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Clause 28—(Suspension Of New Sinking Fund)

Volume 155: debated on Wednesday 21 June 1922

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

In the financial year ending the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and twenty-three, that portion of the permanent charge for the National Debt, which is not required for the annual charge directed by the National Debt and Local Loans Act. 1887, or any other Act, to be paid out of that charge, shall not be paid.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Those of us who are in favour of sound finance would like to record our votes in the Division Lobby against the suspension of the Sinking Fund. This is no light matter. In the old days the financial stability of this country depended very largely upon the fact that, on the average, before the War, we paid £25,000,000 every year off debt. That gave strength to our financial position and made us the centre of finance for the world. This is the first year since the War that we have abandoned the old-fashioned plan of finance in favour of a habit that has been growing all over the Continent in recent years, which is having on the Continent most lamentable results. We are ceasing to pay off debt. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, by ceasing to pay off debt, finds himself in the happy position of being able to remit taxation. Next year he may find that he has to increase taxation again to make both ends meet. How much simpler it will be, not only to cease paying off debt, but to start accumulating debt. The very argument that has appealed successfully to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in favour of dropping the old-fashioned English habit of paying off debt may very well appeal to him next year to carry the process a little further.

We have only to look abroad to see how very attractive this new method of progression is to Chancellors of the Exchequer in other countries. In Germany, of course, no Chancellor of the Exchequer attempts to balance his Budget. What he cannot raise in taxation he can print with the printing press and carry on. The only result is that the mark sinks ever lower in value.

In France even, budgeting has not ha-come a question of balancing; the extraordinary expenditure is not met and the ordinary Budget is short of £80,000,000 of balancing. Before the War France was not remarkable for balancing the Budget. Instead of paying off debt the French merely increased debt, and now they are going over the same road, only more quickly. On the Continent they borrow money, or print paper money if they cannot borrow. I do not say that we are on that road yet, but this is the first step, and it is the first step that counts, as far as conscience is concerned. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer will do this one year some other new Chancellor of the Exchequer will come along and say, "Well, the late Chancellor of the Exchequer showed me the road, and I will follow along that road. He was hailed as the saviour of his country because he ceased to pay off debt. I will be hailed as the second saviour, because I increased debt." Many of the arguments of the rich men to-night are arguments for the next Chancellor of the Exchequer not only to cease paying off debt, but to increase debt, and so to send up prices and decrease the value of the pound. It is a rosy path that the future Chancellor of the Exchequer can tread. He will be blessed by Lancashire. He will find that the first year he can borrow a little money and the second year a little more money, and then, like the Gadarene swine, he will run down the same precipice that Austria has run down, that Germany is running down, and that all other countries will run down sooner or later if they do not follow honest finance by paying their way. I wish we were paying our way in the old-fashioned way that was blessed by such patrons of sound finance as Mr. Gladstone and Sir Robert Peel, remembering that, after all is said and done, honesty is the best policy.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget statement, before he announced to the Committee his intention to repeal the Sinking Fund, reminded the House that the National Debt had been largely repaid during the last few years. On 1st May the Chancellor of the Exchequer said:

