§ Original Question again proposed.
That the Item for Works and Buildings and Repairs be reduced by £100." (Mr. Weir.)
§ *MR. WEIR
I beg to move to reduce the Vote by £100. I do this in order to get information from the War Office as to the increased expenditure for barracks in South Africa. The Leader of the Opposition has to-night referred to the policy of expansion. He stated correctly, that we do not know how far we are going and how much expenditure we are dragged into by carrying on this policy of expansion. Here is an instance: £50,000 is wanted for increased accommodation for the garrisons in South Africa. The right honourable Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition complained of the neglect of home affairs, and the Under Secretary for War said he was anxious for an illustration of that neglect. I will give him one now. In the county I represent there are barracks, but there is no accommodation in these barracks for the staff. The Militia have to go to Fort George for the convenience of the staff, because there is no accommodation for them at Dingwall. Why is attention not given to these matters? Why are these barracks not put into a proper and satisfactory condition to accommodate the officers?
THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES
I do not find any item in the Vote relating to the barracks to which the honourable Member refers. The honourable Member must confine himself to the barracks to which the Vote refers.
§ *MR. WEIR
I was only giving an illustration, which the honourable Gentleman the Under Secretary for War asked for. I should like to know why there is this enormous increased expen- 560 diture for barracks. Surely the War Office could have known last year how much money would be required for that purpose. This is a system which is growing year by year. We never know where we are. We are told so much money will be required, but as soon as the next Session commences the first thing is a Supplementary Vote. This system ought to be stopped. I beg to move a reduction of the Vote by £100, with the object of obtaining some information and as a protest against this practice.
§ MR. DAVITT (Mayo, S.)
I wish to ask the right honourable Gentleman the Under Secretary for War one question. On page 3 I find an item, "West Coast of Africa, increased accommodation for garrison, £5,000." Will the right honourable Gentleman say where on the West Coast of Africa the barracks are to be erected—whether on the Gold Coast, at Sierra Leone, or at Lagos?
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
In which colony of South Africa are the barracks to be built? In Cape Colony or Natal? And I would like to know if they are to be taken over by the Colonial Government afterwards and re-paid for.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I understand that the honourable Member refers to South Africa. In South Africa we have garrisons for a certain number of troops, rather over 9,000 during the last two years; and the accommodation has gradually been improved in view of the efficiency of the troops. For want of barrack accommodation some of the troops have had to be accommodated in tents and others in huts. I understand the honourable Member asks me if financial relations exist between ourselves and the colonies.
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
There were in ancient days barracks both at King William's Town and at Graham's Town, which are both in the western provinces of Cape Colony. Well, these barracks were given to the Colonial Governments many years ago upon the condition that they should be handed back if required. A long period has elapsed since then. In the case of King William's Town the Colony has kept the old barracks in repair and has handed them over to the Imperial Government. The barracks hold only 600 men, and we had to erect huts for the rest of the troops—147 men in all. In the case of Graham's Town the main building of the old barracks, dating back many years, was converted partly into a lunatic asylum and partly into an hospital for the chronic sick. The lunatics could not be turned out of the asylum. There is also at Graham's Town an old barrack which had been turned into a school. We are taking over that school on the condition that we pay £6,000 for a school elsewhere, which is half the cost of the new school. If we give the old school back to the Colony the Colony will refund the £6,000.
§ *MR. WEIR
Are we to understand that £150,200, less £6,000 expended for the school, that is £144,200, is to be expended in converting a lunatic asylum into a barrack at Graham's Town, South Africa? I really hope that the honourable Gentleman will give us some information. I am most anxious to save the time of the House, but, of course, if we cannot get information what can we do but walk through the Division Lobbies?
