The Post Office Savings Department, the National Savings Committee and the Department for National Savings were established to undertake savings bank business, to encourage and maintain, and provide a safe place for the deposit of, voluntary savings and investments made by members of the public.
Post Office Savings Department
The Post Office was authorised to undertake savings bank business by the Post Office Savings Bank Act 1861. By the Government Annuities Act 1864 annuity and life insurance business was also undertaken and this continued until 1929 when the acceptance of fresh insurance proposals was terminated. The sale of annuities was discontinued by the Finance Act 1962. By the Savings Bank Act 1880 the Government Stock Register was established for the benefit of Post Office or Trustee Savings Bank depositors. In 1915 a separate Post Office Register of generally available stock was also created. In 1929 the stocks on the Government Stock Register were transferred to the Post Office Register and also became generally available. In 1943 the Savings Certificate Office was taken over from the Money Order Department and in 1956 responsibility was assumed for the newly-introduced premium savings bond scheme.
On 1 April 1968 the title of the Post Office Savings Department, established in 1861, was changed to Department for National Savings, but the department remained part of the Post Office organisation until 1 October 1969. At that date the Department for National Savings was established as a separate government department, responsible to Treasury ministers.
Department for National Savings
The business of the Post Office Savings Department was transferred to the Department for National Savings by the Post Office Act of 1969. The Act also provided for the integration of staff serving the National Savings Committee with staff of the Department for National Savings.
Hence, under the Post Office Act 1969, the new Department for National Savings was created and took over from the Post Office the administration of the Post Office (thereafter, National) Savings Bank and the Premium Savings Bonds and National Savings Stock Register Offices. It also took over the Savings Certificate Office and assumed responsibility for the 'Save as You Earn' scheme introduced on 1 October 1969. The new department was also given responsibility for providing support for the National Savings Committees for England and Wales and for Scotland and for the national savings movement generally, the civil service staff formerly attached to the National Savings Committee being transferred to it for this purpose. In 1978, as a result of a government decision, these support arrangements came to an end. The Department later introduced Deposit bonds (October 1983) and Income Bonds (August 1982), both opened under National Savings Stock Register Office regulations, and the Yearly Plan Scheme (July 1984).
In 1996 National Savings was also established as an Executive Agency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In February 2002, National Savings launched its own name and corporate identity and became known as 'National Savings and Investments' (NS&I).