"The policy of the redemption of debt we have pursued with vigour and success." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st May, 1922; col. 1039, Vol. 153.]
Anyone reading those words would infer that during the last three years the National Debt has been largely reduced. What, however, are the facts? It has been clearly brought out since that date that the National Debt has been decreased by only £21,000,000. During that period the Government have sold national assets to the extent of £800,000,000. Every morning in the columns of the "Times" one reads speeches delivered by the chairmen of different companies, and one reads on many occasions that the chairman of a company points out to the shareholders that mortgages have been reduced and financial liabilities reduced, and the chairman refers with pride to the progress made during the past twelve months. If the chairman of a public company, speaking at his annual meeting, told his shareholders that liabilities had been reduced, but did not point out that they had been reduced by the sale of capital assets, that particular chairman might not hold his office twelve months hence. That is my first charge against the Chancellor of the Exchequer. On 1st May the right hon. Gentleman pointed out with truth that. he had provided "£322,000,000 in cash towards the redemption of debt during the last two years"; but side by side with that statement he did not make clear to the people that the position of the country to-day is very much worse than it was three years ago. The Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot deny that statement. Three years ago we had £800,000,000 worth of assets. Those assets have been sold. It is true that debt has been reduced by £21,000.000 during the last three years. Therefore the nation to-day is poorer to the extent of at least £780,000,000 in capital assets. The Chancellor of the Exchequer made the further claim:
"I do not mean to say that he is not to find the revenue to meet the expenditure."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st May, 1922; col. 1040 Vol. 153.]
The right hon. Gentleman first of all justified the repeal of the sinking fund by his broad statement that the National Debt had been reduced. His second point was that during the present year he was meeting his annual expenditure out of his annual revenue. How far is that accurate? Take the figures presented in the White Paper. Exclude the special revenue on the one hand and the special expenditure on the other. The total revenue is £820,775,000, and the expenditure is £845,846,000. In other words, there is a deficit during the present year of £25,000,000. In addition to that deficit the Government have taken power to borrow £14,000,000 for the payment of unemployment benefit. That amount should be brought into our annual statement, so as to reveal clearly to the public the true financial position. I have made further inquiries into the ordinary revenue of the year and I wish to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer a question. His miscellaneous receipts are £22,000,000. There is a sum of £16,000,000 for the Currency note Reserve Account surplus. Perhaps the Chancellor of the Exchequer could say what that account is. I have asked several hon. Members if they could explain it to me, but I am at a loss for information. It has a very direct bearing upon this point. The Chancellor of the Exchequer claims that he is meeting his ordinary expenditure out of the revenue of the year. I have endeavoured to show that, judged on his own figures, his annual expenditure exceeds his annual revenue by £25,000,000, and that to that figure must be added £14,000,000 borrowed for unemployment benefit. That is a total of £39,000,000. I submit, therefore, that the claim that the debt had been reduced fans to the ground, and that in the present Budget his annual revenue is insufficient to meet his annual expenditure. I have been trying to find out what causes the Chancellor of the Exchequer to take such a light view of our present financial position and not to set aside any money to meet the National Debt. I find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer in this House on 13th February last dealt with the, question of the National Debt. The words he then used rather made light of the size of our National Debt. He said:
'"The £350,000,000 of the revenue which is taken from the taxpayer to-day is returned to him in the shape of dividends from the Government stock which he owns."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th February, 1922; col. 704, Vol. 150.]
That rather implies that in the opinion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer the size of the National Debt is of little consequence. I have gathered during the last two days that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has no regard for the shibboleths of the past. He is willing to turn his back on the principles which have made this country great. But I feel that the size of our National Debt has a very direct bearing on the prosperity of the country. Any attempt the right hon. Gentleman can make during the next twelve months to reduce expenditure on the one hand and to reduce taxes on the other, and thus to have money available for the reduction of debt, will do much for the trade of the country. He is raiding the Sinking Fund. He has also raided and drained the pockets of the taxpayer. We have pointed out on several occasions that the Government have searched with success the pockets of the British taxpayer—more successfully than any Government at any time. They drained the pockets of the taxpayer to make their Budget balance. They propose to raid the Sinking Fund. The sooner the Government return to the principles of the past, the sooner will prosperity return to this country.

8.0 p.m.

It is absolutely vital to a great exporting country to maintain its financial position. The case of France has been cited. Whatever country like France or any Continental nation may do is no guide to this country, a great exporting country dependent upon the maintenance of its financial position in the markets of the world. We can maintain that position only by largely reduced expenditure, on the one hand, and by further reductions of taxation on the other hand. The proposals of the Government are retrograde; they are not in keeping with the financial sacrifices made by the country during the last five years. I, know the Chancellor of the Exchequer will say, "If I do not stop the automatic working of the Sinking Fund where am I to find the necessary money?" During a Debate in this House a few weeks ago the right hon. Member for the Central Division of Glasgow (Mr. Bonar Law) clearly pointed out that, in his opinion, certain Departments of the State were exceeding the normal expenditure. If the Chancellor would direct his attention to those Departments in the coming year, there might be a sum of money available at the end of the year for the reduction of the National Debt. I have endeavoured to deal with the claim put forward by the Chancellor on two grounds. First, as to our record during the last few years being unprecedented, I submit that during the last two years if there has been a reduction of the National Debt it has been secured by means which are not clearly realised by the public outside. They think, as the Debt has been reduced, the country can afford reduced taxation. On the other hand, national assets have been reduced, and the unfortunate possession of these assets by the Chancellor during the last two years has enabled him to reduce it. We feel that there should be a drastic curtailment of the cost of armaments, so as to set free further large sums of money in the coming year for the reduction of the National Debt.

