Skip to main content

Full text of "War-time financial problems"

See other formats

THE AFTER-WAR DEBT            215

approximately the level at which it stood before the

There is good reason to hope that  Mr Hoare's
figures will not be reached.   He took £10,000 millions
merely as a round sum.    Mr Bonar Law, it will be
remembered, worked out our net debt on March 3ist
next at £6856 millions, taking credit for half the
estimated amount of loans to Allies as a good asset.
If we prefer as sounder bookkeeping to write off the
whole of our loans to Allies for the time being and to
apply anything that we may hereafter receive on
that account to Sinking Fund, the debt,  on the
Chancellor's figures, will amount on March 3ist (if
the war goes on till that date) to ^7672 millions.
Even if the war went on for six months more it ought
not to bring the debt up to more than £9000 millions
at the outside.     It is quite true> as Mr Hoare says,
that the return to peace conditions will be a gradual
process, and that expenditure will not come back to a
peace basis all at once.   Demobilisation and other
matters which were left, by our cheery Chancellor,
out of the airy after-war balance-sheet that he so
light-heartedly constructed, may cost ^1000 millions
or more before we have done with them.   But against
them we can set a string of recoverable assets which,
in the Chancellor's hands,  footed up a total of
£1172 millionsóbalances in agents3 hands, due debts
(apart from loans to Allies), land, securities, ships,
buildings, stores in Munitions Department, arrears of
taxation, and so on.   With his us. 6d. in the pound
on unearned and 6s. In the pound on earned incomes,
Mr Hoare expects a revenue of ^620 millions, " or