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Detailed Lists, Results and Guides

THE BUDGET. INCOME TAX RAISED.-TWOPENCE MORE ON TEA.-NEW TOBACCO TAXATION. A BRIEF ANALYSIS. LAST YEAR'S BALANCE. Exchequer Expenditure £ 146,961,000 Exchequer Revenue 141,546,000 Deficit. E5,415,000 THIS YEAR'S PROSPECT. Estimates of Expenditure. E142,880,000 Estimates of Revenue. 143,610,000 Estimated Surplus. e730,000 NEW TAXATION. The increase of taxation proposed by Mr. Austen Chamberlain, the Chancellor of the Ex- chequer, in his Budget speech to meet the deficit of £ 3,820,000 for 1904-5 was as follows: Income Tax Id. per £ L Tea Duty 2d. per lb. Foreign Cigars 6d. per lb. Foreign Cigarettes Is. per lb. Stripped Tobacco Leaf 3d. per lb; | These increases will provide the following sums in addition to what might have been expected at the rate of taxation during the past year: Income Tax. £ 2,000,000 Tea Duty 2,000,000 Tobacco and Cigars 550;000 Total, £ 4,550,000 FOR LAST YEAR'S DEFICIT. Millions. Unclaimed Stock Dividends 1 From Exchequer Balances. 3 Set against Future Surpluses If THE AFFECTED TAXES. The proposals of Mr. Austen Chamberlain, it accepted in full by Parliament, will leave the affected taxation as follows Income-tax Is. Od. in the £ Tea Sd.perlb. Cigars 6s. Od. per lb. Cigarettes 4s. lOd. per lb. Stripped-leaf tobacco 3s. 3d. per lb. MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN'S SPEECH. I The first Budget of Mr. Austen Chamberlain was introduced on the 19th inst. to a crowded House of Commons, and drew hearty congratula- tions from all sides by reason of its lucidity. After appealing for the indulgence of the com- mittee, he reminded his hearers that last year the then Chancellor of the Exchequer anticipated a considerable surplus. Unfortunately this anticipa- tion had not been realised. The year had been a disastrous one for agriculture; the cotton in- dustry had been depressed and freights also, and the building trade and other trades had been affected adversely. The depression here had in addition been aggravated by the depression in South Africa. These were some of the causes of the unsatisfactory state of the Revenue. The Exchequer receipts from taxes in 1903-4 fell short of .the estimate by £ 2,790,000. The non-tax revenue, however, slightly exceeded the estimate, so that the net deficiency was £ 2,724,000. Explaining the deficiency in detail he stated that the Customs revenue fell short of the estimate by P.800,000, This was the result in a measure of the repeal of the corn duty, a step which had proved more costly to the Revenue than was anticipated, and which had not been as advantageous to the consumer as was expected. Under the heads of spirits, wine, and sugar there were deficiencies of E330,000, E220,000, and £ 290,000. Tobacco, on the other hand. had exceeded the estimate by £ 60,000. The total yield of the duty was £ 12,560,000. The rceipts from tea were 96,595,000, nearly a quarter of a million above the estimate. The total yield from Excise waq even more disappointing than the Customs, the estimated yield having been E32,700,000 and the actual receipts £ 31,550,000 — a deficiency of £ 1,150,000. Taking Customs and Excise together the yield from beer and spirits fell short of the Budget estimate by nearly a million and a quarter. The beer revenue was, no doubt, affected by the cold wet mmer, and the mild winter checked the consumption of spirits. Nevertheless the falling off showed that the people had iess 0 money to spend, and must be taken as evidence of decreased prosperity. Under the head of stamps there was a deficiency of E900,000, which he attributed to the fact that the past 12 months had been a period of extreme depression on the Stock Exchange. Turning to the expenditure of 1903-4, he reminded the committee that the Budget estimate was £ 143 954,000 and that there had been supplementary grants amounting. to E4,488,000, and bringing the total expenditure up to £ 148,442,000. Against this there were cer- tain realised savings to be taken into aceount, and the net result was that the Exchequer issues last year were E146,961,000, or an excess over the Budget of £ 3,007,000. In addition to this expenditure chargeable to income account the Exchequer had paid over in relief of local rates £ 9,795,000 and had provided for an expenditure on capital account of £ 7,305,000. This was under the Naval and Military Works Acts and other Acts authorising borrowing. The total outlay of the State last year, therefore, amounted to £ 164,061,000. The actual Exchequer expenditure having been, as be had shown, E146,961,000 and the revenue £ 141,546,000, the year closed with a deficit of £ 5,415,000. He proposed that £3,000,000 of this deficit should be made good out of the Exchequer balances, which were fortu- nately in a position to bear a heavy draft. Another 91,000,000 would be met by the realisation of stock representing unclaimed