§ The amount of the permanent annual charge for the National Debt under Section one of the Sinking Fund Act, 1875, shall, during the current year, be the sum of twenty-three and a half million pounds instead of twenty-four and a half million pounds; and Section four of the Finance Act, 1910, shall have effect accordingly.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."1974
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I beg to move to leave out the Clause.
If there is one question on which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has shown a greater want of consistency than on any other it is the question of the Sinking Fund. In the days when the right hon. Gentleman and the Liberal party were on this side of the House there was nothing on which they attacked the Conservative party to a greater extent than the idea that proper provision must be made by the Government for the redemption of debt. When, owing to the fortunes of war, the party opposite came into power, almost the first thing that the Prime Minister, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, did was to increase the Sinking Fund from £28,000,000, at which he found it, to £29,500,000. That increase was hailed with satisfaction by practically all the Liberal party, and it was stated that now that the Liberal party had come into power everyone would see the extravagance of the Tories reduced, and there were some people who were actually foolish enough to buy Consols with that idea. Fortunately they were Radicals, and when they told me what they had done and said that they thought that the depreciation of Consols was about to be checked I said, "I think you are wrong, and that you will lose your money." They did not agree with me, but they did lose their money, and I must say that I was not sorry. The Sinking Fund remained at £29,500.00 for, I think I am right in saying, one year, and ever since that year it has been reduced until now it has got down to £23,500,000. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has prided himself very much upon the fact that he has reduced the National Debt by £100,000,000.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I mean the Liberal Government has reduced the National Debt by £100,000,000 since 1906. That being so, there is a saving annually of £2,500,000. As everyone knows, Consols are merely an annuity. It is undertaken by the Government to pay a certain sum annually. There is no provision for exemption; the Government have the power to pay them off at par, but there is no obligation to pay them off at par, or to pay them off at all; the only obligation is to pay an annuity to the people who are holders of the stock. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is actually reducing the annuity payable on Consols 1975 by £2,500,000. On the other hand, he has imposed, or, I had better say, the Government has imposed, an annuity of £20,000,000—£13,000,000 for old age pensions, and £7,000,000 for insurance. I myself voted against old age pensions, and I do not regret it. But I think nobody will deny that, having done it, we cannot go back upon it. Everyone on both sides of the House will admit that. Therefore, we are face to face with this fact, that there is a permanent charge of at least £13,000,000, probably more, which will never be reduced, and which has been imposed by the Government of the right hon. Gentleman. Against this, all that he has done is to decrease the annual charge by £2,500,000. Therefore, on that point alone we are £10,500,000 worse off than we were before the Government of the right hon. Gentleman came into power. Then there is the Insurance Act, which imposes a charge of £7,000,000 a year, but I will not go into that; it is quite sufficient for my purpose to show that instead of having made a reduction in the liabilities of the country as is asserted, the right hon. Gentleman, as a matter of fact, has increased them to the extent of £10,500,000.
It has always been said, ever since I remember anything about the financial side of the Government in this country, that the Government had two resources in times of stress and trouble. One was the New Sinking Fund, and the other the Income Tax, which has been put up to such a height that it is almost impossible to increase it in times of emergency, at any rate, without imposing a very great burden upon a very small portion of the community. The Sinking Fund has also been reduced, and therefore the amount of money which in old days was available has disappeared. Supposing we were to go to war and it was necessary to borrow £100,000,000, if the Sinking Fund had not been depleted in this way, it would have been perfectly easy to reduce the Sinking Fund by £2,500,000 and to have found the interest on the £100,000,000 borrowed, without imposing an additional sixpence on the taxpayer. Owing to the depletion of the Sinking Fund that reserve disappears, and it would be very difficult to raise money and find the interest on the Sinking Fund, if the course of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is continued. There is another point which was discussed yesterday, and into which, of course, I will not go, namely, why English funds have fallen so much in value. Let me point out to the Chancellor 1976 of the Exchequer that toy depleting the Sinking Fund he has taken away from the market what is, practically, the only buyer of Consols. I do not want to go into the question why they are a favourite investment—the reasons do not matter—but the fact remains that there are not the purchasers of English stock that there used to be, and practically the only large purchaser is the Government broker, who is acting for the Sinking Fund. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to take away the money used for that purpose, and one of the effects of it must toe to decrease the price of Consols. It is perfectly evident, if you have not got as many buyers as you had formerly, and continue to have the same number of sellers, that the stock must decrease in value.
Then, again, if the right hon. Gentleman wanted to raise money, the fact that the Sinking Fund has been diminished must cause a fall in Consols and make it harder for the right hon. Gentleman to go into the market and borrow. I do not think that anything I have said can be contradicted. I have endeavoured to put the matter entirely from the financial point of view, and not in any kind of way to introduce party politics. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I note that cheer. I have endeavoured, at any rate, to put before the Committee what, to my mind, is a very serious state of affairs. I am sorry that the hon. Member for the Hexham Division (Mr. Holt) is not here at the moment, and I am sorry that there is not a larger number of Members in attendance during this discussion. Although this is a dry subject it is an important one, and it is all the more important at a time when, rightly or wrongly, our annual expenditure is increasing at such a rapid rate. Surely the moment when we are spending over £200,000,000, and when we are considering the largest Budget ever introduced in this country, is not the right moment to reduce the New Sinking Fund. It is not as if the right hon. Gentleman should say, "Well, it is quite true that I am reducing the New Sinking Fund from the £28,000,000 at which it stood to £25,090,000 or £26,000,000, but I am doing it because I have paid off a large amount of the debt, and I think that is sufficient." The right hon. Gentleman, however, is continually doing it, and instead of turning round at some particular period and saying, "Although I have reduced the Sinking Fund now in face of the increasing expenditure, I am going to put it up again," he 1977 still persists in his evil courses and continues the reduction which he has commenced. I do not know whether I shall get any support from hon. Members on either side. I do not suppose I shall be able to influence the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the slightest degree.
My hon. Friend said that when you play with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it is tails he wins and heads you lose. I think that statement is absolutely true. But during the last four weeks there have been signs that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a little more reasonable on financial matters. Whether his reasonableness has arisen from remarks made by myself or others on this side of the House, or whether it has arisen from remarks made by the hon. Gentleman who has concealed himself in a remote part of the building, I do not know. May I ask the hon. Member if he will kindly come forward because I hope to enlist him on my side. I should like to know from the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether this is the last reduction he proposes to make, and whether or not the proposes in the near future to increase the Sinking Fund to something approaching the amount at which it was when he first came into office. Of course the right hon. Gentleman may say, "If I was not to decrease the Sinking Fund, I should have to get more money. I have no money to pay my way unless I take this." My answer to that is, first of all, that we of the Opposition are not concerned nor is it our duty, to tell the right hon. Gentleman where to find the money. It is his duty to find the money in such a way that it does not depreciate the credit of the country. The methods which the right hon. Gentleman is pursuing are at the present moment depreciating the credit of the country. The fact remains that the credit of the country is very much lower than it was before the Liberals came into office. Something must be done to restore that credit in view of the fact that we are spending such enormous sums of money at the present moment. Of course there are many other ways by which the right hon. Gentleman could get the money, and there is no doubt a very simple one, and that is that he should not spend so much.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I have not recommended such an expenditure. I voted against old age pensions, which is one way of not spending the money.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Yes, it is quite true that I attended the meeting in the City, in conjunction with a good many gentlemen who hold the opinion of the hon. Member opposite. It was not a party meeting; it was a meeting of sensible men, who knew that if they were to protect the prosperity of the country, and to protect it from the depredations of people outside, they must have a certain amount of insurance, and they were prepared to support all those people who would take the proper course to protect the interests of this country. Other objects are advocated by hon. Members opposite for the purpose of catching votes, not because hon. Members think them right, but in order to enable them to secure £400 per year. I would ask why the right hon. Gentleman has not followed the principles laid down by the Prime Minister, and I think by himself when he was in Opposition and first came into power, namely, that the first thing was to see that the Sinking Fund for the reduction of the National Debt was not tampered with? The course he is following is bound to lead to further depreciation in English security and credit.
