HC Deb 31 March 1993 vol 222 cc230-1W
Mr. Burns

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about purchases of gilt-edged securities by individuals.

Mr. Nelson

Over recent months, there has been an increase in interest among personal investors in finding out about the gilt market and the investment opportunities in gilts.

The Government have decided to respond to that interest in two ways.

First, the Bank of England will be issuing on 5 April a new booklet providing clear information for the personal investor about the gilt market and how it works.

Secondly, the Department for National Savings will be improving the service it offers to personal investors through the National Savings Stock Register (NSSR), with effect from 7 April. The upper limit on the amount that may be invested in any one existing stock which can be bought on any one day will go up from £10,000 to £25,000. This is the first increase in this limit for 10 years. The upper limit on the nominal amount of stock bought in a public offering which personal investors may ask to have registered on the NSSR will also go up from £10,000 to £25,000. The increase in this limit is the first for over five years. The order to put these changes into effect was laid before the House on 18 March. And in future, DNS will arrange for all existing stocks to be available through its system.

The costs of producing the booklet will fall to the Treasury's 1993–94 vote (class XVII, vote 1). Parliamentary approval for this new expenditure will be sought in a supplementary estimate for this vote. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure of £309,000 will be met by repayable advances from the contingencies fund. The resulting increases in the Treasury's cash limit and gross running costs limit will be fully offset by a reduction in the Bank of England's cash limit and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.