§ MR. D. A. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if he can state approximately the cost of collection of the coal duty during the financial year ending March 31st, 1905; and the net amount of revenue realised by the duty in the same period.
§ MR. ASQUITH
The net amount of revenue realised by the coal duty during the financial year ended March 31st, 1905, was £2,052,774. As the same officers are engaged in the collection 294 of the coal duty and other Customs duties, it is impossible to ascertain even approximately, what portion of the general cost of collection is attributable to this particular duty. The introduction of the corn, sugar and coal duties taken together involved an increase of 444 persons and an additional expense for pay and allowances, travelling, clothing and law charges of £57,600 per annum.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN (Worcestershire, E.)
Could the right hon. Gentleman state how many of those officers he would be able to dispense with if the coal duty alone were removed?
§ MR. ASQUITH
No, Sir; I could not. It is almost impossible to ascertain because the same officers are employed in the collection both of the coal and the sugar tax.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I assume that the same officers being employed for both duties, the right hon. Gentleman would not be able to dispense with the services of any of them if the coal duty alone were repealed.