23. Sir F. HALL
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether surplus funds belonging to the South African Field Force Canteens were held by the War Office at the beginning of the Great War; whether any and, if so, how much of that money was lent to the promoters of the Expeditionary Force Canteens; whether such loans were repaid; what is the present total surplus profits of the South African Field Force Canteens; and in what manner have they been utilised?
§ Mr. LAWSON
As regards the first part of the question, £50,000 was sent to the War Office in August, 1914, from the funds of the South African Garrison Institutes. Of this sum, £2,500 was expended on the purchase of books and papers for troops at the front, and £47,500 was lent to the Expeditionary Force Canteens. The Army Council decided to allow this loan 1053 to remain as part of the surplus assets of the Expeditionary Force Canteens, and it was therefore included in the sum which was divided among the overseas contingents and the United Services Fund, in accordance with the provisions of the War Service Canteen (Disposal of Surplus) Act, 1922. As regards the latter part of the question, at the date of the withdrawal of the British garrison from South Africa the unexpended balance of the South African Garrison Institutes Fund amounted to £9,601, which has been invested, the income being devoted to the provision of social and recreational facilities for the troops now serving.
§ Mr. LAWSON
The £47,500 has not been repaid. Perhaps it would Suit my hon. and gallant Friend if I read that part of the answer again. [HON. MEMBERS: "No"!] In any case, I ought to explain that the £47,500 was simply merged into the amount divided between the United Services Fund and the Overseas Contingents after all necessary payments had been made under the Act of 1922.