Vote on Account.

Part of Orders of the Day — Supply. – in the House of Commons on 24th March 1922.

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Photo of Mr Worthington Evans Mr Worthington Evans , Colchester

With regard to the amalgamation of battalions or of regiments, the essence of amalgamation is, of course, the saving thereby effected, and there would be little or no saving if the headquarter staff remained the same. Therefore it does mean that the number of commanding officers is reduced. With regard to my hon. Friend's suggestion as to brigadiers, that is another matter. The services of brigade majors in the Territorial Army are being dispensed with, but that will throw a great deal more work upon the brigadier, and I am not prepared to say at this moment that we can, without grave loss of military efficiency, also dispense with the services of one or more brigadiers in a division. I can, however, assure my hon. Friend that I am aiming at exactly that class of saving, namely, saving bayonets and reducing overhead charges. But overhead charges can be reduced to such an extent that the bayonets left are neither trained nor efficient units, and we have to keep the balance between the two. I assure my hon. Friend, however, that, generally speaking, the policy is to maintain the bayonets and reduce overhead charges.

May I appeal to the House to give me this Vote A and the Vote on Account, because, unless that be done within a relatively short time, the Consolidated Fund Bill cannot be brought forward on Monday and Tuesday, and there will be a great embarrassment in regard to Parliamentary time. Moreover, I understand that I am to be challenged with regard to the two Excess Votes which are to follow immediately, and, if there is to be any discussion upon them, very little time will be left for it if there is also a discussion on Vote A and on the Vote on Account, both of which, I may say, have been discussed for nearly two days in Committee. I appeal to the House to give me these two Votes, and proceed with the discussion on the Excess Votes.