National Debt.

Oral Answers to Questions — Budget Proposals. – in the House of Commons on 20th April 1920.

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Photo of Sir Charles Hanson Sir Charles Hanson , Bodmin

57.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if, in view of the importance of liquidating as soon as possible the unfunded debt of the country, and in view also of the admitted difficulty in making a compulsory levy on capital and/or the imposition of a special tax on war profits, he will consider the advisability of making an appeal to the country for voluntary contributions in cash, and/or the equivalent of cash, whereby in one or two instalments the whole of this portion of the public debt might be paid off; and whether such an appeal would probably be generously responded to by all classes of the British public who are intensely anxious to see the national burdens as soon as possible diminished?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I am very far from wishing to discourage voluntary gifts for the reduction of debt, such as I have on several occasions had the good fortune to acknowledge, and if by voluntary organisation the number of these gifts can be increased and systematised, I shall be very glad. But it does not seem to me compatible with my special duty that I should ask for, and still less that I should organise, the collection of such gifts. The business of the Chancellor is to levy fairly sufficient taxation to meet the national needs. Voluntary help must be rendered voluntarily, and my intervention would only tend to confusion between the fulfilment of the taxpayer's legal duty and his voluntary patriotism.