Skip to main content

Full text of "War-time financial problems"

See other formats


proportion, of course, is not so high when we try to
calculate actual war revenue and war expenditure
by deducting on each side at a rate of £200 millions
a year as representing normal expenditure and
revenue and leaving out advances to Allies and
Dominions. On this basis the proportion of war
expenditure met out of war revenue up to March 31,
1918, was, the Chancellor stated, 217 per cent.
For the year 1917-18 it was 25*3 per cent., for the
current year it will be 26*5 per cent., and for the
whole period up to the end of the current year 23*3
per cent. The corresponding figures for the Napo-
leonic and Crimean wars are given by Sir Bernard
Mallet in his book on British Budgets as 47 per cent,
and 47*4 per cent. So that it will be seen that,
judged by this test, our war finance, though very
much better than Germany's, is not on so high a
standard as that set by previous wars. It is true,
of course, that the rate of expenditure during the
present war has been on a scale which altogether
dwarfs the outgoing in any previous struggle. The
Napoleonic War is calculated to have cost some
£800 millions, having lasted some twenty-three years.
Last year we spent £2696 millions, of which near
£2000 millions may be taken as war cost, after
deducting normal expenditure and loans to Allies.

Nevertheless, this argument of the enormous cost
of the present war does not seem to me to be a good
reason why the war should be financed badly, but
rather a reason for making every possible effort to
finance it well. Are we doing so ? At first sight
it is a great achievement to have increased our total