British Budgets 1887-88 to 1912-13

By Bernard Mallet | Go to book overview
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SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT'S SECOND BUDGET, 1894-5.

16 April, 1894.

IT was not the fate of Mr. Gladstone, who, at the age of 84, had but just retired from the post of Prime Minister and been succeeded by Lord Rosebery, to have any official connection with a budget which, in its social and fiscal results, was as significant as those for which he himself had been responsible half a century before. Sir William Harcourt opened the budget which was to give him lasting fame as Chancellor of the Exchequer with the usual review of the past year's finances, the result of which (after another year of remarkably close estimates), was a deficit of £169,000. Although 1893 had been an unfortunate year, with financial difficulties in America and in Australia (which had had their effect on the stamp revenue), labour disputes at home, and a general depression of agriculture aggravated by drought, there had, as regarded the main articles of consumption, been no evidence of diminished resources; the net receipt of Customs (in spite of a decrease on wines) having been £93,000 over the 1892-3 total, and the revenue from beer having exceeded any former year by £80,000. The revenue had come within 1/2 per cent. of the estimate, "a marvellous accomplishment" in such a year. For the coming year the amount to be provided was £95,458,000, or £3,994,000 more than the previous year. Of this, 3,126,000 was for naval expenditure, under Lord Spencer's programme of the previous year. Adding 97,250,000 for local expenditure, the total expenditure was brought over the

-77-

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British Budgets 1887-88 to 1912-13
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