§ MR. HAROLD COX (Preston)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can see his way to laying upon the Table of the House before the close of the financial year, or soon after, a Memorandum in a form similar to the Civil Service Estimates, showing what is the estimated expenditure under the head of Other Consolidated Fund Services and payments to Local Taxation Accounts for the coming year; and, if so, whether he will include in that Memorandum a table showing how the expenditure upon the various items appearing on pages 43 to 69 of the Finance Accounts for 1906–7 compares with the estimated expenditure upon the same items in the years 1907–8 and 1908–9.
§ MR. ASQUITH
The charges under the head of "Other Consolidated Fund Services" are set out in full detail in the published Finance Accounts, of 1432 which they occupy twenty-seven pages. The great bulk of these charges consists of salaries, pensions, and other fixed allowances, all under statute, in which only slight variations occur from year to year through deaths and retirements, which cannot be foreseen. Occasionally, variations of a more important character may occur among the few items classed as "Miscellaneous Services" on page 69. In those circumstances, there does not appear to be any justification for incurring the expense of publishing a detailed estimate of Consolidated Fund Services in addition to the detailed account of the issue. The usual Financial Statement will be circulated on the introduction of the Budget, showing the issues made in 1907–8 for Consolidated Fund Services, including the National Debt Service and the payments to the Local Taxation Accounts, with Estimates under the same heads for the ensuing year. The local taxation payments are dependent to some extent on the Revenue receipts, so they could not be published beforehand without forestalling the Budget.