HC Deb 09 November 1921 vol 148 cc456-7

Accordingly, the picture which I am now presenting to the House is that both the estimated surplus of £97,000,000, which was for certain contingencies which I have described, and that of £80,000,000, which was to be devoted to the payment of Sinking Fund, will both have disappeared, and we shall be left in a position in which there will be no deficit on the actual Budget. I have been referring to the figure all the way through as a figure of £80,000,000, but I think it will prove to be less than £80,000,000, which will require to be applied to Sinking Fund purposes, for this reason. A large part of the £80,000,000 was concerned with the surrender of bonds in payment of Excess Profit Duty, but on the Estimate I have given of the shortage of Excess Profit Duty, the amount involved in the surrender of bonds also decreases, and we estimate that the amount which will be so surrendered will be less by £20,000,000 than was originally estimated, and, accordingly, putting the whole matter together, my anticipation is that we shall be required to borrow £60,000,000 before the end of the year to meet these Sinking Fund charges. But on the ordinary Budget there will be no deficit. I believe I created some misapprehension in the country by a speech I made in Glasgow some time ago in which I spoke of a deficit. I was using the word loosely then in the sense that there would not be all the money that was required to pay the Sinking Fund charges as well, but my estimate now is that we shall meet out of revenue everything except these particular Sinking Fund charges.