Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Good news for savers and taxpayers – National Savings review foresees greater competition [July 2000]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 24 July 2000.

Greater saver choice and more attractive, competitive savings products will be delivered more effectively as National Savings (NS) continues to modernise, Economic Secretary Melanie Johnson said today.

Welcoming the findings of the five-yearly review of the NS agency, Miss Johnson said:

“The review highlights the important part recent innovations in service delivery, have played in helping to make NS more efficient and more flexible. This includes the role played by outsourcing its operations.

“NS is now better placed than ever before to build on this achievement to modernise and adapt to the changing market it operates in. It now has the potential to match the best in the financial services market to the benefit of its millions of customers. But it will only realise that potential if it provides choice and good value products which savers want to buy in the very competitive savings market.

“I believe that NS now has an effective launching pad to develop and deliver those products. It must make best use of developing access technologies in e-commerce and telephone services, as well as by post and through Post Offices, to make sure that it remains an attractive option for savers.”

The review sees these developments as central to NS continuing to make a valuable contribution to the cost-effectiveness of the national debt by offering attractive products and services to members of the public. It will be set a clear and overarching objective to achieve cost-effective government debt management. NS, which will remain a government agency, funds a significant amount – over £62bn – of the national debt. Taxpayers will continue to see the benefit of the NS contribution, which is more cost-effective than comparable gilt-edged securities.

This is also good news for existing NS savers and for future customers. NS will be working to give its current and new customers more attractive, more up to date products and services. People will also get more choice on how they access those products. In addition to being able get NS products through the Post Office and by post as they do now customers will in future be able to choose from a wider range of channels.

The recommendations of the review will be taken forward in a new NS business strategy, and reflected in the framework document that governs the relationship between NS, the Treasury and Government. In taking forward its business plan, NS will give particularly close attention to the need to continue to modernise so that it remains relevant, efficient and cost-effective, and continues to develop new products as well as embracing new innovations and ideas.

Recognising the contribution of NS staff to recent developments, Miss Johnson added:

“This is an exciting vision of the future for NS, which the agency is now working to make a reality. All NS staff and those working with NS, can rightly be proud of the impressive transformation that has been achieved in recent years. The scene is now set for this spirit of improvement and innovation to continue building a modern, best-practice organisation that can succeed for many years to come.”