We have had two rich speeches on finance. The hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) ended up his speech by saying "honesty is the best policy." I quite agree with him, and I am sure as Britishers we will stick to honesty and see that any debts we may owe are properly paid. He referred to Austria. Well, Austria is in a terrible plight, but so are other countries. There are very few countries in the world balancing their budgets to-day, whether they were in the War or not, but the countries that were in the War are not balancing their budgets because they did not tax their people (luring the War. That is why we are in such a wonderful position with regard to our finance. The hon. and gallant Member also referred to the Sinking Fund. One hundred years ago we did something exactly similar to that which is being done in the present Budget. We cancelled our Sinking Fund for so many years. It answered correctly then, and I feel confident it will answer correctly in this case. The hon. Member for Greenock (Sir G. Collins) referred to a speech of the right hon. Member for Central Glasgow. Perhaps he may also remember a speech made a month or so ago when the right hon. Gentleman stated that the actual reduction in our Debt had been over £500,000,000. That is a gigantic amount. I think there is no country in the world which has reduced its debt at all in the last five or six years, and it is remarkable to think that we could reduce ours by such an immense sum in six years—indeed it is really since 1919 or only three years. That is beyond all description.

My hon. Friend's statement that we were not reducing the amount in any way is entirely wrong. Has he referred to the Floating Debt? Does he watch those figures? If he looks at the figures of the Floating Debt he will find that it is down £390,000,000 in the last year. Think of what that means in interest alone, and as showing how the credit of the country is going up. Taking the interest on a 5 per cent. basis, it means a saving of £20,000,000 a year in interest alone. He also stated that our expenditure was greater than our revenue. If he looks at this week's figures he will see that our revenue is £7,000,000 greater than our expenditure. That, again, has reduced our Floating Debt. I merely want to bring these figures in front of my hon. Friend to show him how wrong he is, and to show how good our credit is. I am not afraid of our great National Debt. As long as we increase wealth we need not be afraid of the National Debt. We will be able to pay the interest, and we will be able in due course to pay our Sinking Fund, but I feel at the moment it was right of the Chancellor to cease the Sinking Fund, perhaps for a year or so, so that it might help our trade, and it is trade we want.

I desire to support the Amendment. We think the Chancellor is not making that extraordinary effort that should be made in order that the National Debt might be reduced, and we think this Clause should be deleted. We do not pretend to be financiers, but we cannot agree with the philosophy which has just been expressed by the hon. Member for Ilford (Mr. Wise).

Well, as to one aspect of the facts and figures which he put before us, we are inclined to agree. There has been a substantial increase in the wealth of the country, but, side by side with that, there has been a most tragic effect in the increase of poverty among our people. We think something might have been done in order that those people who have accumulated vast amounts of wealth might be called upon to discharge the great obligations which their wealth entitles them to undertake towards the State and the people out of whom they have made it. All kinds of charges are imposed upon the poor of this land, and they are expected to worry through in their misery and despair without any hope. We are told that the financial position of the nation will not allow of further taxes in order that these debts may be reduced. Of course we disagree with the present policy of getting revenue. We have seen how, in order to meet liabilities, Government assets have been sold to the extent of £800,000,000. We disagree with the selling of those assets, but when they were sold, the proceeds ought to have been earmarked for the reduction of National Debt. Regarding the ways and means whereby these debts may be reduced, we desire to show that there are avenues which the Chancellor of the Exchequer might have entered upon had be been desirous of bringing in not only a certain amount to meet current revenue, but also of substantially reducing the debt of the nation.

Let us consider where we are as compared with 1913. I think it is an obligation imposed upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ascertain the relative position of the financial resources of the nation compared with what it was in 1913–14, and the taxable possibilities. In 1913 the gross income brought under the review of the Inland Revenue was £1,111,000,000, and in 1914 it was 21,167,000,000. During the period of the War debt has been accumulating. We have found that there has been that enormous increase of wealth to the amount of £1,167,000,000, and in 1921, the latest figures given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to myself, show that it amounted to £3,000,000,000. We are told that the people who own this wealth cannot afford to pay any further taxes. We assert that these people are not being called upon to discharge their obligations to the State in the manner in which they ought to. Of course, higher taxes are being imposed upon them, but their incomes are greater than formerly.

