§ 1. The sale at any one time to one person of liquor in the following quantities, namely:—
- (a) in the case of spirits, wine, or sweets, in any quantity not exceeding two gallons or not exceeding one dozen reputed quart bottles; and
- (b) in the case of beer or cider, in any quantity not exceeding four and a half gallons or not exceeding two dozen reputed quart bottles;
§ (2) A retailer's on-licence does not in any case authorise wholesale dealing.
§ 3. A retailer's off-licence shall not be granted to the holder of a retailer's on-licence if the off-licence authorises the sale of any liquor which the holder of the on-licence is not authorised to sell by retail under his on-licence, and any retailer's off-licence granted in contravention of this provision shall be void.
§ 4. A person holding the licence to be taken out by a retailer of beer may sell by retail cider as well as beer without taking out any further retailer's licence.
§ 5. A person holding the licence to be taken out by a retailer of wine may sell by retail sweets as well as wine without taking out any further retailer's licence.
§ Provisions Applicable to Retailers' On-Licences.
§ 1. A retailer's on-licence authorises sale by retail of the liquor to which the licence extends for consumption either on or off the premises.
§ 2. A person holding the on-licence to be taken out by a retailer of spirits may sell by retail beer, cider, wine, and sweets, as well as spirits, without taking out any further retailer's licence.
§ (3) Where it is shown to the satisfaction of the Commissioners that the annual value of the premises exceeds seven 1675 hundred pounds a retailer's on-licence may be granted at the option of the licence holder on payment of an amount equal to half the annual compensation value as certified for the purposes of this Act, and where that amount has not been certified for the purpose of the register to be prepared under this Act, the licence holder may require that amount to be so certified:
§ Provided that the duty payable in pursuance of this provision shall not be less than three hundred and fifty pounds.
§ 4. The maximum amount of duty payable in respect of a retailer's on-licence granted to the proprietor of premises to be used only for any of the following purposes, namely, as a theatre or place of public or private entertainment, or as public gardens, picture galleries, or exhibitions, or as railway refreshment rooms, or for any similar purpose to which the holding of the licence is merely auxiliary, in respect of the premises shall be fifty pounds, but it shall be a condition of any such licence that intoxicating liquor is not sold under the licence except while the premises are open and being used, and to persons bonâ fide using the premises, for the said purpose.
§ Provisions Applicable to Retailers' Off-Licences.
§ 1. A retailer's off-licence authorises the sale by retail of the liquor to which the licence extends for consumption off the premises only.
§ 2. A person holding the off-licence to be taken out by a retailer of spirits may not sell spirits in open vessels, or in any quantity less than one reputed quart bottle.
§ 3. A person holding the off-licence to be taken out by a retailer of wine may not sell wine in open vessels or in any quantity less than one reputed pint bottle.
|D.—PASSENGER VESSEL LICENCES.|
|1. Licence to be taken out annually in respect of a passenger vessel by the master or other person belonging to the vessel nominated by the owner of the vessel—||Corresponding existing licence.|
|Duty of £10.||—|
|2. Licence to be taken out in respect of a passenger vessel by the master or other person belonging to the vessel nominated by the owner of the vessel, and to be in force for one day only—||Licence on which duty is payable under 43 & 44 Vict. c. 20, s. 45.|
|Duty of £2.|
§ Provisions Applicable to Passenger Vessel Licences.
§ 1. A passenger vessel licence granted in respect of any vessel authorises the sale by retail while the vessel is engaged in carrying passengers of any intoxicating liquor on the vessel to passengers for consumption on the vessel.
§ 2. A passenger vessel licence authorises the sale of tobacco as well as the sale of intoxicating liquor.
§ 3. In the event of any person to whom a passenger vessel's licence has been granted ceasing to be master of the vessel or to belong to the vessel, the licence may be transferred to any person who is for the time being master of the vessel or is for the time being a person belonging to the vessel and nominated by the owner of the vessel for the purpose.
§ 4. In the event of the transfer of the vessel to some other owner, the licence granted under this Section shall cease to have effect as respects that vessel, but may, in that event and in the event of the loss of the vessel, be transferred, on the application of the owner of the vessel, to the master of some other vessel belonging to him or to some person belonging to such other vessel and nominated by the owner for the purpose.
§ 5. For the purpose of giving jurisdiction, any sale of liquor on a passenger vessel shall be deemed to have taken place either where it has actually taken place or in any place in which the vessel may be found.
§ E.—RAILWAY RESTAURANT CAR LICENCES.
§ Licence to be taken out annually in respect of a railway restaurant car by the railway company or other person owning the car—Duty of £1.
§ Provisions Applicable to Railway Restaurant Car Licences.
§ A railway restaurant car licence granted in respect of a car authorises the sale by retail to passengers on the car of any intoxicating liquor for consumption on the car.
§ F.—OCCASIONAL LICENCES.
§ Occasional licences granted under Section thirteen of the Revenue Act, 1862 (25 and 26 Vict. c. 22), Section twenty of the Revenue Act, 1863 (26 and 27 Vict. c. 33), and Section five of the Revenue Act, 1864 (27 and 28 Vict. c. 18).
- (a) Sale of any intoxicating liquor—per day, 10s.
- (b) Sale of beer or wine only—per day, 5s.
§ Provisions Applicable to Occasional Licences.
§ An occasional licence may be granted under Section five of the Revenue Act, 1864, for the sale of beer only in Scotland and Ireland as well as in England, and for the sale of wine only in Scotland as well as in England and Ireland; and any provisions relating to those licences shall apply accordingly.
§ Mr. GEORGE YOUNGER moved (in A.—Manufacturer's Licences) to leave out the words "Duty Specified in Scale 1," and to insert instead thereof the words "ten pounds."
§ This Amendment is intended to retain the distiller's licence. There is a later one to maintain the rectifier's licence, and there is still a third one to retain the brewer's licence. They are all governed by the same series of arguments, and it would be convenient if these were taken together, and if a general discussion was taken on one Amendment and not on each.
§ Mr. DILLON
I entirely disagree with the hon. Member's view of that matter. I have Amendments raising different questions, and they ought to be discussed separately. The questions of the brewer's licence and of the distiller's licence are quite distinct.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
May I ask whether there is room for a general discussion of this character on the Schedule, seeing that we had a general discussion on the Clause both with respect to manufacturer's duty and with respect to retail duty?
Clearly if objection is taken to the discussion of the scale as a whole it cannot be taken as a whole, and under these circumstances I need not reply to the question of the Chancellor of the Duchy. We must take the items separately.
§ Mr. A. J. BALFOUR
As it turns on whether objection is taken or not, I understand that by general agreement the Bill is to be finished on Wednesday, and in these circumstances I should have thought it was for the general convenience of the House not to trammel the freedom of Debate. But I agree that it does not rest with me.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
As the Secretary of the Treasury announced that the Chancellor of the Exchequer intended to accept no more Amendments beyond what are now on the Paper, will the Government 1678 not put the Closure on the whole Schedule?
