§ Motion made, and Question proposed,
§ "(1) That towards making good the supply granted to Her Majesty for the service of the years ending on the 31st day of March, nineteen hundred, and the 31st day of March, nineteen hundred and one, sums not exceeding thirty-five million pounds be raised by either or both of the following methods:—
- (a) By means of the creation of stock or bonds to be redeemed within a period not exceeding ten years, and bearing interest at a rate to be fixed by the Treasury; or
- (b) By means of the issue of Treasury bills;
§ "(2) 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 WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)
Though I do not rise for the purpose of offering any opposition to this resolution, I think the House must be aware that it is about as serious a financial motion as could be presented to the House of Commons. It is now half a century since so large an addition was proposed to the debt of this 224 country. For nearly fifty years we have been occupied in a process much more satisfactory to the country—namely, in reducing the debt, and in reducing the interest upon that debt. I know that as to any particulars of the provision to be made for this loan they will more properly belong to the discussion upon the Bill; but I do not think that, even in the initial stage of proposing to add £35,000,000 to the Debt of the country—to which, indeed, you have to add £8,000,000 raised in the last session of Parliament, though not within this resolution—you should leave out of consideration the fact that you are suspending also—and of that I do not complain—the Sinking Fund by which the old Debt would have been reduced to the amount of £5,000,000;so that, in point of fact, you are really dealing with the question of increasing the Debt of the country by a sum of nearly £50,000,000 sterling. We have heard, I am sure, with approval in sentiment and admiration in expression the financial doctrines preached by the Chancellor of the Exchequer last night. He appealed to the patriotism of the House and of the country not to rely simply upon loans for dealing with the necessities of this war. He reminded us of the sacrifices that were made by our fathers before us in the great French war, and afterwards in the Crimean War. No doubt those sacrifices were great. We had an income tax in the great war of 2s. in the £. We had an income tax in the Crimean War, with large other additions to taxation, of 1s. 4d. in the £. I referred briefly last night to what was the result of dealing with the expenses of that war. The Crimean War cost £76,000,000, but only £32,000,000 was added to the Debt of the country, as against the £48,000,000 now already contemplated in the case of the present war. Even supposing the expenditure is not larger than is now contemplated, we are already committed to an expenditure of—I don't know what, but at all events not less than £65,000,000. How much more it will be no man can say. If you get off with £76,000,000 as the cost of this war you may consider yourselves extremely fortunate. But in the Crimean War, which cost £76,000,000, there were £40,000,000 raised out of taxation, and only £32,000,000 by addition to the Debt. The fact was that 225 taxation so increased the balances that it reduced the added Debt to £32,000,000. The doctrine of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is an admirable one, but it has happened to the right hon. Gentleman and to other Chancellors of the Exchequer that their practice does not always come up to the standard of their doctrine. What is the situation now? The provision we have to make is not for £76,000,000, as in the Crimean War, but for £60,000,000 odd, and the provision we are going to make for this war out of taxation is £12,000,000 out of this smaller total, as against £41,000,000 so raised for the Crimean War, and the Debt is to be increased from that smaller sum by £48,000,000, instead of being increased as it was at that time by £32,000,000. Well, I am afraid that may be described as financial degeneracy. What is the situation? As the right hon. Gentleman very graphically and eloquently told us, since that time there has been a vast increase in the wealth of this country, an enormous increase in income, capital, and population. The right hon. Gentleman said he did not care for unpopularity, but if to attempt the exertions of which our fathers were capable leads to unpopularity it does not indicate a very wholesome state of the public opinion of this country. The sacrifices made fifty years ago in the Crimean War, by a people much less rich and much less capable of bearing taxation than we are to-day, amounted to more than one-half of the sum that had to be met, while that which we now think it possible to call upon the people to pay amounts to one-fifth of the sum that has to be met. There is, I believe, a popular melody very much recited with enthusiasm in the metropolis. It is what may be called, I think, a music-hall ballad, the refrain of which is "Pay, pay, pay." But I am afraid that does not express the real sentiment of the people. The persons who sing the song with the greatest gusto really mean "Borrow, borrow borrow." Though the precepts of the Chancellor of the Exchequer art faultless, I cannot pay him an equal compliment on the scheme he has founded upon them. At all events, if I have to criticise that which is, perhaps, rather the fault of the people for whom he has to provide than his own fault, I do rejoice in the gallant stand which he has made 226 for the existing financial system of this country—a system so sound and beneficial that he was enabled to announce a wonderful financial result in the Revenue, of which the country would have enjoyed the benefit but for this war. That system, which was begun by Sir Robert Peel and continued by Mr. Gladstone, and which is the inheritance of their successors, has been the source of the splendid financial harvests which the right hon. Gentleman has had the good fortune to reap in his surpluses year after year. I have heard with satisfaction of the great increase which has been made on the death duties. Of course we all regret very much the loss of the estimable gentleman to whom the right hon. Gentleman referred last night, who lived upon 15s. a day, and bequeathed to the country on his decease nearly a million of money. At least it can be said of him that, if he did not live like a lord, at all events he died like agentleman. I know that all lords do not do the same. There are occasions on which people take measures to defeat the Exchequer; and indeed there are traders, of whom the right hon. Gentleman complained, who also indulge in such practices. There is a ballad well known, I should say, to most hon. Gentlemen, in that admirable publication, "The Poetry of the Anti-Jacobin." I refer to a poem entitled, "Chevy Chase." It begins "Duke Smithson of Northumberland," and goes on to describe his immense property and how he succeeded in preventing the Exchequer obtaining its due. Of course, Dukes in the present day are incapable of such devices. With regard to the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman as to the way in which the trade rush in on the days previous to the Budget, may I throw out a suggestion to him for his consideration? We have succeeded in the case of the death duties in preventing evasion to a considerable extent by making it impossible during a certain period before death to defeat the revenue. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether or not by some sort of retrospective action he could not prevent the evasion of the customs and excise duties. If he could see his way to do that he would have at least my support. It is a satisfaction to know that we have no cause to fear, in the hands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, any departure from the established framework and skeleton of the finance of this 227 country. I heard him with great satisfaction denounce the theories put for ward in an intelligent journal of the present day. We are invited to reform our finance upon the model of the worst period of the early part of this century—a sort of Budget that Mr. Vansittart might have produced. We have outlived all that. I was extremely happy to hear the language of the right hon. Gentleman upon that subject. I will only refer in one sentence to what the right hon. Gentleman said with reference to the relative allotment between direct and indirect taxation. I do not, however, concur in those remarks; but I will reserve what has to be said upon that subject until we come to the Finance Bill. I do not believe that the resources of direct taxation are exhausted; and, in my opinion, at the rate we are going, we shall have to make great demands upon all forms of taxation—much larger demands than those that are made to-day. What is the scope of this loan bill? I agree very much that it would not be advisable to raise anything like this sum of money upon Treasury bills or floating debt. We should have to pay pretty smartly for Treasury bills. We had to pay for the last issue, which was not a very large one, not far short of 4 per cent. on some of them. [An Hon. MEMBER: Four and a half.] Four and a half per cent.? That is not a pleasant prospect to people who are now accustomed to 2¾ per cent., and nobody knows what may be the market price of the securities that will have to be offered. I do not venture to offer any opinion upon the subject.