I do not understand how this argument as to general national wealth is relevant to the question of whether the Sinking Fund should or should not be suspended. It may be that the hon. Member will establish a connection, but it is not apparent, so far.

Is it not in order to argue that the Sinking Fund is being raided in order to relieve other sources of taxation, and that it would be more desirable to keep the existing taxation rather than raid the Sinking Fund, as is being done?

I am suggesting that there should be no suspension as is proposed by this Clause, and that instead of going on borrowing the Chancellor ought to meet all liabilities and maintain that fund in order that the debt may be reduced by a deliberate financial effort directed towards those incomes which are accessible. Instead of that being done these people are escaping their liabilities, and a charge is being made upon the poor of the community. I have said we are in agreement with the hon. Member for Ilford as to the existence of this wealth, but we certainly do not agree with his policy of dealing with the wealth. We think that policy is not likely to assist trade nor to establish this country in the world equal with other nations. If the Chancellor wants further proof of the ability of the nation to make itself solvent in this way, he need only refer to the figures which he himself gave to me on 23rd May. According to his return of the incomes of people who are paying Supertax, incomes ranging from between £5,000 and 210,000 up to £100,000 were being received in 1914 by 14,008 persons. According to the Chancellor's figures the number of these people to-day has increased to 72,385. In 1914 the number of persons with incomes of between 255,000 and 265,000 was only 68. To-day we find the number is 335.

I suggest that a more honest and determined effort ought to be made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and that these people ought to be called upon to pay their due liabilities. We may be told, "Look at the amount of taxation they are paying to-day.' We know they are paying a substantial amount, but what have they got left? We are called upon directly and indirectly, with small incomes, to discharge our obligations, which are out of all proportion to those of the people to whom I have been referring. I see that there were only 67 persons in 1913–14 with incomes between 275,000 and £100,000, whereas to-day we find they have gone up to 126; and today there are 169 persons with incomes over 2100,000, while in 1914 there were only 80. Therefore, we believe that we are entitled to support the deletion of this Clause in order that we might face the financial situation of this country in a more honest manner than we are doing, and place the burdens of the nation on the backs of those who are able to bear the burdens, instead of spreading them over the poorer elements, handicapping prosperity in the future, and putting a millstone of debt round the neck of the nation.

I have listened to the speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for Barnard Castle (Mr. Swan), but I do not think I have discovered anything very new in the point of view which he has urged upon the Committee. The figures which he has given us as the increase of incomes which has occurred in this country over the last few years are very fallacious. In point of fact, as my hon. Friend very well knows, the value of money is not even to-day what it was before the War, and if he will pursue his analysis a little further, he will find that while a larger number of people enjoy incomes which come within the Super-tax limit, they have very much less in most cases to spend than they had before the War. It would be quite wrong to draw from these figures an inference that there was a much larger spending power on the part of the people to whom he refers, as extracted from the tables which he got in reply to a question in the House of Commons. I confess I understand his point of view when he urges that it would be better to go in for higher taxation in this country than to reduce the Sinking Fund, or to suspend it altogether. I understand that point of view, but I do not believe in it. I am perfectly certain that any higher taxation imposed upon the people of this country in the nature of Income Tax or Super-tax at the present time would have the most detrimental results upon every class of the community, and not merely upon those who were asked to contribute it.

I turn to the characteristic speech that was made by the hon. Member for Greenock (Sir G. Collins). I confess I have listened to that speech so often now that I have ceased to be any longer moved by it. The hon. Gentleman always assumes an attitude of talking down to the rest of the Members of this House when he speaks upon matters of finance. From some cloudy height of Olympus he breathes forth warnings as to the parlous state of the country, and, indeed, if anybody outside listened to the speeches that the hon. Gentleman made, or paid any attention to the dire menaces which he imposed upon the country as to the appalling fate which awaits it, then, indeed, we should be in a worse position to-day than we were three years ago. If his vaticinations could make us poorer, undoubtedly by this time we would have been an impoverished country, but, happily, nobody listens to him. He said. I could not deny, but I do entirely deny, that this country is worse off to-day than it was three years ago. Even if it were true, I do not think I should say it, because that is not the way to increase your country's credit, but there is absolutely no justification or ground whatsoever for the statement which the hon. Gentleman made. On the opposite side of the House they ventured upon many predictions as to the appalling results upon our credit of suspending the Sinking Fund, but every prophecy they made on this matter has been entirely falsified.

