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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

244         MEETING   THE WAR BILL

these. We do not know the actual figure of the
loans to Allies and Dominions during the war period,
because they are not included in the weekly financial
statements. The amount that we borrow abroad is
set out week by weekat least, that is believed to be
the meaning of the cryptic item " Other Debt"
but the amount that we lend to Allies and Dominions
is hidden away in the Supply Services or somewhere,
and we only get occasional information about it from
the Chancellor in the course of his speeches on the
Budget or on Votes of Credit. In his last Vote of
Credit speech, on November 12, 1918, Mr Bonar
Law gave the chief items of the loans to Allies, and a
very interesting list it was. The totals up to
October 19, 1918, were 1465 millions to Allies
and j2i8f millions to Dominions. The Allies were
indebted to us as follows:-Russia, ^568 millions ;
France, 425 millions ; Italy, 345 millions ; smaller
States, izj millions.*

Some of these debts may be written off at once,
and that cheerfully, seeing that they have been lent
brothers-in-arms who have been hit much harder
than we have by the war, and had nothing like our
financial strength. The question is, what figure
ought we to put on this asset in deducting it from
gross war expenditure in order to arrive at a guess at
the real cost ? We take our loans to Dominions, of
course, as good to the last penny. Mr Bonar Law,
in his Budget speech last April, took our loans to
Allies at half their face value. Strict book-keeping
would probably demand a lower figure than 50 per
* Parliamentary Debates* Vol. no, Ho. 114, p. 2560,