HC Deb 04 May 1915 vol 71 cc1003-4

I now come to the forecast for this year. It is quite impossible for any Minister to present a true estimate to Parliament at the present moment. I can, at best, only submit two alternative estimates: one based on the continuation of war for six mouths, and the other based on the assumption that the War will continue till the end of the financial year. It is not for me to express an opinion upon which of those two estimates is likely to be realised, and I doubt whether at the present moment anybody can pledge his reputation to a military forecast of the duration of the War during the present year, but it is obvious that the character of the Budget for the year must depend on the view taken by the Government of the probabilities. That is why we have come to the conclusion that this is not the time upon which to base a financial policy for the whole of the year. All I can do now is just to give the Committee our forecast of the Revenue and expenditure upon these two alternative bases.