British Budgets - 1887-88 To 1912-13

British Budgets - 1887-88 To 1912-13

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BRITISH BUDGETS 1887-88 TO 1912-13 BY BERNARD MALLET, PREFACE IN the preface to his Twenty Years of Financial Policy (1862), the late Lord Iddesleigh, then Sir Stafford Northcote, explained that his intention in writing that admirable book, a model of its kind, was to provide a " convenient summary of the financial measures of recent years " and Mr. Sydney Buxton's more comprehensive volumes, Finance and Politics, which dealt, .with the national finance (and much besides) in a most interesting fashion, from the days of Pitt and Huskisson, carried on the story of the budgets to the year 1885-6. Since that^date, in spite of the much greater attention which has been paid by economic writers to questions of taxation and finance, nothing has been published on similar lines and those who have been in the habit of con- sulting Mr. Buxton's valuable work must often have wished that he could have found time to bring it up to date. Parliamentary experience is not the only qualification for a survey of this kind which I can make no claim to share with these two distinguished public men and I should certainly have hesitated to attempt a continuation of their work, however limited in scope, if I had not been warmly en- couraged to do so by Mr. Buxton himself when I propounded the idea to him a few years -ago. His advice, and the ample published materials available, decided me not to shrink from a task which no one else seemed inclined to undertake, and which, if it succeeded in giving another " convenient summary " of the financial policy and budget figures of recent years, might, I thought, be of some use to students of the subject. As regards the general plan of this book, my object has been, first, to give from the Parliamentary Eeports as fair an account as I could in a very condensed form of the budget statements and discussions, bringing out by quotations from (or summaries of) the speeches the opposing arguments on any important question raised in them, especially on any question of prin- ciple (Part I.) and secondly, to put together the figures for the whole period, the budget tables with full details of alterations in taxation in Part II., and in Part III. notes and tables analyzing and illus- trating, as far as space would allow, the various items of revenue and expenditure and the probable incidence (in a very general way) of the burden of taxation. For obvious reasons I have, unlike Mr. Buxton, confined myself strictly to the fiscal aspect of the subject, and I have, further, not attempted to link this volume to his by carrying the comparisons back but have treated my period as separate and self-contained. The last quarter of a century has been signalized by events and changes which have profoundly in- fluenced public finance.
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