§ Mr. DILLON
The right hon. Gentleman seemed to make an appeal to me, but I think he misunderstood my point. I do not want to interfere with the liberty of the Opposition to discuss the Schedule as a whole. All I want is to safeguard ourselves against disposing of questions of vital importance in detail on the first Amendment and then being told we cannot raise them later on.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
The right hon. Gentleman states that so far as he and his Friends are concerned they have come to an arrangement that the Schedules shall be concluded by Wednesday. That is not an agreement on which he could speak for anyone except his Friends above the Gangway, but it is an agreement which the two Front Benches may force in opposition to others. If that is so, and a general discussion takes place which occupies the whole of to-day and perhaps a portion of to-morrow, then by the operation of this voluntary guillotine on Wednesday we may be prevented from discussing, as fully as we desire, matters of detail which arise on the Schedules.
§ Mr. YOUNGER
I was wholly misunderstood. I merely proposed to take the questions of the brewer and the distiller together, and not to have a general discussion on the Schedule.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I certainly object to their being taken together. They raise, so far as Ireland is concerned, very distinct points which have to be discussed separately.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
After listening to this conversation it appears to me that nothing will be passed by a general discussion, and that the matters must be taken separately and seriatim.
§ Mr. YOUNGER
The distiller's Licence Duty is not being nearly so heavily increased as the other. I submit that in view of the enormous addition which is being made to the Spirit Duty, and of the extraordinary depression which that has created in the distilling industry, it is little less than an atrocity to add to that an additional burden. The Licence Duty that the distiller pays now is a registration duty, and no monopoly whatever is granted in return for the registra- 1679 tion. He produces a dutiable article, and that being the case he must necessarily be registered in order that the Inland Revenue authority shall have the ordinary power of collecting the duty. But, to put upon him a duty in proportion to the whisky which he produces, which is really a second Income Tax, is not in any way admissible unless we are to have a series of taxes, where no monopolies are granted, over the whole system of manufactures in the United Kingdom. It is ridiculous and unfair, and it is not in any way a proposition which hon. Gentlemen opposite can support, to single out two classes of manufacture for penalising duties of this kind, while leaving everyone else alone. Duties are all very well when a monopoly is granted in return for the duty. They are not defensible when that is not so. The Prime Minister, two years ago, distinctly stated that there was no excuse whatever for a tax of this kind, either on the brewer or on the distiller, and upon that I rest, and I move my Amendment.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
It appears to me that if this Amendment is not accepted, the logical situation must be that you must grant the British and Irish manufacturers a drawback. We are competing in this matter especially with Germany, and Germany is sending in German spirits here at an enormous rate at 10d. a gallon, and sometimes as low as 9d. These Germans are under no restriction whatever in their manufacture. They have not to conform to any law of Excise in respect to the shape, the contents, or the class of the machinery by which they manufacture their product. Now, for the first time, a Free Trade Government proposes to lay upon native manufacture, and in respect of one kind of goods, a heavy duty, although the Germans, who make goods of the same class, are allowed to make them with absolute freedom. Take the case of the export duty. We are allowed 3d. as a drawback. That is because the article is sent outside of this country. We are allowed it because of the restrictions imposed on native manufacturers by the Excise, and actually so vehement and hitter is the feeling in temperance circles in this House that when the American tariff was passed the other day by which America imposed a special duty an hon. Baronet opposite got up and said that the drawback of 3d. granted in this country was not a drawback at all, but 1680 a bounty which ought to be abolished. That is Free Trade run mad, I thought. What have we here? You single out particular manufactures in which Britain and Ireland are in the keenest competition with Germany. When this matter was inquired into by a Royal Commission and by a Committee upstairs you refused to allow the native product to be specially marked to indicate that it was native product. And yet in all Customs places you allow vats to be established where foreign stuff made for 10d. per gallon is allowed to be blended with the native product, which costs 3s. per gallon. Remember this affects the Colonies, and especially Jamaica and the rum which it exports. In regard to Jamaica rum that sort of sophistication was allowed to go on until something was done to check it. Then, when that fraud has been committed, there comes on the top of it the proposal of a Free Trade Government to impose on this special article in addition an extraordinary duty of something like 14s. per gallon. You propose that the manufacturer should pay this enormous amount. I can understand destroying the distilleries altogether. Perhaps the Chancellor of the Exchequer would prefer the word "disestablish," which appears to be very popular in Wales. He proposes by this Schedule to put British and Irish manufacturers under a disability which they have never suffered under before. Under what circumstances is the proposal made? If ever conviction could be brought home to the mind of a Minister it ought to be brought home to the Chancellor of the Exchequer by his own figures. He budgetted for £1,700,000, and about four o'clock the other morning he said that the income, instead of being that amount, would be something like £1,300,000. That may be very good for those who rejoice at anything in the nature of temperance, but the logical course would be to abolish the distilleries altogether. Either this is a revenue Budget or a revenge Budget. Now, I ask, are you after revenue or are you after revenge? If you are after revenue it has been demonstrated by your own figures that you have practically ruined the distillers. It is ruin to a man to have his product falling off to the extent of millions of money. I think I am justified in using the word "ruined," but if it is objected to I will say seriously injured. I say, "If this be so, grant us at least a countervailing duty against Germany." That we are fully entitled to in connection with this proposal. You have given a countervailing duty of 3d. as re- 1681 gards exports against the competition of Germany. What will happen under this Duty? You have to pay £10 for every 50,000 gallons of whisky, and then for every further 25,000, or fraction of 25,000, another £10. I do not know whether I am correct in that. I think I am, but I speak subject to correction. After you have manufactured the first 50,000 gallons you must pay £20, even if you only manufacture one gallon in addition to the 50,000. In the name of Providence, I ask how can you carry on manufacturing under these conditions? The best Irish whisky costs from 3s. to 4s. With patent stills you can manufacture whisky for 1s. or 1s. 6d. These articles are made from honest native products as a rule. The German article costs 9d. or 10d., and, as we know, it is made from inferior materials for that purpose. How can any manufacturer contend against these conditions? You propose to put on the product itself an extra duty of 3s. 9d. You have admitted that there is an enormous falling-off in the quantity. That being so, how can you fairly ask the manufacturers of this substance to pay such an enormous extra duty? I cannot conceive, if the Budget is only for revenue, and if the intention of the Government is to allow the manufacture to be continued under any reasonable system, how such a duty can be proposed. Why do you not put it on poisons? There is a large manufacture of noxious substances. Let us take chemicals. There are important Members of the Liberal party engaged in the manufacture of articles which at least smell unpleasantly. I do not say they taste bad, but admittedly they must be noxious substances. To select one particular article, as the Government propose, is simply to dig the grave of the manufacturer, unless you give a countervailing duty. This question of a countervailing duty is so important that I do trust it will be dealt with in a reasonable spirit by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. I must say it augurs ill for any concession when we have the Financial Secretary to the Treasury getting up and officiously stating that the Government do not intend to accept a single Amendment beyond those which have been put on the Notice Paper. In other words, the House of Commons is entering on this discussion practically garrotted. There are two kinds of closure. There is the fiscal closure that is put from the Chair, and there is the intellectual closure which is imposed when you know that you are beating the air, and when the Government say that, de- 1682 spite the force of any arguments that may be submitted to them, they are obliged to state that they cannot accept any suggestion. From what was said by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury we know in advance that the Chancellor of the Duchy comes in handcuffed or tonguetied. We know that he is barred from accepting any Amendment. But I do maintain that the question of a countervailing duty on German imported commodities is one well worthy of the consideration of the Government.