HC Deb 27 February 1919 vol 112 cc2008-9

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £19,300, 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 Expenditure in respect of sundry Public Buildings in Great Britain, not provided for on other Votes.


I wish some Minister would explain these Votes and save questions having to be asked. We are going to spend a great deal of money this afternoon. This Estimate asks for £19,300 additional to the original Estimate. I have looked this up in the old Estimates and I find that the original Estimate for this Research Laboratory was £120,000, of which £25,000 had been expended before 31st March, 1918. The Vote required for 1918–19 is £95,000, and they come down this afternoon and ask for a further £19,300 without giving us the least explanation as to why this money is required. Before we vote this additional money inside of a couple of minutes we ought to have some explanation from the Treasury as to what developments are taking place and what has arisen to require this further expenditure of £19,300.

4.0 P.M.


I should explain that this is merely a re-vote of an unspent balance of a sum provided in last year's Supplementary Estimate. The fact that it was unspent was largely due to the delay caused by it being impossible during the War to proceed with the erection of the experimental station for research. It is really not an additional payment, but really a re-vote of a sum that was not spent last year and will be spent this year. It has been extremely difficult to frame this Estimate at all. The project covered a very large scheme for experimental fuel research to be carried out near Teddington, including experiments in the carbonisation of coal at low temperatures and high temperatures. When we started building we found the foundations were very bad, and a great deal of trouble was experienced in getting the foundations ready. Therefore it was very difficult to put in any one year a given estimate, and we did not spend as much money in 1917–18 as we expected.


Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that when there is an unexpended balance of a Vote that that automatically lapses and a re-vote is necessary?


Yes; certainly.

Question put, and agreed to.