HC Deb 27 July 1910 vol 19 cc2251-7

There shall, during the present reign and a period of six months afterwards, be paid for the King's Civil List, the yearly sum of four hundred and seventy thousand pounds.


I beg to move to leave out the word "seventy" and to insert instead thereof the word "fifty."

I wish to make it clear that this is not an Amendment, as might appear on the surface, to reduce the amount of the Civil List. I have already taken a Vote of the House on that matter, and the House has come to a decision, and although we do not agree with that decision yet we feel that we are in honour bound to accept it. This Amendment is somewhat technical in character. It has reference to Class 4 in the Schedule, and I move it here because this sum of £470,000 mentioned in Clause 2 covers also Class 4 in the Schedule, and of course it is necessary to move it here as otherwise I should not have an opportunity of moving it later on

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd George)

Has this reference to the £20,000 for works?


Yes. It seems to me that in this matter you are following a very bad precedent and are asking us to do even worse than the precedent. In 1901, as I understand, this £20,000 was for the first time brought into the Civil List, but the £20,000 does not by any means represent the total amount of money spent on works; that is to say, as I understand, on palaces in occupation. As a matter of fact, if the House assents to the Bill, and the proposals of the Committee submitted a week or two ago the House will be committed to an expenditure this year of, I suppose, £102,000 altogether for palaces. But this Amendment has reference not to the £55,000 mentioned in the Report, but only to the £20,000 mentioned as Class 4 in the Civil List under the heading of works. It will be necessary to say a word in regard to the previous practice. So far as I understand, the previous practice has been that this £20,000 has been expended for the internal maintenance and repair of palaces in occupation. The £20,000 does not represent, however, the total amount spent both inside and outside the palaces. During the last reign it amounted to £47,000. The previous practice has been that the £20,000 has been spent without any effective control whereas the £27,000 has been estimated for in the usual way and therefore has been more or less under the control of Parliament. We think it is a bad thing that large sums of money should be voted without some observation in the House of Commons. It has been said that the previous practice has led to a good deal of administrative inconvenience, because the £20,000 has been spent without Parliamentary authority, whereas the £27,000 has gone on the Estimates. Therefore it was submitted that it was necessary to bring the whole general amount spent on the palaces under one control. We submit that the putting of this total expenditure under one control can be effected in one of two ways. We can either take the £20,000 out of the Civil List altogether and put it along with the £27,000 on the Estimates or put the £27,000 along with the £20,000. The Government have, in fact, adopted the latter course, and we suggest that the former course is the better. In saying that the Government have put the £27,000 along with the £20,000, I am making a statement not quite consistent with the Bill, but if hon. Members read the Bill carefully they will see that the statement I have made is quite correct, because, if this course is adopted, the £27,000 will not appear in the Estimates as hitherto, and will only come on the floor of the House of Commons when the expenditure has been incurred. I think the straightforward course would be to take the whole of the money out of the Civil List and put it in the estimates in the usual way, so that the Minister who draws up these estimates would be the Minister directly responsible to the House of Commons.

It has been said by the Minister himself, whose opinion, of course, is worthy of all due weight being given to it, that such a course would be inconvenient for several reasons. It was said by the Minister up stairs that he had to estimate a long time before, and had to put his Estimates in in the latter part of the year, those Estimates covering the period up to the 31st March in the year following. Therefore, small works connected with the palaces which had to be undertaken in a hurry could not be taken in the Estimates in the latter part of any particular year. With all due deference to the Minister of Works, that is not altogether conclusive. He would have no difficulty in getting a Vote on Account in the early part of the year. I believe it is quite customary to have Votes on Account. Moreover, where it is absolutely necessary, it is possible to have Supplementary Estimates, or it is quite possible for the Minister to get a total amount at the end of any particular year. If he has got too much money under one head and too little under another, it is quite an easy matter for him to get the Treasury sanction to spend the money in one way instead of another. By these means this difficulty of the Estimates being before the House so long before some emergency arises is met. At all events, I think that is a method of getting over the difficulty which is more in accordance with the principle which ought to be adopted of keeping intact the control of the House of Commons over these large sums of money. I think that it is unfair to the Crown to put this £20,000 into the Civil List, because it has no connection with the moneys necessary for the King for his personal use or for the maintenance of the Royal household or the dignity of the Crown. After all those Palaces are public property, and we think the expenditure of money on them should be done in a public manner and subject to proper Parliamentary control. I commend the Amendment to the consideration of hon. Gentlemen present.


