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HOW BRITISH MONEY GOES.

[By W. H, S. Aubrey, LL.D.]

Since the Crimean War ended, in 1856, we have spent 900 millions on our army and navy. Yet we are never prepared. This is universally admitted, but no one is held responsible. The blame is always thrown on the system. The country has increased only one third in population since 1850, but the military and naval expenses have been more than doubled—vi?., from 14£ to 31 millions, I he present outlay is L6O a minute, day and night, all the year round. The Civil Ser-. vice has swollen from 6£ to IS£ millions a year in the same period, and the cost of the revenue departments from 4 to 10 millions. No man of business will believe that anything like full value is received for all this enormous outlay. Flagrant waste, jobbery, and mismanagement prevail. Of 179 generals, no fewer than 109 are unemployed; but they draw L 62.000 a year for doing nothing. Thirteen admirals* are in actual service, at a cost of L 37.802, but 268 are on the half-pay and retired lists, and receive L 180,993 also for doing nothing. It is the same with subordinate officers. The dockyards are sinks of extravagance. There is ho proper supervision of work, no real audit of the expenditure, and no check upon the stores, although the expenditure is four millions a year. Many ships of war have been built at vast coat during the last thirty years, but have never gone to sea, and are broken up and sold as old stores. The manufacture of a 100-ton gun exceeds L 19,000. Every time it is fired, the cost is pver L2OO, or nearly as much as an agricultural laborer could earn in seven years. In the present House of Commons, more than one-iourth—l7B out of 670—are connected, personally or by relations, with the Army and Navy. They are not likely to favor economy and retrenchment. It is still too true, as Mr Bright once said, that " the Army and Navy are a gigantic system of outdoor relief for the aristocracy.” In both branches of the service the officers get the lion’s share of half-pay and pensions; 6,037 of them draw very nearly two millions a year, while eighteen times that number of common men have only a quarter of a million more. In 1887, in the Inland Revenue Department alone, pensions of L 12,692 were granted to thirty-three officials, several of whom were under fifty years, and all of them under sixty, A similar state of things prevails in other branches of the Public Service.

One hundred and sixty-two thousand pensioners absorb nearly eight millions yearly, or Lls a minute. The list is continually increasing. Many of these are in the prime of life and able to work. This amount does not include Royalty, or six millions of Indian pensions, or an unknown sum for pensioned county, poor law, and other local officials, all of whom live on the ratepayers. Officials of all kinds, soldiers and sailors, pensioners on the public purse, with paupers and convicts, number one million six hundred and twenty - five thousand. Thus one in twenty-one has to be supported, mainly by farmers, manufacturers, merchants, tradesmen, miners, artisans, and all who work for their living. No wonder that the productive, commercial, and laboring classes suffer. Every Government office is overstocked with clerks, many of whom are paid extravagant salaries for doing little or nothing. They are also allowed extended holidays and handsome retiring pensions. There might be enormous saving in the public expenditure without in any way lessening efficiency. Farmers, tradesmen, and the middle classes generally are burdened with taxes out of all proportion to their means. The income tax presses most unequally, and there is no discrimination between income derived from property and that whioh ceases with a man’s life. Nor is the tax sufficiently graduated to meet the justice of the case. —‘ Herald of Peace.’

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890928.2.37.15

Bibliographic details

HOW BRITISH MONEY GOES., Evening Star, Issue 8024, 28 September 1889, Supplement

Word Count
661

HOW BRITISH MONEY GOES. Evening Star, Issue 8024, 28 September 1889, Supplement

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