The Great War Part 197, May 25th 1918

A WEEKLY REVIEW SUPPLEMENT TO “THE 'GREAT WAR PART 197 History in the Making MR. WRIGHTS story of the Battle of Cambrai which is continued in this Part of our History will be followed by a chapter devoted to the Finance of the Great War. This has been written by Mr. G.A. Sutton Director of Publicity to the National War Savings Committee and moreno lucid or useful account of the vast operations of the wars financing has yet been prepared for the information of the people who have found the money with both hands. Figures are commonly supposed to be arid matter for a speaker or writer to take as his theme. More than one Chancellor of the Exchequer however, has succeeded in making his Budget speech picturesque and in the present instance Mr. Sutton has brought into his combined summary and analysis of British war finances a touch of human interest that relieves it of all aridity and converts it into an engaging story. H E figures are staggering in their immensity altogether too large to be comprehended in the abstract. Mr. Sutton makes them intelligible to the layman by com­parison with figures for other periods by reducing total sums to their factors of heads of population and individual investments and by other devices. By illustration in homely term she succeeds in bringing home to minds not trained to under­stand finance something of the task of raising the 5645000000 which was the actual war bill up to January 5th of this year of which colossal sum only about 14 percent has been derived from revenue. T the beginning of 1918 the National Debt stood a t 5500000000 and the daily cost of the war was about £8,000,000. Mr. Sutton regards 2500000 a day as about the maximum sum that could be expected to be derivable from revenue and the prospect before a prudent Chancellor of the Exchequer was th a the would have to borrow the difference of 5500000 a day as long as the war should last. If he assumed that another three years would be required to seethe war through and th a tin each of those years he would have to borrow a t least 2200000000 he could not fail to conclude that a financial problem of such Heard at the Advocates of the decimal systom aro onoe more active. One of its advocates applies it to the simplification of taxes. If (writes B.E. to the “Globe” )all income and all expendi- To Make ture were subject to a small tax per Taxation cent the burden could easily be Simpler borne and would fall equally on all. Were the deoimal coinage to be adopted the amount of the income -tax for example could be ascertained with the greatest ease. Moreover an increase or diminution of taxation could be effected by the alteration of a figure say from 0'015 percent to 0'016 or 0'014 percent. as the case maybe. *Apropos of taxation German Budget proposals, based apparently on the assumption that an indemnity will be exacted from the Allies make all German subjeots including those The Hun naturalised in foreign countries since Looking the outbreak of the war liable to Ahead taxation in Germany for five years after the end of the war. For this purpose before a taxpayer will be allowed to leave Germany permanently he will have to give a full catalogue of his property including foreign invest- unexampled magnitude could not be dealt with on lines laid down by precedent. “The time was ripe for anew departure in national finance.” HUS Mr. Sutton comes to the really fine story of the enormously creditable way in which the people—the 46,000,000 people in the United Kingdom —responded to the call to find the money for the war as they were already finding the men and the muscle. He outpoints the causes that made the change easier in 1917 than it would ever have been before the introduction of compulsory military service the extension !of the franchise to women, and chiefly the enormous increase in wages which after making every allowance for the increase in the cost of living had put the working classes in actual possession of many millions of pounds which they could lend to th eState without depriving themselves of any necessary article of fdod or clothing. The money was there and so happily was the organisation for collecting it the National War Savings Com­mittee of which Mr. Sutton himself is the Director of Publicity. Originating in 1915 in a committee appointed by Mr. M cKenna when Chancellor of the Exchequer to advise on the question of war loans for the small investor, the National War Savings Committee grew into an organisation which for successful activity ranks among the triumphs of the war. A NETWORK of local committees was overspread the country and these in turn encouraged the formation of War Savings Associations. By the end of 1917 there were no fewer than 1623 of the former and 37840 of the latter 12000 of the associations being in connection with schools. The enthusiasm aroused was remarkable and some of the results quite astonishing seven elementary schools for example investing sums representing an average of over 100 per head while the school a t the top of the list showed an average of 13710s. But all the results were more than satisfactory. And