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I would have great pleasure in accepting this Amendment, and indeed all the other Amendments on the Paper, which would lower or even abolish the existing imposts, but that, unhappily, the revenue must be raised, and the deficit has to be met, and we are obliged to ask the Committee to sanction the new taxes proposed. The Committee at an earlier stage after discussion sanctioned the principle of the new duties which were to be imposed not only on retailers of intoxicating liquors, but also on manufacturers. What we have now to consider is whether the scale proposed on manufacturers is equitable or not. At present the duty on the distiller is 10 guineas. The hon. Member who moved this Amendment wishes so far from increasing it slightly to reduce it, by shillings it is true, but other Amendments which come later show that hon. Members opposite desire to reduce in several particulars the duties on retailers and manufacturers of intoxicating liquor. I think the duty proposed by the scale which the Committee is asked to sanction is exceedingly low. It amounts on the average to 1–10th of a penny per gallon. This is the duty which the hon. and learned Member who has just spoken has described as an enormous amount, and as a heavy duty which will destroy the distilleries. We have already at the present time a duty of 11s. per gallon on spirits, and we are proposing by another provision to increase the duty by 3s. 9d.; and now when we ask the distillers to bear the Licence Duty amounting to 1–10th of a penny per gallon we are told it is an enormous and crushing burden that will ruin the Irish distiller and leave him a prey for the German invader. Language like that of the hon. Member, when we consider the infinitesimal amount of the duty, is deprived of all authority. If it is true, as he says, that logically it might be necessary to give an 1683 equivalent drawback on account of the danger of foreign competition, and that foreign distilleries should be entitled to be taxed to the extent of one-tenth of a penny per gallon, yet the amount is so small that the cost of collecting a Customs Duty of 1–10th of a penny per gallon, in fact, even the account keeping would almost swallow up the amount of the duty. In addition, the sur-tax on foreign spirits at present is admittedly too high, and is a protection for English distillers against foreign distillers. Because when the Corn Tax was imposed there was a sur-tax of a penny imposed in 1902 to counterbalance the increased charge that would fall upon the English distiller on account of the higher price of corn which the Government of that day anticipated would follow on the imposition of the low Corn Duty. When the Corn Duty was abolished in 1903 that penny was not abolished, and consequently at the present time the sur-tax is higher probably than it ought to be. Taking that into account, and also taking into account the small extent of this new imposition, the Government have thought it would be both unreasonable and unnecessary to impose the corresponding drawback in respect of this infinitesimally small amount.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I cannot help thinking that the Committee must have been struck by the very remarkable defect in the argument of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Samuel). He says that before we dealt with the Spirit Duties there was already an enormous tax of 11s. a gallon on spirits—enormous that is in comparison with the cost of its production or with the ordinary units on which we levy Customs Duty. But he says, "That is not all. Not only was it taxed to 11s. a gallon, but we by another provision in this Bill are imposing an additional 3s. 9d. per gallon on it. How can you under those circumstances complain when we put on another burden not in the form of Customs or Excise under the name of Licence Duty?" Does not the right hon. Gentleman see that the fact that the duty is already so high and that by another provision of the Bill the Government are making it higher is not an argument in favour of the present proposal, but is an argument against it? It is, in the first place, a fact that the existing duty is so high that, in the opinion of many of those most competent to predict and in the opinion of those who judge by the experi- 1684 ence of the tax, and by the admissions of the Government, the tax is already so high that fiscally, on purely revenue grounds, it is a mistake to put further burdens on those subjects of taxation. But, in spite of that, the Government have put on the 3s. 9d., and then it is said that this duty after all is so small in amount, and in this Budget we have got so many burdens to bear, that this at least need not weigh with us. But each new burden that is added by the Government is an added injury to the trade, and to all the demands on them they reply that the duty is infinitesimal, and that it is a very small matter. On the best forms of spirit it would perhaps be a small matter, but on the cheap forms of spirits it becomes of more importance, and with regard to them I venture to say that it is not infinitesimal at all. The right hon. Gentleman defends himself for imposing this duty on homemade spirits without any corresponding Customs on foreign spirits, on the ground of the infinitesimal amount, and also because he says home spirits already have some protection. There is, I think, in every case, or nearly every case, where we have a Customs Duty, or anything which affords some minute protection, a view that it should be done away with. One of my hon. Friends (Mr. Rowland Hunt) the other day called attention to the case of cocoa, and proposed to withdraw the protection in that case. I was not able to be here. Had I been here I would have appealed to him not to press that Amendment. If there is any small protection I do not mind saying I am very glad it is there. I think it would be better if the scale were turned in our favour in other directions, but admit, if you like, for the sake of argument, that previous Chancellors of the Exchequer, either beginning in the Free Trade school or themselves pioneers of the Free Trade school, have left some slight trace of favouritism in our administration in the case of cocoa, tobacco and spirits, is that any reason for undoing their work, disturbing the balance they created and proposing a new duty on the home-made article without any counterbalancing customs?
On the more expensive articles it may be a small matter, but take the average measure of the duty as taken by the Chancellor of the Duchy to be one-tenth of a penny per gallon. What is that on the cheapest forms of spirit, such as are used for methylation? It is 1 per cent. What would the right hon. Gentleman have said if the last Government had proposed for 1685 home manufacturers a 1 per cent. preference? Would the skies have re-echoed? Would the clamours of the then Opposition against the Government, who was protecting their own country, have resounded through the House? For it is fatal in the eyes of the present Government to give protection to their own country. They are perfectly ready to give protection to the foreigner. That they are doing by the provision we are now discussing. They are imposing a duty on the home-made article without any countervailing custom. The tax was a fixed Licence Duty and they are turning it into a tax on the manufacturer proportionate to the amount of capital invested; proportionate to the energies shown and the goodwill obtained by any particular business. They are penalising industry and enterprise. They are taxing the processes of manufacture instead of taxing the excisable article itself, and they combine with all that this preference to the foreigner, which they proclaim loudly on all occasions and which they will never accord to their own country.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
The House will realise that this is an Irish and a Scotch question. It does not affect England at all. I do not know whether there is a single distillery in England. [An HON. MEMBER: "Lots of them."] Certainly I never heard of anybody asking for English whisky. If there be a distillery anywhere in England, I am afraid it must be calling its product either Irish or Scotch whisky. I am right, therefore, in saying that this is in the main, if not almost entirely, an Irish and a Scotch question. So far as it is a Scotch question, the Scotch Members may be allowed to deal with it themselves. So far as it is an Irish question, I desire to say a few words, although indeed they must be more or less in the nature of repetition of what I said the night that the Budget was first disclosed to us by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or of what I said on the discussion of the Resolutions, and, subsequently, of what I said on the second reading of the Bill. The Chancellor of the Duchy, if he will allow me to say so without any offence, seemed to me in his speech to make a perfectly ridiculous defence. He pointed out that this particular item of tax would only amount to one-tenth of a penny on spirits, and, therefore, he said, "It is so small, why need you bother about it?" If that was the sole increased tax levied on the industry, although people might 1686 object, I do not suppose that any very vehement or strenuous opposition would be made. But it is impossible to discuss this addition to the tax without taking into account the whole of the burden which is being put on the whisky industry. This is only a small item of the entire tax. The taxation that has been put on the industry, so far as Ireland is concerned, will, most undoubtedly, severely hit, if it does not destroy in many cases, the distilling industry. That is one of the few industries left in Ireland. Three-fourths of the amount of whisky distilled in Ireland is not consumed in the country at all. It is sent out of the country for consumption, and this, one of our only remaining industries, is going to be destroyed undoubtedly by this taxation. It is an industry which gives large employment in the country. It is an industry which promotes other trades and industries, and through this industry being injured you will be hitting directly other industries, and especially agriculture. Therefore it is that the Irish Members take such a serious view of the matter, and, therefore, we oppose by every means in our power this additional tax which the Government are putting on the industry. I do not desire to repeat arguments which I have used again and again on this matter. We take the view that anything more unjust than this tax cannot be conceived. You put this tax on Ireland and Scotland, and you do not put an equivalent tax upon England, and I ask again, as I asked before in discussing this matter, why is it you did not put a tax upon the British industry of beer when you put a tax on the Irish industry of whisky? We regard this as an unjust differentiation against Ireland, and that at a time when you ought to be engaged in reducing Irish taxation instead of increasing it. I trust this tax will be vehemently opposed by Irish Members in all quarters of the House. So far as we are concerned we regard with the utmost resentment this addition to the burdens of our country.
