3 MARCH 1939, Page 3

Naval Estimates The naval estimates for 1939-1940 are the largest

this country has ever known ; they emphasise the staggering scale which our rearmament has now assumed. The total of Liso,000,000 is £23,500,000 more than last year ; but the taxpayer will, curiously enough, pay less. For £80,000,000 will be raised under the Defence Loans Act, and some £70,000,000 by taxation, which is £27,000,000 less than last year. The Army estimates have risen by nearly £47,000,000 to L161,000,000. As a whole the estimates have risen to L58o,000,000, while the revenue to be provided by taxation has fallen from £274,000,000 to £230,000,000. Sir John Simon has explained that the decrease in revenue from taxa- tion reflects the not over-prosperous industrial conditions of last year ; but though his financial policy may be wise in the circumstances, it is impossible not to feel alarm both at the size of the estimates and the fact that the nation is less able to afford them. And it must be remembered that rearma- ment has not yet reached its peak ; few people can look forward without dismay to the next few years in which this country will be spending an increasing proportion of its wealth on completely unproductive engines of war.