British Budgets 1887-88 to 1912-13

By Bernard Mallet | Go to book overview

an issue of Treasury Bills (authorized up to 8 millions) which would be placed on the market as opportunity served. He looked upon this borrowing as a "purely temporary matter," and protested against the idea of making a permanent addition to the debt on account of the war which he saw no reason whatever to "anticipate might not be brought to a successful termination well within the period to which the estimates referred." The Transvaal, too, "wealthy in its possession of gold," might be required to contribute a reasonable sum towards the expenses of the war. For these reasons, and also because he was within five months of the close of the financial year when, if necessary, fresh provision could be made, he sensibly declined to disturb trade by imposing indirect taxation; or to resort at once, as had been done in 1867 (Abyssinian War) and in 1884 (Bechuanaland and the Soudan), to an increase of the income-tax which stood at 8d. instead of, as at these earlier dates, at 5d. in the £.

Such was the opening scene of a financial drama which was soon to throw into the shade even the startling advances of the previous ten years, and greatly to enlarge men's ideas as to the possible limits of "tolerable taxation."


SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH'S FIFTH BUDGET, 1900-1.

March 5, 1900.

WITH the budget for the year 1900 we enter on a period during which the chief interest in the national finances centres round the great expenditure caused

-148-

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