§ Mr. H. BELLOC
I merely wish to make one or two observations with regard to this proposed tax. There are many of us who think that a special tax of this particular type is in general unjust, though we will, nevertheless, vote for the particular Schedule under discussion at this moment. The argument brought forward by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) is an argument which I myself, and many who think 1687 with me, take to be an argument from the Irish point of view—the point of view of men representing a country which has been ruined, and deliberately ruined, by English rule. Men in that position have the right to protest against any increase whatever, however small; they have a moral right, and a political right, to protest against increasing the burdens upon a particular trade, and a trade which is peculiarly their own. Against that I say nothing. So far as the tax, taken as a whole is concerned, it is impossible for one who feels as I do not to support the Government in this very small increase. I could wish that the rest of the taxation on trade had been of the same nature, but this is not the moment in which to discuss that. Precisely because later in these Debates it will be my duty to protest against a different type of imposition which will fall on the ordinary consumer, and which we regard as unjust, I wish to explain my reasons for voting in favour of this particular Schedule. No one can pretend, seeing what the position of Scotch distillers is at this moment, seeing what an enormous increase in the consumption of whisky there has been in the last generation, that an impost which amounts to one-tenth of a penny per gallon—it is a little less than one-tenth—is a serious burden upon the trade. This is precisely one of those very small imposts, falling upon a trade, a wealthy, well-organised trade well able to support it, which are right, which are traditional in our finance, and which have been imposed in the past when necessary to meet an extraordinary demand for revenue.
§ Mr. JOHN GRETTON
I want to dispel one illusion put before the Committee, that there are no distillers in England. It is an English question, though, I admit, not nearly so largely as it is a Scotch or an Irish question. There are distilleries in England, some of which distil various descriptions of gin, including Plymouth gin; so that it is not entirely, as will be seen, an Irish or a Scotch question. I have great reason for objecting to this tax, which, added to the other taxation which is to be imposed, will interfere with the industry. My chief reason for objecting to the present proposal is that it is put before the Committee under an absolutely false guise. The Government put the tax as upon the manufacturer, whereas it is not that at all; it is a tax on the article which the manufacturer produces, and the scale in the 1688 Schedule fixes that tax. I think the impost is absolutely falsely described; it is a misnomer to call it a tax on the manufacturer, and it is coming before the Committee and the country under false pretences. If the Government wish to bring this additional taxation forward, they should do so in a straightforward manner, by imposing it on the article, and not calling it a tax on the manufacturer. In view of the fact that this additional burden, though small, will be seriously felt, in combination with the other additional taxes on the trade, I shall certainly vote against it.
§ Mr. CHARLES ROBERTS
I wish to disabuse the minds of Irish Members opposite of this deep-seated fallacy which apparently they entertain, namely, that we do not both distil and drink spirits in England. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has also frequently fallen into that mistake.
§ Mr. CHARLES ROBERTS
The mistake that we do not both distil and drink spirits in England. As a matter of fact, it is a tax which falls more heavily upon England than upon Ireland. It is simply a question of looking up the particulars in the Returns of the Inland Revenue, and I find that in England we distil 12,900,000 gallons of spirits, and in Ireland they distil 12,192,000 gallons. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the population?"] It is not a question of population in this case, it is a question of the burden upon the manufacturer, and of the respective burdens on the two countries. I think hon. Members opposite will realise that there is more fairness in this tax than they are at present inclined to believe, and that they will realise that in this particular case the tax falls more upon England than upon Ireland.
§ Mr. J. F. REMNANT
I do not think hon. Members of this House will agree with the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down when he says that spirits are not drunk in England. If he were to go into the smoke-room of this House his delusion would soon be dispelled. What I wish to call attention to is not the question of potable spirits, which has been so ably referred to by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. T. M. Healy). With all that he said I heartily agree, and I do not believe the Government have any very reasonable or businesslike answer to make to the hon. and learned Gentleman. In all this discussion I am 1689 rather afraid that the distilling of industrial spirit is likely to be overlooked. I would like to call the attention of the Prime Minister, to whom everyone in this House looks for an impartial attitude on these and other matters, to the question of industrial spirit, which is made in London and England to a very large extent. I have the details of the distilling in London for which I can vouch. They have been given to me by one of the manufacturers. He says, talking about this one-tenth of a penny tax, which is contemptuously referred to by the Chancellor of the Duchy and the Chancellor of the Exchequer:—It is true that the Licence Duty amounts to about one-tenth of a penny per gallon; but I would merely add this, that we often work on a fraction of a penny per gallon profit, and it is more serious than it looks. Besides, we find in our business that if we can sell an eighth of a penny per gallon cheaper than the foreigner, we do the business, whereas, if we do not do it at that small fraction cheaper, so great is the competition of the day, that we lose the business and it goes to the foreigner.That is the opinion of a man of experience manufacturing industrial spirit in London to the extent of a million and a half gallons per year. He has asked me to call the attention of the House to this very serious matter. When the Chancellor of the Duchy commences his speech by saying that he and all Members of the Government would have the very greatest pleasure, if they could, to accept all the Amendments on the Paper, I ask why they should not do so in this instance. I suppose they have made up their minds to accept nothing, but I would point out that industrial spirit here is heavily taxed in favour of the foreigner, and I think the Government might at least see their way to exempt this kind of spirit, which, after all, only means a paltry £2,600 of revenue, which they would not feel at all. I do ask
§ them to give consideration to this matter, and to exempt industrial spirit from this tax.
