MR. GIBSON BOWLES
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury have His Majesty's Government considered the propriety of reducing the Vote for Secret Service Money from £65,000 a year to a lower sum approaching that of £30,000, at which this Vote stood in, and for many years previous to 1898–9; is he aware that in the year 1901–02 only £48,316 was expended on Secret Service; and will he say what circumstances those are which are now held to require the vote of a larger sum than was required in that year.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The possibility of reduction was considered on the Estimates of the present year. I am aware of the amount actually expended in 1901–02, but I cannot undertake to state the reasons which were held to require a larger sum than was actually expended in that year, to be included in this year's estimate. I may add that I do not think it would be advisable on general grounds to reduce the amount of money spent on secret service in this country, which is very much smaller than that of other countries.