HC Deb 22 June 1905 vol 147 cc1334-5
MR. J. A. PEASE (Essex, Saffron Walden)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War what was the actual or approximate cost in the first instance of those stores which Lord Kitchener Valued at from £6,000,000 to £7,000,000 when he left South Africa; what has been the actual or approximate sum realised by subsequent sales; what has been the estimated value of these stores actually consumed by the Army left in occupation; whether any of these stores still remain in stock; and, if so, what is the estimated value of the same.


The War Office is not in possession of any detail of the stores on which the estimate made by Lord Kitchener—admittedly a rough one—Was based. A total sum of approximately £8,000,000 was realised by the sale of various stock in South Africa from April, 1902, to September, 1904, but the monies arising from the sale of ordinary supplies to soldiers, captured stock, etc., are included in this total and cannot be separated. As regards the other points raised in the Question the information desired by the hon. Member would require considerable labour to obtain in consequence of the difficulty of differentiating between the stores actually consumed and those of a similar description which arrived at a later date.


May I ask whether it is not the fact that strict ledger accounts were kept of all these transactions in accordance with Lord Kitchener's recommendation when he left South Africa; and also whether the suggestion made by Mr. Edwards to Sir Neville Lyttelton that there was a wastage of between £2,000,000 and £3,000,000 of our money is correct?


I really would prefer not to answer these supplementary Questions off hand. They refer to matters of which I have no personal cognisance whatever. I do not wish to make any mistakes.

* SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)

Was the sum of £8,000,000, of which the right hon. Gentleman just spoke, the sum of money roughly stated at £7,000,000, I think, which the Chancellor of the Exchequer led us to suppose he would get back and did not?


No, Sir. I think not. I think it would include a portion of it; but the two sums are not identical.

MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)

That sum would include the stores sold, but never removed, and then bought back again?


Yes, Sir. The losses on those stores are allowed for.