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FOURTH CLASS. ̧
The total charge of this Class is 66.8381.; which is less than the average expenditure of any of the preceding quarters since the 5th April 1812, and not very considerably more than the average expenditure for the seven years to the 5th July 1811, in which period the expenditure may be stated at 64,9831. This expenditure has taken place as follows:
In the Lord Chamberlain's Department, exclusive of the Office
In the Office of Works.........
In the Lord Steward's Department.....
In the Department of the Master of the Horse......
From this account it will be seen, that in the Lord Chamberlain's Department, exclusive of the Office of Works, a very considerable diminution of expense has taken place with reference to that of the eleven preceding quarters, though it is greater than it was upon an average of the seven years to 5th July 1911, in which period it may be stated at 14,3051. In the Department of the Office of Works, a more considerable diminution has taken place; but the Committee understand, that this diminution has been occasioned chiefly from the circumstance of the present Surveyor General not having, from the recent date of his appointmet, had an opportunity of taking a general survey of the palaces and buildings placed under his charge, and therefore cannot be looked to as a permanent decrease; some of the Royal palaces and buildings having been represented to be in a very dilapidated condition, and therefore requiring extensive repairs.
In the Lord Steward's Department, on the contrary, a very considerable increase of expenditure bas taken place, not only above the average of the seven years to the 5th July 1811, but above the average for the two years and three quarters to 5th January 1815. The expenditure in the former period may be stated at 26,350l., and in the latter period at 25,2871. This increased expenditure in the last quarter, as compared with the former period, has arisen from the expenses of the establishment of her royal highness the Princess Charlotte of Wales, and from the additional expense of the Royal gardens; and as compared with the latter period, from many sums being included in the present account which are annual payments, or payments for a longer period than one quarter, particularly some of the expenses at Brighton, which might strictly be considered as belonging to the former quarter.
In the Department of the Master of the Horse, the expenditure is less than upon the average of the last two years and three quarters, and is very nearly the same as it was during that period, after deducting therefrom the extraordinary expenses incurred in this Department on account of the Illustrious Visitors to this country.
Upon the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Classes no particular observations occur to the Committee. They have, in a former part of this Report, offered such remarks upon them as appeared to be called for; and the expenditure in the quarter to the 5th April 1815, has been nearly at the same rate as in the former period of two years and three quarters.
The total Charge under this head is 97,3661. which is about 17,000l. more than the average expenditure of the two years and three quarters to the 5th January 1815, but does not exceed that of the last three quarters of this period. The chief increase is the extraordinary disbursements of Foreign Ministers, which forms the most prominent item of this account.
The Charge of the Civil List,
Total Charge for Three Years to 5th April 1815......
The Ordinary Income,
To the 5th January 1815, is
For the Quarter to the 5th April 1815
Debt which would have accrued in case no Extraordinary Aid
Towards the Discharge of this Debt there has been applied,
And there has been granted by Parliament,
To make good the Deficiency of 1813............ 118,857
Leaving a Debt, undischarged, of
Upon the general subject of the Debts which have at different times accrued upon the Civil List, it is to be observed, that the system adopted at the beginning of the present reign, and the various circumstances which have occurred in the course of it, rendered the occurrence of Debt in some degree almost unavoidable. To an Expenditure necessarily increasing, a fixed Income was applied, and though that Income was at different times augmented, it was never increased beyond an amount sufficient to meet the Expenditure at the time the augmentation was made; whereas in the former reign, if the Expenditure progressively increased, the Income also progressively increased which was assigned to meet it.
A new estimate has been referred to the Committee. It appears to have been formed, as to its amount, with reference to the ordinary charge of the last three years, except in the Third Class, in which a considerable augmentation is proposed.
Many of the charges which have hitherto fallen upon the Civil List, have been so uncertain, and dependent upon such a variety of unforeseen circumstances, that no calculation with respect to those charges could be made, upon which any person could rely with confidence. The price of all articles of consumption, since the accession of his present Majesty, has so rapidly advanced, and particularly in latter times, as to render any estimate, however justly formed at the time, totally inadequate; and the continuance of peace or of war must have materially affected the calculations upon which former estimates have been founded.
The Committee are of opinion, that the Income and the Expenditure should be made as certain as possible; and, having rendered the former ample, that the latter should be restrained by such measures as may be adopted consistently with the respect due to the Sovereign.
The Committee do not feel themselves called upon to offer any opinion as to the adequacy of the amount, or the accuracy of the details of the estimate; but they ap prove of the course which has been followed in forming it, by excluding from it all payments of an uncertain nature, which ought to be made the subject either of annual Parliamentary Grant, or of other provision.