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir M. HICKS BEACH,) Bristol, W.
That was in January.
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
But you never know what it may be in June. But I offer no opinion upon the subject. Of course the Treasury has means of information which no one else possesses. When you endeavour to obtain information as to matters of this kind I have always observed that the experts of the City are admirable authorities for twenty-four hours, but if you endeavour to extend your vision beyond that I do not find that they know much more about it than anybody else. That is my experience, at least, of what you may call high City authorities. I am sure the right hon. 228 Gentleman will do what is best for the country, and make the best bargain he can. I quite understand why he does not wish to commit himself with regard to the exact form in which he will raise this money. I am happy to see in the resolution that this loan is to be redeemed within ten years, whether it is raised by Exchequer bonds or in some other form. But we may take it, at all events, that this is to be a short loan, to be redeemed within a limited time. I think that is a great improvement upon the practice of raising a loan and allowing it to be lost in the mass of Consols, because it ear-marks the loan, it reminds the country that this is a war loan, and I hope that in better days it will lead to the liquidation of the loan, which, perhaps, would not take place if it was hid away in the mass of Consols. The right hon. Gentleman refers to "bonds." I suppose he means Exchequer bonds.
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Exchequer bonds have not been popular securities, but the right hon. Gentleman may mean bonds of other kinds; I do not know what is in his mind. Exchequer bonds have generally been in large sums, and you cannot have a general market for them as you could have in stock of any kind. But I understand the right hon. Gentleman contemplates the possibility of having what is known on the Continent as a popular loan, which is to be raised from the people at large. At the time of the Crimean War that idea was rejected for what was considered to be a good reason—namely, that it might affect the Savings Bank deposits, and so operate prejudicially upon the market of Consols. I do not know that the circumstances of the present day militate against such an experiment, which certainly everybody would watch with much interest. What is much more important, however, is how is this loan to be discharged? The Chancellor of the Exchequer has held out to us the pleasant prospect of an early peace. I hope he is not too sanguine. There is no man but will pray for an early cessation of this terrible war, not only on account of the immense waste of treasure, but still more the terrible effusion of blood. But supposing the right hon. Gentleman's expectation is well founded, let us 229 see what he proposes to do. I understand that though this resolution talks of redeeming the Debt, he does not make any proposal at present as to the method by which it is to be redeemed. I can understand that, and I agree, because Mr. Pitt's financial genius, which in the early period of his administration I think the right hon. Gentleman criticised very well, was still more defective in his latter administration, for he created a sinking fund which was an admirable moral principle; but unfortunately his sinking fund was provided for by more borrowing, so that it turned out to be a very unsuccessful operation. No sinking fund, of course, is of any value unless it is derived from surplus revenue. Raising more revenue than your expenditure is the only sound financial basis of a sinking fund. I think the right hon. Gentleman was quite right in saying, "It would be absurd for me to propose a sinking fund when I am borrowing money." That is obviously the fact. But we must not lose sight of the pledge which this resolution gives, that the loan is to be redeemed within ten years. Let us reflect, at all events, upon what is the probability of that being done in the financial circumstances in which we find ourselves. The characteristic of former great wars—of the great French war and of the Crimean War—was that there was a well-grounded confidence that when the wars were over a period of peace would arrive, and that expenditure, instead of increasing, would diminish. Have you that prospect now? What is your faith and expectation that when you have made peace in September the expenditure of the country will be reduced? That is a main condition in the prospect of redeeming the debt you are creating. After the great French war the people were exhausted, they had learned what the cost of war was, and there was a determination to reduce establishments and to cultivate economy. There was then tranquillity for fifty years. After the Crimean War the same thing took place. For a time, at least, after the great struggle with Russia was over and peace was restored there was a demand at once for a reduction of expenditure. A statesman who will carry great weight with Gentlemen opposite immediately after the Crimean War declared that the first duty was that expenditure should be diminished. In 1856 Mr. Disraeli took 230 occasion to impress on the Government the importance of giving their best attention to measures of wise, and at the same time rigid, economy. He said—*I am convinced that this is the only spirit in which we can confirm the principles of finance upon which our system is now generally established, and that will enable us to prepare those resources for the future which, whenever an emergency arises, will enable us to show the same power we have recently displayed.He pointed out the mistake of supposing that the mischances and disappointments which had marked the commencement of the late war would be prevented on a future occasion by the maintenance during peace of an army much larger than the needs of the country required, and the only result that we should reap from the support of unduly large military establishments in times of peace would probably be that we should enter upon another struggle without those reserves which, having been accumulated by the wise economy of former years, had enabled the country to face its recent difficulties with comparative ease. That was the Tory doctrine of those days, and I should add one other sentence from the same authority, in which, speaking a few years later on a resolution that the war taxation should be reduced, he laid it down that "we should in the most significant manner express our opinion that it is not advisable that England should become what is called a great military nation." Those are the sentiments of fifty years ago. They met taxation, they cultivated economy. When peace came then they reduced the expenditure. Is that your prospect now? What is the judgment that is passed on the Crimean War and upon the expenditure on that war? Only a year or two ago, reviewing that history and that contest, the Prime Minister said that we had put our money on the wrong horse. Seventy-six millions of the taxation of the people of this country was put upon the wrong horse. I am not quite certain that after the experience of some years we shall be certain that we have put their £60,000,000 on the right horse. I am old enough to remember the fervour with which the people entered upon that expenditure on the wrong horse in the case*See The Parliamentary Debates [Third Series], Vol. cxlii., page 362.231 of the Crimean War. What do they think of it now? Since that period, and in consequence of that war, the people of this country have been more or less sober, and for nearly half a century we have had peace. God grant that the result of this present conflict may be similar to that. I believe even after all the passion and excitement which attaches to a war, that when the war is over there will be a sobering effect produced on the national mind. That effect has been operative after the two great wars of the last century. Since that time we have, I believe, liquidated nearly £200,000,000 of debt; but at present what is your prospect of the reduction of debt or of the reduction of taxation? The right hon. Gentleman has held out an expectation—I daresay he believes it—that the £12,500,000 of taxation which he is about to put on the people this session will cease with the conclusion of peace. I wish I could feel confident of that. Looking at the rate at which our Estimates increase every year I doubt very much whether this will not be permanent taxation. More than that. I see nothing, at