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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

DEPRECIATED MONEY             109

may, in fact, have been actually decreased. The
inevitable result has been a great flood of new money
with a greatly depreciated value. Index numbers
show a rise of over 100 per cent, in the average prices
of commodities during the war. It is, however,/
perhaps unfair to assume that the buying power of
the pound has actually been reduced by a half, but
it is certainly safe to say that it has been reduced
by a third. Therefore, the revenue raised by the
Government during the past year has to be reduced
by at least a third before we are justified in com-
paring our war achievements with the Government's
pre-war revenue, If we take one-third ofi 707
millions it reduces the total raised during the past
year by revenue to about 470 millions, less than two
and a half times the pre-war revenue.

From another point of view our satisfaction with
the tremendous figures of the past year's revenue
has to be to some extent qualified. The great
elasticity shown by the big increase of actual achieve-
ment over the Budget estimate has been almost
entirely in revenue items which cannot be expected
to continue to serve us when the war is over. The
total increase in the receipts over estimate amounts
to 69 millions, and of this 20 millions was provided
by the Excess Profits Duty, a fiscal weapon which
was invented during the war, and for the purpose
of the war. It has always been assumed that it
would be discontinued as soon as the war was over,
and if it should not be discontinued its after-war
effect is likely to be very unfortunate at a time when
our industrial effort requires all the encouragement