HC Deb 15 March 1934 vol 287 cc566-7

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the increase or decrease in the Civil Estimates for 1934, as compared with those for 1931, omitting from the former the provision for transitional benefit which in 1931 was being defrayed out of borrowed money?

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)

I am sending my hon. Friend an extract from the Budget speech of last April in which I explained the difficulties of taking any Estimates for 1931 as a basis for comparison with subsequent years. The main difficulty of course is that the original Civil Estimates for 1931 proved unsound and had to be revised within a few months. I would also remind my hon. Friend that the sums amounting to £39,610,000 which were borrowed on account of unemployment in 1931 were not in respect of transitional benefit but of insurance benefit. If these sums are added to the original Civil Estimates for 1931 which included £30,000,000 for transitional payments the total is £357,421,992. The total for 1934, which includes £45,830,000 in respect of transitional payments, is £335,603,157. But no useful comparison of these two figures can be made for the reason which I have already given.