all events, in the temper of these times that points to diminished expenditure. On the contrary, the result of all wars, wars here and on the Continent, has been a large increase of military establishments throughout the world, and certainly all the demands of the present day are in that direction. No, Sir, economy such as was spoken of by Mr. Disraeli does not belong to the temper of the times—I do not mean the newspaper—but of the times in which we live. Everything seems to be in this direction—greater expenditure but less taxation. What is the result of these two desires on the part of the people? Every demand in favour of expenditure is received with alacrity, but when it is a question of raising the taxation upon the wealth of the people to meet that expenditure, then there is no man in greater difficulties than a Chancellor of the Exchequer. That is the prospect which you have before you, and when in this Resolution you speak of redeeming the Debt, I hope, at all events, in the House of Commons and by those people who can influence the judgment of the country the seriousness of the financial situation will be fully recognised. Everywhere I see a disposition to spend more and to pay less. That may be called the fashionable doctrine at the end of the 232 century to which we belong. I take note, however, of the pledge of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and it is to be sincerely hoped that he may long occupy the position he now fills. I hope and believe in his firmness and ability: I have confidence in both, and that he will redeem that pledge. The debt necessarily belongs to the future, and it is that future which, if we have any qualities of statesmen in the House, we are bound to look at. It is not the fashion of to-day; it concerns not the fortunes of the nation to-day, but the fortunes of the people hereafter. Those who went before us have made provision for those who came after them, and we are bound to do the same. Though I call attention to these matters I do not belong, myself, to the noble army of panic-mongers. I was extremely happy to hear in the House, which has charge of the finances of the country, that these panic-stricken doctrines were repudiated by the leaders on both sides. It was a matter of great importance, because there is no condition in which people lose their heads so much as when they are in a state of panic. They do strange things under those circumstances, but I hope that here, at least, we shall keep our heads, and that we shall do what we can to resist a policy which leads to vast expenditure, which is that spirit which the Prime Minister described as proposing "to fight everybody in order to take everything." We have had a little taste of what a little war in a little part of your Empire will cost you. It costs you £60,000,000, and perhaps a great deal more. It will cost you as much as it did to fight Russia fifty years ago; and these are things which ultimately—I do not say to-day—will give the English people pause, and lead them to think that perhaps, after all, they have as much to take care of as they can afford to discharge. This will be a very valuable after-thought if it should arise out of this war. When people get alarmed they even begin to hint at conscription. When we have got aggravated debt, and we add to it conscription, then indeed the twentieth century will not be an improvement upon the century which preceded it. If you want to strike a blow at the industry of this country, if you desire to destroy your finance, then "conscribe" your people. Of all financial operations I should say that was the most disastrous. The right hon. Gentleman has held out to us a prospect with refer- 233 ence to the redemption of this debt. I am not sure that the right hon. Gentleman was able to give us much enlightenment on that subject last night, but his disposition is admirable. He thinks that the greater part of this debt is to come from the sources which are a main factor in the production of this war. I admit at this moment it is premature to determine how that is to be done until you get control of the Transvaal. I was highly satisfied with that pledge, and I say again, "Long life to the Chancellor of the Exchequer!" that he may redeem the pledge. There are difficulties about it, and I am not sure that anyone will envy him the task that will fall upon him. But there is an old proverb which says that it is a difficult thing to get a bone out of the mouth of a dog; and whether he will succeed in extracting this money out of the gold diggings in the Transvaal, I cannot say. But I was extremely glad to observe for his encouragement that his remark on that subject seemed to receive approbation from both sides of the House, and, therefore, I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who in his own mind is well disposed on the subject, will feel that he has general support in making those pay who ought to pay. On that subject I would venture to express an opinion which I hope may commend itself to the House and to the country. This £30,000,000 which it is contemplated to raise by a loan is not too great a contribution within the ten years to which it is limited to expect from the Transvaal. That would be about half the expense of the war. We are about to bear a taxation of £12,000,000 this year, and, as I have said, I believe it will be a very long time before we get rid of that taxation. But with regard to this loan which is limited to ten years, I can see nothing unjust or unfair in expecting that it should be raised upon the wealth of the people in the Transvaal. We have had them promising their shareholders £4,000,000 a year out of the savings to be effected as the result of the war. Why are the English taxpayers to pay £60,000,000 in order to raise the price of these shares on the Stock Exchange? They have not concealed their object at all. They have discounted all this money, and have announced that the result of this war will be the enhancement of the value of their shares, and they have esti- 234 mated that enhancement of value at millions of pounds sterling. The right hon. Gentleman is not in a position to deal with the question to-night, but we ought to make that a condition of the loan, which is to be redeemed within ton years. I have not entered upon this discussion at all in an alarmist spirit. I believe in the enormous and inexhaustible wealth of this country, because I have had experience of it. The deeper you drive into this reef the more gold you find. My hon. friend the Member for King's Lynn predicted in 1899 that we should not get anything from the death duties. But who Chancellor of the Exchequer observed that I should be astonished at their yield; and so I was. The resources of this country, if they are only handled prudently, are really inexhaustible. But, I say, let them be handled for the benefit of the people. Do not let them be frittered away. How many plans of reform have been swept away by the war? How many of these plans are to be paralysed and destroyed for years to come by the debt you are incurring to-day and the taxes you are imposing? I say you are diminishing in that way resources that ought to be administered for the advantage of the people at large. I hope I shall be excused for having so imperfectly called the attention of the House and the country to the perils that may be before them in the future in the adoption of unsound principles of finance.
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for the references to myself which he has been good enough to make, and I do not rise, I assure him, to comment in any hostile manner on the observations he has made. But I really fail to see the precise motive of his speech.
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
The right hon. Gentleman looks upon me as a worthy and well-meaning person who belongs to a party which has thwarted all his efforts.
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
That, at any rate, is what I gathered from the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman. He 235 ended his speech with a very eloquent sentence, in which he prophesied all sorts of evils that magnificent plans of reform would be paralysed; that the country would be ruined by increase of taxation, and all the rest of it. But why? Because of the increased expenditure which he foresees as a result of the debt we are about to incur.
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I meant a good deal more than the debt of to-day. I meant the spread of expenditure in the future in naval and military establishments, and in other things.
