Saving Gateway Accounts Bill - continued          House of Commons

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141.     Work is under way to assess the precise impact of administering the Saving Gateway on public service manpower. On current estimates:

  • for HM Revenue and Customs, initial estimates are that there would be an increase above current plans of 129 full-time equivalent staff when the scheme is introduced in 2010, falling to an increase of 59 full-time equivalent staff when the scheme is in steady-state.


142.     Account providers will incur costs in administering Saving Gateway accounts. Accurate assessments of these costs cannot be given, because estimating these costs will require further evidence and consultation with potential providers. An update will be provided in a subsequent Impact Assessment, after Royal Assent of this Bill.

143.     Providers will also benefit from the use of the funds deposited in Saving Gateway accounts, and from the commercial opportunities that a wider customer base will present. Again, accurate assessments of these benefits cannot be given - further evidence and consultation with potential account providers will help to form a robust estimate of the monetised benefits. An update on this will be provided in a subsequent Impact Assessment, after Royal Assent of this Bill.

144.     The key benefits for account holders will be the government contribution, which will be paid at a rate of 50p for each pound saved in the scheme. In addition to the government contribution, the benefits for account holders will be in terms of developing a saving habit, building a stock of savings, and being brought into contact with mainstream financial services. These benefits, as well as additional benefits to account providers, are difficult to quantify.

145.     No carbon or other environmental impact is anticipated from the implementation of the Saving Gateway. The Saving Gateway is available to all savers that meet objective criteria of entitlement to one of the qualifying benefits or tax credits. There is no race, gender or disability equality impact anticipated from the implementation of the Saving Gateway.

146.     A copy of the Impact Assessment has been published alongside this Bill as part of The Saving Gateway: operating a national scheme. Summary of responses 21 and copies placed in the libraries of both Houses of Parliament and copies are available from the Vote Office. An updated Impact Assessment will be published after Royal Assent of this Bill.


147.     Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 22 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Convention rights (as defined by section 1 of that Act). The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made the following statement:

148.     "In my view, the provisions of the Saving Gateway Accounts Bill are compatible with the Convention rights".

149.     The Government has given particular consideration to the following areas.

150.     There have been a number of cases which have considered the extent to which the right to receive a payment of some kind will engage Article 1 Protocol 1 (“A1P1”) (right to property) to the Convention for the purposes of Article 14 (right not to be discriminated against). The leading case in this area is the recent House of Lords decision in RJM v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions ([2008] UKHL 63), in which the House of Lords considered the leading Strasbourg case of Stec and Others v the United Kingdom ((2005) 41 EHRR). The Government considers that a precise analogy cannot be drawn between those cases, which focused on what might be termed classic social security or welfare payments, and the right of an eligible person to receive a maturity payment on the maturity of a Saving Gateway account. Nonetheless, to the extent that the provisions concerning eligibility might engage A1P1 for Article 14 purposes the Government considers those provisions fall within the wide margin of appreciation allowed to the State under the Convention when it comes to general measures of economic or social strategy.

151.     The provisions relating to the sharing of information between HMRC and the DWP and the DSD respectively engage Article 8 of the Convention (right to family life and privacy); as do provisions relating to the power of HMRC to obtain information. The Government considers that any interference can be justified as being in accordance with the law and necessary in a democratic society in the interests of the economic wellbeing of the country and for the prevention of disorder or crime.

152.     Provisions relating to the imposition of penalties will engage A1P1. To the extent that any penalties are considered to be criminal penalties within the autonomous meaning of the Convention Article 6 (right to a fair trial) rights will also be engaged. The Government is content that the procedural safeguards put in place by the Bill, and in particular the right to appeal to an independent and impartial Tribunal, satisfy the “fair trial” requirements of that Article.


153.      The Bill does not transpose any European Directive, and so there are no Transposition Notes published alongside it.


154.     The provisions of the Bill extend to the whole of the United Kingdom.

155.     Because the Sewel Convention provides that Westminster will not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters in Scotland without the consent of the Scottish Parliament, if there are amendments relating to such matters which trigger the Convention, the consent of the Scottish Parliament will be sought for them.


156.     Clauses 28 (money), 30 (commencement) 31 (extent) and 32 (short title) will come into force on Royal Assent. A Treasury order (or orders) will be made setting out when the rest of the Bill will come into force. The Government announced in the 2008 Budget that the first Saving Gateway accounts will be available in 2010.

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Prepared: 4 December 2008