If this suggestion should be adopted, the only classes upon which any variation appears likely to take place at any future period, are those of the Foreign Ministers, and of the departments of the Lord Chamberlain, Lord Steward, Master of the Horse, and Master of the Robes.
The Foreign Ministers being the representatives of his Majesty at the Courts of other Sovereigns, belong so immediately to the Crown, as to form necessarily a part of the Civil List; and though the charge must vary considerably, from the uncertainty of war or peace, yet this fluctuation would be confined, if the suggestions of the Committee should be adopted, to salaries and pensions only, as all other services connected with this class would no longer form a part of the Civil List.
The pensions of this description having been under the consideration of a Committee of the House, and regulated by the Act of 50 Geo. 3, c. 117, 'as to the amount
[cx of such pensions, and the periods of service after which alone they could be granted, it is presumed, that no exceeding, to any considerable amount, is likely to occur upon
With respect both to Salaries and Pensions, as they are liable to fluctuation, according to the nature of our relations with foreign countries, and as they appear to be taken at the full amount in the new estimate, the Committee are of opinion, that in the event of its being carried into effect, all savings which may take place in this class, after providing for the outfit and allowances for house-rent, should not go to the general purposes of the Civil List, but should be left to the disposition of Parliament.
In the departments of the Fourth Class, the Committee suggest, that in future all compensations, in the nature of Superannuation, should be governed by the regulations of the Act above referred to, respecting the superannuations granted to persons who have held situations in public offices.
An Address of the House has been presented to the Prince Regent, respecting compensations in lieu of gratuities, at present paid to the servants of the Royal Household: the amount of these compensations, if granted, will form an addition to the estimate, which has been referred to the Committee. If such gratuities should be discontinued, and compensation be given, great care must be taken that the demand of similar payment shall not be suffered to recur.
In this class, considerable exceedings have taken place, and particularly during the period which has been peculiarly under the notice of the Committee. The circumstances which led to these exceedings have been noticed in the former part of this Report. And as in this class a very great variation from the estimate appears at all times to have taken place, it is necessary to adopt such a system of check and control as is most likely to restrain future excess.
The Committee have seen with great satisfaction the warrant of the Prince Regent of 24th April 1815, which requires quarterly estimates and accounts in as much detail as possible; and supplementary estimates of any expense exceeding 10001, which may arise in the course of any quarter. It also directs, that nothing shall be supplied except from the written authority of a person to be nominated in each department.
They are of opinion, that, considering the nature of the great offices of the household, no sufficient check or control can be exercised solely by the officers at the head of those respective departments, however much it may be their duty and their anxious desire to confine the expenditure within due limits, without the effectual control of the Commissioners of the Treasury. That board is armed, by the warrant above referred to, with powers, which, if followed by adequate regulations, will, the Committee trust, be rendered fully efficient. Among the most important of these regulations, your Committee recommend a positive direction that the heads of these departments respectively should account for any excess which may have arisen in the course of any quarter, and that they should be required to provide for such excess by a saving to an equal amount in the ensuing quarter. Unless the recurrence of such excess on the aggregate expenditure of this class can be so obviated, the amount, under such limitation as Parliament may think fit to enact, must be submitted to the House at the end of the year. The Committee wish to impress their opinion upon the House, that it is to the vigilant superintendence of the Treasury, that Parliament should look for the enforcing of such regulations as may be devised for confining the expenditure of the Civil List within the income assigned to it.
Under the present system of auditing the accounts of the different departments of the Fourth Class, the Committee fear that it is impossible for the Board of Treasury effectually to exercise this control. It appears indeed that this system may afford some check on the prices charged by the tradesmen, and secure the due application of the money issued by the Treasury; but it cannot be said in any degree to control the current expenditure.
The accounts of the Lord Chamberlain and the Master of the Horse are audited by the Auditors of Public Accounts. The accounts of the Lord Chamberlain's Department have been audited and declared to the 5th January 1810, and great progress has been made in the examination of the accounts for the subsequent year. The accounts are delivered to the 5th January 1812. The Lord Steward is not the
accountant of his own Department; he is the first officer of the Royal Household, and directs the Board of Green Cloth, who are officers under his control: the members of the Board are, the Treasurer, the Comptroller, and the Master of the Household, who have officers and clerks under their direction. The Accountant is the Paymaster of the Household; and the course of conducting the business is as follows:-The bills of the several tradesmen are, in the first instance, examined both as to quantities and prices, by the respective officers of the Royal Household, under whose particular direction the articles are provided; they are then examined by the officers of the Board of Green Cloth; and being found correct, are ordered for payment as soon as the money for that purpose is placed in the hands of the Paymaster. The Paymaster has no control whatever over the accounts; he is obliged to pay the precise sums according to the account sent to him by the Board of Green Cloth. The Paymaster's accounts are made up by the Board of Green Cloth; and are examined by the Auditor of the Land Revenue, as to the castings and computations, and are subsequently passed upon the oath of the Paymaster and Comptroller before the barons of the Exchequer, one of the clerks of the Board of Green Cloth attending, and the Quietus issues in the regular Exchequer form. They have been so passed up to the year 1808; and the accounts for 1809 and 1810 are now before the Auditor.
