English Public Finance from the Revolution of 1688: With Chapters on the Bank of England

By Harvey E. Fisk | Go to book overview

English Public Finance

CHAPTER I
"1920"

THE great world war of 1914-1919, officially terminated by the acceptance by H. M. King George V, on July 31, 1919, of the Peace of Versailles, signed June 28, 1919, cost Great Britain over £10,000 million sterling. If we add to this sum the war expenditures of the British self-governing Dominions; Canada, £407 million; Australia, £379 million; New Zealand about £76 million; Union of South Africa, £60 million and little Newfoundland about £3 million; together with the war expenses of the Crown Colonies, and India's war expenditure of £20 million and contribution of £100 million, we arrive at a grand total for the British Empire of over £11,000 million. This was an expenditure made necessary by the war in excess of what would have been the expenditure for the period on the basis of the pre- war budget.

An analysis of the total expenditure of the United Kingdom from 1688 to 1920 discloses the amazing fact that for the six fiscal years, beginning March 31, 1914, and ending March 31, 1920, the expenditure of the Government actually exceeded the total expenditure for thetwo and a quarter

____________________
In making this comparison, however we should not lose sight of the tact that the purchasing power of the £ sterling has fluctuated greatly during this period and that, frequently, particularly in the early years, a given sum would procure much more in services and in commodities than would be the case today. This fact should be borne in mind all through these pages whereever similar money comparisons are made.

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