§ Mr. GEORGE FABER
It is as long ago as 1909 since I last had the honour of addressing the Committee on the subject of the National Debt. In that year, if my memory does not fail me, in the original Budget Statement, and in October of the same year, two proposals were made taking three and a half millions from the Sinking Fund. I remember saying that although I thought there was a great deal to be said on both sides of the argument at that time, the dangerous factor in the case seemed to me that appetites in this matter grew with eating. After all, by reducing the New Sinking Fund you tread on nobody's toes, and if you touch taxation you are sure to tread on toes. The Sinking Fund is provided more or less for the benefit of posterity, and posterity is not here to look after its interests, and we are all too much inclined to say, if we have not got to pay, let posterity look after itself. My words on that occasion have turned out to be true, and appetite has grown. I am speaking from memory, and I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a further attack on the Sinking Fund after 1909. In 1909 it was reduced from £28,000,000 to £25,000,000, 1979 and then from £25,000,000 to £24,500,000, and now to £23,500,000. In that connection, may I compare the position to-day with the position in 1899, when the whole Radical party made such a tremendous attack on the present Lord St. Aldwyn, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, for reducing the Sinking Fund to £23,500,000, and we shall appreciate the position of the Radical party then with that occupied by the Radical party now. In 1899 Consols were at 110 and to-day they are 75. In 1899 the National Debt was £635,000,000. To-day I forget exactly what it is, but it is considerably more than that.
§ Mr. G. FABER
In 1899 there was a low Income Tax, and the hon. Baronet the Member for the City tells me it was 5d. or 6d. To-day you have it by graduation to 2s. 8d., and the Death Duties following on the Finance Act of Sir William Harcourt were nothing like as high as they are to-day. There was a tremendous increase in them in 1909, and in this Budget there is another increase. The Budget in 1899 amounted to £110,000,000, and today it is £207,000,000. The whole range of gilt-edged securities were hundreds of millions higher than they are to-day. The national credit then was from every point of view much better than it is now. Yet under all those favourable financial circumstances the party opposite made a tremendous onslaught on us for reducing the Sinking Fund to £23,500,000, when we had so much justification for doing so. Consols were then 110, redeemable in 1931 at par. What on earth would be the good of any far-seeing Chancellor of the Exchequer buying Consols at 110 when he had the chance in 1931 of redeeming them at par! It would not have been sound finance, and much better not to do it in that time of national affluence, good credit, and comparatively low taxation. To-day you can buy a hundred pounds of Consols for £75, and it is the best business, if I may venture to say so, that a Chancellor of the Exchequer could possibly do to buy a hundred pounds of national indebtedness for £75. Why does he not—because of the financial stringency? I would remind him of what eminent statesmen said in the past. When you are in opposition you always throw rotten eggs and stories—anyhow at the other side—and one of the most formidable opponents 1980 in 1899, doubtless, of our proposals to reduce the Sinking Fund to £23,500,000 was the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. In 1904 he said:—After all, the great strength of the country was its great financial reserve. … "We were squandering her reserve, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who declined to face the situation courageously, was not taking a patriotic view of his duty to the country.Those high-sounding statements are sound. One of the very worst ways of supporting great financial strength is to put down the Sinking Fund at this moment when we have got the highest Budget on record. Let me point to what was said by a greater financier than the right hon. Gentleman. I refer to the late Sir William Harcourt, who said in reference to our Budget in 1899, to reduce the Sinking Fund to £23,500,000:—Every day you are increasing the liabilities of this country to an extent you cannot measure, and which you are only commencing. You are issuing the scrip which they (posterity) will have to redeem. It is your posterity who will have to bear the enormous burdens of these great liabilities, and while you are creating these prospective liabilities you are cutting off the provision by which they might be made easier to bear.That was the old Radical doctrine or the old Liberal doctrine. I suppose there are no old Liberals left. Economy has gone. The higher the Budget, the more delighted the Radical party are. I know perfectly well that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he gets up, will say, "What should you do in my position?" That is always a difficult question to answer. I have always felt it to be a difficult question, because, if he kept the Sinking Fund at £23,500,000, his £1,000,000 would have to be found elsewhere. We all know, at least if we put our party politics into our pockets, that the Death Duties, at any rate, are reaching such a point at which productivity will become less, or, as the old Chancellors used to say, they are reaching the breaking point. We all know in our heart of hearts that with those Death Duties you cannot put the Income Tax much higher, as otherwise you are going to reach the breaking point there where productivity is going to become less. When you put those two together, the Death Duties and the Income Tax, the Chancellor of the Exchequer may well say, "Where am I to get the money if I do not reduce the Sinking Fund?" According to the tenets of Free Trade there is nowhere else. Everybody knows you are getting to the end of your Free Trade resources. If you put the direct taxation higher and higher in the way you are doing, the result will be less 1981 and less, and human nature will avoid more and more. Perhaps you may say that this criticism is poor conference, and the Chancellor may say, "What should you do?" He has put that point even to my humble self. I never thought that quite a fair way of putting it, because it is not the business of the Opposition to find the money but of the party in power. You have got to do one of two things. Either you have got to have a fresh Income Tax, starting low—
§ Mr. G. FABER
I was afraid I should tread on the toes of order. Therefore in discussing the question of the Sinking Fund it is very difficult to know where a Free Trade Government is going to get the money from if it does not keep nibbling as it is, or rather taking great chunks out of the Sinking Fund year by year. It is perfectly fair and reasonable of me to say that you are departing from all your old doctrines. If there was one great principle of Radical finance it was "Do not tamper with the Sinking Fund." Gladstone said, over and over again, if you tamper with the Sinking Fund that is borrowing in the strictest sense of the word. Of course it is. If you cut down the money for the reduction of the National Debt, you might just as well be borrowing in the open market. I leave the Radical party to find the escape for themselves. They are inconsistent with their past, and false to their past, if they go on, not only conniving at, but agreeing in this further cutting down of that fund which means the gradual reduction of our National Debt. We are not like some great Continental country with assets in hand. We have no assets in hand. Therefore it is our duty, year by year, to cut down our indebtedness. If a great war came, with a National Debt of £650,000,000, we should be in a very awkward position indeed. We should perhaps have to raise £500,000,000, and with our credit knocked about, with the Sinking Fund impaired, with taxes at a war level, we should be in such a tight place that no financier in the country would like to have to face it. But it is the difficulty of the Government; they have to meet it. It may be that from their point of view the only thing they can do is to be unfair to posterity and to their position as custodians of the National purse in order that they may reconcile themselves to the narrow and worn out tenets of a too strict Free Trade.
§ Mr. GODFREY COLLINS
The hon. member opposite has referred to Lord St. Aldwyn and his 1899 Budget. May I remind him that when Lord St. Aldwyn reduced the Sinking Fund in that year to £5,800,000, he argued that it was in the permanent interest of the Sinking Fund. If the hon. Baronet, who shakes his head, will refer to the debates of that year, he will find that I am quoting absolutely correctly. The hon. Member (Mr. G. Faber) has also told us that Free Trade finance has broken down. I remember hearing that statement when I was adopted as a candidate five years ago. Since then we have raised £40,000,000 by taxation, and by the present Budget a further £12,000,000 will be raised. So that since Free Trade has broken down, we shall have raised, including this Budget £52,000,000 by strictly Free Trade finance. When the people in the country read the hon. Member's statement that Free Trade finance has broken down—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Mr. Maclean
The hon. Member must confine his, remarks to the subject before the Committee.
§ Mr. G. COLLINS
I was only endeavouring to deal with one or two points made by the hon. Member opposite. The matter before the Committee is the amount required for the Sinking Fund this year. I find that in the year 1890, when the debt per head of the population was £18, Lord Goschen, who is recogniesd by hon. Members opposite as a sound financier and a sound Chancellor of the Exchequer, reduced the amount of the Sinking Fund to £5,000,000. Lord St. Aldwyn, in the year 1899, when the debt per head of the population was £15 10s., reduced the Sinking Fund to £5,860,000. What is the proposal to-day? In the year 1914, when the debt per head of the population is only £14,,the amount set aside for the Sinking Fund is £6,750,000. In other words, if we compare this year with the year 1890, the Debt per head of the population has increased by 20 per cent., while the amount set aside for Sinking Fund has increased by 33 percent. I think that on reflection hon. Members opposite will see that my right hon. Friend has made, and is making, ample, provision for the Sinking Fund. Not only is he finding £6,750,000 for the Sinking Fund, but in the Navy Estimates of this year I find a sum of £1,300,000 to repay debts incurred by the party opposite 1983 during their years of office. I find in the Army Estimates also a sum of £880,000 to repay debts incurred by the party opposite during their ten years of office.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I am sure the hon. Member wishes to be fair. He will remember that that system of borrowing was started by Sir William Harcourt, and has continued since his time.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I said that it had continued from Sir William Harcourt's time until this Government took office.