dividends, and there would remain a million and a-half of the deficit to be made good out of the surplus of this year or of a succeeding year. Having given a full explanation of the position of the National Debt, he dealt with the subject of local indebted- ness, and showed that the total addition to the Debt on account of the war was rather less than the amount borrowed in four and a half years by local authorities. He was strongly of opinion that sooner or later it would be necessary to put some check en the growth of local loans. The State eould not continue to provide localities with money as lavishly as in recent years, now that money was dear. Having concluded his review of the past year, he unfolded his Budget for 1904-5. On the expenditure side he had to provide for Consolidated Fund charges of £ 29,800,000; for the supply services E112,580,000 would be required; and there was a special item of E500,000 for Somaliland. The total expenditure charged to the revenue account would therefore be £ 142,880.000. Upon the present basis of taxa- tion he estimated that Customs would yield £ 33,900,000, and Excise 1:31,500,000. He put the yield from death duties at £ 13.000,000; from stamps at £ 7,550,000; from the land tax and house duty at £ 2,650,000; from the income- tax at £ 28,000,000. This would give him a total tax revenue of £ 116,600,000. From the Post: Office he expected to get £ 15,950,000; from the telegraph service £ 3,750,000; from Crown lands £ 450,000; from the Suez Canal shares £ 960,000; and from miscellaneous sources £ 1,350,000, making a total non-tax revenue of £ 22,460,000. He thus obtained a total revenue from all sources of £ 139,600,000, as against expenditure amount- ing to 4142,880,000, and had to make good a deficit of £ 3,820,000. How was he to obtain this money ? The easiest way out of difficulty would be to suspend the Sinking Fund, but he declined to take that course, because the fund had only been recently re-established and because he regarded it as our first reserve in case of war. Our second great financial reserve for great emergencies was the incosae-tas, and its value as a reserve for war would be destroyed if the tax were maintained at t$Q. figure ia fciEie of peaae. While that was the View of the Govern. ment, he had, in the circumstances with which he was confronted, to make an appeal to the patriotism of the income-taxpayer. He proposed to raise the tax from lid. to Is. But the paver of this tax would have a first claim to relief, and the sacrifice which he was asked to make would not, the Government hoped, endure for long. He announced that the grievances of income-tax- payers—e.g., the difficulty of recovering excess payments were to be inquired into by a departmental committee, upon which Mr. Ritchie and Mr. Buxton had consented to serve. He esti- mated that this addition of ld. to the tax would yield this year £ 2,000:000. For the balance of his requirements he turned to indirect taxation. In the tobacco duties he proposed some alterations. On tobacco which was stripped before importation he imposed an additional 3d. per lb. This, he explained, would have the desirable effect of encouraging employment. The duty on foreign cigars was to be increased by 6d. and on foreign cigarettes by Is. the pound. The moisture limit was to be raised to 32 per cent. Changes were also to be made in regard to the drawbacks with the object ot benefiting our export trade in cigars manufactuiel in this country. The net result of these changes would be a gain to the Revenue of £ 550,000. He still wanted £ 2,000,000, and this he proposed to obtain by adding 2d. to the tea duty. Sum- marising the result of his proposals, he said he added new Customs taxation amounting to E2,550,000, bringing the total estimated yield of Customs up to £ 36,450,000. The income-tax, with the addition which he recommended, would pro- duce £ 30.000,000. His total estimated revenue was £ 143,610,000, as against an estimated expendi- ture of Ei42,880,000, leaving him with a surplus of E730,000, a larger margin than it had been custo- mary to provide in recent years. TEA AND TOBACCO RESOLUTIONS CARRIED. The prevailing note of the debate which followed was one of anxiety as to the financial position of the nation. This feeling was given expression to in very strong terms by Sir H. Campbell-Bnnner- man, Sir Michael Hicks Beach, and Mr. Ritchie. Sir Michael laid solemn emphasis on the risks which the country was-running under the present policy of extravagance, which augmented its lia- bilities, and depleted its resources. In spite of the opposition of Nationalists and Liberals the tea and tobacco resolutions were carried by what must now be considered hand- some majorities. For the tea resolution there voted 259 against 188—a majority of 71; for the tobacco resolution 200 against 106—a majority of 94.




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