HC Deb 10 July 1975 vol 895 cc732-3
27. Mr Neubert

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the latest figures for contributions to the two index-linked personal savings schemes; and what plans he has for the introduction of further such schemes.

Mr. Joel Barnett

In the period to 21st June 1975, net sales of the index-linked national savings certificate are estimated at just over £45 million. Save As You Earn—third issue—commenced on 1st July 1975 and a highly provisional estimate of monthly inflow from contracts accepted so far is £0.5 million. On the second part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply by my right hon. Friend the Paymaster-General to my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, North (Mr. Atkins) on 8th May.—{Vol. 891, c. 513.]

Mr. Neubert

Does the Minister accept that the opportunity to invest in inflation-proof schemes is an act of belated social justice to millions of people who have seen their savings irreversibly damaged during the recent rapid rise in the rate of inflation? Will he make recompense to many of them by easing up on his vindictive attacks on the principle of savings embodied in the capital transfer tax and the wealth tax?

Mr. Barnett

The hon. Gentleman has put his supplementary question at the wrong time, because National Savings are rising very well at present. I am sure he will be delighted to hear that. As to what he called "belated social justice", I am sure he will pay due attention to the fact that the scheme was introduced by a Labour Government and not by a Conservative Government.

Mr. Nott

Is the Chief Secretary confident that a further extension of index-linked schemes—which are welcome to savers—will not cause a diversion of funds away from deposits with building societies, leading to a rise in the mortgage interest rate?

Mr. Barnett

We are, indeed, aware of those problems. That is precisely why we introduced the scheme in this limited way.

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