§ MR. JOHN MORLEY (Montrose Burghs)
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether any steps are being taken to ascertain the true revenue paid by Ireland and Great Britain respectively, in regard of articles which are consumed in one country and the duties on which are collected in the other; and, whether any steps are in contemplation to ascertain such true revenue, especially in respect of those articles which can be removed from one country to the other without official permit?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir MICHAEL HICKS BEACH,) Bristol, W.
No steps have been taken in the direction indicated by the right hon. Gentleman, and none are in contemplation, beyond the continuance of the returns as to the financial 383 relations between England, Scotland and Ireland, which have in recent years been presented to Parliament. With regard to the adjustments of collected revenue made in those returns, I am advised that the figures relating to spirits are certainly, and those relating to beer probably, as accurate as they can be made. As to the other dutiable articles of consumption, notably tea, the figures cannot, I admit, be regarded with the same confidence. But no satisfactory means have yet been devised whereby greater accuracy could be obtained, without establishing such a watch over the movement of dutiable articles as would seriously hamper trade. Only one member of the recent Commission gave any countenance to such a suggestion. The proposed Commission will have before them the figures presented to their predecessors, and it will be open to them, if they are not satisfied with those figures, to suggest any practicable means for improving the basis on which the adjustments are made.