I do not feel that I have any right to refer to anything that occurred in Committee upstairs, because in accordance with the invariable practice in these matters it has always been treated by Members of the Committee as confidential. In reply to the point put by my hon. Friend as to why the provision of this £20,000 should appear on the Civil List for works in the palaces, that practice was established partially at the commencement of the last reign, but partially also at a much earlier date. A sum of £10,000 has always appeared on the Civil List for these palaces, and that was increased to £20,000 at the commencement of the late reign, greatly, I think, to the general convenience of administration. All that has been done on this occasion is to ease me of certain duties which I was conscious of, and which the Committee will be conscious of, when I explain them to them. What is being done is to take the average amount of the repairs and maintenance of the palaces in occupation of the Sovereign for the last seven or eight years, and to put that as a lump sum on the Estimates, in order that I should not be put to the duty of estimating eighteen months before all the details of the works which have to be carried out at different times in the palaces in occupation, or almost constant occupation. But the control of the House of Commons over the expenditure has been absolutely preserved. Although it is a lump sum, there is not a detail of my proceedings in relation to such expenditure which cannot be questioned in this House. I feel sure that with the maintenance of Parliamentary control that the House will not think that the arrangement accorded to the Department is an unreasonable arrangement for the convenience both of my Department and of all those concerned.

12.0 P.M.


The remarks we have just heard do not meet the point raised by my hon. Friend (Mr. Barnes). The £20,000 included in the Civil List is for internal work, and it is proposed to put £27,000 for external work on the Civil Estimates, under the heading of "Palaces." Why should not the £20,000 also appear on the Estimates. The division of these two sums is confusing, and is not logical, and it is difficult for an ordinary layman like myself to understand the principle which has guided the Committee upstairs in coming to this decision. The sum of £27,000 will appear yearly on the Estimates as a fixed sum, and the public outside will naturally conclude that that is the total sum being paid for repairs. Whereas, in addition to that, this £20,000 in the Civil List will also be spent. Whilst the taxpayers assume that the total cost of the upkeep of the Royal Palaces in any given year is the £27,000 on the Estimates, it will be in reality £47,000. In the interests of good bookkeeping and honest finance, it is surely desirable that both these sums relating to the one class of work—the only difference being that one is external and the other internal—should appear in the one set of accounts. We, on these Benches, prefer that this expenditure should appear on the ordinary Estimates, and not in the form proposed by Clause 6, Sub-section (3). It is there stipu- lated that all this money is to be voted, and the amount not required is to be set aside for future expenditure of that class in such manner as the Treasury may sanction. That is to say, the House of Commons should annually vote without examination and without discussion this £27,000, and any unexpended balance is to be allowed to accumulate for future expenditure. Surely those who are interested in maintaining control over Government Departments should not be favourable to such a proposal, but should vote with my hon. Friend.

Mr. R. D. HOLT

This is practically a vote for spending £47,000 a year on the

repairs and maintenance of the Royal Palaces. £47,000 is a very large sum, and it is simply inconceivable that it can be properly expended in ordinary repairs and maintenance. There must be a great deal of unnecessary extravagance and absurd work carried on to get through such a sum. We have not the slightest details as to the character of the expenditure, and as a protest against the general wastefulness which animates this and many other proposals I shall vote for the Amendment.

Question put, "That the word 'seventy' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 238; Noes, 39.