§ Mr. G. COLLINS
Sir William Hardcourt may have adopted the practice in a small way, but to nothing like the same degree, and what might be defended in a small matter cannot be justified when we are dealing with large sums of public money. Further, during this year my right hon. Friend is finding £4,000,000 in the Army and Navy Estimates for works which might justifiably be paid, according to a Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer, by money raised by means of loans. If I add together the amounts required to wipe out the debt incurred by the party opposite for Army and Navy works during their term of office, and add the amount to the £6,750,000 set aside for the Sinking Fund, I have a total of £9,000,000 raised by taxation this year to wipe out debts bequeathed to us by the party opposite. Not only does the New Sinking Fund wipe out National Debt, but the Old Sinking Fund is also used for that purpose. If I make a further contrast between the policy of the present Administration and the policy of the Administration from 1895 to 1905, I do not think that any fair-minded man will say that we have not been absolutely sound in our financial dealings with the Sinking Fund.
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
Does the hon. Member suggest that the present Government have done nothing of this kind? What about public offices, telephones, and all that sort of thing?
§ Mr. G. COLLINS
Would the hon. Baronet compare money spent on unproductive works, such as harbours and works of that nature, with money spent for national telephone purposes?
§ Mr. G. COLLINS
Money raised by the present Government to any degree for public offices is put upon the Estimates of the year. If hon. Members opposite can point to any considerable sum raised this year by means of loan, I will give them my support in the Division Lobby. I find in the Estimates of this year a sum of £126,000 to wipe out debt incurred by the party opposite for public works. Before that interruption, I was referring to the Old Sinking Fund. In the years 1896, 1897, and 1898 the sum of £10,000,000 was realised from surpluses. One would have thought, from the attitude of hon. Members opposite, that that money would have gone automatically to the reduction of debt. But I find on examination that only £1,000,000 out of the £10,000,000 was devoted to the reduction of debt, the other £9,000,000 being diverted to other purposes. During the last seven years the present Government have repaid debt to the amount of £20,000,000 through the operation of the Old Sinking Fund.
§ Mr. G. COLLINS
The hon. Baronet says that it is due to bad budgeting. But I have just pointed out that in the year 1896 there was a surplus of £4,200,000; in the year 1897 there was another surplus of £2,473,000; and in the year 1898 there was a further surplus of £3,678,000. [An HON. "Bad budgeting!"] Those three sums together amount to £10,000,000, but only £1,000,000 was devoted to wiping out National Debt. Therefore, when we examine the record of the present Administration, whether in regard to the Old Sinking Fund or in regard to the New Sinking Fund, their policy is deserving of support of this House. We are always being taunted by hon. Members opposite in regard to our financial measures. During their ten years of office they had not the courage to tax the rich and they were afraid to tax the poor. This year when we bring forward our Budget they have not the courage to divide the House on the Finance Bill, but they take every possible step to frustrate the Chancellor of the Exchequer in what I believe to be his sound financial proposals.
I wish to support the plea that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should make the sum £24,500,000 this year instead of £23,500,000. In the year 1913 there was a sum of £5,000,000 1985 for the Old Sinking Fund, but out of that sum £500,000 were taken for another purpose. The money was afterwards provided out of the Votes, and that £500,000 is still on the Exchequer Balances. To that extent the right hon. Gentleman really owes that £500,000 to the Sinking Fund, from which it was temporarily borrowed, and I submit that it ought to go back to the Old Sinking Fund if the Government hold any true canons of finance. I do not want to go into all the details of what past Chancellors of the Exchequer have done or of what the present Government has done. I am free to confess that they have striven manfully to pay off the War Debt, which was rightly incurred for a war in consequence of which the Empire has grown larger and stronger, and we have grown richer and able to bear a £200,000,000 Budget much better than we could have done before. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. G. Collins) spoke about debt having been left to that party by our party. I am not defending the practice of Army and Navy loans; but, after all, it is not the debt of a particular party. It was the way—I do not think it a very good way—in which the nation chose to meet large expenditure which was necessary at that particular time. It is a spirit which has not yet died out, because we have heard it suggested that the same sort of practice should be resorted to, that each year should not pay its way, and that money should be raised one year for the benefit of next year, which is against all canons of sound finance. I want to ask particularly concerning the remark made by the Solicitor-General. No doubt the Chancellor of the Exchequer will remember it. It was in reply to some observations on the Death Duties. He said that after all Death Duties, if they were capital, helped to swell the Sinking Fund, and helped to repay debt, because it was a capital charge. To my mind that is not a capital charge. That is an overspending of income, and ought to be repaid out of income. We cannot call it debt. If you diminish your capital by £500 you are so much the poorer, and if you run into debt £500, and have to repay it the next year out of your income, that is paying your bills.
Therefore, the argument is that it is quite true—as the Solicitor-General said—or possibly true, that the Death Duties are really capital, but we must bear them because they go to replace capital. I think 1986 that argument is an entirely unsound one, and one which I do not think the Chancellor of the Exchequer will venture to uphold. I have already shown that the Chancellor of the Exchequer owes at least half of this, practically over a million, to the Old Sinking Fund. I go upon higher ground and say that if we can afford a £200,000,000 Budget Ave ought to afford much more than £23,000,000 towards paying off our National Debt. If the National Debt is a bad thing, it ought to be paid oft. If it is a burden upon the country—some think it is a burden upon the country—and when we have got years of riches—and there is no need to make a comparison with what anyone else has done or has not done, or what we ourselves had done in past years, when we are enjoying now the fruits of very huge years, I do say that I do think that this is not a proper amount, this £23,500,000, to apply to the Sinking Fund, with a £200,000,000 Budget. I would much rather the Fund were placed back even at the £28,000,000 at which it was before; and I do hope we shall be able to persuade the Chancellor of the Exchequer to increase the amount.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
It seems to me that if the Government proceeded to pay off the indebtedness of the country at a more economical rate, that the bankers on the other side of the House who have levied charges of wasteful expenditure against the Government, and have said or suggested that the finances of the country had broken down, would still not be satisfied. The hon. Baronet opposite and his colleagues do not seem to have the common honestly to recognise that every great Continental Power to-day, in order to meet the financial expenditure—which is incurred largely on armaments—have not only levied heavy taxation, but have had to increase very largely their indebtedness, while we under Free Trade system of Government have been able here at this time to pay our way, and at the same time, instead of raising loans for the purpose of the Army and Navy, reduced the debt at a very substantial rate. At all events we are reducing the National Debt by a sum of very nearly £7,000,000, while other great Continental countries with whom we are competing have, at the same time, very largely increased their debts. You cannot separate the two. You cannot regard this matter of expenditure except in the light of how the expenditure is incurred. The hon. Baronet seems entirely to have lost sight of the fact that the expenditure on 1987 armaments alone since this Government came into Office has increased by £25,000,000. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have been agitating that the present Government should spend larger sums on armaments! Then the hon. Baronet comes down to the House and complains of the Government, and speaks about "Lloyd-Georgian Finance" and about the Chancellor of the Exchequer being responsible for the bad state of the finance of the country. The hon. Member knows perfectly well that he is taking no regard to the main factors which are the causes of bringing on the financial position in which we are to-day. The hon. Baronet proceeded to say—and, of course, his own party do not agree with any of his speech—
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
No Member on the other side agrees to the speech that the hon. Baronet delivered. It was a speech delivered for the benefit of the electors of the City of London. None of his colleagues are going down to their constituencies to tell the electors there that the £14,000,000 spent on old age pensions is money wasted. The hon. Baronet speaks for those he represents, who are the plural voters.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I do not think the hon. Baronet or anybody can accuse me of vote catching. I have said exactly the same as in the City of London, and I said it before that. What I said a little while ago was that I did vote against the £13,000,000 which is now being spent on old age pensions, but I went on to say that that was done, and that it was quite impossible for anybody on either side of the House, whoever he was, ever to take it off. It is there, and we must accept it as a fact. I certainly did not say what the hon. Baronet is making me say.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
I understood the hon. Baronet to regard this £14,000,000 expenditure on old age pensions as wasted money. I think "wasted money" were the words he used.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
The hon. Baronet deplored this expenditure as expenditure which the State ought not to have incurred. I do not think if he had to go to another constituency he would put forward those views.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I beg the hon. Baronet's pardon. I do not know that he wants to misrepresent me. I have made clear my views at each election. At Peckham I said I should vote against old age pensions. I said so in 1900, and I said so again in 1910.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
And doubtless that is the reason the hon. Baronet is not now Member for Peckham. I merely say this: The hon. Baronet does not come here to represent himself; he comes here to represent his constituency. No other constituency, I contend, would send the hon. Baronet to this House, except the plural voters of the City of London. Another distinguished banker on the opposite side who sits near the hon. Baronet regarded the debt of £140,000,000 incurred for the South African war as a "burden on prosperity."