§ Mr. SAMUEL YOUNG
Though this tax is a small one, it is very irritating to manufacturers. You have already placed a tax of 3s. 9d. per gallon on whisky, but for the purpose of raising revenue this small tax of one-tenth of a penny will produce a mere trifle. In view of its irritating consequences, surely it is scarcely worth the Government's while to insist upon this impost. Apparently any stick is good enough to beat any person in the trade. Is this tax intended for revenue? I do not think it is. I think the whole meaning of these taxes is simply revenge. I cannot see how it can be intended for revenue, because the consumption is falling off and the revenue diminishing. Probably it is thought that this legislation will reform the morals of the people. If it would do so I, for one, should not object, but I certainly believe it will not. I am one of those who do not believe that legislation will reform the morals of the country. If you impose this tax on the manufacturer I think you will find that, instead of the morals of the country being improved, the whole result of these proposals will be to cause the people to resort to other stimulants which would be far more injurious to them. I say to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, therefore, that he makes a great mistake in imposing this duty, which will produce a very small return, and will not assist him in any material degree.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 132; Noes, 97.1691
|Division No. 757.]||AYES.||[4.30 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Gibb, James (Harrow)|
|Alden, Percy||Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Glendinning, R. G.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Clough, William||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Greenwood, Hamar (York)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Cooper, G. J.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)|
|Barker, Sir John||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose))|
|Barnard, E. B.||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)|
|Beale, W. P.||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Hedges, A. Paget|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Essex, R. W.||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Esslemont, George Birnie||Higham, John Sharp|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Evans, Sir S. T.||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Black, Arthur W.||Everett, R. Lacey||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Hodge, John|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Fuller, John Michael F.||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Byles, William Pollard||Furness, Sir Christopher||Hyde, Clarendon G.|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Paulton, James Mellor||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Summerbell, T.|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Perks, Sir Robert William||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Jowett, F. W.||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Rainy, A. Rolland||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Walter (Gloucester)||Verney, F. W.|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Lamont, Norman||Rees, J. D.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Lehmann, R. C.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Rose, Sir Charles Day||Watt, Henry A.|
|M'Callum, John M.||Rowlands, J.||Weir, James Galloway|
|M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Marnham, F. J.||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Massie, J.||Seddon, J.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Seely, Colonel||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Morse, L. L.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Sloan, Thomas Henry||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Myer, Horatio||Snowden, P.|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Forster, Henry William||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Ambrose, Robert||Gretton, John||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Harrington, Timothy||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Hazleton, Richard||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Hill, Sir Clement||O'Malley, William|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hills, J. W.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hunt, Rowland||Parker Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Boland, John||Jordan, Jeremiah||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Joyce, Michael||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bull, Sir William James||Kavanagh, Walter M.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Keating, M.||Reddy, M.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Kilbride, Denis||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Kimber, Sir Henry||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Renton, Leslie|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lundon, Thomas||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Sheehy, David|
|Craik, Sir Henry||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Cullinan, J.||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Stanier, Beville|
|Devlin, Joseph||Meagher, Michael||Starkey, John R.|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||Mooney, J. J.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Dillon, John||Moore, William||Valentia, Viscount|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Muldoon, John||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Fell, Arthur||Murnaghan, George||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Murphy, John||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Young, Samuel|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Younger and Mr. Goulding.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Nolan, Joseph|
§ Mr. YOUNGER moved (in A.—Manufacturer's Licences) to leave out "£15 15s.," and to insert instead thereof "£10."
§ The case is exactly the same as, the last one, and I beg formally to move.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The cases are not precisely similar. This is not a scale based on the amount of spirits treated by the rectifiers, but the present duty of £10 it is proposed to raise to a uniform sum of £15 15s. I hope the hon. Member will not press his objection.
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
How many rectifiers are there altogether, and how much will they pay altogether?
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
May I ask whether it is worth while to impose this, and why are you abolishing the revenue in the case of cider? I cannot understand why the five- 1693 guinea tax in the case of cider is abolished. Immediately some representation is made as in the case of football grounds, and that it is likely to catch votes, the Government put down an Amendment according as their supporters bring pressure to bear on them. If this revenue is so very small why can you not afford to abolish it, and how can you afford to abolish that on cider? I know it is very wrong to ask a question in this House, but I will be much obliged if the right hon. Gentleman will tell us what is the amount of revenue estimated for in each of these cases. It will be a great convenience for us to know.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
I do not think the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. T. M. Healy) has yet appreciated the principles of the Budget. He asks a perfectly innocent question why the Government appear so obstinate in a duty which is bringing in £1,600, and why they hasten to abandon a duty which brings in a very great deal more, as I understand it, from cider. The answer is perfectly simple, and I am really amazed that the hon. and learned Gentleman thought it worth while to ask. A tax on cider affects a very large number of persons in the West of England, and there are only 300 persons engaged in the rectification of spirits. That is the answer. For the hon. and learned Gentleman at this time of day to appeal to the Government to relieve 300 persons who could not have more than 300 votes passes the understanding of an old Parliamentary hand like myself, and shows a degree of innocence which I could not have imagined possible.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Balfour) has made a very amusing speech which would have more influence with the Committee if he were really acquainted with the comparative statistics. The number of rectifiers of spirits who hold licences is 252. The number of manufacturers of cider who would have to take out licences under the Bill, with the exemptions allowed in the case of farmers who make cider from their own apples, is 10.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The number of manufacturers of cider affected by the duty in the Bill which we propose drop- 1694 ping is 10. The number of rectifiers in England and Wales is 252, and there are a score or so in Scotland and Ireland. Our revenue from the rectifiers of spirits, the increased revenue, is £1,559, and the revenue from the manufacturers of cider would he £52.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
That is that there are only ten persons making cider. I think there are that number in Ireland. Why was it put in the Budget at all? In Lord Macaulay's history he speaks of Worcester as the great cider country, and Lord Macaulay thinks it worth his while in dealing with great political questions to bring in the effect on the cider industry. And yet we are now told by the Government that there are so few either in Worcestershire or Herefordshire that really there are only ten altogether. Where do the figures come from? When I was a boy in county Waterford there were ten makers of cider in that county alone, and to be told now that in all England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland there are only ten makers of cider simply capsizes me. I venture to say that we get circulars from 50 makers of cider in twelve months. I am really amazed at the action of the Government. I must acknowledge that the Leader of the Opposition has given me a great store of information that I did not previously possess. I thought the ground of the Government's treatment of cider makers was different—that pressure had been put upon them by Liberal Members from Worcestershire and Herefordshire, and not in the least that it was due to any paucity in the amount of revenue. Now that the Government tell us that there are only 10 persons affected, I cannot see that they would turn any electoral scale; I can only believe that there are many more than 10 persons concerned, and that it has been found convenient on the eve of a General Election to wipe out the tax altogether.
§ Mr. REMNANT
Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us where he gets the figures from as to the number of cider manufacturers?
