11 AUGUST 1923, Page 25


,t Regret that the control of the national finances, in these critical days, is apparently not to pass into the hands of Mr. Reginald McKenna is tempered in the City with considerable satisfaction that Mr. McKenna will, as a conseqUence, remain one of the leading lights in the banking world, retaining, of course, his position as , Chairman to the London Joint City and Midland Bank. From the moment that there was uncertainty as to a Parliamentary vacancy as regards the City of London doubts have been expressed in financial circles as to the :likelihood of Mr. McKenna going to the Exchequer, as it was known from the outset that his acceptation of the 'Prime Minister's invitation was prompted by no political considerations, but entirely by a desire to fulfil any demand made by the country upon him to aid in solving the many serious financial problems with which we are now confronted.

* * * It will be at least another year before the published gross earnings of British Railways can be regarded as giving any reliable indication of dividend prospects. At the present time comparisons in many cases with figures of a year ago are necessarily lacking, and while the latest figures published by The Railway Gazette indicate the likelihood of the earnings for the last six months 'falling very little below those of a year ago—notwith- standing the reduction in charges—railway shareholders are experiencing more than the usual uncertainty con- cerning forthcoming dividends. Moreover, other elements of uncertainty enter into the position, one of them being the reduction which has presumably taken place in expenses as the result of lower wages, another being the possible economies resulting from the recent fusions, and a third being the exceptionally large totals of the amounts to the credit of reserves and depreciation funds. * A. W. K.