If the Revenue comes in during the next six months
as it has done in the past, Sir M. Hicks-Beach will be able to calculate upon a considerable surplus to dispose of. There is a large increase for the six months ending September 30th, as compared with the figures for 1894, in all departments, except Miscellaneous. The rise in "Stamps," which includes the Death-duty, is no less than £2,698,000, and the total increase reaches the high figure of £4,215,000. The expenditure for next year is pretty sure to be higher than for this; but allowing for that increase, and for a reduc- tion on the Income-tax, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will expect a future surplus sufficient to enable him to do some- thing original, perhaps to propose a grant in aid of distressed agriculture,—perhaps to authorise a thorough reform of the whole rating system. He will probably " modify " the progressive Death-duties, so far as experience has shown that they press unfairly upon owners of land, and he may sweep away one or two taxes which restrict trade and produce ex- ceedingly little. Revolutionary Budgets are not, however, probable under this Government, and it must not be forgotten that surpluses are greatly dependent on the exigencies of our foreign policy. Things might happen both in the Far East of the world and in the Far East of Europe which would dis- turb all calculations as to the future necessities of the Treasury.