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Iraq (Budget)

Volume 154: debated on Tuesday 30 May 1922

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11.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can give the House any information on the financial position of the Government of Iraq; whether the budget is expected to balance this year; if not, whether any grant in aid will be made by the Imperial Government; and whether the cost of the armed forces stationed in Iraq is included in the budget?

The detailed Estimates for the current financial year have not yet been received from the Iraq Government, but I am assured that every effort is being made to balance the Budget. Should the expenditure, however, exceed the revenue this year, no grant in aid will be made from Imperial funds. The whole cost of the Iraq Army is borne by local revenues; the cost of the Imperial garrison and the cost of the Iraq levies are a charge upon Imperial funds.

Does the right hon. Gentleman expect that in the near future the whole of the forces in Iraq will be chargeable to the local Government?

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether that grave political crisis of which he informed us a few weeks ago is now at an end?

Yes, Sir. It has been happily ended and the Chancellor of the Exchequer has resumed his function.

Is there no possibility of the troops being a first charge upon the local revenue?

I made a lengthy statement on that subject the other day, and I then indicated the sort of cost we should have to look forward to in future years. The House debated the matter for a whole afternoon, and it is impossible for me to improve upon that statement in answer to a question.

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us what is the approximate strength of the Iraq levies?