§ I now come to the financial year 1922–23, and I begin with the estimates of expenditure. The figures for the Supply Services are already before the Committee. They are for Ordinary Services,£460,000,000 odd, and for Special Services, 1028 £61,000,000 odd, making a total of£521,500,000. The circumstances of the year compel me to make some further allowance for contingencies. There are many matters which still have to be dealt with in connection with the Irish settlement. There are claims for compensation with regard to which a Commission is to sit for the purpose of assessment. There is a grant to Northern Ireland of£500,000 for unemployment. There is an added million for overseas settlement, and there has already been a Supplementary Estimate of 3½ millions in connection with the new unemployment scheme.
§ Just as much as my hon. Friend the Member for Wood Green (Mr. G. Locker Lampson), I deprecate the use of Supplementary Estimates, but it is quite obvious that in present conditions it is necessary to make some provision for them; but I think the worst objection to Supplementary Estimates disappears, if at least we contemplate our contingencies in advance and make allowance for them. I accordingly have allocated a sum of£25,000,000, which I think will be adequate to cover these contingencies. Accordingly the total anticipated Supply expenditure is raised by the addition of that figure to£546,500,000. There will be other opportunities for discussing the Estimates, but I want to make one or two comments in passing. In the first place, the Committee must keep clearly in mind that our Estimates for 1922–23 no longer include, apart from some special grants, provision for Southern Ireland or for the transferred services in the case of Northern Ireland. This accounts for a reduction, more than counterbalanced by loss of revenue, of something like£24,000,000. In the second place, even with the additional£25,000,000, the total of£546,500,000 estimated expenditure is£218,500,000 below the adjusted Budget estimate of last year —and I hope the Committee will observe that figure—and£242,500,000 below the final Estimates for last year. I think that figure will furnish a sufficient reply to those who, with a persistence which now almost amounts to malevolence, reiterate the statement that this Government is doing nothing for the reduction of expenditure.
§ I perhaps ought to remind the Committee that the figure of reduction in the estimates of expenditure to which I referred in the course of the Debate on 1029 the Report of the Geddes Committee, the figure of£181,000,000, is not comparable with the figure which I have now given. In the first place, it included Ireland, and in the second place it dealt only with Ordinary expenditure, but the figures I have now given exclude Ireland and deal both with Ordinary and with Special expenditure. I wish also to make it plain that even upon these figures the Government is in no wise desisting in its efforts to effect reductions. Indeed, I am confident that in the course of the present year, as we did in the course of last year, we shall succeed in making very appreciable reductions in expenditure, and still more in the year following. It is foolish to expect that you can do everything at one blow, even with an axe. The Government was unable to accept all the recommendations of the Geddes Committee, for reasons which commended themselves to both sides of the House, although the reasons were not always the same, but that alternative methods of curtailment must be discovered if the Geddes recommendations cannot be adopted is quite certain, especially looking to the added burdens that we shall have in the year 1923–24, and in this matter I ought to get the support of the House, first, in resisting new expenditure, however laudable, as well as in cutting off branches of services which, good and useful as they may be, are of such a character as at the present time we cannot afford to keep up.
§ Continuing my review of the estimated expenditure, I put the Consolidated Fund Charges at£363,438,000, of which interest on debt accounts for£335,000,000. That is the figure I gave to my right hon. Friend the Member for Paisley a moment ago. I ought to make it clear that while this figure includes£25,000,000 for interest on debt to the United States Government from October next, it includes no provision for debt redemption apart from certain terminable annuities. To this subject I will return later.
§ Sir R. HORNE
It is an item in that general total. The total expenditure accordingly, exclusive of debt redemption, I estimate at£910,000,000 odd, made up of£363,438,000 for Consolidated Fund Charges and£546,631,000 for Supply Services. Adopting the division which was 1030 made in the Budget statement last year, I divide this total of£910,000,000 into£823,800,000 for "Ordinary Expenditure,"£61,200,000 for "Special Expenditure," and£25,000,000 for contingencies.