HC Deb 12 August 1919 vol 119 cc1093-4

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can give the main headings of the £4,440,000 which constitutes the daily average expenditure now being incurred by the nation?

58. Mr. CLOUGH

asked what are the main items of outlay represented in the average daily expenditure of £4,442,000 for the period from 1st April to 26th July; and if this sum includes the interest on all War Loan Stock?


Of the total daily average expenditure to the 26th July approximately £1,077,000 a day is due to Debt charges and other Consolidated Fund Services, £1,874,000 a day is due to Army, Navy, and Air Services, and the balance of £1,491,000 a day to Civil Service and Revenue Departments. The first of these three figures includes the interest payable in the period on War Loan Stock.

Colonel ASHLEY

Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that it is necessary at the present time that this country should spend £600,000,000 a year on its Army, Navy, and Air Services?


That does not arise.


In view of the nation's serious financial position, will the right hon. Gentleman call the attention of those Departments where economies can be effected to the urgent need for taking immediate action in that direction?


I have not required the suggestion of the hon. Member in order to take steps in that direction.

59. Mr. G. LAMBERT

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, with the in formation available since his Budget estimate, he anticipates the national expenditure will be £1,434,910,000; and whether he has succeeded in enforcing economies in the Navy, Army, and Air Force whereby the estimated expenditure on these Services of £602,700,000 shall be materially reduced?


The Government are now engaged in cutting down the expenditure of the fighting forces, but I cannot at this moment forecast with any accuracy the total expenditure on these Services for the current year. I hope that it will be very much less in the second half than in the first half of the year, but I should not be justified at this stage in holding out any hope of the total being less than the figures presented to the House. On the contrary, it will almost certainly be greater. My right hon. Friend will bear in mind that pay and pensions have both been largely increased since the original estimate was framed, whilst the return of Peace is much slower than had been hoped.


Is it really necessary to keep up these very large establishments, which run away with so much money?


That is a subject which is now engaging the constant attention of His Majesty's Government, with a view to making the necessary reductions.