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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

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A SERIOUS BLOT                in

with the mass of materials and the equipment that
she required, the way in which our expenditure has
mounted up during the course of the year is a very
serious blot on the year's balance-sheet. We spent
during the year ending March 3ist, 2696 millions
against 2198 millions in the previous year, an
increase of close upon 500 millions ; 63 millions of
this increase were due to interest on war debt, the
rest of it was due to increased cost of the war, and
few business men will deny that very many of these
extra millions might have been saved if our rulers
and our bureaucratic tyrants had been imbued with
any real sense of the need for conserving the energy
of the nation.

Much has been done by the Committee on
National Expenditure to bring home to the Govern-
ment opportunities for economy, and methods by
which it can be secured. Can we be equally confident
that much has been done by the Government to
carry out the advice that has been given by this
Committee ? The Treasury is frequently blamed for
its inability to check the rapacity and extravagance
of the spending Departments. It is very likely
that the Treasury might have done more if it had
not been led by its own desire for a short-sighted
economy into economising on its own staff, the
activity and efficiency of which was so absolutely
essential to the proper spending of the nation's
money. But when this has been admitted, the fact
remains that the Treasury cannot, or can only* with
great difficulty, be stronger on the side of economy
than the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and that the