My hon. and gallant Friend is now looking at the produce of the pound sterling within the past week, due to particular purchases for consumption in this country—one of the seasonal purchases which must be made and which always affect currency at the time.

I would ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman to remember that the cost of the pound sterling since the date when the Budget speech was made, and when the indication of the suspension of the Sinking Fund was given to the world, has been one of steady progress, and even with the alteration of the last few days, owing to the seasonal purchases to which I have referred, the value of the pound sterling is still high as compared with what it was on the 1st May of this year. The hon. Member for Greenock quoted from a speech of mine, by which he sought to prove that I put the fact that there was a large National Debt in a light spirit—in far too light a spirit evidently, according to his point of view. The passage he quoted had nothing whatever to do with the point of view I take in regard to the National Debt. He referred to a statement which I had made in the House, in the month of February, I think it was, when I explained to the House that £350,000,000 of what was raised in taxation in this country was immediately handed back to the holders of Government securities in this country. I was not seeking to establish any point of view with regard to the National Debt when I was making that statement. What I was endeavouring to show was that all the money that was raised by taxation was not unfruitfully used. The accusation which was made from the other side of the House was that all this money which the Government raised by way of taxation was never profitably employed, that it was, so to speak, money which was entirely unproductive, and that that was why trade and industry suffered so badly. In rebutting that argument, I pointed to the fact, which is one of great moment, that in truth the bulk of the National Debt is held in this country, and that £350,000,000 is distributed each year in the shape of interest upon that National Debt and must go somewhere. Where does it go? Of necessity, it goes back into the pockets of the people, and is spent in the production of further wealth.

My hon. and gallant Friend asks why. May I remind him, of the speech which he made yesterday, in which he indicated—he was dealing especially, I admit, with the working class people—that the more money they got the more money was spent by them, which created industry for other people. If that be so in regard to the working classes of this country, it must be equally true that £350,000,000 distributed to the interest-holders of this country must equally pass into the channels of commerce, and fructify and produce employment.

I misunderstood the right hon. Gentleman. I thought he meant to say that it went back to assist trade. Does he mean that it is simply spent in the ordinary way?

I think in the case I am putting it was truer than in the case the hon. and gallant Gentleman took, for the reason that while, undoubtedly, the ordinary expenditure of money in itself creates trade, although not always the trade that is most valuable, in point of fact the people who draw these sums in interest for the most part return it direct to industry. I leave that point, and I wish once more to deal with a matter which the hon. Member for Greenock always persists in misstating. I have certainly more than once in this House replied to asseverations of my hon. Friend seeking to impute to me the statement that the National Debt has been reduced by £320,000,000 in the course of the last few years. Of course he knows very well I never made such a statement, and when I spoke of the reduction of the National Debt by £320,000,000, I said specifically that this was done during the course of the last two years. He today reiterated the statement without any qualification, and I am glad he states it here, when I can reply to him but I hope he will not state it elsewhere, where I have not an opportunity of replying. What I have said ought to be perfectly clear to the mind of the hon. Member. It is perfectly true that, during the last two years, we have reduced the Debt by about £320,000,000. That is a matter of history, and cannot in any way be controverted, but he returns to the statement that large sums, which had been obtained from the sale of assets, have been employed as ordinary revenue for the purpose of doing the business of the country. That is perfectly true, but he also forgets to put against the assets sold the special expenditure arising out of the War, and if he is going to say that the assets which remained after the War, and which have been sold, ought to be put to a special capital account, then equally he must agree that all these special burdens imposed upon us as the result of the War ought to be set against that capital account.

I turn to the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood). He assured the Committee that he would not take up much of its time, and he did not, but he gave us some maxims, not entirely novel, such as "Honesty is the best policy"—a very good motto, which is apt, sometimes, to be forgotten. But I confess he has never succeeded in convincing me that we are doing anything but fairness by suspending the Sinking Fund in the present year. He says that we ought always to be paying off debt. What does that mean? How much? Ought we to be paying off £5,000,000, £10,000,000, £20,000,000 or £100,000,000 a year?

