§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
I have to put a Question relating to the Resolution which stands on the Paper in the name of the First Lord. I wish to ask 46 the right hon. Gentleman to explain the relation of Votes A and 1 of the Army Estimates to the rest of his proposals concerning the Supplementary Estimates, and what use is proposed to be made of the money he desires to have voted for the Army by eleven o'clock on March 30th.
§ MR. A.J. BALFOUR
If the right hon. Gentleman will look carefully at the very instructive and interesting case which arose in 1894, when there was a difficulty in reference to the Supplies within the financial year, and Sir William Harcourt was, I think, Chancellor of the Exchequer, he will see the matter explained. I do not know whether it will be better for me to enter on that explanation now or later, when I have to move the Resolution, but the point really is this. Of course we should prefer to get Votes A and 1 of the Army Estimates in time to introduce the sums so voted into the Consolidated Fund Bill; that would be more convenient to the Government and save the introduction of two Consolidated Fund Bills. But that would further curtail the possibility of discussion of the Votes before the end of the legal year, and we have therefore abandoned that, though the more convenient, course. It is absolutely necessary to have the Vote in Committee and the Report before the end of the financial year, otherwise the Treasury will have no authority to pay any money to soldiers or for Army Estimate purposes. That really is the reason, which I think the right hon. Gentleman will consider valid. Of course, if it had not been for that we would much rather, and it would be more convenient to the Government if time were not against it, that the Votes should be allowed to run after the close of the financial year. We propose, however, to put down some Vote which will allow a discussion to be taken on Army policy. It would have been more convenient to allow the Votes to run on, but that is not possible.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the money granted by the new Consolidated Fund Bill for Naval and Civil Services will after April 1st be applicable to Army purposes?
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
But the money applied to A and 1 of the Army Votes will be that granted for Naval and Civil Services.