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
It was suggested that this debt made the country richer. That the country had been made richer by its indebtedness which the party opposite landed on our shoulders. We have got richer, it was suggested, by the fact of this increase of National Debt of £140,000,000. The hon. Gentleman opposite is an authority upon financial questions, and he referred to the indebtedness as an evidence of prosperity.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
What the hon. Member did say was that this expenditure had been good for the Empire.
§ Sir A. MARKHAM
I have been all through the Colonies, and I do not know that a man can be termed a "Little Englander" because he has been looking after national resources instead of squandering them. We are told that if we got into a Continental war we should have to expend £500,000,000, and would therefore be put into a very tight place. I hope the party opposite will take to heart that observation of one of their Members. People go about the country shouting at meetings for more expenditure. That means that you cannot reduce the debt, and at the same time be spending money. Hon. Members opposite talk about future increases of the National Debt. Let the 1989 people who advocate this policy, and who always complain of our neighbours, pay some regard to the future and endeavour to bring about peace and good will between the nations of the world. By this alone we shall be able to reduce permanently the National Debt of this country. If we proceed in the policy that has been going on in this country for the last few years, you are likely, in my humble belief, to see an increase, and a large increase—one measured probably by no less a sum than the £500,000,000 mentioned—and the hon. Member knows how the money is going to be spent—he knows to what I am referring. The hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London was in the main, we know, speaking for the purpose of his plural voters. He was not representing in any way the party opposite, and as the plural voters are going at the end of this Parliament, we need pay very little attention to him.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
We have had the usual speech on the Sinking Fund from the hon. Baronet—that is the usual speech since the present Administration came into power. All these wise doctrines of high finance, about reducing the amount by which you are diminishing your indebtedness, one never heard in the days when he supported Lord St. Aldwyn, when he reduced the amount applicable to this purpose considerably more than I propose to reduce it at the present time. We must not, however, complain of that. If a man does not grow wiser with years there must be something intrinsically wrong with him. Therefore I may say that the hon. Baronet can claim that experience has taught him something which he knew nothing of in those days. I look with interest to the time when he reaches an age at which he will be sitting on this side of the House, and I am here to see that he carries out those high doctrines that he has laid down. We have, I think, cause to complain of the way in which not only the hon. Baronet but those who supported him presented this case. Are they really under the impression that they have stated the facts, not fairly, but with anything approaching approximate fairness? The impression they created is that whereas in the great days of Lord St. Aldwyn—and, of course, Sir William Harcourt's days are great now!—and Mr. Goschen, the National Debt was reduced substantially year by year by those careful Chancellors! Since the present Administration came into power all that has gone. The National 1990 Debt, we are told, has not been reduced, appreciably, at any rate, in comparison with the amount by which the debt was reduced by the party opposite.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
What did the hon. Baronet mean to imply? Would anybody imagine from the speech he delivered that the debt has been reduced during the lifetime of the present Administration by more than twice the amount that it was during the days of the best of these Chancellors. Would anyone have known that or suspected it? Not at all. And that was the impression that the hon. Baronet tried to create. He is talking here to an audience that really knows something about the facts, and if he talks like that here, where we are able to correct him, what would he say in the City? What are the real facts? The real facts are these. Mr. Goschen is the Chancellor of the Exchquer who did most until the advent of the present Administration to reduce our national indebtedness. He did more than any other Chancellor of the Exchequer. Sir William Harcourt might have done as much, but he was only Chancellor of the Exchequer for three or four years. Mr. Goschen's reduction was one, I think, of £39,000,000 of debt.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I will take six years if the hon. Gentleman likes. During these six years he reduced national indebtedness by £39,000,000. The present Administration have either actually reduced it, or have got money in the hands of the National Debt Commissioners for reducing it, by £103,000,000. Would anyone imagine from the speeches delivered by these great financial authorities, who try to inform the House of Commons and the public as to finance, and to warn them against the perils of the present Administration, that that was the state of things. It is not fair, it is not a creditable way of dealing with it.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
You said I said so; you said I claimed that I did, but the hon. Baronet knows it is a fact. Is it fair, when the present Administration, having reduced the national indebtedness of this country by something that no other Administration has ever approximated to— 1991 is it fair not to state that fact to the country as well as to the House of Commons and the politicians of this country?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The hon. Baronet knows or he ought to know something about the rules of the House, and that it is not fair to carry on a running comment of that kind. He has had his fling and he ought to try and state the truth, but he concealed three-fourths of it. Now let us have the figures more carefully analysed. The hon. Baronet has suggested that the provision we are making this year for the reduction of debt is something which is incomparably less—that is his suggestion—than anything provided by the Administration to which he gave most unswerving support. He used to keep them in during the dinner-hour by spending hours of his time making speeches. He told us about that Administration, which he held up as a model of finance to me. They provided at the highest something like £6,000,000—I am not talking of the war time; I am leaving that out—I am talking of times of piping peace, times when the hon. Member for Clapham said were times of great credit and great finance, spirited markets, and great profits—and they provided these £6,000,000 a year for paying debt. This year, when we have reduced the Sinking Fund, we provide £9,000,000 to reduce national indebtedness—£3,000,000 better than those great creditable days of finance which is the standard on which a degenerate Chancellor of the Exchequer should fashion himself.
§ Mr. G. FABER
I said it would have been very bad business to redeem Consols at 110 when they were redeemable in 1931 at 100.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
It is bad finance for a Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer to provide £9,000,000; he should have provided £10,000,000 or £11,000,000 or £12,000,000, but the highest financiers declared that a Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer should not provide more than £5,000,000 or £6,000,000. These Gentlemen pose as financiers, but they are simply rancorous partisans; they go about posing in the City as high-grade financial pundits, but they are pure common or garden Tories of the most common kind. I do not object to the hon. Gentle- 1992 man making his partisan speeches. Not at all, but I object to his doing it in the garb of a great financial authority and banker. That is what I object to.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I have some weapons at my disposal too. At the same time I would rather keep within the rules of order and discuss this business across the floor, and if the hon. Gentleman cannot take his drubbing like a man I cannot help him. Let me just say exactly what has been provided in these degenerate days of Radical finance. My predecessor, the Prime Minister, in three years provided for the reduction of debt and reduced the debt of this country by a greater figure—approximately the same—than Mr. Goschen. The Unionist Chancellor of the Exchequer who did most in the way of reduction of debt did it in the whole of his six years of office. Mr. Goschen provided something like £39,300,000 for the redaction of debt, but my predecessor reduced it in three years by £39,857,000. This is the Radical Administration which is not paying oil debt. Let us come to the still worse case of my right hon. Friend's successor. I raided the Sinking Fund; I chipped it oft' here and there; I made no reduction of debt at all. That is a sort of suggestion made. Now what has happened in my degenerate and deteriorating days? In the course of the years I have been in office it is true I have had to find money for taxation, but I have imposed no taxation for anything or for any purpose that was not adopted by the whole House of Commons, and not merely by one party. I have not been forced to raise taxes for any purpose which was not supported by both parties. Old age pensions was so supported, and the only complaint about insurance was that I was not spending enough. Take the Navy. Attack was made upon our Administration, not because it was spending too much, but because it was not spending enough on the Navy. So that so far as taxation is concerned, I raised taxation for purposes pressed for by both parties.