I think the right hon. Gentleman ought to be living up to the promises of the Prime Minister and the former Chancellor of the Exchequer.

That is not an answer to the question which I put. If there be some obligation to pay off debt, then hon. Members should be able to tell me how much we ought to pay off each year. I imagine that the only real answer to that is that you must pay off as much as you can. If you can pay off £100,000,000, then pay off £100,000,000; if you can pay off £50,000,000, then pay off X50,000,000; but if you can pay off none except by doing something which will have the effect really of increasing the burden of the people, then, obviously, it becomes a matter of business, and you have got to decide what you ought to do. I venture to put forward this proposition, that, having paid off so much during the last two years, it is wise and prudent in the present year, when to pay off more would be detrimental to trade, to suspend the payment which hitherto we have made, and there is no Chancellor of the Exchequer in the past of this or any other country who has not recognised that fact.

Division No. 168.]

AYES

[8.33 p.m.

Adkins, Sir William Ryland DentDavies, Sir William H. (Bristol, S.)Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)
Agg-Gardner, Sir James TynteDawson, Sir PhilipHotchkin, Captain Stafford Vere
Ainsworth, Captain CharlesDewhurst, Lieut.-Commander HarryHurd, Percy A.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Doyle, N. GrattanHurst, Lieut.-Colonel Gerald B.
Armitage, RobertEdgar, Clifford B.James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.Edge, Captain Sir WilliamJesson, C.
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Ednam, ViscountJodrell, Neville Paul
Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)Johnson, Sir Stanley
Barker, Major Robert H.Evans, ErnestJohnstone, Joseph
Barlow, Sir MontagueEyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Barnes, Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals)Farquharson, Major A. C.Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George
Barnett, Major Richard W.Fell, Sir ArthurKidd, James
Barrand, A. R.Fildes, HenryKing, Captain Henry Douglas
Barttey-Denniss, Sir Edmund RobertFord, Patrick JohnstonLarmor, Sir Joseph
Betterton, Henry B.Foreman, Sir HenryLaw, Alfred J. (Rochdale)
Bigland, AlfredForestier-Walker, L.Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)
Bird, Sir R. B. (Wolverhampton, W.)Forrest, WalterLewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)
Blair, Sir ReginaldFraser, Major Sir KeithLister, Sir R. Ashton
Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. GriffithFrece, Sir Walter deLloyd, George Butler
Bowles, Colonel H. F.Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis FLocker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)
Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.Ganzoni, Sir JohnLocker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tlngd'n)
Breese, Major Charles E.Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir JohnLorden, John William
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveGould, James C.Lort-Williams, J.
Briggs, HaroldGreen, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)Lyle, C. E. Leonard
Broad, Thomas TuckerGreenwood, William (Stockport)Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. Clifton (Newbury)Greer, Sir HarryMcLaren, Robert (Lanark, Northern)
Bruton, Sir JamesGuest, Capt. Rt. Hon. Frederick E.Macnaghten, Sir Malcolm
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William JamesGuinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.
Carr, W. TheodoreHailwood, AugustineMacquisten, F. A.
Carter, R. A. D. (Man., Withington)Hall, Rt-Adml Sir W. (Liv'p'l,W.D'by)Magnus, Sir Philip
Casey, T. W.Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryMaitland, Sir Arthur D. steel-
Cautley, Henry StrotherHarmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)Mallalieu, Frederick William
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A.(Birm.,W.)Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)
Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)Harris, Sir Henry PercyMarks, Sir George Croydon
Churchman, Sir ArthurHaslam, LewisMiddlebrook, Sir William
Clough, Sir RobertHenderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)Mitchell, Sir William Lane
Coats, Sir StuartHerbert, Col. Hon. A. (Yeovil)Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz
Cobb, Sir CyrilHerbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.
Cohen, Major J. BrunelHilder, Lieut.-Colonel FrankMoreing, Captain Algernon H.
Conway, Sir W. MartinHinds, JohnMurchison, C. K.
Cope, Major WilliamHolbrook, Sir Arthur RichardMurray, Rt. Hon. C. D. (Edinburgh)
Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)Holmes, J. StanleyNall, Major Joseph
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Hood, Sir JosephNeal, Arthur
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.Hope, Sir H. (Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn, W.)Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Davies, David (Montgomery)Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)Newson, Sir Percy Wilson
Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)Hopkins, John W. W.Nicholson. Reginald (Doncaster)

You cannot find in the policy of any Chancellor of the Exchequer in the past, as I say, in this or any other country a positive assertion that in all circumstances, and at all times, you must pay off debt.

