Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £100, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1919, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Ministry of Munitions.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of MUNITIONS (Mr. James Hope)
Without a word of explanation no one will possibly understand this Vote. It is a purely book-keeping Vote, and really requires no money at all. What has happened is this: The expenses of the Ministry of Munitions have never been put before the House in the form of detailed Estimates any more than during the War the Army and Navy Votes have been given in detail. They have been defrayed out of Votes of Credit. In order that the Ministry of Munitions administration might come before the House for review, it was necessary to put some figure down, and, accordingly, last year the figure of £1,100 was put down. Of course, it would have been absurd for anyone to think that that was the total Vote to the Ministry of Munitions. No one could tell what the Vote would be during the War, so the figure was put down for technical purposes. The actual cost, of course, has run through scores of millions. The money has been found out of the Vote of Credit. In order that the matter should appear in proper Parliamentary form, and in proper accounting form, it is necessary to show these particulars now. Therefore, another £100 has been put down in order that tins might be presented in the proper way, and that the necessary appropriation account may follow. No more money is required and no new question of policy is involved in this Vote. The same applies to the other Vote which follows.