In spite of that fact, what has been done for the reduction of debt, including 1993 the money in the hands of the National Debt Commissioners? I have actually provided in those years of high taxation pressed upon the Exchequer, no less than £70,000,000 for the reduction, of debt. I am entitled to make this boast: No other Chancellor of the Exchequer, Radical or Unionist, has ever reduced the indebtedness of this country in the course of six years by £70,000,000. Let the hon. Gentleman opposite mention one, and if he is not able to do so he is not entitled to make these attacks upon me; he is bound to state the facts fairly. But in addition to the £70,000,000 gone in the net reduction of indebtedness, what has happened? We have found £1,500,000 for the building of sanatoriums out of the Old Sinking Fund. We have found £1,500,000 for a Development Fund, mainly for agriculture. We have found £250,000 for East Africa, and the hon. Gentleman (Colonel Williams) asks what happened to the £500,000 that was to come out of the Old Sinking Fund for East Africa? The whole of that sum has been voted to avoid the necessity of borrowing. Has the hon. Gentleman followed what has happened in regard to the Persian Oil transaction? We have been able to find £2,200,000 for that transaction without borrowing a single penny.
I said that £500,000 is still upon the Exchequer Balances, and my contention was that it ought to go back to the Sinking Fund.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
It is not for me now at this stage to defend that transaction. The only thing is, according to the hon. Gentleman, we should have put £2,200,000 to the Sinking Fund and go to the City and borrow £2,200,000. I should have thought that a very foolish transaction which no banker would press upon the consideration of the House. Then the hon. Gentleman says this is your Free Trade finance; you are bound to keep down your Sinking Fund. What Protectionist nation is paying debt, at all at the present moment? Has he followed what is happenning in other countries? My hon. Friend the Member for Mansfield has pointed out that while we are increasing expenditure, they are also increasing expenditure. They are increasing it on armaments, and we are increasing it partly and substantially for social reform. What is the difference between us and foreign countries? They are borrowing huge sums of money, while we this year 1994 are providing £9,000,000 for the reduction of debt without borrowing anything. With these facts, I think I am entitled to claim from men with some association with finance and some position in finance that they should state these facts fairly and with justice to their opponents
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I suppose the Chancellor of the Exchequer thinks that extravagance of language is the best cover for extravagant expenditure. I suppose he thought he was going to put himself on good terms with the Committee. [An. HON. MEMBER: "He has done it!"] It is not very difficult to do that with his own side. The right hon. Gentleman thinks he has put himself on good terms with the Committee by trying to persuade them that they understand finance better than a City audience. [An HON. MEMBER: "He did not say that!"] Yes, he did say that! The right hon. Gentleman talks about unfairness, but I wish he would try and be a little more fair himself in debate. He made that statement. He thinks he can throw gibes at us, and if we make the faintest reply he at once resents it, and stands on his high horse. The right hon. Gentleman first of all tries to please his own side by suggesting that they are much more capable of understanding high finance than a City audience, and then he proceeds to make a speech which proves that the exact contrary is his real opinion. I am sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer would never have attempted to make such a speech to any audience whom he really thought understood finance. I do not think he could have paid his own side a worse compliment, and his speech really was very amusing to us on this side of the House. [An HON. MEMBER: "You look amused!"] I do not think that I ever heard a speech which amused me more. I was never more amused than when I heard the rapturous cheers with which hon. Members opposite heard the right hon. Gentleman repeat for the seventh or eighth time the very identical phrases, and the very same extravagant gestures when he boasted of the number of millions by which he has reduced the National Debt. We have heard it all before—
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
They always seem fresh to his audience. I congratulate the Chancellor of the Exchequer upon the admirable manner with which, by his 1995 oratorical ability, he can serve up stale goods as new. Of course, what he naturally did his best to conceal was that the point of view from which criticism has come on this side of the House was not confined to the mere figures by which this Chancellor of the Exchequer, or that, has paid off so much or so little of the National Debt, because that is a point to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer practically confined his whole speech. The point is not how much of the funded debt has been actually paid off by any individual Chancellor of the Exchequer, but it is, are we acting wisely to-day in reducing the amount allocated to the Sinking Fund, not regarded merely in comparison with the amounts which have been allocated to that service in previous years, and confined to that particular aspect of it, but are we allotting enough to-day in view of the general financial situation of which the Sinking Fund is only one particular unit? That is really the position.
I am sure hon. Members will agree that to attempt to deal with the whole aspect of that question in a Committee debate would be out of order and impossible, and therefore I do not propose to attempt to cover the whole ground. I think, however, I am entitled to point that out in reply to what has been said. I do not think beyond what I have said that it is necessary to reply to the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because the whole point in his speech was, "I have paid off so many millions of the National Debt in so many years, and my predecessors paid off so much," and by saying that the right hon. Gentleman imagines that he has covered all the ground. Hon. Members who spoke before the right hon. Gentleman had a much wider knowledge of finance, and they dealt with the question on a somewhat wider ground. They did make some attempt to compare the situation which existed when previous Chancellors of the Exchequer paid off debt, and the situation which exists to-day when the Chancellor of the Exchequer is providing £9,000,000 for that purpose. Take, for instance, the time when the Unionist Government left office. An hon. Member opposite suggested that the present Government received a bad inheritance from the previous one, because certain sums had been borrowed for naval and military works, and the interest on that was left as a legacy to the present Administration.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I mean the repayment of Sinking Fund and interest was left as a legacy for the present Government, and the sum of £900,000 was the amount of that legacy.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
Well, the statement was that the Unionist Government left the present Government a legacy of £2,250,000. Did it ever occur to the hon. Member to compare that with the financial legacy which the next Administration is likely to inherit from the present Government? Which legacy would he prefer? Of course, every Chancellor of the Exchequer who has to deal with the finance of the country must look at it as a whole. You have in this matter to take the main factor, and that, is the rate of taxation which is being imposed upon the country You may express the Sinking Fund and all the other items in terms of taxation, but it is quite obvious that when we are incurring such commitments, looking at it from a purely financial point of view, the main point to consider in the raising of the money is not whether it has been ill-spent or well-spent, but what is the financial position of the country in regard to the finding of the money for the Budget of the current year. The Chancellor of the Exchequer claims that he has paid off a capital sum of £100,000,000, and because that is the sum taken by my hon. Friend behind me. The Chancellor of the Exchequer suggested that my hon. Friend had treated him very unfairly. I do not think he meant that, because the whole tone of my hon. Friend's speech was, extremely fair. He pointed out that £100,000,000 of debt had been paid off, but he went on to point out over the general area of finance how that in itself was not a sufficient provision for the general needs of the Exchequer. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer claims to have paid oil £100,000,000 of debt, he does not mention the fact that he has increased the annual expenditure by something like £40,000,000.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I do not approve of wasting £1,750,000 on the salaries of 12,000 1997 officials. I do not approve of wasting something like £1,000,000 a year upon an absurd and senseless and wasteful valuation. Those two items alone amount to a great deal more, and will produce a great deal less than the sum spent on naval and military works by the late Government, which has been referred to by the hon. Member opposite.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
Very large sums have been wasted on the Insurance Act, and I do not believe the country is getting anything like full value for that enormous expenditure. As I have already said, this is not the place to discuss whether we approve or disapprove of the different items of expenditure. This is not the opportunity, nor is the Committee now considering whether that particular form of expenditure is right or wrong. What we are considering is the way in which the money is being raised, the ability of the subjects to bear it, whether it is being raised in the best manner, and the general position of the Exchequer in regard to the same. This Clause raises the question of the credit of the State. I think the hon. Baronet opposite will admit that whether the1 expenditure be good or bad is a question beside the mark when you are considering the credit of the State. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer says he has paid off £100,000,000 of debt it is only fair to point out that he has increased the annual expenditure by at least £40,000,0000, and if that is translated into a capital sum it is equivalent to doubling the National Debt. At the time the legacy referred to was left to the present Government, the price of Consols considerably exceeded 100, and it was obviously bad finance to buy Consols at a price above par and then borrow fresh money for expenditure of that description. That was the reason why Sir William Harcourt originated that form of borrowing.