Evidently my hon. and gallant Friend does not mean to live up to his own professions. I did not rise really to re-argue a question which has been worn threadbare during the last few months in discussions in this House, but I think I have said enough, at least, to establish the fact that the Government is entirely free from the kind of imputations which have been put upon us, and that this Clause ought to receive the support of the Committee.

Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 217; Noes, 74.

Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)Tickler, Thomas George
Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col, Sir JohnRodger, A. K.Tryon, Major George Clement
Oman, Sir Charles William C.Roundels, Colonel R. F.Turton, Edmund Russborough
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. WilliamRoyds, Lieut.-Colonel EdmundWaddington, R.
Parker, JamesRutherford. Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)Wallace, J.
Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas HenrySamuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir John Tudor
Pearce, Sir WilliamSamuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)Walton, J. (York, W. R., Don Valley)
Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert PikeSanders, Colonel Sir Robert ArthurWard, Col. J. (Stoke upon Trent)
Pennefather, De FonblanqueSassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)
Parring, William GeorgeScott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.
Pickering, Colonel Emil W.Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)Warren, Sir Alfred H.
Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest MurraySeddon, J. A.Watson, Captain John Bertrand
Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel AsshetonShaw, Hon. Alex. (Kilmarnock)White, Col. G. D. (Southport)
Pratt, John WilliamShaw, William T. (Forfar)Williams, C. (Tavistock)
Prescott, Major Sir W. H.Shortt, RI. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)Windsor, Viscount
Purchase, H. G.Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)Winterton, Earl
Rae, Sir Henry N.Smith, Sir Harold (Warrington)Wise, Frederick
Randles, Sir John ScurrahStanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Rankin, Captain James StuartStanton, Charles ButtWood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Ratcliffe, Henry ButlerStephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.Woolcock, William James U.
Rawlinson, John Frederick PeelStrauss, Edward AnthonyWorthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Remer, J. R.Sturrock, J. LengYeo, Sir Alfred William
Remnant, Sir JamesSugden, W. H.Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)
Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)Surtees, Brigadier-General H. C.
Roberts, Rt. Hon. G. H. (Norwich)Sykes, Sir Charles (Huddersfield)

TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—

Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)Taylor, J.Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr
Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)McCurdy.
Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill).

NOES

Adamson, Rt. Hon. WilliamHallas, EldredRoberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)
Banton, GeorgeHalls, WalterRobertson, John
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Hayday, ArthurRose, Frank H.
Bramsdon, Sir ThomasHayward, EvanRoyce, William Stapleton
Bromfield, WilliamHenderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes)Sexton, James
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Hirst, G. H.Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Cairns, JohnHodge, Rt. Hon. JohnShortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)
Carter, W. (Nottingham, Mansfield)Hogge, James MylesSitch, Charles H.
Colfox, Major Wm. PhillipsIrving, DanSpencer, George A.
Sir Godfrey (Greenock)John, William (Rhondda, West)Sutton, John Edward
Davies, A. (Lancaster, Ciltheroe)Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)Kennedy, ThomasTillett, Benjamin
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)
Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)Lawson, John JamesWaterson, A. E.
Finney, SamuelLunn, WilliamWatts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.
Foot, IsaacMaclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.
Galbraith, SamuelMills, John EdmundWhite, Charles F. (Derby, Western)
Gillis, WilliamMurray, Hon. A. C. (Aberdeen)Wignall, James
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)Wilson, James (Dudley)
Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne)Myers, ThomasWintringham, Margaret
Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)Newbould, Alfred ErnestWood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)O'Grady, Captain JamesYoung, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Grundy, T. W.Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)
Guest, J. (York, W.R., Hemsworth)Raffan, Peter Wilson

TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—

Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)Richardson, R. (Houghtnn-le-Spring)Mr. Walter Smith and Mr. Swan.