Savings Accounts and Health in Pregnancy Grant Bill

Part of Parliament (Amendment) – in the House of Commons at 7:01 pm on 26th October 2010.

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Photo of Richard Graham Richard Graham Conservative, Gloucester 7:01 pm, 26th October 2010

The only difference is that CTFs are funded by the Government, so we come to the argument about whether that funding can be used more effectively in the context of the goals. I was going to come on to that. I suggested that there are alternative forms of savings that are more effective than CTFs, have lower management fees and better performance, and come at no cost to the taxpayer.

I come to the next point made by the SCS alliance. It argues that CTFs have been

"one of the most successful government savings schemes ever".

Members will agree that everything is relative. Clearly, CTFs did better than the previous Government's attempt to create a savings scheme-the stakeholder scheme-which is a scheme that not even Mr Hanson, in one of his more elaborate flights of fancy, could conceivably describe as having been an outstanding success. However, by comparison with the success of other savings schemes not run by the Government, CTFs have done only a relatively modest job.

The important thing is that, although Governments can, do and should create the structure for savings schemes, their track record in running them is not good. For example, do Members believe that we should be paying people to work for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and spend their time advertising and promoting CTFs, or do we believe that they should be ensuring that benefits go to the right people and that we all pay the tax that we should do? HMRC should not be in the advertising business.