asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate, at December 1979 prices, of the amount of money lost since 1974 by investors in national savings certificates, the National Savings Bank and other similar Government savings schemes, as a result of Government paying interest rates below the going rates of inflation.
I am afraid that it is not possible to provide an answer to this question on the terms in which my hon. Friend has asked it. The extent of the erosion in the real value of savings which has taken place over the period will depend upon the tax status and investment behaviour of individual savers. The index-linked Retirement Issue National Savings Certificates and Save As You Earn contracts will, of course, give the smaller saver protection against the effects of inflation.