§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can now give an estimate of the amount by which the National Debt will be increased in the current financial year by the liabilities classified as "other capital liabilities" in the Annual Returns relating to the National Debt.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
In the Budget Statement it was provisionally estimated that the issues required on Capital Account in 1905–6 would be about £9,000,000. Towards this sum we had in hand, as the result of surplus borrowings in 1904–5, £844,000. So the gross increase of liability would be £8,156,000. But there is provided in the Votes for 1905–6 in reduction of existing liabilities £1,685,000. So the net increase of liabilities on this head would be £6,471,000. Against this increase must 958 be set the reduction in the National Debt under other heads, namely—
Thus the net diminution in the aggregate liabilities may be estimated at rather more than £3,000,000.
By terminable annuities included in the Fixed Debt-Charge 5,340,000 From minor sources 300,000 And the repayment of Ex-chequer Bonds as explained in my Budget Statement 4,000,000 Total reduction £9,640,000
§ MR. MCCRAE (Edinburgh, E.)
Is it not the case that the Sinking Fund provides for a reduction of £10,000,000 yearly, whereas the actual reduction will be only £3,000,000?
§ MR AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I really do not understand the object of that Question. As I have said, the net reduction will be a little over £3,000,000.
§ SIR GEORGE BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
We understand that the net result this year will be a reduction of the National Debt by £3,000,000?