HC Deb 20 May 1878 vol 240 cc254-5

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, What is the estimated monthly charge at the present time for Army and Navy Services in excess of the provision in the Army and Navy Estimates, taking into account the cost of calling up the Reserves, of the additional ships in commission, of the war at the Cape, &c., but exclusive of the cost of the troops on their way from India to Malta, for which an Estimate is to be presented; and, when Supplementary Estimates for this excess will be laid before the House?


I understand the hon. Member to ask what is the estimated monthly charge for Army and Navy Services, exclusive of the cost of troops coming from India to Malta? The Supplementary Estimate, with regard to those troops, will, I hope, in the course of a few days, be laid on the Table. With respect to the other Question, it is a little difficult to form, at the present moment, any very clear estimate; but I have endeavoured to obtain from my two right hon. Friends the best information they can give me. I find that from the War Office it is said that the cost of calling out the Reserves may be taken at about £140,000 per month, including the separation allowances. As to the war at the Cape, the Imperial cost is £5,000, and the Colonial cost about £20,000 a-month. These amounts can only be approximate. Many of the charges will be terminable and will not continue at so much per month. It would be difficult to take a Supplementary Estimate other than for the Indian Force until somewhat later in the financial year, when we can see what our position is. With regard to the Naval Services, my right hon. Friend gives me a calculation showing a monthly expenditure on extra ships in commission, the cost of pensioners, wages in the Dockyards, the cost of stores, the coals for the Mediterranean, extra freight, and so forth, running up to a total of somewhat less than £50,000 per month, which, with about £10,000 for contingencies, will make, perhaps, £60,000 per month. That is the information as we have it at present; but it would hardly be desirable to lay on the Table Supplementary Estimates for these expenses until a little later—perhaps at Whitsuntide—when we can see what our position is. The Indian Estimate, as I have stated, will be laid on the Table in the course of a few days.