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About NS&I - Story of NS&I

Story of NS&I

In 1861 the Palmerston Government set up the Post Office Savings Bank - a simple savings scheme aiming to encourage ordinary wage earners to provide for themselves against adversity and ill health.

The scheme quickly became very popular, and the deposits found their way from the Post Office to the Exchequer, providing a fund which the then Chancellor, William Gladstone, could borrow for putting towards public spending.

This set two principles which have remained in place ever since:

Significant expansion over the next century included the introduction of Savings Certificates during the First World War to help finance the war effort, while Premium Bonds were officially launched for sale on 1 November 1956 by Harold Macmillan, Chancellor of the Exchequer. The first draw took place on 1 June 1957.

1969 saw the first main structural change - the Post Office Savings Bank became a separate government department accountable to Treasury Ministers, and was renamed National Savings.

Over the years NS&I has developed its range of savings and investments to suit the market and meet the needs of customers and the UK Government's need for funding.

On 1 July 1996 National Savings became an Executive Agency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In February 2002 the organisation became known as National Savings and Investments, and later this was shortened to NS&I. While NS&I remain accountable to HM Treasury, Agency status has given us greater autonomy in day-to-day management.

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