HC Deb 05 April 1910 vol 16 cc387-8W

asked the Secretary to the Treasury if he will state the expenditure from Votes (Exchequer Issues) and on Capital Account on the Army, Navy, and Civil Services in the years 1883–4, 1893–4, 1898–9, 1908–9, and the Estimates for this year, in the form contained in the Report from the Select Committee on National Expenditure, Parliamentary Paper, No. 242, of Session 1903?

The HON. MEMBER also asked the same right hon. Gentleman whether he can give for the years 1883–4, 1893–4, 1898–9, and 1908–9 a summary of the permanent capital expenditure, whether paid for out of loans or income, for each of the Departments, Army, Navy, Civil Services, and Revenue?


The classification of expenditure in the Return referred to in the question was based, not on the character of the expenditure itself, but on the manner in which it was met—i.e., whether it was borne upon Votes and defrayed out of the revenue of the year, or defrayed out of moneys borrowed under special Acts of Parliament. The Estimates of Expenditure under special Acts for the current financial year will not be available until my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made his financial statement. When these Estimates are available, it would be possible to give an analysis of the expenditure of 1908–9 and the estimated expenditure of the current year on the same basis. Any analysis of voted expenditure on the basis suggested in the second question would be impracticable, since the distinction proposed to be made is one which has never been recognised in our public accounts relating to annual expenditure. It would be very difficult to arrive at a satisfactory definition of "permanent capital expenditure," and whatever definition might be adopted there would necessarily be a large number of items the classification of which would provide a fruitful field for controversy.