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I am sure anyone in my position would thank the right hon. Gentleman for all the support that he could give him to resist any unnecessary expenditure. He is quite right in saying that these demands for increased expenditure come not from one side of the House alone, but generally from the nation at large; and though in many cases the increased expenditure we have seen in recent years has been absolutely necessary—as, for instance, that for the naval defence of the country and also in other ways which I need not particularise—I should welcome any aid in checking the tendency to expenditure which makes the position of any Chancellor of the Exchequer one of extreme difficulty. But I wish to address myself to the particular situation in which we now find ourselves, and the particular matter actually before the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to assume that I was struggling at the present moment against this great difficulty—that though I had, in a manner for which he was good enough to commend me, proposed that a very considerable portion of this war expenditure should be met by increased taxation, yet that I was met by a sort of feeling—I think the right hon. Gentleman intimated it existed mainly on this side of the House—that there ought to be no such contribution from increased taxation, and that instead of "pay, pay, pay," it should be "borrow, borrow, borrow." I do not think the right hon. Gentleman was fair to those who sit on this side of the House. Anyone who listened to the debate last night, anyone who has observed the general comments to-day upon the proposals which I have ventured to place before the Committee—disagreeable as those proposals must necessarily be—will 236 have seen that even with regard to the income tax, which, perhaps, is not likely to be a popular tax on this side of the House, there was a general feeling that we were bound to make provision by increased taxation for the necessities of the moment; and, therefore, it is not fair for the right hon. Gentleman to charge those who sit on this side of the House with a reluctance to make that provision.
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I did not make the charge in regard to the other side of the House specially. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman has had time to read the London press.
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
Then the right hon. Gentleman went on to comment upon the object of the resolution before the Committee, and he said, "You are adding to the debt of the country a larger sum than has been added for a period of a hundred years," or words to that effect.
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
It is unquestionably a large sum. But the right hon. Gentleman appears to suggest that we should find it practically impossible to pay off that sum within the ten years named in the resolution on account of the increased expenditure which he foresees after the war. I ventured to call the attention of the Committee last night to this special fact—that the Estimates of expenditure and revenue for the year show that but for the war expenditure properly so-called the ordinary revenue of the year, without any increase of taxation, would yield a handsome surplus, notwithstanding that the ordinary Estimates of the year included £3,000,000 extra for the Army beyond the figure at which the Army Estimates stood in the year preceding, and also nearly a million extra for the Navy. No one can be better aware than I am that this expenditure is rising, and that it probably will rise, for I am sure the country at large is determined that our defences, at whatever cost, shall be in an adequate and a proper condition. The right hon. Gentleman referred to previous years, when—for instance, after the Crimean War—large reductions were made in expenditure, and economy was the order of the day. Well, there are two kinds of 237 economy. You may go too far in attempting to reduce your expenditure in these matters. Our ancestors went too far in that direction. I remember the result very well in 1885, when war was impending and when we had to throw away lavishly ten or eleven millions simply because the Navy was not in the condition in which everyone would wish the Navy of this country to be; and although when war is over war expenditure ought, of course, to cease, and would necessarily cease, yet I quite admit, and, indeed, we all feel, that the result of this war may be to show deficiencies in our military defences which will have to be remedied, even at the cost of increased Estimates in the future. But have we no hope of meeting this? Why, look at the increase of revenue during the last few years. There has been practically no increased taxation until the present year since the right hon. Gentleman added to the death duties in 1894. And yet the revenue has gone up by leaps and bounds beyond the expectation that anyone could entertain. Our expenditure has enormously increased, but so has our revenue. And why? I would venture to give the Committee two reasons. In the first place, I agree with the right hon. Gentleman, it is because our revenue is derived under a sound fiscal system. If we were to adopt the plausible nostrums in regard to these matters which are constantly retailed all over the country by people who have sometimes, in my opinion, not quite adequately studied them, we should risk losing that enormously abounding and increasing revenue which we now enjoy. But there is another reason. However sound your fiscal system may be, a flourishing revenue is not likely to result unless you have rest from political agitation and contentment at home. You do not want a Government which is perpetually thinking of great constitutional changes, and that is another reason, and a not unimportant reason, for the improvement in the prosperity and trade of this country during the past five years.
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
The right hon. Gentleman thinks we shall not be able to pay off this debt; but in the very next breath he told us how, in his opinion, this debt ought to be paid off. He said, "You may fairly charge 30 238 millions on the Transvaal." I was delighted to hear it. I should like very much to charge 30 millions on the Transvaal, but the right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that neither I nor any other member of the Government can, in the present circumstances, say more than this—that we are as fully awake to the situation as any of our opponents or our friends. I do not know that I ought to have said anything in reply to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. But what he has shown to my mind is this—stick to our present fiscal system and we may rely upon our revenue to meet necessary expenditure. With regard to the Debt the right hon. Gentleman did not allude to the resources to which I referred last night, and to the fact that there were great terminable annuities coming to an end in 1902 and 1904—that is, six years before the ten years would expire—which would provide, together with the reduction of the interest on Consols, no less than five millions a year towards the redemption of any debt which we might incur.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
What does the right. hon. Gentleman contemplate doing as regards the redemption of the debt after peace is concluded?
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I am not going to bind myself now as to what I will do on the termination of the war. I look first to the Transvaal. Then I look to the sources I have named, and, in one way or another, it will undoubtedly be my duty to provide for the redemption of this debt. I do not wish to detain the Committee further, but I would like to thank the right hon. Gentleman opposite for the suggestion he made with regard to a matter which has given me a good deal of trouble in the last few days—namely, the rush to clear goods from bond at existing rates of duty. I do not wish to say anything more on the subject than I said last night, but I do think that it is not to the interest of the public at large or of the revenue, or of anybody except the persons who wish to put money into their pockets which does not quite legitimately belong there, that this kind of practice should be allowed, and although it would be an entirely new proposal that the resolutions imposing taxation should be, so to speak, antedated two or three days before the date on which this House passes them, still, I certainly do propose to consider whether, 239 in some form or other, what has happened within the last two or three days may not be prevented on a future occasion.
