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Miscellaneous Receipts

Volume 436: debated on Tuesday 15 April 1947

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So far so good, we may say, within the bounds of reasonable expectation; but I now have a further and, I think, an unexpected, revelation to make to the Committee, and to the writers in the financial Press. I feel I must apologise to them; I always try to keep my relations with them very bright and good, but I must now apologise to them for not being able to give them private notice, for the purpose of their expert prophecies, of what I might call the litter of rabbits which I am now about to produce out of my Departmental hat, or, if you will, out of Mr. Gladstone's old box.

I am advised, and I am sure the Committee will be very delighted with what I am now going to say, that I shall receive this year, over and above the Other Revenue to which I have already alluded, no less a sum than £292 million—quite a windfall—of Miscellaneous Receipts. This will help us on our way. These represent, in large part, repayments to the Treasury of advances made under various heads of Budget expenditure in past years. In achieving this remarkable total of recaptures, the officers of the Treasury, never wholly inactive—not even on the Riviera, lately—have displayed most conspicuous qualities of enterprise, endurance, and ardour in the chase. This year will be a record year for these recaptures by the Treasury. I remember that the present Leader of the Opposition, in one of his dramatic Budget speeches which it was my honour to listen to, sitting on the other side of the House, once used the phrase "We are clawing back large sums of money." I always remember that phrase—it is most apt. This year we are clawing back, from paymasters and quartermasters all over the world, no less a sum than £112 million of unspent Votes of Credit, voted in previous years. In addition, we are recovering £23 million from the U.K.C.C., which is being wound up. We are recovering £18 million from surplus Appropriations-in-Aid; and we are recovering £10,500,000 from N.A.A.F.I., not to speak of many smaller recoveries. The full total will be published, but I will not go right through the items now; we shall be very happy to furnish the Committee with the full total of these recaptures. They also include the £8 million—this is less dramatic—from interest on Local Loans to which I have already referred, a balancing item associated with the repayment of Local Loans stock.