the credit for the heightened success of the movement is very largely due to the Publicity Department which vastly extended the activities of the Committee during the later months of 1917 and the earlier ones of 1918.7 C. Listening Post monts precious metals jowels and objects of art, and give seourity oqual to 20 percent. of. his capital. At a later stage there is to be tho strictest regulation of tho export of capital so as to keep tho largest stock of taxable property in the country. Inci­dentally it seems that the German labourer will be forbidden to leave the countryside for the towns while consoription for German women is a probability. *From the long acoounts published of tho Britisli Navys historic exploit at Zeebrugge and Ostend on St. Georges Day April 23rd it is beyond cavil that tho Zoebrugge operation was A n completely successful. A wide breach Immortal was made in the Mole much material Story damage was effected and the oanal was blocked inside the entrance. Ono ship laden with concrete lies close to the bank with her noso in it and the other lies farther in diagon­ally with her stem in the opposite bank. One of the two German dredgers kept at work to keep the harbour from silting up was destroyed. At Ostend the venture was not so successful owing to change in the wind at a critical moment which blew away our fog-screon j but enough was accomplished to hamper the enemys submarine activities. In all 70 British vessels including coastal motor-boats, were employed. Our total casualties were 588. Some French destroyers were in the covering force, but tho whole attacking force was British and included some Australians. The force had to pass through the British and German minefields and bring everything off according to timo-table for the tide was a governing factor and each part of tho operation depended on the accuracy of the other parts. In Germany as well as in England wonder is expressed that the exploit was not attempted before. .*Some characteristic instructions issued to the Gorman espionage service have come to light in Norway during the trial of a Hun spy named Paasche. According to a Christiania German paper Paasche was instructed as Espionage follows: “The best means of obtaining in­formation of ship movements in belligerent countries is through captains of vessels. Young mates, experience has proved aro very ready to undertake information work. A great deal of interesting information maybe obtained through innocent conversation with soldiers or sailors just arrived from along voyage. Useful information can also be obtained through barbers waiters and in England from nurses. Owing to the difficulty of getting suitable men women must be employed. Commercial travellers aro likewise avery useful source of information but it is necessary that their business should be bona fide otherwise they would be liable to suspicion and be- easily found out.” *In tho beginning of the year 1801 a correspondent of “CommonSense ”reminds us the following paragraph appeared in the “Hamburg Gazette ”of January 16th. It was dated from Petersburg, December 30th 1800 and ran as A Peace follows: Proposal We learn from Petersburg that the in 1801 Emperor of Russia finding that tho Powers of Europe cannot agree among themselves and being desirous to put an end to a war which has desolated it for eleven years past intends to outpoint a spot to which ho will invite all the other Sovereigns to repair and fight in single combat bringing with themas seconds and squires their most enlightened Ministers and their most able Generals and that the Emperor Paul himself proposes being attended by Gonorals Count de Pahlen and Khutosof. We know not if this report bo worthy of credit however the thing appears not destitute of some foundation and bears strong marks of what he has often been taxed with. The poet Kotzebue was employed by the Tsar to translate the original into German for insertion in the ”“Hamburg Gazette from which it was copied and translated into all the public papers. *In tho recent debate on tho Budget Mr. Herbert Samuel said he was glad to see that there was a tendency to make the family and not the individual the basis for taxation. He was A n Incen- referring to the additional concession tive to War to certain parents and the new Savings allowance of 25 for the wives of income-tax payers with less than 800 a year but the point maybe given a somowhat wider application. The recent incrcaso in the rate of income-tax has added something to the value of the 15s. Gd. War Savings Certificates which are entirely free from income-tax. To protect the revenue however there is a limit of 500 in the number which any person can hold and it is here that the family basis can be appreciated. Each member of a family—father mother and every child—can hold 500 and so an ordinary sized family of say six persons can have quite a considerable investment in this tax-free security something like 2400. In five years this will be 3000 a nice family holding and one worth making a genuine sacrifice to secure. The World To-day is continued on pageiii.
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