§ MR. JAMES LOWTHER (Kent, Isle of Thanet)
My right hon. friend was not unnaturally tempted by the some what comprehensive survey of financial arrangements by the right hon. Gentleman opposite to enter somewhat widely into his own opinion on financial matters. I think it is perfectly obvious that a considerable portion of the expenditure of this year and next year should be met by way of loan, but I certainly am not one of those who entertain the idea that the whole of that expenditure should be met in that way. The right hon. Gentleman is quite right in saying that the party on this side of the House is not inclined to advocate a policy of borrow, borrow, borrow. Any system of that kind is certainly not intended for times of peace, and I think it is quite right that those who are responsible for the conduct of affairs should, during their own time, make a substantial contribution towards the expenditure which they sanctioned. But as regards the particular doctrines which my right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has just laid down, I undertake to say that they are by no means in harmony with the great mass of opinion in this country if he holds out no hope whatever of a more comprehensive view being taken of our financial position than that which he himself has adopted. Of course he was applauded by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire when he talked about adhering to our existing fiscal system, but I undertake to say that, far outside heretic circles like myself, the views of my right hon. friend are seriously controverted. I feel sure that many who do not go anything like the length I do as regards sound finance are not prepared to accept my right hon. friend's doctrine that our fiscal system is equal to the strain which at the present time it is called upon to meet. Looking even to the immediate future, is my right hon. friend prepared to say that the existing system of which he constitutes himself the main champion is capable of meeting any such strain? My right hon. friend knows perfectly well that it is not. I know it is the fashion to lay the blame for our financial stress entirely on the 240 Army and Navy. I venture to say that the Civil Service Estimates are mainly responsible for the greater part of our financial stress. It may be said that old-fashioned sound finance was not intended to stand the strain of war, but how are times of peace spent nowadays? They are spent in adding item after item to the Civil Service Estimates. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman opposite is altogether blameless in that respect. He did not offer that strenuous resistance to the importunities of the Education Department during his tenure of office which we might have looked for from such a strict advocate of sound finance. The fact is that profligate expenditure all round is really popular in this country. In the old days, when the person who called the tune had also the privilege of paying the piper, things were somewhat different, but now the great mass of the taxpayers have only an infinitesimal interest in keeping down expenditure, and the result is that we find additions in times of profound peace to our expenditure. Then comes the stress of war, and what happens? The Chancellor of the Exchequer calmly says that our existing financial system is equal to the strain. I undertake to say that my right hon. friend differs from the great mass of people who have studied this question in any shape or form. He knows perfectly well that the bases on which our financial system rest are dangerously small and require to be deepened and widened. He knows that adding to the income tax and increasing other imposts is merely peddling finance. My right hon. friend on the present occasion had a great opportunity. What has he done? He has taken refuge in all the platitudes that he finds in the leaflets of the Cobden Club, and he has failed to grapple with a serious emergency with any approximation to what I venture to describe as statesmanship. I can quite imagine, when all parts of the country are united in a desire to bring the war to a successful determination, that it was undesirable to raise controversial issues. But my right hon. friend did not say that; he said that our existing fiscal system was one that we ought to adhere to for all time. I say that my right hon. friend has sorely disappointed the great mass of those who looked to him to steer us through this financial crisis. With all the respect which I entertain for my right hon. friend, I must realise that true 241 financial progress cannot possibly be made under his auspices. The fact is that until we all realise, as I think the bulk of the people are coming to realise, that the remedy is to be found in some wide departure from our existing system of finance, we will have a succession of these peddling Budgets which certainly reflect no credit on their authors. As regards this particular motion. I fail to understand in what form this loan is to be issued, although we are told the forms in which it may be issued. Something was said last night as to the desirability of supplying investors with some available security for their savings. I would ask my right hon. friend whether he can supply investors with some security not subject to the violent oscillations in the market from which all Government securities suffer at the present time. The most gambling stock quoted on the Stock Exchange during the last few years has been, not South African mines, but Consols. The Chancellor of the Exchequer told us that he had bought in the name of the nation Consols at 114, and they have been since quoted at 98½. If the stock were issued redeemable at par at option that would, I think, keep the security within reasonable limits, and it would not have a tendency to go much beyond or below par. That is a suggestion which persons experienced in financial matters regard as worthy of consideration. If the investor could have recourse to a security of this kind for money which he wishes to keep within call, and not find himself faced with a loss of 14 per cent. or a gambling gain, it would suit the more prudent class of investors. I think it would be perfectly possible to issue a stock of this sort. My right hon. friend yesterday referred to financial cowardice; I am bound to say that this Budget does exhibit a narrowness of resource and an incapacity to realise the realities of the situation which are really lamentable.
§ *SIR SAMUEL MONTAGU (Tower Hamlets, Whitechapel)
I need only say a few words with regard to this Budget, because I find myself to a great extent in agreement with it. I must, however, express my disappointment that the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not take this opportunity of imposing at least one new tax, and that is a tax on ground values in large towns. As he stated, all classes are expected to contribute to the expenses of the war, but here is a class which ex- 242 pected to be taxed a good many years before the war broke out, and although I am a holder myself I would be very pleased if the right hon. Gentleman had gratified the expectations of the owners of ground values. I think I ought to take this opportunity of thanking the Chancellor of the Exchequer for having put forward his financial statement at such an early period in the session, and I am very pleased that he has made ample provision for our known liabilities. Last year I joined with others in condemning on principle reducing the Sinking Fund in times of peace, but now that we have war I see no object in paying off debt in one direction while we are incurring debt in another. I cannot agree with my right hon. friend the Member for West Monmouthshire in putting down the permanent addition to the Debt at £48,000,000. It can only be £43,000,000, as diverting the £5,000,000 of Sinking Fund cannot be regarded as a permanent addition to the national debt. I am also glad that the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not limit the issue of Treasury Bills and that he has left himself perfectly free with regard to the form of the loan. There are in existence at the present time Treasury Bills to the value of 12½ millions, and if an additional 5 millions were issued the total would almost equal our floating debt in 1888–9. But the country has increased in prosperity since that time, and I think that the market would now stand 10 or 15 millions more of Treasury Bills. With regard to the form of the loan, in ordinary times I should doubt the possibility of placing 30 millions in the form proposed on reasonable terms. There is a similar kind of security at present on the market. The Indian railways issue bonds which now amount to about 16½ millions, the market is very full of them, and no further large amount would be readily absorbed. Bankers, of course, like to keep their reserves in securities that can be readily realised in times of panic or great pressure. I have, however, obtained information from competent judges in the matter, and I am assured that at the present time the feeling is so strong in favour of subscribing to the loan that almost any form of security offered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be a success. I think it is very wise not to depend on the bankers to take up this loan, but to make it a popular loan, and I would ask 243 the right hon. Gentleman to give facilities throughout the United Kingdom, not only at banks, but also at post-offices, to enable small investors to take up £50 or £100. I do not think bonds of less than £50 should be issued, because they would interfere with the savings bank, but if the right hon. Gentleman issues bonds with coupons attached and offers facilities for getting them inscribed, I feel certain that a large amount will be taken up. I think also that the term of years might be left optional, if possible. Three years bonds would be very much in request in the City, and it cannot matter what the number of years is if the Chancellor of the Exchequer gets out the loan at about 3 per cent. and receives par value. I should like to know plainly what the right hon. Gentleman intends to do with regard to the contract stamp, as there appears to be a great deal of doubt in the matter.
It would be better to reserve discussion on that point until the resolution authorising it is reached.