Division No. 137.] AYES. [12.6 a.m.
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F. Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet) Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk.(Bath)
Ainsworth, John Stirling Craik, Sir Henry Illingworth, Percy H.
Allen, Charles P. Crawshay-Williams, Eliot Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)
Archer-Shee, Major M. Crosfield, A. H. Johnson, W.
Armitage, R. Crossley, Sir William J. Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)
Ashley, Wilfred W. Dalrymple, Viscount Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)
Baird, John Lawrence Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr
Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.) Dawes, J. A. King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)
Balcarres, Lord Denman, Hon. R. D. Kyffin-Taylor, G.
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.) Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S. Lambert, George
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Dixon, Charles Harvey Lane-Fox, G. R.
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Leach, Charles
Banner, John S. Harmood- Du Cros, Arthur P. (Hastings) Levy, Sir Maurice
Barclay, Sir Thomas Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley) Lewis, John Herbert
Barnston, H. Duncannon, Viscount Lincoln, Ignatius T. T.
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.) Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Llewelyn, Major Venables
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Falconer, J. Lloyd, George Ambrose
Barton, W. Ferens, Thomas Robinson Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.) Fisher, W. Hayes Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)
Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish- Fleming, Valentine Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.
Beresford, Lord Charles Forster, Henry William Low, Sir F. (Norwich)
Bird, Alfred France, G. A. Mackinder, Halford J.
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Furness, Stephen Macmaster, Donald
Black, Arthur W. Gelder, Sir W. A. Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid) George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd M'Laren, F. W. S. (Linc., Spalding)
Brackenbury, Henry Langton Gibbs, George Abraham Mallet, Charles E.
Bridgeman, William Clive Gibson, Sir James Puckering Marks, George Croydon
Brocklehurst, W. B. Gilmour, Captain John Masterman, C. F. G.
Brunner, John F. L. Gordon, John Meysey-Thompson, E. C.
Bryce, J. Annan Gretton, John Middlebrook, William
Bull, Sir William James Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Guest, Major Millar, J. D.
Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid.) Gwynne, R. S. Mitchell, William Foot
Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar) Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Montagu, Hon. E. S.
Carlile, Edward Hildred Hamersley, Alfred St. George Morpeth, Viscount
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry) Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.
Castlereagh, Viscount Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale) Munro, Robert
Cator, John Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Murray, Captain Hon. A. C.
Cave, George Hardy, Laurence Muspratt, M.
Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood) Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Neilson, Francis
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Newton, Harry Kottingham
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.) Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Nicholson, W. G.(Petersfield)
Chaloner, Col. R. G. W. Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry Norton, Capt. Cecil W.
Chambers, James Haworth, Arthur A. Nussey, Sir Willans
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Hayward, Evan Nuttall, Harry
Clay, Captain H. H. Spender Helme, Norval Watson O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)
Clough, William Henderson, H. G. H. (Berkshire) Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.
Clyde, James Avon Henry, Charles S. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Coates, Major Edward F. Higham, John Sharp Paget, Almeric Hugh
Collins, G. P. (Greenock) Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter Palmer, Godfrey
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.) Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A.
Compton-Rickett, Sir J. Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Peto, Basil Edward
Cooper, Richard Ashmole (Walsall) Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield) Pollard, Sir George H.
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Horner, Andrew Long Pollock, Ernest Murray
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Cowan, W. H. Hume-Williams, William Ellis Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Hunt, Rowland Pringle, William M. R.
Quilter, William Eley C. Staveley-Hill, Henry Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Radford, G. H. Steel-Maitland, A. D. Waring, Walter
Raphael, Herbert H. Stewart, Gershom (Ches. Wirrall) Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay
Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel Stewart, Sir M'T. (Kirkc'dbr'tch.) Waterlow, David Sydney
Rea, Walter Russell Strachey, Sir Edward Wheler, Granville C. H.
Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan Strauss A. White, Maj. G. D. (Lanc., Southport)
Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Summers, James Woolley White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.) Sutherland, John E. White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)
Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall) Sykes, Alan John Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Ronaldshay, Earl of Talbot, Lord Edmund Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude
Rothschild, Lionel de Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe) Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Royds, Edmund Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.) Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)
Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter Terrell, Henry (Gloucester) Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North) Wilson, T. F. (Lanark, N.E.)
Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel) Thynne, Lord Alexander Wing, Thomas
Sanders, Robert Arthur Toulmin, George Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Sanderson, Lancelot Trevelyan, Charles Philips Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)
Schwann, Sir Charles E. Tryon, Captain George Clement Worthington-Evans, L.
Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Seely, Col., Right Hon. J. E. B. Verrall, George Henry Younger, George (Ayr Burghs)
Shortt, Edward Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)
Soares, Ernest J. Walters, John Tudor TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. Gulland.
Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston) Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Starkey, John Ralph
Barnes, G. N. Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.) Rendall, Athelstan
Beale, W. P. Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Robinson, S.
Bentham, G. J. Holt, Richard Durning Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Bowerman, C. W. Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) Shackleton, David James
Byles, William Pollard Jowett, F. W. Smith, H. B. (Northampton)
Clynes, J. R. King, J. (Somerset, N.) Watt, Henry A.
Duffy, William J. Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Gibbins, F. W. Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Wilkie, Alexander
Gill, A. H. Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Glanville, H. J. Nannetti, Joseph P. Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Glover, Thomas O'Grady, James Winfrey, Richard
Hall, Frederick (Normanton) Parker, James (Halifax)
Hancock, J. G. Pickersgill, Edward Hare TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. G. Roberts and Mr. C. Duncan.
Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Pointer, Joseph

Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put and agreed.