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Asquith desires a reduction in spending on armaments
The USS Wyoming. Prime Minister Henry Herbert Asquith voiced his concerns about the growing trend towards militarisation around the world. Photo: Illustrated London News [London, England], 20 December 1913

Asquith desires a reduction in spending on armaments

Published: 6 December 1913

The Prime Minister, Mr Herbert Asquith, has voiced his desire, and that of his party, to reduce Government spending on armaments. It would, however, be no easy job. According to the Liberal leader, the ‘only hope of real progress in that direction was by the concerted pressure of the peoples of the civilised world.’

A series of photographs showing a projectile emerging from the muzzle of a mortar at 800 mph. Click images to enlarge.
(Image: Illustrated London News [London, England], 29 November 1913]

The Prime Minister made his remarks before a large audience in Oldham, where he was outlining the achievements of the Liberal Party after eight years in government. Among the achievements listed were the paying off debt at an unexampled rate, the placing of income tax and death tax on a more equitable basis and the introduction of a discriminatory system of taxation where, for the first time, a distinction was drawn between earned and unearned income, with taxes levied on the ‘luxuries and superfluities of the rich’.

The pilot above and the gunner below: the new Lewis Air-Cooled Machine-Gun mounted on a 50 HP Grahame White biplane. This photo was taken at a test of the new weapon, carried out at Bisley last month. (Image: Illustrated London News [London, England], 6 December 1913)

‘But’, he added, ‘if we and other nations are to go along at the same pace and along the same rate of expenditure during the next ten years as during the last ten I see grave and growing disquietude’. Asquith said that he hoped that any decrease in the national spending in the coming years would not come at the expense of social expenditure or social reform; rather, he hoped the savings could be made in the form of reduced spending on armaments.


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.