Select Committee on Treasury Minutes of Evidence


  The Committee has asked to see those non-confidential responses received by the Treasury to its quinquennial review of National Savings and to the Debt Management Office (DMO) exercise on the secondary market for gilts.

  The Treasury has received a number of representations about the ongoing review of National Savings, from a variety of sources. These responded to letters sent to a wide range of bodies who have an interest in National Savings informing them of the review, and also inviting them to feed in their comments on the Agency should they so wish, rather than to a formal consultation exercise. The DMO consultation is rather different in character, being a more technical exercise. Nonetheless it raises similar points of principle.

  In both cases respondents have addressed their comments to the Treasury or its agency the DMO, and in doing so may not have had an eye on disclosure to third parties. The issues addressed are in some cases commercially or market sensitive.

  We welcome the Committee's undertaking not to publish such material, and recognise that their request is only in respect of material that is not confidential. However, while only some respondents have specifically asked that confidentiality be maintained, it would not be right for us to assume that the rest would be content with disclosure. The judgement on whether information should be disclosed to third parties must rest with the provider.

  I should also emphasise that in neither case has any decision been made by the Government. Indeed in National Savings' case no proposals have been made as the review is still in progress. Nonetheless we recognise the Committee's interest in these matters. We are therefore ready to consider the Committee's request in due course, once the two exercises have progressed to a set of firm policy proposals.

  After consulting respondents, the DMO has, as requested, now provided to the Committee responses to its consultation on Gilt Edged Switch Auctions.

14 April 2000

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