HC Deb 10 April 1905 vol 144 c1057

Returning now to the Exchequer account, we find that the result is that, with a revenue of £143,370,000 and an expenditure chargeable against it of £141,956,000 we close the year with a surplus of £1,414,000, compared with a Budget Estimate of £510,000. This realised surplus of nearly a £1,500,000 becomes Old Sinking Fund, and will be applied under the provisions of the Sinking Fund Act, 1875, in accordance with the statement I made last year to the Committee, to strengthen our balances. We shall thus almost exactly make good the draft made upon them by the deficit of the previous year. I am glad to say that our balances are now in a much better position than they were a year ago. We started the year with a nominal balance of £4,264,000, but of this £2,000,000, or nearly one-half, represented a temporary loan from the Bank which has since been repaid, so that the real balance on March 31st last was £2,264,000. But in 1903–4 we had advanced on capital account £2,000,000 more than the National Debt Commissioners could at that time provide, and this sum has since been repaid. We have also exercised the powers of borrowing on Exchequer Bonds conferred on us by the Capital Expenditure Act of last year to the extent of £6,000,000, and of the amount so realised we have still in hand £843,000. The realised surplus of the past year gave us, as I have explained, £1,414,000, and in a cordance with the provisions of the Finance Act of last year we obtained a further sum of £1,000,000 by the realisation of Consols standing to the credit of the Unclaimed Dividend Account. From the total of £7,521,000 which we have thus obtained we have to deduct the discount of £86,000 paid on the renewal of various Exchequer Bonds, and a sum of £5,000, by which our temporary advances exceeded our repayments, making altogether £91,000, and leaving us a balance of £7,430,000 with which to commence the present year. It may perhaps interest the Committee to know that the India Council took up £1,200,000 of Treasury bills, which had to be renewed in the course of the year.

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