No, Sir. ERNIE is proving entirely satisfactory. The initial letter indicates the denomination of the bond. Bond unit numbers with the denomination letter "Z" appear most frequently because more units have been sold in this denomination than in any of the others.
As I understand that the "Z" denotes bonds of £500 denominations, does not that reply prove two things? First, that it is true, as has always been contended from this side of the House, that the bulk of the money put into Premium Bonds is not new savings but money put into a tax-free investment that would otherwise have been invested in more profitable enterprises and, secondly, that what the old Book said is still true, "whosoever hath, to him shall be given"?
I will not enter into a discussion of the doubtful morality, and the even more doubtful mathematics of the hon. Gentleman. The fact is that there is more money invested in bonds bearing the initial letter "Z" than in any of the others. That letter, therefore, appears more frequently in the prize list. I am happy to say that this tendency is showing signs of falling off as more small investors get their money into the draw.