HC Deb 15 June 1871 vol 207 cc69-70

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether it is not customary for a Minister intend- ing to introduce a Government measure involving a large outlay of public money, to submit his scheme to the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and, if so, whether an estimate of the probable animal cost of the promotion and retirement, as the necessary sequence of the passing of the Army Bill, was placed before and approved by him before he made his Financial Statement this year, and if he will cause it to be laid upon the Table of the House?


Sir, it is the practice for Ministers who are introducing measures involving large or even small financial changes to consult the Chancellor of the Exchequer. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War did so in the present instance, and he laid before me, as he has laid before the House, a trustworthy statement, as I believe it to be, of the expense of abolishing purchase. He did not give me any estimate of the cost of providing for promotion and retirement, for the reasons which the hon. and gallant Gentleman may probably have heard already more than once this Session; indeed, he might have heard them from the mouth of my right hon. Friend within the last two or three minutes. I will only add that I am convinced of the wisdom of the course taken by my right hon. Friend, because it would have been a more illusion to have laid before the House an estimate founded on data on which my right hon. Friend himself could not rely. Whatever the expenditure may be it could have made no difference whatever in the expenditure of the present year.