HC Deb 27 April 1899 vol 70 cc706-7
SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)

I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if, having regard to the unanimous support given by Colonial Governments, through their Agents General, to the suggestion of the United Empire Trade League that wine produced in and imported from British Colonies and Dependencies should be exempt from the new duty, he will yield to the general desire and abstain from levying the new duty upon wine produced in and imported from the British Empire?


The Agents General of the Colonies have placed their views on this subject before me. The two Colonies practically interested in the increase of the wine duties appear to be Victoria and South Australia. I am considering the statements that were made as to the special circumstances of the wine trade of these Colonies and the mode in which it is affected by the rates of duty proposed. But that trade has grown up under a long-established system of equal duties which, even when increased, will be very small as compared with the Customs duty on wine levied by the Colonies named. The return to differential duties would be a change of great importance in our fiscal system, and even if the principle of such a change were accepted I do not see why the benefit of it should be extended to Colonies which levy a highly-protective tariff on the manufactures of the United Kingdom.