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The UK Government Help to Save Scheme

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 1st June 2018 10:42

Mufti Amjad Mohammed:

The UK Government Help to Save Scheme.
(Originally declared as permitted - ruling overturned since)

When this question was posed originally, less than a fortnight ago, I made contact with HMRC and I was informed that the money is deposited in a ‘pot’ and left and not accessed or utilised by any third party and it’s purpose was to encourage saving and this served as a criteria. As a result it was an amāna and due to that understanding was permissible. A number of Ulama contacted several days ago, directly and indirectly, to raise their concerns as they considered it analogous to a bank account and hence usurious.

As a result I investigated further and after making numerous phone calls and many discussions to determine what happens to the money deposited I have eventually been told more recently that it is invested by the UK Treasury. This I have confirmed from a number of other sources. As it is has now been confirmed that it is invested it is more akin to a qardh rather than an amāna and as a result is considered usurious. Even though this is a means to issue benefits in the form of bonuses after a set time and criteria because the money is used and invested by HMRC the issue of a benefiting loan from the individual’s perspective arises. Therefore I am of the view based on this understanding that it would be impermissible.

I discussed at length with many individuals at HMRC that this would have a negative impact on Muslims, who may in certain communities be low earners. The intentions are good but the vehicle/apparatus must be modified so Muslims may access this necessary benefit that others will receive.
This is also a demonstration that matters are explored further and reviewed when Ulamā raise their concerns - may Allah reward them. It also shows how a position can change depending on the information available/provided but the system to achieve either position is the same.

Mufti Amjad Mohammed
3rd Sha’bān 1439/20th April 2018

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