“The country wants every penny it can get for the war”

The County Council’s War Savings (Education) Sub-committee sent out to the Head Teacher of each primary school they controlled in the county (i.e. everywhere but Reading) a circular letter to encourage children and parents to contribute to the costs of the war:

Shire Hall
10 July 1916

Dear Sir (or Madam)


The Education Committee have been approached by the National War Savings Committee, and requested to promote in Berkshire, by all means in their power, the practice of saving among persons of all classes, particularly in ways calculated to assist the Government in their efforts to raise funds for the war. A small special War Savings Committee has accordingly been appointed, with certain limited powers.

Inquiries have been made by them as to the extent to which organisations already exist, in direct connection with elementary schools in the county, for the encouragement and maintenance of penny banks or other forms of saving. It appears that no less than 105 out of the 205 schools (council and voluntary) make no claim to the possession of any such organisation; and that even of the remaining 100 a certain number can point to no more than such institutions as clothing clubs or coal clubs, which, however useful in themselves to the depositors, can have practically no relation to the objects aimed at by the National Committee.

In many parishes organisations for war savings may have been established otherwise than in connection with the schools; and they have no wish to interfere with these… In particular they desire to avoid action calculated to produce the fictitious result of apparently benefitting the nation by investing in War Loan at high interest money which is already in the Post Office Savings Banks, at lower interest. Although this may profit the individual, it inevitably casts a corresponding new burden upon the State.

These objections, however, do not apply to any system of saving which leads to the investment of fresh money in any of the various forms of War Loan…. The most advantageous method of purchasing War Savings Certificates is through the medium of “Associations” formed for the purpose, which apply to the National War Savings Committee for affiliation. All books, forms &c, are supplied free.

The Committee urge that where in any school there is not already an existing Savings Scheme, the Managers should meet without delay and take steps to establish a War Savings Association, which need not be restricted to school children. In doing so, they can hold out to depositors the certainty of greater personal advantage than ever before. But they ought to appeal even more strongly to the patriotism of their parish. The country wants every penny it can get for the war, which is costing at present £5,000,000 a day, say £57 per second. Taxation alone cannot produce this. There must be borrowing. If the supply runs short, our military and naval operations are hindered and the war will last longer.

The extraordinary thing is that those who lend money to the nation are not only helping the war, but are also helping themselves. And they are doing so in two ways, first by having by, on good terms, money which they may very probably want in the difficult days after the war, and, secondly, by getting into the habit of saving, which when wisely used is one of the most solid foundations of security and well-being.

W C F Anderson
Education Secretary

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/19)

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