§ DR. CLARK
I have not exactly understood the right honourable Gentleman on one or two points. I know that last year troops were sent to Natal, and now I know that some are being sent to Graham's Town and King William's Town. I understand that the old barracks which we handed over to the Colony for nothing we are going to buy back. Do the Govern- 562 ment intend as a permanent policy to keep large garrisons in South Africa at the cost of the Imperial tax-payer, while they pretend that the defence of the Colony is to be paid for by the Colony? If this is only a temporary arrangement, why buy back the barracks, and why not use tents for the accommodation of the troops, which might do very well in such a climate?
§ MR. DAVITT
The right honourable Gentleman has not answered my question as to where on the West Coast of Africa these barracks are to be erected.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
These barracks are for a new regiment which is being raised—the West African Regiment. I believe the name of the tribe from which the regiment is being recruited is the Mendis. When you speak of barracks in this ease, the term covers huts.
§ *SIR C. DILKE
The reason for pressing the question is a larger one than the right honourable Gentleman seems to think. Some of us are very anxious in regard to these forces in West Africa. They are under various administrations War Office troops, Colonial Office troops, and foreign Office troops. And some of us are anxious to see some system coming out of the present chaos.
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
I believe that the accommodation for the troops in West Africa is being provided in the neighbourhood of Sierra Leone.
I trust there will be another opportunity of discussing this matter. I object very strongly to the policy being pursued in West Africa, where people are shot down who revolt against an unjust hut-tax. I would like some explanation as to why these expeditions are being sent in this manner to burn villages and destroy towns.
That the Item for Works and Buildings and Repairs be reduced by £100."—(Mr. Weir.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 65; Noes, 143.—(Division List No. 20.)563
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Haldane, Richard Burdon.||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)|
|Brunner, Sir J. Tomlinson||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Hazell, Walter||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Burt, Thomas||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Caldwell, James||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt. Hn. Sir U||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Kearley, Hudson E.||Scott, C. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Labouchere, Henry||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'land)||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Lewis, John Herbert||Strachey, Edward|
|Clough, Walter Owen||Lloyd-George, David||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Colville, John||Lough, Thomas||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Commins, Andrew||Macaleese, Daniel||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Crombie, John William||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Williams, J. Carvell (Notts.)|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||M'Arthur, Wm. (Cornwall)||Wilson, Hy. J. (York, W. R.)|
|Daly, James||M'Cartan, Michael||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan||M'Ghee, Richard||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Maddison, Fred.|
|Duckworth, James||Morgan, W. P. (Merthyr)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.)||Norton, Capt. Cecil Wm.||Mr. Weir and Mr. Davitt.|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. H. John||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||More, R. Jasper (Shropsh.)|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Morton, Arthur H.A. (Deptfd.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham(Bute|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W.(Leeds)||Goschen, Rt Hn G. J.(St. Geo.'s||Murray, Col. Wyndham(Bath|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Graham, Henry Robert||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Green, Walford D.(Wednesb'y||Pease, Herbt. Pike(Darlington|
|Beach, Rt Hn Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Gretton, John||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Gull, Sir Cameron||Pilkington, Richard|
|Bethell, Commander||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord Geo.||Pollock, Harry Frederick|
|Bigwood, James||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Purvis, Robert|
|Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Hatch, Ernest Fredk. Geo.||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Heath, James||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.|
|Carlile, William Walter||Henderson, Alexander||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. homson|
|Cavendish, V.CW. (D'byshire)||Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Hill, Sir Edw. Stock (Bristol)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)||Rutherford, John|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Hobhouse, Henry||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Howell, William Tudor||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Hozier, Hn. Jas. Henry Cecil||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hutton, John (Yorks. N. R.)||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)|
|Curzon, Viscount||Kemp, George||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Kennaway, Rt Hn Sir John H.||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Davenport, W. Bromley-||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Strauss, Arthur|
