§ * SIR M. HICKS BEACH
The resolution I have placed in your hands, Mr. Lowther, is to enable us to obtain a sufficient sum to make good the £16,000,000 which the House has voted to-night. Hon. Members may recollect that at the end of July last when a Supplementary Estimate had been voted, I brought the financial situation before the attention of the House, and I then showed that after the provisions which had been made by the War Loan Act for borrowing towards meeting the war expenditure, when the Supplementary Estimate that had then been voted had been added to that expenditure, I had a sum of £10,182,000 still unprovided for. To meet this I had in reserve borrowing powers under the War Loan Act to the amount of £3,000,000, and I obtained from the House further powers to issue bonds amounting to £13,000,000. Those bonds have since been issued together with Treasury Bills for £3,000,000 with the total result that a sum of £15,744,000 has been raised — £10,000,000 of Exchequer Bonds for three years having been issued at the price of 98, providing £9,800,000; and three millions of Exchequer Bonds for five years having been issued at the price of 98⅛, producing £2,944,000, That, therefore, left me a sum of £5,562,000 more than was necessary to provide for the Supplementary Estimate voted last July. Now the House has voted another Supplementary Estimate of £16,000,000, and also I have to provide for a sum which I will put in round numbers at £500,000 for the interest on the loans which have been issued this current financial year—£16,500,000 in all. Putting the £5,562,000 I have already mentioned against that sum it leaves a balance unprovided for of £10,938,000, and that resolution, therefore, is one to authorise me to borrow, by means of a further War loan or Exchequer Bonds or Treasury bills, a sum of £11,000,000, making good, as I think I have shown to the House, together with the powers already granted, the total supply now 609 voted, and also provision for paying interest on the debt. There will, of course, be Supplementary Estimates when we meet in February of the ordinary character; but it is never considered necessary to make provision for them, as hon. Members are aware that they are met, as a rule, by savings on other heads, or possibly also by increase in the estimated revenue. I would say with regard to the revenue of the year I am sanguine, as I stated in July, that it will produce my estimate of last April. Therefore I think that the powers I now ask for will be sufficient to meet the needs of the country on the Estimates already voted during the remainder of the financial year. I should add that I do not anticipate being obliged to avail myself of the fresh borrowing powers I now ask for until probably the month of February, because I have already provided in the ordinary way for the remainder of the present month, and also for the dividends that will be due in January next. After the January quarter commences I think that hon. Members are aware the Revenue, especially from income tax, comes in very rapidly, so that I shall have plenty to deal with for January and the early part of February. March is a month very trying to the Exchequer; and it is in February or March that the borrowing powers for which I am now asking will, I anticipate, be required. This is only a resolution, as hon. Members are aware, on which a Bill will be framed, which Bill will be introduced after the Report of the resolution; and that Report will be taken to-morrow. I understand it will be convenient to take the discussion on the Second Reading of the Bill on Thursday, and then, of course, I shall be willing to go at length into any questions that may arise or that hon. Members may bring forward. I beg to move the resolution.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That towards making good the Supply granted to Her Majesty for the service of the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1901, sums not exceeding eleven million pounds may be raised (in addition to any sums already authorised to be raised for the purpose) by all or any of the following methods:—
- (a) by means of the issue of further war stock or war bonds under the War Loan Act, 1900; or
- (b) by means of the issue of Treasury bills; or
- (c) by means of the issue of Exchequer bonds;
§ That all expenses incurred in connection, with raising the said sums, including any additional remuneration to the Banks of England and Ireland, be charged on the Consolidated Fund."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I assume it is the general wish of the Committee to adopt the course which has been suggested by the right hon. Gentleman. It is a course which is usually followed on such occasions, and it is that at this stage there should be no discussion on the resolution. Indeed, we are hardly, perhaps, in a position to realise fully the effect of what the right hon. Gentleman proposes. If the discussion is postponed until Thursday the Second Reading of the Bill following the Resolution wilt give ample opportunity for discussion.
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
There is a question which the Chancellor of the Exchequer knows the hon. Member for the Mansfield Division and myself are anxious to raise—I refer to the assets of the Transvaal—but perhaps it would be more convenient to raise it to-morrow afternoon.
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow.
§ In pursuance of the Order of the House of the 7th day of this instant December, Mr. Speaker adjourned the House without Question put.
§ House adjourned accordingly at ten minutes before Twelve of the clock.