§ MR. MITCHELL-THOMSON (Lanarkshire, N.W.)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether imported Colonial spirit for methylating is subject to an adverse differential treatment to the extent of 5d. as compared with Home spirit; and, if so, what is the reason for such differential treatment.
§ MR. ASQUITH
Colonial spirit, like all imported spirit, is subjected to a Customs Duty which exceeds the Excise Duty on British spirit by 4d. a gallon in the case of rum and brandy, and by 5d. in the case of other spirit. The reason for the difference between the Customs and Excise Duties is that the Excise Duty represents only a part of the total burden imposed on British spirit. It does not cover that portion of the burden which results from revenue restrictions on the manufacture of spirit, and, as this portion of the burden has to be borne by British spirit, whatever the purpose for which it may be used, equality of treatment requires that imported spirit should pay the difference between the two duties, whatever the purpose for which it may be used. Accordingly, imported spirit used for methylation is charged the difference, which on Colonial spirit would be 4d. in the case of rum or brandy, and 5d. in case of other spirit.