HC Deb 20 April 1904 vol 133 cc681-2
* MR. MCCRAE (Edinburgh, E.)

I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can state the amount of the Exchequer Balances as at 1st April, 1899, and as at 1st April, 1904, respectively, the amounts raised by loan and received from the Transvaal and Orange River Colony included in the balances for each financial year from 1900 to 1904, also the amounts taken from Exchequer Balances in each year during the same period on account of war expenditure.


The Balance on 31st March, 1899, was £8,919,000. In the next five years: 1. It was strengthened by (a) Borrowings, £154,371,000. (b) Rapayments in respect of Sardinian Loan, £285,000. (c) Temporary advance repaid by Transvaal. £3,000,000. Total, £157,656,000. 2. It was depleted by (a) Issue of part of old Sinking Funds of 1895–6 and 1896–7, represented by Surplus Revenue £1,862,000. (b) Net advance on account of bullion, £450,000. (c) Expenditure in excess of revenue, £157,961,000. (d) Advances on capital account unreplaced, £2,000,000. (e) Discount on issue of Exchequer Bonds, £38,000. Total, £162,311,000. Decrease £4,655,000. Balance on 31st March, 1904, £4,264,000. If the hon. Gentleman requires any further information I shall be glad if he will put it down in the form of a Return as this is a matter hardly suited for treatment by way of Question and answer. I doubt, indeed, if anyone can follow the answer I have just given.


Arising out of the answer which is quite clear, I should like to ask whether it is not the case that the balance of borrowed money in the Exchequer Balances and the £3,000,000 on the Transvaal loan were applied to meet the realised deficit of last year; and whether the £1,000,000 which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to take from unclaimed dividends will not really be applied to the prospective strengthening of the balances.


The £1,000,000 which I propose to take will be applied to the strengthening of the balances. That is the whole object with which I take it. With regard to the first part of the Question, I do not quite understand the right hon. Gentleman's meaning. Perhaps he will put the Question on the Paper.