HC Deb 04 May 1915 vol 71 cc1000-1

4.0 P.M.

I have already circulated with the Votes figures giving a summary of the finance of the War up to 31st March last, therefore it will not be necessary for me to dwell at any considerable length upon those. There are, however, two or three features in the figures of 1914–15 upon which I should like to dwell for a moment. First of all I should like to call attention to the cost of the War up to the end of the financial year. For the first eight months the War cost in round figures £360,000,000. This includes, however, advances to the Dominions and to our Allies amounting to £52,370,000, making the net cost of the War £307,416,000 up to the end of the financial year. This includes a certain sum of money which was expended in the purchase of wheat, meat, sugar, and other commodities. That money we hope to have returned to us. The cost is a progressive one. For the first four months the War cost £102,000,000. This includes the cost of mobilisation. For the second four months it cost £177,000,000. I have eliminated out of both figures the sum of money which has been invested in the purchase of wheat and other commodities, which will have to be resold. Our forces in the field have increased rapidly. Enormous orders for equipment and munition are maturing for payment, and therefore the cost is an increasing one.