It is obvious that no system of mere audit, however accurate, can effect that constant and periodical control over the current expenditure, without which the great object of confining the expense of each quarter within the estimate cannot be attained.
In order to accomplish this object, your Committee are of opinion, that an officer should be appointed specially to audit and superintend the expenditure of all the Departments of the Royal Household; that he should be perfectly independent of those Departments, and act under the immediate instructions of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury; that he should not only examine particularly the authorities under which all orders are given and payments made, as well as audit and check the accounts of each Department, at the close of every quarter, but that he should have the power of examining them, together with the estimates and expenditure of the Departments in the course of each quarter. It is also expedient that he should have the power of examining, upon oath, all persons acting under the authority of the principal officers of the Household, and all others employed by them. The Board of Treasury, with such an officer acting under their orders, and in constant communication with them, will become acquainted with every variation in the disbursements of this Class, as it occurs; and may interpose their authority to prevent those excesses, which have perhaps arisen, in a considerable degree, from the want of an efficient system of superintendence and control.
The Committee fully trust, that these good effects may be produced without throwing any additional burthen on the public, by the creation of this new office. They are decidedly of opinion, that a saving sufficient to meet the expense may be made by the discontinuance or regulation of officers, which cannot be considered as necessary, either to the service or splendour of the Royal Household.
By such regulations the accumulation of arrears which have heretofore taken place, would be in a great degree avoided; and with this view also it is particularly recommended, as it has been by former Committees, that a sum should be voted annually on account for civil contingencies, and an account of its application laid regularly, in the year subsequent to the grant, before Parliament. There would in that case be no necessity for borrowing from the Civil List for unforeseen expenses, which has hitherto been the practice, and which has occasioned great inconvenience to many of those persons to whom payments were due out of its revenues, as well as some embarrassment in the state of the accounts.
As it seems very desirable that the income of the Civil List should be fixed and certain as well as the expenditure, the committee suggest that the Exchequer fees, the amount of which depends upon a variety of circumstances, and varies very much during peace and war, should not in future form a part of the ordinary income, but should after setting apart a sufficient sum to defray the charge occasioned by her royal highness the Princess Charlotte, be carried to the Consolidated Fund.
The income and charge, according to the estimate referred to the Committee, and under the proposed regulation, would stand as follows:
Income, exclusive of Exchequer Fees.......
Charge independent of her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte 1,036,000
If the suggestions of the Committee should be adopted, it will be necessary to propose grants to the House for those services of an uncertain amount, which it has been recommended in future to exclude from the Civil List. Various Parliamentary provisions will also be necessary, particularly for transferring to the Consolidated Fund the sum of 136.000l. from the First Class; for carrying to the Consolidated Fund the Exchequer fees; for amending the Act of 52 Geo. 3, c. 6, respecting the laying annually before Parliament the amount of any deficiency which may hereafter arise; for giving the necessary powers to the Auditor; and for amending the Act of 50 Geo. 3, c. 117, respecting the deficiency of fees of the different offices.
The Committee conclude by stating their confidence that, if the regulations and arrangements which they have submitted to the House be adopted, and followed up by an active superintendence on the part of the Board of Treasury, the expense of the Civil List will be kept within due limits, and future applications to Parliament, for the liquidation of debts, except under unforeseen and peculiar circumstances, will be avoided.-16 June 1815.
THE SELECT COMMITTEE
PUBLIC INCOME AND EXPENDITURE
Ordered, by the House of Commons, to be printed, 19 June 1815.
[All sums are in Irish currency where the contrary is not expressed.]
The SELECT COMMITTEE, to whom the several Reports from the Committees on Public Income and Expenditure of Ireland, and the several Accounts and Papers presented to the House in 1813, 1814, and 1815, relating to the Public Income and Expenditure of Ireland, were referred, and who were directed to inquire and report to the House what has been, during the last twenty-four years ending the 5th day of January 1815, the Increase and Redemption of the Public Funded Debt of Ireland, and what was the State and Amount thereof on the said day, VOL. XXX. Appendix. (h)