HC Deb 26 February 1918 vol 103 cc1265-8

Considered in Committee.

[Mr. WHIXLEY in the Chair.]

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £10, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Expense of Wages, etc., to Officers, Seamen, and Boys, Goastguard, and Royal Marines, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1918."


This Navy Supplementary Estimate for 1917–18 is rendered necessary as a result of the Parliamentary Rules affecting the use of excess Appropriations in Aid operating upon the Token. Vote system. We must obtain Parliamentary sanction for the use of Appropriations in Aid in excess of the sums provided in the Token Estimates for the Navy. Questions of naval policy do not, I apprehend, arise upon it. They must, I imagine, await the introduction of the main Estimates for 1918–19. The War renders the Token Vote system necessary for the fighting Services. We have submitted to the House now three annual editions of the Token Votes. My right hon. Friend will submit the fourth edition, that for 1918–19, next week. In the Token Estimates for each of the seventeen Navy Votes Parliament votes us £l,000, and under each Vote we are empowered to take a sum of £100 as Appropriation in Aid. The substantive expenditure comes from the Vote of Credit. These actual expenditures are set forth in an account made to the Comptroller and Auditor-General, and he reports upon that to the Committee of Public Accounts. That account, although it contains the full substantive expenditure for each year, does not give the details of the precise expenditure under Votes 8, 9, 10, and 11, for obvious reasons. The necessity and justification for the Token Vote system are set forth in a Treasury Minute of 5th February, 1915, with which I dealt very fully in March, 1916, when I submitted the first Supplementary Estimate. I will recall to the Committee the course it prescribes in respect of Token Appropriations in Aid. The document said this: My Lords accordingly propose that the substantive Appropriation in Aid of the receipts should be left over to be made upon Supplementary Estimates under the respective Vote later in the financial year, when the amounts can be more precisely ascertained, a nominal Appropriation only being made on the original Estimate?, and that the receipts as they accrue should be retained by the Departments and applied by them in reduction of Exchequer issues from the Vote of Credit We are authorised under the original Token Estimate of 1917–18 to spend £l,700 in Appropriations in Aid. So far as we can see we shall receive and spend in 1917–18 £13,000,000. It would be impossible for the moment to dissect that substantive sum into the various sources from which we derive it and allocate it to the respective Votes which provide for the services for which we secure this revenue. So, for the time being, we allocate it, as shown on the face of this Supplementary Estimate, provisionally under Vote 1, again with Treasury approval. It will be distributed hereafter under the Votes which give us the services for which we get this Appropriation in Aid in accordance with time-honoured custom in the Appropriation Account. Appropriations in Aid have grown sensibly under war conditions. In the recent pre-war years we used to get about £2,000,000 a year Appropriations in Aid. In 1914 they amounted to £2,556,266, in 1915–16 to £5,688,317, in 1916–17 to £15,095,721, and here in 1917–18 we reckon they will amount to £13,001,700. The increases in war time of the Appropriations in Aid is due largely to repayments from allied Governments for the issue of fuel and munitions, payments for contractors for the issues of stores to them, and repayments from other Departments of the Government for services rendered, particularly the War Office and the Munitions Department. We are entitled to spend seventeen single hundreds of Appropriations in Aid, and we expect to receive and shall spend £13,000,000. In pursuance of the Treasury Minute I come with this Supplementary Estimate and ask the Committee to regularise the appropriation of that sum. Further, Section 4, Sub-section (l) of the Appropriation Act of 1917 has authorised the Treasury to give temporary sanction for applying any further receipts which may have accrued under particular Votes in aid of any shortage which may arise under other V[...]s in the 1st. m[...] for 1917–18, and finally an Appropriation Bill later this Session will ask for Parliamentary sanction to this transfer between the Votes.


I want to ask for some information with regard to writers.


That does not arise on this Vote. The right hon. Gentleman has correctly explained that this and the following Vote is really merely of the nature of authorising the Appropriation in Aid. No question of general policy with regard to wages or allowances arises on this occasion, but an opportunity will be open next week.


This provides money for expenditure on wages of certain people in the Royal Navy. Do I understand your ruling to mean that we cannot discuss the wages either of officers, seamen, boys, Coastguards, or Marines on this Vote?


No; this Vote is not authorising that payment. It is only authorising a certain method of bookkeeping for a sum which was authorised last year, and which will again be authorised next week for the coming year.


I had intended raising the question of wages paid to the servants of sub-contractors for the Navy. By the instructions of the Navy advanced wages were paid to servants of sub-contractors —

4.0 P.M


That point can be raised on two occasions. The earliest one will be on Vote A of the main Estimates. On. Vote A, anything that. appertains to the administration of the Navy can be raised. Then there will be a subsequent occasion when Vote 8 of the main Estimates comes up.

Question put, and agreed to.

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