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
I think it is only fair to the memory of Sir William Harcourt to say that he did not initiate that system, because it was initiated by the Naval Defence Act of 1888, and the Barracks Act of 1895. It is true that in 1894 Sir William Harcourt followed the precedent which was set in 1888.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
I must challenge that statement. I know there had been isolated precedents, but the system of con- 1998 tinuous borrowing under a Naval and Military Loans Act was instituted by Sir William Harcourt, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not deny that. The first time there was any systematic continuous borrowing for naval and military works was under Sir William Harcourt's scheme of 1894. At any rate, it was Sir William Harcourt. This ought not to be the subject of recrimination on either side. The present Government are constantly claiming credit for having altered that system and for now paying for these works out of revenue. Do hon. Members suppose, if a Unionist Government were in office, with Consols at 75—I hope that they would be higher, and probably they would be—that they would not adopt the same system as the Chancellor of the Exchequer has adopted? It is purely a matter of the financial position at the time which each Chancellor of the Exchequer has to meet. Do hon. Members really suppose that because a certain system for providing money required by the State was necessary in 1896 it is necessary now? I would really ask hon. Members to allow me to proceed without so many interruptions. It is very difficult to make a speech when hon. Members are constantly interrupting.
§ Mr. J. M. HENDERSON
You could have increased the Sinking Fund in 1903, 1904, and 1905, when Consols stood at 86½, 85, and 87, or 14 per cent., 15 per cent., and 13 per cent., respectively, below par.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
That was immediately following the war. I did not mean in any way to impute unfairness to the hon. Member. It was the hon. Gentleman behind him who made an extremely rude interruption, and it is not the first time. Each Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he has to raise money, has to adapt the means to the particular financial situation at the moment. It is not, therefore, of very great value to a Committee of this kind—it is really a waste of our limited time—to throw stones across the floor of the House at each other as to the wisdom or folly of a particular action simply by comparison with the way 1999 in which money was raised eight or ten years ago. This thing is always cropping up. It is again and again contradicted, and it is again and again brought forward. Our contention is that, taking the whole area of which this particular proposal forms a part and having regard to the present position, to the rate of taxation, to the remaining amount of the National Debt and to the price of Consols, the financial position of this country is not so strong as we should like to see it, or so strong as it was left by the right hon. Gentlemen's predecessors. That is really the whole point. The question whether an extra million or two is added to or subtracted from the Sinking Fund is really a matter of minor importance. Supposing the credit of this country were so good, her resources so great, and her taxation so low that everybody knew that if she were to go into the market to borrow the whole financial world would be ready to supply her at sight, then these kinds of detail would be of minor importance. We know that is not the case to-day, and the real charge of my hon. Friend is that as the result of the financial operations of the present Administration, and particularly of the present holder of the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, the credit of this country and the power of borrowing of this country have been considerably reduced. That is the position, and it is from that point of view we criticise this as an item in that decline of credit—not from the point of view of whether the exact amount of millions paid off to-day is greater or less than it was—and from that point of view every criticism offered from this side of the House is most amply and fully justified.
§ Mr. J. M. HENDERSON
We have had in the City, as the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) knows very well, loans with which the present Chancellor of the Exchequer has had nothing to do, 90 per cent, of which have been left with the underwriters. Loan after loan has been a failure But what has that got to do with the Chancellor of the Exchequer? The whole market for Consols, as a matter of fact, was upset by a Unionist Chancellor of the Exchequer. He reduced them to 2¾ and then to 2½. For two and a half years, in 1894–5, the bank rate stood at 2. People began to think it was never going up again, and you could get no interest or only ½ per 2000 cent, on Bank deposits. People bought Consols and ran them up to an extraordinary figure. At that time Liverpool brought out a loan at 2½ per cent. and put it up by public tender and got 104. Birmingham got 102. Where are they to-day? What has the Chancellor of the Exchequer got to do with the fall of them?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Baronet made the first speech in the Debate, and I must ask him not to interrupt.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am sorry. I did not mean to interrupt, but the hon. Gentleman said that we had said that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was responsible because Birmingham stock had gone down. We never said anything of the sort.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I must remind hon. Members that they are here to hear things with which they do not agree, and it is not necessary to make constant interruptions.
§ Mr. J. M. HENDERSON
I am not a thick-and-thin supporter of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or of any other man, but I do think that the attacks made upon him with regard to finance are shamefully wrong, and I really must protest against them. There is not a single or fair-minded man in the City who knows anything about finance who will ever say anything of the kind. I know there is a small coterie that charges him with everything. Anything that goes wrong is charged to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is not fair. We have, as a matter of fact, had years of prosperity when money has been fetching big interest—5 and 6 per cent.—and it has been impossible to float loans yielding a small return. That will come right when trade is not so flourishing. It is a simple operation of finance, as everybody knows. It is no use hon. Gentlemen turning round and saying that they would not be so foolish as to redeem Consols over par. They had an opportunity during four years of reducing the debt and buying at 14 per cent. or 15 per cent. discount and they did not do it—or, at all events, not to the extent that they might have done. You will find securities going up again when business is slacking off. Do not let any man make any mistake. I can remember when the Stock Exchange list was only a sheet, but to-day it is fourteen pages. What is the meaning of that? It 2001 means that to-day there are hundreds of things in which people can invest their money. Mr. Goschen kept up Consols by very clever means. He gave the banks and brokers ½ per cent. commission to induce their clients not to demand cash. The consequence was that when 3 per cent. was reduced to 2¾ per cent., and then to 2½. per cent., people began to want more interest, and they looked round to invest in something to give them more money. Recent years' have given them the opportunity. It is quite easy to get 4 per cent, and 4½ per cent. on good securities, particularly Colonial securities. Colonial stocks were also made trustee securities, and that opened a great field of investment. People to-day will not accept 2¾ per cent. and 2¾ per cent., and the investment field is ever so much wider. I protest against hon. Gentlemen blaming the Chancellor of the Exchequer or this Government for the decline in the securities or for a limited credit, because I know, and men who are in daily intercourse with the facts in the City know, that it is absolutely unfounded.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his very pretty outburst of simulated anger covered a great deal of ground, but he did not explain, and nobody has explained, why in the present year he should make provision for the Sinking Fund so very much less than his two predecessors. The hon. Member who has just spoken said that my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) did not take advantage of the opportunity of relatively low Consols in 1905. That is exactly what he did. He did increase the Sinking Fund. I am not sure that he did not increase it in 1904, but he certainly did in 1905. It then stood at £28,000,000. The present Prime Minister the next year, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, increased it to £29,500,000, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer should explain why he now thinks £23,500,000 is sufficient, when the money, of course, would go much further. He talks of so many millions having been redeemed. It is a great deal easier for him than it was for my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham. There never has been so good an opportunity for paying off National Debt at so low a figure, I suppose, for something like fifty or sixty years. The present proposition is a matter of a million. Would it not have been better to have spent a little less on various other things, which I cited the 2002 other day? £200,000 might be saved on ourselves. I quoted the Road Board. The right hon. Gentleman said, "Oh, but now we have such splendid roads." It is all very well for him going about in his motor car, scattering the sons and daughters of the people before his path, but he should really think more of the taxpayers at large than of the interests and amusements of special classes who can afford these luxuries. My hon. Friend suggested that it might be done in the matter of valuation as well. But the whole point of this Debate is, should £1,000,000 be taken from the Sinking Fund or be raised by fresh taxation, or saved by economy. I have mentioned one or two ways in which a great deal, more than a million might be saved without interfering with armaments, which are a necessary insurance, and the point I wish to emphasise is, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, neglecting the example of his immediate predecessors, is doing nothing which he might do although he has a splendid opportunity of reducing debt and enhancing the credit of the country.
