48 and 92. Captain TERRELL
asked (1) the Prime 'Minister if lie can make any statement as to the steps which have been taken since the House adjourned to reduce public expenditure, and in what direction economies have been mainly effected;
(2) The Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he can state by what amount his estimates for financial expenditure in the first half of the financial year 1919–20 have been exceeded; and whether any large economies have been effected in any direction which were not contemplated when he introduced his last Budget?
As it is not possible to deal adequately with the matters raised in these questions within the limits of an answer, and as the House will no doubt desire to discuss the financial situation as a whole, I propose to lay two Papers, the first showing the revised estimates of revenue and expenditure for the current year, and the second a. revised estimate for a normal year on the lines of that which I attempted in my Budget Statement.
Arising out of the answer, and in view of the heavy financial commitments for housing, out-of-work donations, and pensions, is it not possible at once to give the House some definite figures of reductions in war expenditure?
§ Mr. LAMBERT
Would the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to say when be anticipates that such a discussion—obviously it is desired by the House—will take place?
I understand that private notice has been given to the Prime Minister of a similar question to that put by my right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Lambert), and the Prime Minister will answer it at the close of questions.
Mr. J. JONES
Is he prepared to say that a public inquiry will be held into the whole question of national expenditure?
That is for the House of Commons to decide. The House will first see the Papers I propose to lay and will discuss then what action we should take.
I have already. said the Prime Minister has received notice of a question to that effect for to-day, which he will answer at the close of questions to-day. Perhaps my hon. and gallant Friend will be good enough to wait for that.
Sir F. HALL
On a point of Order. Is it not the recognised custom of this House that questions which have been printed on the Paper should be replied to in preference to those by Private Notice?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The question was replied to and then supplementary questions were asked. It was in reply to. Supplementary questions that the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that further replies would be given by the Prime Minister.