§ MR. FAITHFULL BEGG (Glasgow, St. Rollox)
I only desire to detain the Committee a few minutes on a special point regarding the form this loan ought to take. It is quite impossible for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to provide a security which will not fluctuate, but it is not a correct description of Consols to say, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thanet said, that they were the most gambling security on the market. With regard to the loan, my right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer indicated last night that he wished to make it a popular loan, and that sentiment has been re-echoed by other hon. Members. I entirely agree with it, but it might be dangerous to make the loan too popular. If, for example, it appealed to savings Bank depositors to any large extent, the result would be that the Government would not get a single penny out of such subscriptions, as they would merely be cross entries. I therefore agree with what has fallen from the hon. Member for Whitechapel that the denomination of the bonds should not be too small. I think it should not be as low as £50, and that £100 would be quite low enough. That would be a security which would appeal to the public without going so far down as Savings Bank depositors. I understood the Chancellor of the Exchequer to 244 say that the duration of the loan would be ten years. I would suggest to him an improvement on that which would not infringe his principle. There was a well-known security in this country several years ago which was issued by the United States and was known on the market as the "five-twenties" and "ten-forties." The "five-twenties" bond was a bond redeemable at the option of the Government at the end of five years, but not necessarily redeemable for twenty years. That is an option which might be exceedingly valuable to the Government. I observe that there is a great deal of discussion as to the possibility of fixing a loan on the two South African Republics, especially the Transvaal. I think it is rather premature to discuss that question now; it is very much like selling the bear's skin before the bear is caught. However that may be, if the war is brought to a successful conclusion, and we are in a position to impose a burden on the Transvaal, that burden can be borne by that country to a larger extent than was indicated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire, when he said, rightly and properly, that the capitalists should be made to contribute towards the war. There is an enormous reserve fund in the Transvaal as it stands today. The country has been administered at a cost of 4¾ millions per annum, and, leaving aside charges of corruption and wilful extravagance, we now know that in recent years an enormous sum has been spent on armaments. It would he possible for us to put an end absolutely to such expenditure, and we should have 3¾ millions for the service of the loan.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
That would be only with reference to the debt; but the hon. Member omits the great probability of our keeping a large armed force in the country.
§ MR. FAITHFULL BEGG
Yes; but the point is that you may take only such a sum as a million and apply it to the service of the loan.
§ MR. FAITHFULL BEGG
I do not agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it is to be redeemed in ton years.
§ MR. FAITHFULL BEGG
But it would be perfectly open to the British Government to renew the loan at the end of ten years, if that were desirable. If what I am contemplating now is an indemnity loan, and you could make the period of that loan any period you wish, a thirty million loan for a period of ten years would not be suitable to the general market; it would be bad finance. I should say that an indemnity loan ought to extend over a much longer period than ten years. I think that our own loan ought to be issued in bonds of not loss a denomination than £100, which would be sufficiently low to appeal to the small investor. Lastly, I believe that the period of the loan should be slightly modified, and the security made in the form of what is called a "five-twenty" bond, and I would urge upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the loan should be issued as soon as possible in order to relieve the markets from suspense.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
I confess that when Dives talks in millions the head of Lazarus is apt to get a little dizzy. I was especially glad that the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down should have put in a word for the oppressed stockbrokers. I think it is the business of this House to look after the stockbroker. When I heard it suggested that the man in the savings bank was not allowed to invest more than £50, and when, as I apprehend it, his reward has never been more than 2¾ per cent. for the last sixty years, I understand then how it is that that reward is to be a 4½ per cent. loan. [Hon. MEMBERS: No!] I thought I caught some such expression from hon. Gentlemen. Surely this House is turned into some sort of whispering gallery when the great magnates of finance chuck about and across the table expressions which humble people in this quarter are wholly unable to follow. I understand the argument is that the Savings Bank investor has no security; and that there is no money to meet his demand, if made. I have been told by a high financial authority that if he gets a chance to subscribe for the stock of this loan, the result will be an inscription of figures in a ledger, and that there is really no money to meet his demand. But we are told that there is to be nothing less than £100 bonds issued, by way of giving the working man a chance of investment in this loan. I do 246 not know myself what a bond is. I never saw a bond, but I know that this means that all these glorious financial arrangements will inure for the benefit of the stockbroker. I think that is possible; that is, I understand, the true result of the doctrine of ransom, which has had a further exemplification from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, as I understand it, defended his finance from the attacks of the strict Tory party, represented by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thanet, who is not sufficiently imbued with the modernity of the Tory party since the advent of the Liberal Unionists. I would advise him to learn to sup with a long spoon. The right hon. Gentleman has defended his finance on this basis. He says, "I will raise twelve and a half millions in taxation of the country, and the remaining thirty-five millions I will borrow. But the borrowing is really only to be on the security of the Transvaal; for this country will never have to pay back the amount, and we will levy the whole amount on what is called the Transvaal." The right hon. Gentleman further said, "I was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Monmouthshire declare that he was glad the Transvaal would meet the 30 millions." I confess my knowledge of the Transvaal is chiefly confined to a shilling visit I paid to the African show. [Laughter.] Really, there was a great deal that was instructive in that show, which was got up by Mr. Cecil Rhodes and his friends, before the war, in order to expose to the people of this country the enormous riches of the Transvaal. Why, I had almost a stroke of paralysis when I saw there enormous blocks of gold rising up into the skies, and the British warlike spirit was inflamed by reading that under the gold reefs of Johannesburg there was still waiting to be raised two thousand millions of money. I understand that when we take the Transvaal we will take all that property. [Hon. MEMBERS: "No"; and laughter.] Is not that so? [Laughter, and HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Surely it is so. Surely when you destroy without any hesitation in the world a legally constituted Government—[Hon. MEMBERS: "No"; and laughter.] The hon. Gentleman has said he is opposed to great constitutional changes; but when you destroy a constitutional Government, one with which you have solemn treaties, what hesitation need you have in viola- 247 ting the spirit of the Companies Acts? Take all these leading companies—the Consolidated Gold Fields and the Rand Mines. Why should we not swindle them as well as Kruger? I understand we put up a statue to honour Cromwell, who went over to Ireland and there confiscated, without hesitation, the property of every man, woman, and child, and gave it to his soldiers. Why should it be said that our booty in the Transvaal is limited to thirty millions? Is it or is it not the fact that the gold companies in the Transvaal own a property worth two thousand millions? Why should we not steal their property as well as steal the land from the Boers? I want to know on what principle can we say that the Transvaal is only able to bear thirty millions. Why this extraordinary hesitation of the Government? Why does it strain at a gnat and swallow a camel? You destroy a Government and violate the sentiment of liberty of the Boer people, and yet you are afraid of Wernher Beit and Company, and of Cecil Rhodes. That is extraordinary moderation. As I understand, it, the value that we, the Irish people, are getting for this war is, that having to pay down our money, we get the gold mines in exchange. It is not for the sake of giving the Uitlanders the franchise that I have gone to war. I have fitted myself with a Mauser rifle and a bandolier for the purpose of getting the gold mines. But I do not want, on the 30th September, when the British flag is floating over Pretoria, to be told that private property must be left intact. The shareholders of these gold mines are most respectable people, it may be said; but so is Kruger a most respectable person, and all the Boers are Bible-loving and honest Protestants. Is Cecil Rhodes a greater Protestant than Kruger? I do sincerely trust that my confidence in the Government will not be shaken, and that we shall have in good time a proper dividend upon the money we are now asked to invest. I have no hesitation in backing up the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth, that this thirty millions loan will be repaid by the Transvaal. I have no objection, but I want it to be repaid eight or nine times over; and then Ireland, for the first time, will get some benefit from the great partnership of which we are told we ought to be proud. I do hope 248 we shall have some clear statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to the grounds on which the Irish people are to be asked to join in your great campaign. Although I generally sympathise with and subscribe to the sentiments of the hon. Member for West Monmouth, I rather take the view—but upon wholly different grounds from those of the right hon. Gentleman—that the Government are perfectly right in regard to this grand deed. I would have preferred that the twelve and a-half millions should not have gone in extra taxation, but that all the cost of the war should be borne by way of loan; because, as we are engaged in this profitable buccaneering expedition, I do not understand why this twelve and a-half millions should be provided by the taxpayers of this country, and not got out of the Johannesburg mines. It seems to me to be making two bites of a cherry. It is wholly impossible to expect that the simple-minded gentlemen who preside over the gold mines, and who declare that their property is to be twice doubled in value by this war, will do this; but I heard the other day that they said that after the war they will reduce Johannesburg to the position of Kimberley, that they would drive out all the white labour, and work the mines with natives at wages of 4d. per day, and shut the natives up in compounds, banish the Uitlanders, and put an end to the Uitlander question. I think that is a very practical suggestion from their point of view, but surely they would not deprive the general body of the taxpayers of Great Britain and Ireland of the comfortable knowledge that we are putting our money in a good thing. I should be disappointed if we are not going to annex Johannesburg in the true Cromwell fashion, gold mines and all. I trust we shall have sufficient assurance that tire gold mines shall be British property when this cruel war is over, and that the Irish people will realise that for the first time they have had a sound commercial investment and great profit as the result of belonging to this glorious Empire.