|Donkin, Richard Sim||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Doughty, George||Knowles, Lees||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Doxford, William Theodore||Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn||Valentia, Viscount|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Hart||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Webster, Sir R. E.(I. of Wight)|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Mnc'r)||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham||Williams, Joseph Powell- (Birm.|
|Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Long, Rt Hn Walter(Liverpool||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Finch, George H.||Lowles, John||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R.(Bath|
|Fison, Frederick William||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Wyndham, George|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose-||Macdona, John Cumming||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Fitz Wygram, General Sir F.||Malcolm, Ian||Young, Commander (Berks, E.|
|Flower, Ernest||Middlemore, John Throgmorton|
|Folkestone, Viscount||Milner, Sir Frederick George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Garfit, William||Monk, Charles James||Sir William Walrond and|
|Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H.(CityofLond||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Mr. Anstruther.|
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
I propose now to divide the House on the whole Vote. I quite admit that something is to be said for the Capitation Vote for the Volunteers, which perhaps ought to remain. But the question is whether every other item there ought to be paid out of the excess of this year or whether they ought to be paid next year. I think they ought to be paid next year, and my reason for saying so is that there is not a single item which could not have been provided for by a careful Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Budget of last year. This is really a thoroughly bad system. The Supplementary Estimates are being increased every year, and if we go on we shall fall into the system of the South American Republics, where they bring in a beautiful Budget, in which everything balances itself, and shows an expenditure of two millions. But at the end of the year a Supplementary Estimate of four millions is introduced, and, of course, there is a deficit, and debtors are not paid. I do want to establish our financial system on a sound, practical basis—on the basis that the Minister of Finance should take into consideration all reasonable and possible expenditure, and that he should tell us in his Budget what is to be expended during the year. The right honourable Gentleman has not done that, and previous Chancellors of the Exchequer have not done it. It is a practice which has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished. While there are a considerable number of items in this Vote which ought to be paid out of the expenditure of next year, I ask honourable Members to vote for my Motion on the general principle, and that a lesson, ought to be given to the Government against a system, in the first place, of not fully stating their expenditure for the current year, and in the next place, of putting the Volunteer Capitation Grant in this year's expenditure, which is not payable till next year.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I support the Motion of my honourable Friend, for really this system is increasing from year to year. It adds to the difficulty of finding out what is spent on the large services of the State. That cannot be done by simply consulting the Estimates of the year and of the 566 previous year. But a further ambiguity is introduced. If we want to find out what is spent on the Army or Navy, we have got to look at the Estimates for the year and then at the Military Works Act, and the Barracks Act (and you are going to have a new Barracks Act), and also at the Supplementary Estimates of the year before. I say that the way of compiling the accounts makes it impossible to see what is going to be spent in the present year, but still more difficult to find out what is going to be spent in the future if we try to compare one year with another. We have had no explanation given at all as to the reason why this system has been introduced of forestalling the expenditure of the year. I even should have doubted whether it was in order to move from the Chair that sums of money should be voted this year to Her Majesty, while on the face of the Estimates these sums are not payable till April next. Altogether a sum of no less than £260,000 out of a total of £885,000 is not in the expenditure of this year at all, but in the expenditure of the year that is to follow. We have had no explanation of why this has been done, or whether it is a bona-fide adoption of a new system of finance in the country. Until we can get some explanation from some financial authority in the Government we ought not to allow this Vote to pass.
§ MR. WEIR
I do not want to give a silent vote. The only means we have of protesting against this bad system is to walk through the Division Lobbies. That is a very unsatisfactory proceeding, but what else can we do but strengthen our protest by going into the Lobby against a system growing year by year, especially since the Conservative Party came into power. I think it is my duty to protest as long as I can against this bad practice.
§ DR. CLARK
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is here. Will he not take part in the Debate and tell us as to whether he will make some change so that the Supplementary Estimates shall include only such items of expenditure as were not really foreseen? When you know that you are going to pay certain moneys in the course of the year, as much as you are going to make any 567 other expenditure, and do not include them in the Budget, the farce of drafting the Budget and omitting these moneys ought to be given up.
