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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

XVII

MEETING THE WAR BILL
January, 1919

The Total War Debt-—What are our Loans to the Allies worth ?
—Other Uncertain Items—The Prospects of making Germany
pay—The Right Way to regard the Debt—Our Capital
largely intact—-A Reform of the Income Tax—The Debt to
America—The Levy on Capita! and other Schemes—The
only Real Aids to Recovery.

A TABLE published week by week by the Economist
shows that from August i, 1914, to November 9,
1918, the Government paid out £8612 millions
sterling. From this we have to deduct an estimate
of the amount that the Government would have
spent if there had not been a war, so that we are at
once landed in the realm of conjecture. The last
pre-war financial year saw an expenditure of
^198 millions, and it is safe to assume that this
figure would have swollen by a few millions a year
if peace had continued, so that we may take at least
j£86o millions from the above total as normal peace
expenditure for the 4! years. This gives us ^7752
tniliions as the gross cost of the war, as far as the
period of actual fighting is concerned, M From this
figure, however, we are able to make some big deduc-
tions. There are loans to Allies and Dominions, and
some other much more readily realisable assets than