§ Question put, "That '£15 15s.' stand part of the Schedule."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 141; Noes, 99.1697
|Division No. 758.]||AYES.||[4.50 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Alden, Percy||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Perks, Sir Robert William|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Barker, Sir John||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Hedges, A. Paget||Rees, J. D.|
|Beale, W. P.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Higham, John Sharp||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Hobart, Sir Robert||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hodge, John||Rowlands, J.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Holland, Sir William Henry||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Horniman, Emslie John||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hyde, Clarendon G.||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Illingworth, Percy H.||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Seddon, J.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jardine, Sir J.||Seely, Colonel|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Clough, William||Jowett, F. W.||Snowden, P.|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Kekewich, Sir George||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Laidlaw, Robert||Summerbell, T.|
|Cooper, G. J.||Lamont, Norman||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lehmann, R. C.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lewis, John Herbert||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Verney, F. W.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||M'Callum, John M.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Essex, R. W.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Mallet, Charles E.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Marnham, F. J.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Massie, J.||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Masterman, C. F. G.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Mond, A.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Montgomery, H. G.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Morse, L. L.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Myer, Horatio||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Fletcher, J. S.||M'Kean, John|
|Ambrose, Robert||Flynn, James Christopher||Meagher, Michael|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Forster, Henry William||Mooney, J. J.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Muldoon, John|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gretton, John||Murnaghan, George|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Harrington, Timothy||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Nolan, Joseph|
|Banbury, Sir Francis George||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. G. (Winchester)||Hazleton, Richard||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Boland, John||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Hill, Sir Clement||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hills, J. W.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hunt, Rowland||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Malley, William|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Joyce, Michael||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Kavanagh, Walter M.||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Keating, M.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington).|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Kerry, Earl of||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Kimber, Sir Henry||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Cullinan, J.||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Reddy, M.|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Lundon, T.||Renton, Leslie|
|Dillon, John||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Fell, Arthur||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Arthur, Charles||Sheehy, David|
|Stanier, Beville||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Starkey, John R.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)||Young, Samuel|
|Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Winterton, Earl||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Younger and Mr. Remnant.|
|Valentia, Viscount||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
§ Mr. YOUNGER moved to leave out the words "Duty specified in Scale 2" ["Beer:—By a brewer of beer for sale. Duty as specified in Scale 2"], and to insert instead thereof "£1 1s. 0d."
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Although the right hon. Gentleman may say that this tax represents only one-tenth of a penny on a gallon of beer, yet it means a very large sum indeed in the case of the brewers, varying from a few pounds a year to no less than £26,000 in one case. In that case, where the licence at present is only one pound, it will be £26,000 a year. It must, therefore, be admitted that this is an extremely important and very drastic change, and we are entitled to examine the reasons given in its justification. I have never been able to find any reason whatever to justify the tax except the desire to round on the brewers. In referring to these proposals a few weeks ago the Prime Minister made no bones about his own position. He accepted quite frankly the position he had taken up in answer to a question by the hon. Member for North Paddington some time ago. He said that the Government wanted money; that they were merely reverting to the position which obtained before 1880; that the brewers had now the benefit of cheaper materials than they had then; that he had repealed a portion of the Sugar Duty a year ago; that, generally speaking, the number of brewers having been greatly reduced, there had been a consolidation of business, an increase in economy, and a profitable development of machinery. Those were the expressions of the Prime Minister in dealing with this particular tax some weeks ago. In replying to that speech I endeavoured to show that, so far as regarded the system before 1880, the tax which then prevailed was absorbed by Mr. Gladstone in fixing the Beer Duty which he imposed in that year. I also pointed out that, although there had been for a certain number of years a considerable reduction in the cost of materials, that reduction had been more than counterbalanced by the increase of taxation; that prices were higher now than they were in 1880, and that therefore that particular argument did not hold good at all. Then we have the curious fact that in making these points in favour of the tax the Prime Minister omitted entirely to give the 1698 Committee any information, which he could easily have derived from the officials at Somerset House, as to the profits of this business now compared with the profits brewers were making in 1880. That was a very significant omission. In my short experience of this House I have observed that there are very few arguments which the Prime Minister omits to use when he is justifying any position he has taken up. He is extremely able and lucid in marshalling his arguments, and never leaves any unnoticed. On this occasion, however, the only argument which would really bolster up the case he attempted to make was wholly forgotten—at all events, it was not mentioned, simply for the reason, I am sure, that the figures which Somerset House could have given him would not have backed up the case he was making. It is no use going into arguments. It is unnecessary to point out that this is another Income Tax. I do say this: if the Prime Minister desired to get something more, out of the brewers he should have put the tax upon beer itself. One hears hon. Members opposite occasionally saying that the Licence Duties are wholly different in their incidence from the tax on the article which is being sold. That is perfect nonsense. The cost of both has to come from the same pocket, and from the same profits. You cannot alter the incidence of a tax by calling it by a different name. The Prime Minister says that this 3d. will be passed on. If that is to be the case, why impose it? If it is passed on, it will not be in the way of increased price, but in the way of weaker beer. Hon. Gentlemen like the Member for Appleby (Mr. Leif Jones) will no doubt be glad to hear that; but I do not think the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his position as guardian of our revenue, will be very pleased about it. What is the good of the tax if it is not to yield its quota to the revenue? Why, under the circumstances, should you impose an irritating tax of this kind? It is a tax which cannot be defended on any sort of arguable grounds, unless you are going to tax manufacturers on what they produce. If it were a general manufacturers' tax then it would be perfectly right that the brewer and distiller should pay like any other persons. If a general tax is not to be imposed, this tax is not right.1699
§ The PRIME MINISTER rose to speak, but gave way.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
Before the Prime Minister speaks, I should like to say a word. In any answer the right hon. Gentleman is going to make, I would remind him and the Committee that I raised this question when the Clauses were under discussion, and gave him facts about the small Irish breweries. The right hon. Gentleman informed me that those facts were new to him, and that he had not had an opportunity of considering them, and he promised he would give his consideration to the matter. That raised hopes in our minds, especially when, later in the Debate, a Member of the Opposition twitted the Government with having given a promise of special consideration to Ireland in this matter. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said, "That is not so," but that any concession that might be made would extend to England as well as to Ireland. That led us to believe that the arguments we had used had made some lodgment in the minds of the hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench. I trust that is so. I only desire to deal with the Irish part of this case. It is like all matters connected with this Budget. The case of Ireland is entirely different from what it is in this country. In Ireland there are only 29 breweries altogether. One of them is the great firm of Guinness, who manufacture something between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 barrels of beer yearly. The other 28 breweries are all small. Probably the whole of them put together brew only 700,000 or 800,000 barrels per year, against Guinness's 3,000,000. These little breweries are small industries scattered here and there over the country. They are centres of employment. They promote the growing of barley, and it would be a cruel thing—I am sure it cannot be the intention of the Government—to wipe out these small industries for no other object in the world than to enlarge and enhance the monopoly of Guinness.
