11 JULY 1908, Page 3

Mr. Balfour's speech on the Bill was an exceedingly able

piece of destructive criticism. In the section which he devoted to finance he showed that expenditure under the Bill was not going to be six and a half millions, as had been originally stated, or seven and a half millions, the sum to which Mr. Lloyd George had confessed, but something very much nearer eleven and a half millions immediately, and, of course, more after the Poor Law restriction is abolished at the end of 1910. How, within the limits of Free-trade, are you to get eleven and a half millions ? asked the Leader of the Opposition. That was a secret which the Prime Minister said be knew but would not tell, and which apparently was not known even to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr. Balfour went on to point out that, quite irrespective of the pressing question of armaments, the whole social programme of the Government meant recourse to the Imperial or the local treasury in the end. "Money is at the root of almost everything we do ; but I do not think that you will find the suggested taxation of the rich a very satisfactory method of increasing the national resources for the purposes of social reform, even from the point of view of society."