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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

OPTIMISTIC IMAGININGS            133

The Chancellor arrived at his after-war debt
charge of 380 millions by estimating for a gross
debt on March 31, 1919, of 7980 millions, which
he reduces to a net debt of 6856 millions by deduct-
ing half the expected face value of loans to Allies,
-816 millions, and 308 millions for loans to
Dominions and India's obligation. But is he, in
fact, entitled to count on receiving any interest at
all from our Allies for some years to come after the
war ? If not, then on that portion of our debt
which is represented by loans to Allies we shall have
to meet interest for ourselves. He also gave an
imposing list of assets in the shape of balances in
hand, foodstuffs, land, securities, building ships,
stores in munitions department, and arrears of
taxation, amounting in all to nearly 1200 millions.
It is certainly very pleasant to consider that we
shall have all these valuable assets in hand; but
against them we have to allow, which the Chancellor
altogether omitted to do, for the big arrears of
expenditure and the huge cost of demobilisation,
which is at least likely to absorb the whole of them.
On the whole, therefore, although we can claim that
our war finance is very much better than that of our
enemies, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that it
might have been very much better than it is, and
that it is not nearly as good as it is represented to
be by the optimistic fancy of the Chancellor of the
Exchequer*