§ Lord Althorp
rose to submit the last proposition which he had to lay before the Committee of the Ways and Means, to meet the supplies already voted. The supplies which had been granted in the present Session for the year ending the 31st of March, were—
To provide for these grants of supply there had been already voted in former Committees of Ways and Means— 761
For the service of the army £ 6,654,818 For the nary 4,658,134 For the ordnance 1,462,223 For the miscellaneous service 1,845,312 Total £ 14,620,487 To this was to be added the estimated amount of interest on Exchequer Bills 615,000 Making the whole £ 15,235,487
This would make the whole sum drawn from the consolidated fund amount to 12,000,000l.; but that could not be considered too much when the Committee recollected that the surplus of that fund last year amounted to 14,000,000l. He would, therefore, without further remark, move, that towards raising the supply, there be issued and applied out of the consolidated fund of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland a sum not exceeding 6,000,000l.
£ The annual payment by the India Company on account of half-pay 60,000 To be brought from the produce of the sugar duty 3,000,000 Estimated amount of repayment of loans for public works 150,000 Former grant from the consolidated fund 6,000,000 Making in the whole 9,210,000 To this he proposed to add a further grant from the consolidated fund, of 6,000,000 Which would bring the whole up to 15,210,000
§ Mr. Herries
asked what provision had been made to meet the grant of 1,000,000l. for the payment of Irish tithes.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that the surplus of the consolidated fund last year had exceeded the grants of supply, and this year it would be the same. At the present moment there was no surplus on account of the payments made in the beginning of the quarter; but he hoped that the sums drawn from the consolidated fund would be made good before the end of the present quarter, or at least before that of the quarter ending in January, 1834.
§ Mr. Herries
did not know how far the grants out of the consolidated fund last year had been satisfied. He wished to know how far that fund stood pledged for the grants made from it. He would repeat his question, whether any provision had been made to meet the grant of 1,000,000l. for the Irish tithes?
§ Mr. Hume
did not understand, that even an issue of Exchequer-bills could be made without the authority of Parliament. He should wish to know from the noble Lord something on the subject of the grant of a million for the West-India interest. As to the grant of 20,000,000l. to be given, he would say nothing', for he thought it 762 more than probable that it would not be called for. He should also wish to know whether any provision was to be made for meeting the 800,000l., being that part of the Greek loan of 2,400,000l. for which this country had become a guarantee with France and Russia. That money he looked upon as so much thrown away. The money was all raised, and, of course, as guarantees, we should have to pay our share of it; for the revenue of Greece was not sufficient to meet the current expenses. It would have been much better if we had advanced the whole of our part at first, or raised it by loan here, by which we should have saved about twenty-five per cent; but instead of this we left the matter to be managed by Mr. Rothschild, and the consequence was we should lose to the amount he had said. He wished also to ask the noble Lord what chance there was of repayment of the 100,000l. advanced on arrears of Irish tithes last year.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that it would not be necessary to make any provision with respect to the Greek loan. There was no money due on it yet, and would not be for some time, unless the Greek revenue, which was pledged for its repayment, should fail, which he hoped would not be the case. As to the million of money, it had been voted by a resolution of a Committee of the whole House, on which a Bill had been brought in, which was now in progress. It would not, therefore, be necessary to take any other vole for that.
§ Mr. Herries
wished to know in what state was the unfunded debt as compared with its amount last year?
§ Lord Althorp
had not intended to go into any statement as to the whole financial state of the country, and was not prepared to enter into such details as the right hon. Gentleman seemed to wish for. He would, however, make a short statement as to the amount of income and expenditure as nearly as possible up to the present time. He had estimated the income of the year at 45,438,188l.; but since he had made that estimate, there was an alteration in consequence of the reduction of the House and Window duty. This would make a difference of 400,000l., which would reduce the estimate to 45,038,188l. The consolidated fund he took at 30,300,000l.; 763 the supplies at 14,620,487l.; making a total of 44,920,487; that sum deducted from his estimated sum of 45,038,188l. would leave a surplus of 117,701l. This he would admit was a very small surplus. He had always said that a large surplus was not desirable, but he admitted that the present was a very small one, and too small as a general standard. Under the present circumstances of the financial state of the country, however, he thought it would be found sufficient. From calculations which had been made of the surplus in the quarters ending in April and July, the amount had been on the increase. In the quarter ending the 5th of April this year the amount of surplus was 1,487,143l.; in the quarter ending July 5, it was 1,501,933l.; showing an increase of 14,790l. But taking the calculation down to the 11th of the present month, which was the latest period to which he could make it up, he found it was still greater. He made his calculation thus;—The expenditure to 11th of August, 1832, was 20,298,837l.; to the same period this year, 19,953,537l.; being a decrease of expenditure, and so far a saving, of 345,300l.; Now, the income to the same time of 1832 was 15,548,232l.; that to the 11th of August, 1833, was 15,420,248l.; making a difference of 127,984l. This falling-off would be easily explained by the fact, that some of the reductions which had been made in the amount of taxation had fallen within the period to which the calculation was made up; but if from the diminution of expenditure to the 11th of August last year, of 345,300l., there were deducted the decrease of income to the same period this year of 127,984l. there would be found a balance of 217,316l.; which would show that we were, as to surplus, better in the present year by that amount than in the last. He had, therefore, fair ground for calculating that in the progress of the year the surplus, which, under ordinary circumstances he would say was too small, would be found sufficient. As to the comparative, state of the unfunded debt between this year and the last, not being aware that such a statement was necessary, he had not prepared himself with the exact figures, and he had no accurate recollection of the amount.
§ Mr. Warburton
thought, with reference to the Greek loan that the whole arrangement was ill advised and imprudent, if this Government had raised the part of the 764 loan for which we were a guarantee, it would have prevented our loss from being as great as he feared it would be. We could have got 120l. for every 5l. of interest; but as it was, the loan was negotiated at the rate of from 90l. to 100l, for every 5l. of interest; so that we lost from 25l. to 26l. on every such 5l. interest, in that way alone; and he feared we should at length lose the whole.
§ The Resolution agreed to, and the House resumed.