HC Deb 27 November 1916 vol 88 cc101-2

Resolution reported, "That it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by Parliament, and, if those moneys are insufficient, out of the Consolidated Fund, of such sums as may be required for giving effect to obligations incurred for the purposes of the present War or in connection therewith, by or on behalf of His Majesty's Government, and for other purposes in relation thereto."

Motion made, and question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."


I should like to ask the Financial Secretary one question, and that is, When may we expect this Bill? There are matters in this Bill as to which the House requires information. We were unable to obtain it in the Committee stage of the Resolution, and I think the Bill should be in the possession of Members as soon as possible.


I would like to repeat the question I have already put in regard to this matter. We had rather confused explanations of the Resolution in the Committee stage. At that time it was understood by the Committee that the Resolution merely covered obligations which had been ratified by either or both of the last two Government War Obligation Acts. That was the first statement made by the Government, but it subsequently transpired that there were certain new matters covered by this Resolution. In other words, that there were fresh obligations which did not exist at the time of the passing of the previous Act which the Government had since incurred and for which, by this Resolution and by the Bill that will be founded upon if, they desire the ratification of Parliament. The point I now wish to put to the right hon. Gentleman is whether he will indicate what is the general nature of the new obligations since incurred by the Government which are included in the purview of this Resolution?


If the House agrees to this stage, the Bill will be immediately printed. As regards the other point, none of these obligations are in themselves covered by a previous Bill, but the bulk of the obligations which are covered by this Bill are of the same class as all the obligations covered by the pre- vious Bill. I can really add nothing to what I have said. I am sure my hon. Friend, when he sees the Bill, will find that the additions are not matters of at all the same scope and nature as the class of cases which have already been covered. There are loans to Scarborough, a very small matter, because it is a question of the possible balance of loss; the post-war question of assisting banking abroad which has been before the House, and one or two small matters of that sort; and I do really suggest that as there are three stages of the Bill to go through the interest of the House is sufficiently safeguarded, and the matters are more appropriate for discussion when the text of the Bill is in the hands of hon. Members, which will be as soon as it possibly can be done.


If there is any sense in having a Resolution of this kind—and there must be some reason—is it not possible to give some sort of indication as to the amount required by a particular Bill? The Government must have some idea. Sometimes a limit has been given.


As I ex plained, this is not the case of the House granting money, but the case of granting sanction for contractual obligations which the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Treasury have entered into, the money having been voted by Parliament either under the Vote of Credit or in some other form. This is not a Bill which asks for money to be voted to the Government; it is a Bill which sanctions contractual obligetions the Government have entered into, which may be paid out of the Vote of Credit.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in upon the said Resolution by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Herbert Samuel, Mr. Runciman, and Mr. McKinnon Wood.