MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is still the case, as he stated on 16th April 1896, that the State actually incurs a loss by receiving Savings Bank deposits, and that the 699 Government loses in order to enable depositors, who belong to quite another class than the working classes, to obtain a larger interest, for their money than they can obtain from the ordinary banks; whether he has carried out his undertaking, given on the same day, to carefully bear in mind this matter as well as his own suggestion that before long it might, become necessary for him to propose some alteration in the existing law, which might have the effect of preventing the abuse of the Savings Bank system; whether he has, accordingly carefully borne this matter in mind during the past three years; and whether he now intends to propose either any such alteration in the law as he then, suggested, or any other alteration in this respect?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I do not think that the first paragraph of the honourable Member's Question quite fairly represents either what I said in 1896 or the facts of the case; but I may say that, in considering the matter since that time, I have found reason to believe that the proportion of depositors in the Savings Banks who could not properly be considered to belong to the working classes, is smaller than I then supposed. If the honourable Member desires to know my views on the subject and the reason why I have not made any proposal with regard to it, he will find them stated in discussions that have since taken place on the Vote for making good the deficiency in the income of the Savings Banks—the last occasion was, I think, in February of the present year.