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
The right honourable Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has explained very fully already the history of the Volunteer Capitation Grant. If it becomes payable, as I believe it will become payable, before 31st March, it is quite right and proper that the money should be voted in the Supplementary Estimates. But if it is not paid before that date, the money so voted and not paid, will be paid out of next year's exchequer. Whether the Estimates published for next year ought to have included the £500,000 for the full Capitation Grant is another point. I will consider the matter before the end of the next financial year.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
The right honourable Gentleman has given us an explanation. It is the first that have been given us, and is so far satisfactory. But it is absolutely contradictory of the Memorandum which the Secreary of State for War issued with next year's Estimates.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
But when the Estimates are submitted to the House it is surely the Chancellor of the Exchequer who is responsible for them. But here we have it explained by the Secretary of State for War, who states in his Memorandum that two items are not for the service of the present year, but for the service of the year that is to come. What we want is to get the assurance of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in regard to these two sums, that if the War Office has been guilty of an irregularity, it has not been guilty of irregularity in other items.
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
My right honourable Friend the Under Secretary of State for War has explained. I understand that they are properly chargeable in the Supplementary Estimates of the year.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
I think my honourable Friend has got a very satisfactory promise from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I think that the right honourable Gentleman has said that before the end of the next financial year he will look into this question, and, if possible, charge the Vote in the regular Estimates, and so avoid what is little better than a scandal.
§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I must not be carried beyond what I said. The question is when this part of the Capitation Grant to the Volunteers is payable. That is a point which has still to be ascertained. If it is payable before 31st March, then it is properly included in the Supplementary Estimates. There can be no question about that. If it becomes payable after 31st March, then it ought to be included in the regular Estimates. When the additional Capitation Grant to the Volunteers was made, that was not the case, and that was really the beginning of voting this money in the Supplementary Estimates.
SIR H. CAMPBELL BANNERMAN
I must ask the right honourable Gentleman to improve upon his promise a little bit. He sees the point perfectly well—it was raised some time ago—that if this payment at the end of the year of the half of the Capitation Grant to Voluteers is a regular payment going on every year, then it can be foreseen at the beginning of the year just as well as afterwards. It was proved to be such a regular payment, by the figures which I quoted, for many successive years. Then, in that case, is the proper course not this: that the present Army Estimates on the table of the House should be amended, and a sum added, so that they should include the amount which would otherwise fall on the Supplementary Estimates at the end of next year? That would be the proper remedy, surely. But if that is not done, then the Budget which the right honourable Gentleman will be dealing with in a few weeks will be, so far as this goes, a false balance-sheet. We all know that this sum will have to be met at the end of the year, and the straight way would be to cancel the Vote in the Supplementary Estimates relating to the Volunteers which have been circulated to honourable Members, and 569 put in an amended Estimate including the £250,000.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Then, in that case, we are to be thankful for small mercies. I am perfectly satisfied, however, that now that the right honourable Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has promised to look into the matter, he will act fairly in the matter. I do not wish to divide the House when the Chancellor of the Exchequer says that, if the Capitation Grant is payable in March, it ought to be in the Supplementary Estimates, but, if not payable till April, it should be in the Regular Estimates for next financial year. But there is a note in the Memorandum to the Estimates, which states that it is payable in April. The guarded style of the Chancellor of the Exchequer amounts to the fact that this item will not appear in the Supplementary Estimates next year. In these circumstances, I withdraw my motion.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ "2. £100, Supplementary, Ordnance Factories."
SIR H. CAMPBELL BANNERMAN
Can the honourable Member take this opportunity of giving us some information as to the new arrangements as to the re-organisation of the Ordnance Factories. A statement has been made in the other House.
*MR. POWELL WILLIAMS
The new arrangements are not yet complete, and it is impossible to say to the House at the present moment what they will be. I would, therefore, ask the right honourable Gentleman to be good enough 570 to postpone his question until the Ordnance Factory Estimate comes on in the ordinary way, when a full statement will be made.
§ Vote agreed to.