§ *Mr. MARKS (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)
Whether it be true or not that Ireland contributes more than a fair share of the taxation of the Empire, we have had evidence in the speech of the honourable and learned Member for North Louth that Ireland does not contribute an excessive share of financial 249 wisdom to this House. We have been told that the savings banks deposits have hitherto received 2½ per cent.; that is only a mistake of one quarter per cent., and perhaps not important. We have been told that the new loan is to be issued at 4½ per cent., which is a brilliant effort of the imagination. We have been told that there is no means to meet the deposits in the savings banks, whereas these deposits are invested in Consols. Then we have been told that there is some difficulty as to obtaining a war indemnity from the Transvaal unless we take over the mines in the Transvaal worth several thousands of millions, as we took over the Burma ruby mines. But the Burma ruby mines were never taken over by the Government; they were concessions given to a limited company. The Transvaal revenue of 4½ millions has been chiefly derived from the taxation of the mining industry. More than seven eighths of that was contributed by the Uitlanders. We have espoused the cause of the Uitlanders, and I can conceive of nothing fairer than that the Uitlanders should contribute a substantial part of the expenses of the war. It is an open secret that the Government of the Transvaal, carried on with Republican simplicity, need not cost more than a million. It is easy to see where the rest of the four and a half millions have gone, and for what purposes they have been expended. But if you take a million to defray the cost of the administration of the country, you have three and a half millions to apply to the purposes of the war indemnity. [An Hon. MEMBER: including the cost of the Army of occupation.] Well, one million would amply provide for the service of a loan of thirty millions, which would leave a balance of over two millions for other purposes. I would impress on the Chancellor of the Exchequer the advisability of making some definite announcement at the earliest moment as to what interest the new loan is to bear. We have heard two different opinions, but the matter is of very great importance and should not be left in doubt.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
The speech which has just been delivered by the hon. Gentleman gives a pretty good indication of the feeling which has actuated most people in this country who have clamoured for the war. He has spoken with apparent delight of the revenues of 250 the Transvaal, and gloated over the millions which he hopes will be drawn from the coffers of the Transvaal Government into the coffers of this Government after the war is over. That goes to prove the theory that the war was entered into not because of any desire to build up a good or just system of Government in the Transvaal, but to satisfy certain speculators in this country and in Africa who wish to acquire the great wealth which the Transvaal holds. I have been in this House a long time, and nothing has astonished me more than the light-hearted way in which million upon million of the taxes of the working people of this country are voted away. We have hardly had a single speech to-night from any representative of the masses, offering the slightest protest against this proposed loan of thirty-five millions. To my mind it is incredible that the people of this country seriously desire this expenditure or are in favour of carrying on the war at such enormous cost. The sum is as great as the cost of the Crimean War, when it was a question, not of facing a few thousand farmers, but of facing the great Empire of Russia. And what is the condition of this country while all this money is being spent? Nobody knows better than the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer the extreme difficulty with which large numbers of people in this country pay the taxes that are already heaped upon them. It is as much as the masses can do to keep body and soul together, and provide food and clothing for their children, without being asked to contribute millions of money to be spent, not for the purpose of bettering the lives of the people, nor for developing the resources of this country or of Ireland, but for carrying fire and sword and desolation throughout the length and breadth of two small territories, whose total population does not come up to 200,000. It takes 200,000 soldiers and £60,000,000 to bring into subjection these few thousand farmers, and yet we hear people talking about glory, see them waving Union Jacks, and singing "Rule Britannia." The whole world is laughing at the childish trumpeting which has followed the recent successes. I object to this loan because it is a dishonest way of providing the funds for carrying on the war; because, if the Government are honest in believing that the people are so much in favour of the war, why 251 do they not ask them to pay by direct taxation the whole cost of it? When the British find that they will have to pay additional taxation now, and additional taxation to a greater degree in the future, because of this loan, the enthusiasm of the people over this war will cool down. From the Irish point of view I object to this loan. Ireland will have to pay an enormous share when the time for payment comes, and we protest against it. One of the most detestable things about this war is that the English people and the English Government will not wage it at their own expense and pay the bill out of their own pockets, but compel the Irish people to share in the expense of a contest which they both hate and despise, and in which they have had neither hand nor heart. Let me make a suggestion to the right hon. Gentleman. If the British Empire is the solid, compact body that it is described at the present time, why not appeal to the colonies—Australia, Queens-land, New Zealand, Canada, and India—to all the enormous race over which the British flag flies in all parts of the world—to bear a portion of this loan? Why not spread it over the Empire as a whole? The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that, if to-morrow morning he expressed a hope that a single million would be put on any one of the colonies, that hope would be falsified. He knows full well that, outside this trumpery clamour to take part in a military undertaking, which will always be found among the adventurous men of every land, not one of the colonies would permit for five minutes a tax to be levied on them, and that, after all that has been said and all the doggerel rhymes written by MR. Rudyard Kipling, it comes to this—that it is the toiling millions of England, Scotland, and Ireland who will have to pay, and the great loyalty of the Empire of which we have heard so much is all humbug. I object to sanction the resolution for the reason that, if this war is a war for the Empire, it is only right that all the colonies should bear their share of the expense, and that it is not right to put the whole burden of the £60,000,000 upon the already over-burdened taxpayers of England, Scotland, and Ireland. I desire to have it left on record that, so far as I am concerned, I protest against the resolution sanctioning this enormous loan, and the detestable reflection that we are not 252 only obliged to stand by while, as we believe, liberty and justice are being outraged, but we have to pay for it as well. Ireland will pay her share towards the expenses of this war with the greatest possible reluctance. That is the view of eighty Irish representatives in this House, and the view on which we are prepared to face our constituents when the time comes. One of my objections is that this loan is to carry on a war against a people who lived in peace in this country long before English was ever spoken there—[Cries of "No, no!" "Oh, do read history!"]—the cost of which is at the same time robbing the taxpayers of the three kingdoms. If the right hon. Gentleman had come and said that he was going to signalise the end of the nineteenth century by doing something for the mass of the people, and had asked for £35,000,000 for old age pensions, I would have supported him, but I will not support this, because it is not for the benefit of the people, but for the benefit of a gang of speculators.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
Would it be in order to move to insert after the word "raised" the words "in Her Majesty's dominions," so as to make this tax applicable to the whole of the Empire?