§ Mr. MILLS
The hon. Member for West Aberdeen (Mr. Henderson) has delivered a very able speech, and I think he ought to follow it up by voting with us in the Division Lobby, because all the arguments he adduced conclusively proved our case. In view of the fall in Consols and Stocks,, surely that is all the more reason why this raid should not be made on the New Sinking Fund. I agree that in matters of this sort you cannot lay down any general rule, and though, perhaps, I have less experience than the hon. Gentleman, I should say he is just as much in the wrong in his defence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as are those who attribute the whole fall in Consols to the right hon. Gentleman's finance. It is a fact that Consols have fallen considerably—and, in my opinion, much more than they ought to have done. At the same time we have also had very cheap money. Consols are standing somewhere between 71 and 75 and, although we have not got money quite as cheap as in 1892, it is under 2 per cent., and if you cannot get more than 1½ to 2 per cent. for your money in the ordinary Money Market, whereas you can get £3 6s. 8d. from Consols, unless there is something wrong, Consols ought to stand higher than they do to-day. That is a reason why we should not take away the only customer for Consols that we have 2003 got. The hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) very truly observed that the one force which keeps up the Consols market, even to the limited height it stands at to-day, are the buyings of the Government brokers, and what you are doing to-day is to reduce that buying power.
May I submit with great respect to hon. Members opposite that it is no use their attempting to prove that we were much worse than themselves. I imagine they support the Chancellor of the Exchequer because they think he is much better than we were, but if they can only support his financial policy by proving that our policy was worse, it would not seem that they have a very good argument. I notice that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite do not attempt to say that the proposed provision is sufficient. If you are raising the largest sum in taxation that has ever been raised, and your expenditure is higher than ever before, it seems to be elementary common sense that this is not the time to reduce the amount you are putting aside for payment of debt. What, after all, is the point of this Amendment? It is not a question whether we were piling on debt or borrowing money, or at what price Consols stood in our time. I very much doubt if any hon. Gentleman opposite considers that this is an opportune moment for reducing the charge for the New Sinking Fund, and that is shown by the fact that they have not attempted to defend it. They have tried to get us to say we are not in favour of old age pensions or national insurance, in order that they may make a party point in the constituencies, but that does not wring my withers at all. It is the business of the Government to so limit national expenditure, and so raise taxation as to do the greatest possible good to the community at large, without breaking down our credit system. They quote in support of their action Sir G. Paish, who, because he is a Radical statistician, they think is some inspired authority. It reminds me of the King of Israel who was told by every prophet, save one, that he was going to win, and when I hear hon. Gentlemen reviling our action I always recall Zedekiah, the son of Chenaanah.
§ Mr. MILLS
Perhaps a story of the deceased prophet would not be quite in 2004 order at this moment. I only rose in order to answer the speech of the hon. Member for West Aberdeen, and I hope, as he takes such a gloomy view of the fall, both in Government securities and municipal stock, he will support the hon. Baronet in the Division Lobby.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
I rise to reply to the challenge thrown out by the last speaker. He said that no Member on this side had suggested that sufficient money was being provided for the Sinking Fund. I venture to express the opinion that, considering the amount of money the Government have to raise for services agreed to by the House, it would be very injurious if they had not put the Sinking Fund at its present level but had kept it at its old level and imposed fresh taxation to take the place of money they were getting out of the Old Sinking Fund. I am bound to say that in most of the debates on the Budget the Opposition appear to me to have shown very poor political instinct in picking out for attack this particular Clause. In my opinion many parts of the right hon. Gentleman's Budget are much more vulnerable.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
I wish we had more time for discussing the Finance Bill, and I deeply regret the conditions under which we are debating it. I have always felt that the Sinking Fund has been hallowed into something almost sacred by successive Chancellors of the Exchequer, but that, after all, it is only a childish expedient for the House of Commons or anybody else to indulge in—this setting aside a fixed sum of money by the Government in power to pay an amount of interest on debt unknown, and also to be devoted to the repayment of capital, also to an unknown amount. It is but a childish expedient for dealing with the debt, and it has always seemed to me it would be a simpler and better plan that we should know how much we are devoting to the payment of interest on the old debt, and how much is to be devoted to paying off debt in the Estimates. A great deal of the discussion which has gone on has been solely due to this sort of sacred halo which as grown around the head of the New Sinking Fund, and I do urge that it would be much better if we devoted our attention to the actual fact how much of the £200,000,000 Budget is actually being 2005 devoted by the right hon. Gentleman to the repayment of debt. He has admitted by figures given during the Debate that he is paying £9,000,000 off the old debt in his present Budget, and I say, in answer to the hon. Member's challenge, that, considering the weight of taxation thrown upon the country by the increased expenditure on the Army, and for old age pensions and insurance, which nobody in this House except, perhaps, the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London attacks, £9,000,000 devoted to paying off debt is a very creditable sum for the Government, and quite sufficient in all the circumstances of the case. The hon. and gallant Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman) said that in considering the general position, a million more or less devoted to the Sinking Fund was a comparatively small matter, and what we had to look at was the credit of the country as a whole. Compare our position with that of foreign countries who are borrowing money in order to meet the expenditure of the year, while we are paying for everything out of income as we go along, and paying off debt as well. Surely no one in this House will deny that, whatever discredit may attach to the Government in the eyes of hon. Members opposite, the fact remains that our Government can borrow in the markets of the world at a much cheaper rate than any other Government.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
I also wish to draw attention to an observation made by the hon. and gallant Member for Chelmsford, who pointed out to those who were supporting the Chancellor of the Exchequer on this side, that it did not matter how we increased the expenditure for services like pensions of war, so long as we found the money out of revenue. The hon. and gallant Gentleman seemed to suggest that were the Conservative party to come into power it would adopt a similar policy. Have they then changed their tactics with reference to the question of borrowing for these purposes, and have they adopted the principles of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer of meeting expenditure out of revenue from year to year? I should like to know whether there is any authority whatever for the suggestion that there has been a change of policy in that respect by the party opposite. It is only about a year or two ago, when the question of adding considerably to the expenditure on the Navy was under discussion that we had a speech, which, I believe, will 2006 be found on record, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, whose return to the House I was pleased to see to-day, a speech containing a weighty statement in justification of the policy of borrowing for expenditure of this kind. I believe we had a series of speeches of that character delivered at that time in which it was urged that this expenditure ought to be met in that way, because it was expenditure not merely for insurance, not merely for the purpose of defending the Empire, but that it was also in the interests of future generations in this country and Empire, and we were, therefore, entitled to ask those who were coming after us to share the burden that we found ourselves immediately face to face with.
That was the burden of the song during the whole discussion on the Navy Estimates. The Noble Lord the Member for Portsmouth (Lord Charles Beresford) suggested, amid the cheers of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, that they ought at once to insist upon a Naval loan of something like £100,000,000. That was clearly the policy of the Conservative party up to a few months or years ago, at any rate, since I have been in the House. To-night we hear that if there were a Conservative administration in power, with Consols at the present price, they would not have attempted to meet exceptional expenditure for naval or military purposes by raising loans, but would have done exactly as the Chancellor of the Exchequer has done, and have met the whole of that expenditure out of the annual revenue. I do not know whether that is a change of policy, or merely a kite sent up by the hon. Member for Chelmsford, or an argument to counter the support given to the Chancellor of the Exchequer from this side. It is very creditable that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should have insisted upon the policy of paying his way as he went along. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have described that policy as not being fair or just to ourselves or to the generations to come. I wish to refer to the statement of the hon. and gallant Member (Mr. Pretyman), because I want it on record for some future occasion when we are debating the Naval Estimates and there is a large upward tendency in the expenditure, that there has been a definite statement made from the Front Bench opposite that if they were in power in similar circumstances, they would do 2007 exactly as the Chancellor of the Exchequer has done. The hon. Member for Central Sheffield (Mr. James Hope) suggested ways by which we could save money, and he drew attention to the money we spent upon ourselves. I suppose he meant the payment of Members. I quite understand that hon. Members opposite do not want any poor men in this House.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
If the hon. Member had heard the speech I made the other day he would have heard me distinctly say that the case of really poor men must be met.
