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SECRETARY OF STATE
RELATING TO THE
ARMY ESTIMATES FOR 1907-1908.
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MEMORANDUM OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE RELATING TO THE ARMY ESTIMATES FOR 1907-08.
The sum which Parliament is asked to vote for Army Services in 1907-08 compares with the total of the Estimates for 1906-07 as follows:
This decrease, however, does not represent the total of the savings that have been effected, as it has again been necessary to find money to meet the automatic growth of certain charges, viz. :
The reductions effected thus amount in total to some 2,600,000l.
This figure includes a decrease of 699,000l. in the amount provided for the Re-armament of the Horse and Field Artillery with quick-firing guns. The progress of expenditure on this scheme has been more rapid than was originally anticipated; and the sum of 488,000l. to be voted in 1907-08 will complete the equipment of the Artillery with these guns. The total cost will have been 3,116,000l.
The total reduction in the Estimates would have been still larger but for the fact that a reduction of establishments does not at once produce a saving equal to the whole cost of the officers and men reduced. They cannot be summarily struck off the books, but must be allowed to finish their engagements; nor can all share of promotion be denied to them. The reduction of actual strength must be effected by taking fewer cadets and fewer recruits; but here again the stoppage cannot be made abruptly. Everything practicable has been done during the year 1906-07 to bring the actual strength of the Army to the level of its new establishment, but provision has to be made in the Estimates of 1907-08 for considerable numbers of supernumeraries. Recruiting as a whole continues to be good, and one result of this has been that the depletion of Line Infantry battalions at home, due to the efflux of three years' men to the Reserve, is rapidly disappearing.
Besides the reduction of the Estimates, the restriction of expenditure of borrowed money calls for notice. In the ten years from 1896-97 to 1905-06, the total amount spent under Army Loans was 15,754,000l., an average of 1,575,000l. a year. It was decided early in 1906 not to exhaust our borrowing powers under existing Acts, but to wind up the Military Works Loan as soon as certain indispensable services had been finished. The expenditure in 1906-07 will amount to some 650,000l. and in 1907-08 probably to a similar sum.
GROWTH OF ARMY EXPENDITURE, 1896-1907.
During 1905-06 and 1906-07, the Estimates of which years were of practically the same total, the peace expenditure of the Army may be said to have reached high-water mark; and I have been at some pains to analyse the causes of the great growth which took place between the years 1896-97 and 1906-07. In that period the Estimates, for peace services only, increased by 11,741,000l., of which 11,231,000l. was for effective services, and 510,000l. for pensions.
GROWTH OF PENSIONS.
This growth of the pension charges is of course largely due to the South African war, but by no means entirely so. Increases in the numbers of the Army and in scales of pension take many years before they produce their full effect on the non-effective votes; and, in regard to officers especially, the pensions now being paid pertain to a period when the Army was much smaller than at present. There is a further growth of 38,000l. in the noneffective votes this year, which now account for no less than 3,596,000l. out of the total Estimate of 27,760,000l.; and unfortunately there is every prospect of this growth continuing for some years to come.
COST OF PERSONNEL.
Of the 11,231,000l. by which the Estimates for effective services in 1906-07 exceeded those for 1896-97, 9,301,000l. was due to the increased cost of personnel. After allowing for the increases on Medical Services (402,0001.), Army Reserve (405,000l.), Staff, Departmental Services and Schools of Instruction (842,000l.), Militia (487,000l.), Yeomanry (424,000l.) and Volunteers (625,000l.),* there remains 5,916,000l. as the increased cost of the Regimental units of the Regular Army. Of this sum, 3,300,000l. represents the cost of 1,660 officers and 41,800 men added to the Army; while the numbers existing in 1896-97 cost more by 2,616,000l. in 1906-07 than in the earlier year, the increase per head being about 231. for officers and 171. 7s. 6d. for men. Among the causes of these increases may be mentioned the additions made to the more expensive corps (Artillery, Engineers, Foot Guards, &c.), the larger force maintained at the most expensive station (South Africa), and the better scale of barrack accommodation, &c., now provided. But besides these causes, which apply to both officers and men, the average cash payments to the individual soldier have been increased, by the grant of messing allowance, kit allowance, and service pay, to the extent of some 107. a-year, after allowing for the abolition of deferred pay. The question of the soldier's emoluments is further dealt with below, under the head of Service and Proficiency Pay. Meanwhile, it may be mentioned that a sum of 49,000l. is included in the Estimates of 1907-08 for the provision of better furniture for married soldiers' quarters; for the furnishing of separate dining rooms for the rank and file in barracks where the necessary space can be found, and of rooms for the use of the Army Temperance Association; and for improving the furniture of serjeants' messes. In the years 1902-03 to 1906-07 a total sum of 135,000l. was provided for similar purposes.
On the other hand, the pay of regimental officers has remained practically unchanged. The Lieutenant-Colonels commanding regiments of Cavalry and battalions of Infantry, with their heavy responsibilities and the many calls to which they are exposed, are badly paid as compared with the officers serving under them; and I hope to be in a position to effect some improvement in the pay of these and possibly other Lieutenant-Colonels in the coming year.
Owing to an alteration in the date of payment of Capitation allowances amounting to 200,0007. in 1896, the sum actually voted for the Volunteers in 1896-97 was less by 825,000l. than in 1906-07.
CHARGES OTHER THAN PERSONNEL
The chief factors of the increase of 1,930,000l. under this head were the growth of Loan annuities (894,000l.), the larger numbers of horses maintained (544,0001.), and the increased charge for warlike stores arising from the special provision in 1906-07 of 1,187,000l. for new Horse and Field Artillery equipments.
1907-08 COMPARED WITH 1906-07.
Without entering upon an exhaustive analysis of the Estimates of 1907-08 on the above lines, the savings of 2,036,000l. in those Estimates may be allocated approximately as follows:
STAFF, COMBATANTS AND DEPARTMENTAL SERVICES.
The total effective charge for personnel of the Regular Army (excluding the War Office and the Army Reserve) in 1907-08 is 15,261,000l., of which 400,000l. is for Staff, 12,391,000l. for Cavalry, Artillery, Engineers and Infantry, and 2,470,000l. for Medical and Departmental Services (including Labour Establishments).
ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE REGULAR ARMY.
The establishments of the several arms of the Regular Army have been subjected to a methodical examination, special attention having been directed to the two chief determining factors, viz., the Colonial and Indian garrisons to be maintained in peace, and the force which can be put into the field in an organized form.
An Order was published in January last providing for the reorganization of the Home part of the Regular Army. The basis adopted was simply that of taking the number of combatant units actually in existence at Home and necessary for the maintenance of the Colonial and Indian garrisons, and organizing these units into a force containing a due proportion of all arms; the size of the Field Force thus being limited by the establishment which it is necessary to preserve in order to find drafts and reliefs for the force abroad.