HC Deb 29 April 1909 vol 4 cc546-8

I am now in a position to present my final balance sheet for 1909–10.

The Revenue, on the present basis of taxation, being £148,390,000
And the Expenditure, on the basis of the Estimates already presented to Parliament 164,152,000
The Account, before adjustment, shows, as I have already explained, an anticipated deficit of £15,762,000

To the Revenue side of the Account must be added:—

Under Customs and Excise:—
New duty of 3d. a gallon on petrol £340,000
Increase of spirit duties 1,600,000
Increase of tobacco duties 1,900,000
Revision and increase of liquor licence duties 2,600,000
Motor-car licences 260,000
Making a total addition under the heads of Customs and Excise of £6,700,000

Under the various Inland Revenue duties the new proposals are estimated to produce:—

Estate duties £2,850,000
Stamps 650,000
Income tax (net). 3,500,000
And the new land taxes £500,000
Or a total from new and increased Inland Revenue duties of £7,500,000
These amounts (namely, £6,700,000 from Customs and Excise and £7,500,000 from Inland Revenue) added together give as the total estimated yield of new taxation £14,200,000
Adding these sums to the estimated Revenue on the existing basis 148,390,000
We arrive at £162,590,000
as the estimated Revenue of the year.

To the expenditure side of the account must be added:—

Under the head of Consolidated Fund Services:—
The proceeds of the petrol duty and motor car licences which will be paid to the new fund for improvement of roads £600,000
Under Civil Services:—
The amount required for the first year's grant to the new Development Fund £200,000
For labour exchanges 100,000
Making a total addition under Civil Services of 300,000
and under Customs and Excise and Inland Revenue 50,000
for the payment of valuers and other administrative expenses arising in connection with the proposed taxes on land
Adding these sums together we arrive at a total additional expenditure of £950,000
which, with the expenditure on the basis of the Estimates already presented 164,152,000
increases the total estimated expenditure for the year to £165,102,000
Deducting, under the head of Consolidated Fund Services, the amount of the proposed reduction of the Fixed Debt Charge 3,000,000
We arrive at £162,102,000
as the final figure on the Expenditure side of the Account.

The Total Estimated Revenue thus being £162,590,000
and the Total Estimated Expenditure 162,102,000
there remains a margin for contingencies of £488,000

There will be a very considerably increased demand upon the yield of those taxes for the coming year. If the Navy expenditure is at the maximum, which I anticipate, most of the increased expenditure will be absorbed by naval expenditure. The balance will be appropriated to those schemes of social reform which I sketched at the beginning of my observations.

I have to thank the House for the very great indulgence which they have extended to me and for the patience with which they have listended to me. My task has been an extraordinarily difficult one. It has been as disagreeable a task as could well have been allotted to any Minister of the Crown. But there is one element of supreme satisfaction in it. That is to be found in contemplating the objects for which these new imposts have been created. The money thus raised is to be expended first of all in ensuring the inviolability of our shores. It has also been raised in order not merely to relieve but to prevent unmerited distress within those shores. It is essential that we should make every necessary provision for the defence of our country. But surely it is equally imperative that we should make it a country even better worth defending for all and by all. And it is that this expenditure is for both those purposes that alone could justify the Government. I am told that no Chancellor of the Exchequer has ever been called on to impose such heavy taxes in a time of peace. This, Mr. Emmott, is a War Budget. It is for raising money to wage implacable warfare against poverty and squalidness. I cannot help hoping and believing that before this generation has passed away we shall have advanced a great step towards that good time when poverty and wretchedness and human degradation which always follow in its camp will be as remote to the people of this country as the wolves which once infested its forests.

The right hon. Gentleman resumed his seat at three minutes before eight of the clock.

Motion made and Question put.

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