If the hon. Gentleman means by that to extend taxation to the colonies, that, of course, we cannot do.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
complained that no information had been vouchsafed to the House as to the rate of interest or the conditions of issue of the loan. He gathered that a new plan was to be adopted by which the middleman would disappear; that the right hon. Gentleman proposed to open a department for the sale of stock without the intervention of a broker. What he desired to know was whether it was proposed to make any provision for the repayment of the loan.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Because that would mean an addition of something like £4,000,000 to the expenditure of the country. He now understood that it was proposed to leave this loan without any provision as to repayment, in the hope that it would be made up out of the 253 gold in the Transvaal, failing which it would be provided by the falling in of annuities at the end of the year. The hon. Member for North Louth had said that we should take over the gold mines, but that could not be done, because under the proclamation of Sir Alfred Milner the mines were guaranteed to the mineowners. The only way to repay this loan out of the mines of the Transvaal would be by obtaining the consent of the owners of those mines to take the £35,000,000, to do which the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have to obtain the consent of the shareholders of the mines, who comprised every nationality under the sun, and lived in all parts of the world. The only thing in that regard which could be done was to appeal to the owners of the mines to make a voluntary contribution. In his opinion there ought to be more loan and less income tax in this Budget. The right hon. Gentleman had been very confident as to the gold mines, and no doubt thought he would obtain something. No doubt he ought to do so, and it was to be hoped he would.
§ *MR. JONATHAN SAMUEL (Stockton)
said he did not oppose the Vote, but merely rose to call attention to some remarks made by the hon. Member for St. George's in the East, which he considered of a most misleading character. Having regard to the fact that the hon.
§ Member was a newspaper editor, the fact that there was so much ignorance through the country on the question of the war was not to be wondered at. The hon. Member had told the Chancellor of the Exchequer that there would be a surplus from the revenue of the Transvaal of about £3,000,000 a year, that the revenue was £4,800,000, and that the administration of the country cost £1,000,000, and the balance would be available. There were two kinds of revenue—the taxable and the non-taxable—and the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the previous night had pointed out that our non-taxable revenue amounted to over £20,000,000, and came from Post Office, telegraphs, Crown lands, etc. Had the hon. Member for St. George's in the East analysed the Budgets which had come in the Blue-books sent over by Sir A. Milner, he would have found the total taxable revenue in the Transvaal was some £2,600,000, and that the other came from postal telegraphs, railways, the manufacture of dynamite, etc. The ignorance shown by the hon. Member for St. George's in the East was astonishing in view of the fact that the information in the Blue-books was of easy access to any hon. Member of the House.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 161;Noes, 26. (Division List No. 59.)255
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry E.||Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Cornwallis, Fiennes S. W.||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)|
|Arnold, Alfred||Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Curzon, Viscount||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Denny, Colonel||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.|
|Baker, Sir John||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Hardy, Laurence|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manc'r.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Hazell, Walter|
|Beach, Rt. Hn Sir M. H. (Bristol||Dunkin, Richard Sim||Heath, James|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. W. W. B. (Hants)||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Doughty, George||Hedderwick, Thos. Charles H.|
|Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)|
|Bethell, Commander||Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Hornby, Sir William Henry|
|Billson, Alfred||Duckworth, James||Houston, R. P.|
|Bond, Edward||Dunn, Sir William||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Bowles, T. G. (Kind's Lynn)||Faber, George Denison||Hutton, John (Yorks. N. R.)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Jenkins, Sir John Jones|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Finch, George H.||Kennaway, Rt Hon. Sir John H.|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Kinloch, Sir John George Smyth|
|Caldwell, James||Fisher, William Hayes||Kitson, Sir James|
|Cameron, Sir Chas. (Glasgow)||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Langley, Batty|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Laurie, Lieut.-General|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Fry, Lewis||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (C. of Lond.||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Gilliat, John Saunders||Lea, Sir T. (Londonderry)|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r.)||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Leese, Sir. J. F. (Accrington)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Charrington, Spencer||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham|
|Clough, Walton Owen||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Long, Rt Hon Walter (Liverpool|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Pierpoint, Robert||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|M'Crae, George||Pilkington, R. (Lancs, Newton)||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|M'Killop, James||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Strauss, Arthur|
|M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Plunkett, Rt Hn Horace Curzon||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Marks, Henry Hananel||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Thomas, Abel (Carmarth'n, E.)|
|Massey-Mainwaring, Hn W. F.||Pretyman, Ernest George||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Milward, Colonel Victor||Purvis, Robert||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Monk, Charles James||Rentoul, James Alexander||Webster, Sir Richard E.|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire||Richards, Henry Charles||Wharton, Rt. Hn. J. Lloyd|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Rickett, J. Compton||Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk|
|Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Murray, Charles J. Coventry||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Woods, Samuel|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Rutherford, John||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Palmer, Sir Charles M. (Durham||Seton-Karr, Henry||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Philipps, John Wynford||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Kilbride, Denis||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'l'nd||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Macaleese, Daniel||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Burns, John||MacDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Qn's. Co.||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Crilly, Daniel||M'Dermott, Patrick||Williams, John Carvell (Notts|
|Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal)||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Doogan, P. C.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Engledew, Charles John||O'Malley, William||Captain Donelan and Mr. Patrick O'Brien.|
|Hogan, James Francis||Power, Patrick Joseph|
Resolutions agreed to.