Let me give the figures again. Fourteen of the breweries in Ireland manufacture less than 10,000 barrels per year; five breweries each manufacture less than 20,000 barrels; five less than 100,000; two less than 150,000. Guinness's jump up to nearly 3,000,000. Well, now, I do earnestly press upon the Government and upon the Committee this view: What is the object of putting a crushing tax upon these small breweries? It is not with the object of 1700 revenue, because the revenue to be raised from these small breweries by this additional impost is necessarily very small. It cannot be in the interests of temperance, because if you destroy these small breweries you only enhance the power of that great monopoly—Guinness. You do not diminish the consumption of porter in the country by a single gallon. You do not help your revenue; you do not help temperance. What is the object of putting the tax on these small breweries? I defy anybody to give a single solid reason why these small breweries should be crippled or destroyed. I find on working it out that the total amount to be raised by these under the Bill is £12,474, a ridiculously small sum from the point of view of revenue, but from the point of view of the existence of these institutions a very large sum. I find in these small breweries where they manufacture less than 10,000 barrels yearly, each one of them, under the Bill, will have to pay £119 16s. additional duty. Those who manufacture less than 20,000 would have to pay £239 16s. each. Those who manufactured under 100,000 would have to pay £1,199 additional duty. Those who manufactured under 150,000 would have to pay £1,799 additional duty each. Now, it would be no use for the Government to point to the smallness of these figures and to say that they will not destroy all these industries. We who speak from these benches know the commercial position of these breweries. We know that at the present moment most of them are not paying a dividend; that they are barely struggling along, and we are assured by those who are connected with them—we know of our own knowledge—that this additional impost will absolutely destroy, at any rate, all the smaller of them. I do put it to the House no sufficient object, public or private, financial or political, or any other, can be gained by carrying out this operation. I have an Amendment upon the Paper later in which I propose to substitute another scale for the one that is on the Paper. When we come to that Amendment I will deal in detail with the matter. I do not desire to deal just now in detail with the subject, but to reserve my right to deal fully with the matter when my Amendment is reached. What I desire now is to raise the broad question as to whether you will impose this tax at all. I have confined myself entirely to the Irish aspect of the matter, and in view of the sympathetic way in which the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Duchy 1701 of Lancaster answered me when I spoke upon this before I am not without hope that they may make some concession to the demand I have made.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The hon. Gentleman opposite the Member for the Ayr Burghs (Mr. Younger) has raised again all the relations raised when we discussed the clause which authorises this scale. I do not think it would be a reasonable way to spend the time of the Committee at this stage of the proceedings if I were to go back to the question as to whether or not it is desirable that an additional Licence Duty should be imposed upon the brewers. I think the Committee have decided that in the affirmative. I imagine the only practical question before us is as to whether or not the scale proposed in the Schedule is a just scale and meets the requirements of the case. I do not think the hon. Gentleman means or anyone on that side of the House would seriously contend that if we impose a duty of this kind at all that a firm such as that as has been referred to by the hon. Member opposite—that is Guinness', who brew nearly 3,000,000 barrels yearly—should escape with a payment of £1. I think, therefore, so far as it is a question of the substitution of some scale for the existing fixed charge of £1 the matter really and in effect has been decided. With reference to what has been said by the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) I promised when this matter came up a few weeks ago to take it into serious consideration. That promise was repeated by the Chancellor of the Duchy with the proviso—a very proper proviso—that in a matter of this kind one cannot deal with Ireland on a different footing to the other parts of the United Kingdom. This is not at all an analogous question to the question that arose on the valuation of public-houses, or the application of a minimum scale of retailers' duty. In this respect all the brewers of the United Kingdom are practically upon a level footing. While I assure the hon. Gentleman I have given careful and sympathetic consideration to the points he put before us then, and which he has repeated to-day, I have felt compelled myself to come to the conclusion—at any rate as at present advised—that I do not see my way to make the concession which he suggests. The matter, of course, will come up more fitly when he proposes his own alternative scale. Let me point out generally what the state of the case is. There are in the 1702 United Kingdom brewing under 1,000 barrels yearly 3,300 persons; under 10,000–770; under 20,000–208; under 30,000–110; under 50,000–97; under 100,000–81; and 100,000 and over, 46. So that it appears from that enumeration that not merely in Ireland, but, what is more striking, in regard to other parts of the United Kingdom, that the vast bulk of the brewers are those who brew under 1,000 barrels yearly. The enormous majority brew under 10,000 barrels yearly. If you are called to exempt altogether by some preferential scale the persons in that category from the operations of this Bill obviously we should be introducing a most extraordinary and anomalous state of things. You would only have to sub-divide the scale of your operations in order to escape, or largely to escape, the payment of the duty. This is not like a duty upon the monopoly duty of licences. This is a duty which must inevitably tend, sooner or later, and in one form or another, to fall upon the consumer of the commodity.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I will not discuss that question with regard to the licensed dealer who has a monopoly. Here we admit there is no question of monopoly at all. Either in the form of enhanced price or, as the hon. Member suggested, in the form of a more highly watered commodity, the consumer will pay the duty in the long run, and it will not fall upon the brewer himself. We have recognised this by introducing, as the hon. Member for Waterford knows, into the body of our Bill a clause, already passed, which imposes a corresponding Customs duty, showing that we treat here this very imposition, not as an imposition upon the trade, not as an imposition which is ultimately to be borne by the brewer, but by the consumer. On the whole consideration of the question I think it will be found that there are almost insuperable difficulties, in the shape of discrimination, between a different tax on manufacturers in proportion to the different amount which from time to time they make. And while I have no desire to see a great business swallowing up small ones—
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Either in Ireland or anywhere else, I do not at the present see my way to establishing discrimination such as the hon. Member suggests; 1703 and perhaps, at any rate, we may reserve further consideration until we come to his own Amendments, to see what valuable arguments not yet used there are that would justify discrimination which at present seem to be impracticable.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
I do not propose to urge upon the Government the imposition of discrimination in favour of one class of manufacturers of beer against another class. I think the anomalies of the new principle introducing strange changes already made in our system of finance are quite sufficient as they are without introducing further that a man is to be taxed on a higher scale, according as he turns out a larger amount of goods. However much you tax a manufacturer on a large scale I suppose there are many industries in which a manufacturer on a large scale is undoubtedly beneficial to the consumer, and is the only way of dealing with foreign competition. At any rate, to discriminate against large producers in the manner suggested would be an extremely perilous experiment, and I should not care to be responsible for it until I hear the question argued much more elaborately than it has been argued so far.
Then we come to the question: If there is to be no discrimination against the large producer, is there to be a discrimination in favour of the small producer in one part of the United Kingdom? Again, I do not think that that is a practicable policy. But it is a policy which, I understand, the Government are going to accept in another part of the Schedule to which we have not yet come. I will not anticipate the discussion, but I certainly think the Government did introduce in deference to requests from hon. Members below the Gangway, and in consequence of arrangements come to, a provision intending to discriminate, and having the effect of discriminating, in favour of one part of the United Kingdom as compared with another. I do not know that this is a principle I can accept from the Government. Indeed, I must say one of the objections I have with regard to this Budget is that I think it discriminates in other respects, both with regard to Ireland and Scotland, and is most unfair to other parts of the United Kingdom. If the Government insist upon carrying out this principle of fiscal legislation, we may surely find ourselves in the sort of difficulty with which the Government are in vain endeavouring to cope. The right 1704 hon. Gentleman, not for the first time, has given the go-by to the arguments by my hon. Friend who proposed this Amendment. He accused my hon. Friend of having repeated the arguments he used in the Committee stage, and he absolved himself from the necessity of replying to them on the ground that he had replied to them earlier in our Debates. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has replied to them.
