HC Deb 14 December 1900 vol 88 cc866-8

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

[Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith) in the Chair.]

Clause 1:—


There are one or two points of detail which I should like to submit very shortly for the consideration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and of the Committee on the question that Clause 1 stand part of the Bill. This is, I think, the fourth of the series of War Loan Bills, and I do not suppose that it is the last. When the first Bill of this series was brought before the House in October, 1899, the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a statement in regard to his intention which was then received with much satisfaction from all parts of the House, and as to which, I think, some re-assurance would be now desirable, the question was as between permanent borrowing and taxation; and this is what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said on the 23rd October, 1899, on one of the stages of the first Loan Bill. He said— My intention is that this debt will not be of long duration. I think it ought to be provided for, if necessary, of course, by an addition to taxation, but I hope it may be paid oil' in the year next ensuing or even sooner. Are we now to understand that as the cost of the war is much greater than the right hon. Gentleman contemplated, the undertaking he then gave no longer holds good? Are we to understand that we are adding something to the debt which will not be subject to the declaration then made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer? I put a question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer the other day on another point. It is not the first time I have approached him on that subject. We were discussing yesterday the question of the Transvaal assets available for the cost of the war. I think there are other assets which may be made available, and which are now running to waste. The specific asset I have in contemplation, and which is not new made use of, is what is called the monopoly value of the publicans' sences arising from the present scale of duties.


That question does not arise on the first clause of this Bill.


I understood that I should be in order in discussing any question relating to the raising of ways and means.


The hon. Member will see that it would be quite impossible to frame an Amendment to cover the point he raises.


I understood that I would have been in order if I had raised this point on the Second Reading of the Bill, and that I would have been in order in raising it in Committee. If you rule that I am not in order, I have nothing more to say on that point. But I have another point which I can make relevant without any great strain on logic —and that is as to the extent to which Imperial contributions might be made towards the cost of the war. Without going further into the matter I hope that at some later stage some kind of assurance will be given that the self governing portions of the Empire outside the United Kingdom which have responded so loyally to the call of the Empire will show that they are equally willing to recognise their responsibilities in other directions.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

desired to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he could give any reply with regard to the question he had asked previously as to the amount of the War Loan given to America. Considerable dissatisfaction had been expressed at the amount of the last loan given to that country. Not only had America got the making of war-like stores, such ac bridges and so forth, but in addition to that a large portion of the loan as well.

* THE CHANCELLOR or the EXCHEQUER (SIR M. Hicks - Beach,) Bristol, W.

I can make no promise whatever as to the means by which I shall raise this loan, except so far as they are laid down in this Bill, nor any action I may take as to the place where it will be raised. As I have already staged to the House, it may be more than six weeks before it is necessary to raise any money at all, and it is impossible for me to forecast what may be the state of the money market then, or in what manner it will be most useful to the public to raise the loan. As to the last loan, I found that in all probability I could not obtain in the London market such terms as a Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to accept. I therefore made inquiries in America; a part was taken there at a fair price, and the remainder was scrambled for in the money market here mainly, I believe, because part of the loan had been taken up in America. Having made inquiries since of persons well able to form an opinion, I am confident that my action in placing had a very fit of the here.

Clause 1 and remaining clauses agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; to third time To-morrow.