HC Deb 21 July 1879 vol 248 cc849-50

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If he can be so good as to explain whence the money came to supply the Military Chest from which the Zulu War is being carried on?


It may be convenient, as this Question is sometimes asked, that I should explain what the Treasury Chest and the Military Chest are. There is a certain fund, a banking account of the Treasury Chest, which is credited with £1,000,000. Out of that fund advances are made for carrying on the Army and Navy Services abroad. Of course, these advances have to be replaced out of the Votes taken for the Army and Navy. That fund is a fund which is primarily applicable to Services such as the war in South Africa. Well, then, the question is, how the money is there raised? It is partly raised by remittance of specie sent from this country to the Treasury Chest fund, and partly by bills drawn by the Treasury Chest officer of the Colony upon the Treasury in England at long dates. These, of course, are cashed in the Colony and remitted Home, and the money has to be replaced out of the Votes of Parliament. Of course, all the expenses of the war are expenses incurred under some head or another of the Army and Navy Votes, though the ordinary Army and Navy Estimates are not sufficient to meet them. It therefore becomes necessary, in course of time, to vote Supplemental Estimates for Army and Navy Services, to make good the advances which have been made in respect of them out of the Treasury Chest. I may just mention that since the beginning of the financial year on the 1st of April £260,000 in specie has been consigned to South Africa, while £880,000 has been drawn on this country in bills. Most of these are at long dates, so that only £365,000 have been paid, and the rest are in course of payment.


asked, Whether it was the practice to leave any balance in the Treasury Chest on the 31st of March, and not to surrender it to the Exchequer, as in the case of other accounts?


Of course. The Treasury Chest consists of £1,000,000, which ought to be always in its possession. The accounts are carried on in the name of the Service for which the money has been advanced, and, of course, the repayments to the Chest can only be made when the proper accounts have been dealt with. There ought always to be a balance of £1,000,000 in the Treasury Chest.