§ SIR L. PLAYFAIR (Leeds, S.)
I desire to ask the First Lord of the Treasury a question of which I have given private notice. The House has passed the Second Reading of the Bill for the abolition of the coal dues which expire on the 5th inst. The House referred the Bill to a Hybrid Committee, with instructions to inquire whether any equitable conditions could be placed in it to enable the Corporation to meet the debt of £700,000 still owing in respect 1267 of the Holborn Valley Improvement. The Committee have this day reported, and the further consideration of the Bill is put down for to-morrow. I wish to ask what course the Government will adopt in these circumstances? One Amendment made by the Committee was to provide for the continuance of a coal duty of 4d. a ton for 12 months longer in order to give relief to the Corporation in respect of their debts. If the Bill does not pass and become law before Friday next the coal dues at 1s. 3d. will wholly cease, and there will be no taxation on the coals of London. I therefore ask what course the Government intend to take?
§ * MR. W. H. SMITH
Looking at the extreme urgency of the case, I think I shall be justified in asking the House to suspend the Standing Order to-morrow so as to allow the consideration of this Bill in the course of to-morrow's sitting. Unless I see any strong feeling on the part of the majority of this House against that proposal I shall put down a notice at the commencement of business to-morrow to that effect.