11 JANUARY 1908, Page 2

Another point in regard to the Government programme which must

be considered, and with the greatest care, is the question of finance. We wish it were obligatory upon every Government, when enumerating in the King's Speech the measures which they hope to pass, to wind up with a para- graph estimating the total extra charges upon the revenue involved in their legislative programme, for upon such an estimate ought very largely to depend whether the opinion of the country and the House of Commons should be one of assent or dissent. The Daily Mail in its issue of Tuesday makes an attempt to estimate the financial side of the Govern- ment programme for the coming Session. According to our contemporary, the Government measures will demand an extra thirty-four millions a year to carry them into practice. This total, however, is reached by the suggestion that an extra ten millions will be required for naval construction. Possibly such a sum ought to be spent, but we do not suppose it is likely to be asked for at once. Even, however, if we take a much more restricted view of the matter than the writer in the Daily Mail, and if we put the old-age pensions expenditure at ten millions—a sum which it does not seem likely to stay at for more than a year or two at the very best—we do not see how the Government's legislative programme can involve an extra charge on the revenue of less than twelve to fifteen millions a year. But surely this is madness. No system of . national finance can stand such increments.