Guaranteed Land Stock (issued under the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, 1891) are correct. The hon. Member does not, however, refer to the £12,176,679 Guaranteed 2¾ per Cent. Stock (issued under the Irish Land Act, 1903), which is also held on account of Post Office Savings Bank, and if he will compare the return with the similar return for the preceding year, he will see that, while the holdings of the two first-mentioned stocks have been practically stationary, the holding of Guaranteed 2¾ per Cent. Stock has increased by nearly £6,000,000 in the twelve months. The policy which he advocates is thus already in very active operation. I may, however, point out that Consols are by no means so unsatisfactory an investment for these Funds as the question suggests, since at current prices they yield nearly 3 per cent. upon the money invested—or nearly half of 1 per cent. more than the rate of interest paid to depositors.