§ Mr. J. WARD
If there are exceptions to be made, I suppose the hon. Gentleman would come down to my Constituency and offer to do the job for nothing, while I should insist upon being paid, and therefore he would get the best chance, even though the electors did not believe in his politics. Whenever it is suggested that any special item of expenditure should be reduced the ideas of hon. Members opposite immediately fly to the payment of Members. The fact that there are forty odd Members in this House who are poor men, and could not possibly keep themselves without it, is a serious disadvantage to hon. Gentlemen opposite. With reference to the financial situation, the hon. Member for Chelmsford said you have not only to consider what is paid off, but the liabilities you have incurred. He said we have added an extra liability for annual expenditure of something like £40,000,000, and that that should be put against the £100,000,000 liabilities of the State which have been paid off. It is not fair to refer to that £40,000,000 unless hon. Members are opposed to the items of expenditure which compose it. The time to discuss whether we ought to incur all these responsibilities should be on the Navy and Army Estimates, for we are all agreed upon social reform. I do not imagine that if hon. Gentlemen opposite were in power tomorrow they would interfere with old age pensions, which represent some £13,000,000. The probability is that within a year or two they might propose rather an increase than a reduction of that expenditure. I do not think they will attempt to reduce expenditure on the Army and Navy, or even upon insurance. In these circumstances, as the £40,000,000 increase is an expenditure accepted in the main by both parties, it is a moral certainty that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, of whichever party was 2008 in power, would have to provide for this expenditure. It is extremely creditable to-the present Liberal Administration that, in spite of these extra expenses, they have managed to relieve the liabilities of the State in eight and a half years by something like £100,000,000.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
The real criticism we have been applying to the right hon. Gentleman's financial measures is in relation to the management of the New Sinking Fund. I have only one word to say in regard to the speech to which we have just listened. You must compare the proportions of the revenue of the country and the provision for the payment of debt in relative periods to get the real test of how much of your annual income you should apply year by year to the extinction of your liabilities. I have made that test, and the figures are rather interesting, and I propose to give a short summary of them. In the financial year 1886–7 the proportion of our revenue set aside for the payment of national liabilities to the whole tax revenue was 7.2 per cent.; in 1892–3 it was 8.3 per cent.; in 1895–6, 7.9 per cent.; in 1898–9, just before the outbreak of the war, it was 6.4 per cent.; in 1905, immediately after the war, and when the liabilities were still-being liquidated, it was 5.7 per cent. Today the right hon. Gentleman is actually coining down here and having the assurance to congratulate himself in the House of Commons on the fact that the amount, which he has set aside for the extinction of national liabilities is not 8.3 per cent., as it was in 1892–3; not 5.7 per cent., as it was in 1905, but 3.9 per cent. That is the answer to the figures quoted by the hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire (Mr. J. M. Henderson).
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I make it 3.9 per cent. There is this to observe, that in the previous periods to which I have alluded those who were responsible for the finances of the country had always behind them in the case of emergency the great reservoir of the Income Tax, the great reservoir of the Death Duties, and the yet untapped reservoir of the Super- 2009 tax. Those are now being drained dry by the Government. If war were to break out, or any sudden crisis or emergency were to arise to make you call on your reserves, you would have none of those resources to which in those days you could have gone, while you are extinguishing your liabilities at a rate only half as fast as was done in the clays when
§ you had those resources still behind you. That is the real answer to the Iron. Member for West Aberdeenshire.
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 281; Noes, 176.2013
|Division No. 173.]||AYES.||[7.58 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Duffy, William J.||Kelly, Edward|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Duncan, Sir J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Kenyon, Barnet|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Kilbride, Denis|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||King, Joseph|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molten)|
|Alden, Percy||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Esslemont, George Birnie||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockedm'th)|
|Armitage, Robert||Falconer, James||Leach, Charles Henry|
|Arnold, Sydney||Farrell, James Patrick||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Ffrench, Peter||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Field, William||Lundon, Thomas|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Lynch, A. A.|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Fitzgibbon, John||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)|
|Barnes, George N.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs)||France, Gerald Ashburner||McGhee, Richard|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Furness, Sir Stephen Wilson||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Gelder, Sir William Alfred||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Gladstone, W. G. C.||M'Callum, Sir John M.|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Glanville, H. J.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Black, Arthur W.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)|
|Boland, John Plus||Goldstone, Frank||M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lines., Spalding)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Manfield, Harry|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Greig, Colonel James William||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Griffith, Rt. Hon. Ellis Jones||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Brace, William||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Gulland, John W.||Meagher, Michael|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Hackett, John||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix.)|
|Bryce, John Annan||Hall, Frederick (Yorks, Normanton)||Millar, James Duncan|
|Buckmaster, Sir Stanley O.||Hancock, John George||Molloy, Michael|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Buxton, Noel||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Morgan, George Hay|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Morison, Hector|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Haslam, Lewis||Muldoon, John|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Lanes., Heywood)||Hayden, John Patrick||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Hayward, Evan||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Clough, William||Henry, Sir Charles||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Clynes, J. R.||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Hewart, Gordon||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Higham, John Sharp||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hodge, John||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Cotton, William Francis||Hogge, James Myles||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Dowd, John|
|Crumley, Patrick||Holt, Richard Durning||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Cuilinan, John||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Malley, William|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Hudson, Walter||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth)||Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan)||John, Edward Thomas||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Delany, William||Johnson, W.||Parry, Thomas H.|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Jones, Henry Hayden (Merioneth)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Dillon, John||Jones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Joyce, Michael||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Doris, William||Kellaway, Frederick George||Pratt, J. W.|
|Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Scanlan, Thomas||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||Wardie, George J.|
|Priestley, Sir A. (Grantham)||Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.||Waring, Walter|
|Pringle, William M. R.||Sheehy, David||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Radford, George Heynes||Sherwell, Arthur James||Watt, Henry A.|
|Rattan, Peter Wilson||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Reddy, Michael||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Rendall, Athelstan||Sutherland, John E.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Sutton, John E.||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)|
|Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Tennant, Rt. Hon. Harold John||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)||Thomas, James Henry||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Robinson, Sidney||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Winfrey, Sir Richard|
|Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Thome, William (West Ham)||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Toulmin, Sir George||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Yeo, Alfred William|
|Rowlands, James||Verney, Sir Harry||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Rowntree, Arnold||Walsh, Stephen (Lanes., Ince)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||Waiter, Sir John Tudor||W. Jones and Mr. Webb.|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Samuel. J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C.|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Falle, Bertram Godfray||Mackinder, Halford J.|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Feil, Arthur||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Malcolm, Ian|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Fletcher, John Samuel||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Forster, Henry William||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Foster, Philip Staveley||Mount, William Arthur|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Gardner, Ernest||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Gibbs, George Abraham||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Gilmour, Captain John||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervasse||Goldman, Charles Sydney||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Grant, J. A.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Greene, Walter Raymond||Peel, Lieut.-Colonel R. F.|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Gretton, John||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Bigland, Alfred||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Bird, Alfred||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Haddock, George Bahr||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Bowden, G. R. Harland||Hall, O. B. (Isle of Wight)||Rawlinson, John Frederick peel|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Boyton, James||Hamilton, C. G. C. (ches., Altrincham)||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bull, Sir William James||Harris, Henry Percy||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Royds, Edmund|
|Butcher, John George||Helmsley, Viscount||Rutherford, John (Lanes., Darwen)|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Campion, W. R.||Henderson, Sir A. (St. Geo., Han. Sq.)||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Cassel, Felix||Hibbert, Sir Henry F.||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hills, John Wal'er||Sandys, G. J.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Sassoon, Sir Philip|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Stanier, Beville,|
|Clyde, James Avon||Home, Edgar||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Houston, Robert Paterson||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Hunt, Rowland||Stewart, Gershom|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk.||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Swift, Rigby|
|Currie, George W.||Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Larmor, Sir J.||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Down, N.)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Lewisham, Viscount||Tickler, T. G.|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Duncannon, Viscount||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Du Pre, W. Baring||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Colonel A. R.||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Watson, Hen. W.||Wills, Sir Gilbert||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Weigall, Captain A. G.||Wilson, Captain Leslie O. (Reading)||Younger, Sir George|
|Weston, Colonel J. W.||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Wheler, Granville C. H.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir|
|Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)||Worthington Evans, L.||J. Randles and Mr. Hohler.|
|Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
Question, "That the Clause be read a second time," put, and agreed to.
§ It being Eight of the clock, the CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 8th July, successively to put forthwith the Question on any Amendments moved by the Government, of which notice had been given, and the Question necessary to dispose of the Clause to be concluded at Eight of the clock at this day's sitting.