These arguments were put by my hon. Friend before the Committee in a speech which was remarkable for its compression and gravity, and I should have thought at all events the right hon. Gentleman on a similar scale should have given us his reasons against the Amendment, and I should have thought so the more because nobody has committed himself more specifically against this tax than the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman was appealed to last year or the year before by the hon. Member for North Paddington to impose a tax ad valorem upon general lines which the Government have now adopted, and the right hon. Gentleman was not content in saying he did not think it would find a fitting place in the Budget he was then introducing; he went much further, and said he thought that kind of ad valorem tax was objectionable in principle. I should think that if the late Chancellor of the Exchequer of the present Government and the present Prime Minister of the present Government told us a particular tax was objectionable in principle, when his own Government brought forward that tax the least tribute he could pay to his own arguments in the past is to offer some refutation of them.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
I am aware the right hon. Gentleman addressed the Committee upon the general subject of these manufacturers' licences; but did he ever explain why he changed his views in the last 18 months or two years upon the principle of the tax? I believe the right hon. Gentleman will search his speech in vain for that. When challenged by the hon. Member for North Paddington he was not content to say that he would defer the consideration of that tax to a future time, but he told him he objected to it in principle. There are all these objections to-day, and these objections have been partly stated by my hon. Friend behind me and partly by the hon. Gentleman below the Gangway, and I confess I am surprised that the Prime 1705 Minister has never taken the Committee into his confidence as to why it is that the opinion he held so strongly as to a recent financial principle should be one which is abandoned with such light-hearted felicity when it comes to be proposed by his colleague, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. I do not like this particular form of tax, but I admit I do not see how it can be modified in the manner proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. I shall support my hon. Friend if he goes into the Lobby, but I shall wait until I hear the hon. Member for Waterford defend more elaborately his alternative scheme before I say anything further upon his proposal.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I ask the Committee to note that, so far as the Irish case is concerned, the Prime Minister upon its merits has given no answer. The right hon. Gentleman does not deny the statement of facts I put forward. He has not denied the effect of the tax upon small breweries in Ireland or the justice of the position I have taken up. In fact, he sympathises with it, as was indicated when he stated that he would be the last man who would desire to see one great monopoly eating up its competitors. So far as the merits of the Irish case are concerned, the right hon. Gentleman has attempted no answer. What is the reason? It is the old, old story. We cannot have justice done in Ireland because of some state of things in England. Because there are so many more breweries in England nothing is to be done to safeguard the existence of these industries in Ireland. There is the case. Because a certain state of things exist in England a great monopoly is to be allowed to eat up a number of small rivals in Ireland. That is the old story. It is the answer we get to everything in this House. Every Irish question is judged, not upon its merits, but by the interest and circumstances of England. Let me call the attention of the House to how that works out. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister at present could not see his way to meet our case, and he said he would not discuss it any further until he came to my Amendment. Am I to hope from that that when he comes to my Amendment he will do something to safeguard the interests of the small brewers in Ireland? The Leader of the Opposition does not like the particular form of my Amendment. My colleagues and I are not wedded to the precise scale set out in my Amendment. We 1706 simply want some Amendment put into the Bill that will save from destruction these small Irish industries. If the Prime Minister is willing to translate his wishes into acts, and will devise something when we come to this Amendment that will have the effect of saving these small businesses from being eaten up by Messrs. Guinness, my Amendment will not stand in the way for a moment. All I desire is to give the right hon. Gentleman an opportunity of proposing some Amendment of his own that will meet the case. If he does that he will meet us, but if he does not he will cause widespread resentment and disappointment in Ireland. I ask everyone in Ireland and out of it to note that the injustice of which we complain is not denied, but because of something that exists in England we are told that that injustice cannot be remedied.
It has been pointed out by some Members that the increased tax can be met by reducing the gravity of the beer. Quite so. But that may have been done already, and there is a limit to that operation. You may also raise the price of your article, but I do not think it is necessary to point out once more the extreme folly of such a proceeding on the part of the Government. There is a further alternative which has not been spoken of, although I think it was hinted at by the hon. Member for Waterford. And it is this: that when there is a difficulty in meeting this extra taxation, economy must be practised in some direction. In what direction will you turn? Is it to be found in employing female labour? I hope not. The wages paid in the brewing industry are greater than any other. Let me tell the Committee where a saving really could be made. The extra tax will be shared by those who produce the article which the brewers manufacture. It therefore comes to this: that the extra tax will be placed once more upon land and upon the agricultural industries of this country. I think you will find that every kind of extra taxation placed upon beer means that the price of barley must go down. Why is that? It simply means that the brewer has to make his profit. He goes into the market, and he says, "What is the price of your barley?" He is told so much. He replies, "Oh! we cannot afford that," and he wants to pay less. The result is that the market price of the barley is made by the purchaser. It is the same with hops. If they cannot get the hops at a price which will enable them to get a 1707 profit, what is the result? They buy their barley and hops from abroad. Whose fault is this? It is the fault of the Government for putting this extra taxation on hops, and it is simply another nail in the coffin of Free Trade. What does the extra tax on whisky mean? Simply that more plain spirit from Germany will be blended with the malted spirit; and whatever you do in your absurd taxation simply means that you are putting another nail in the coffin of Free Trade.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
The Prime Minister, in answer to the cogent speech of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, said the Government could not discriminate between various classes of brewers in Ireland and in England. I may inform him that the Government already discriminate against Irish beer. If you look at the War Office specification for beer in Ireland you will see that the Government require the Irish brewer who is delivering beer to the British Army in Ireland to maintain a certain specific gravity, which is higher than the English beer. The British Army in Ireland drink a good deal of beer, and why do you make this discrimination? It is done to give the English brewer a countervailing duty, so to speak, having regard to the carriage he has to pay coming from England. That is the action which has been taken by the Government of which the Prime Minister is the head. We shall probably be told that the Government have never heard of this, and that it is the action of some other Department. To us you are only the English Government, and you have only one head, and there is only one thing, namely, the tyranny you exercise in our country. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford has asked if you are prepared to see one huge monopoly established in Ireland to the detriment and the ruin of all smaller industries. May I point out that Guinness's have a railway rate from Dublin to Tralee, a distance of 200 miles, less than the railway rate from Cork to Tralee, which is only half the distance. The result is that Guinness is able to send his stuff to Tralee cheaper than the man who is practically a local man.
Take another point. Guinness, with his huge reserve of £1,000,000, is able to weather this Government until the Bill is rejected in the House of Lords. What does Guinness do? He does not put up the price of beer. He says, "I will wait till the clouds roll by, or until the Government is changed." Ministers sitting on the 1708 Treasury Bench cannot expect to be in office for ever. What is the effect of that? My Constituency is a large barley-growing district, and it contains some of the best land in the whole country. What will the unfortunate farmers in my Constituency have to do? In consequence of this tax there will be nobody to buy this barley; the land will go to grass, and the labourer will go to America to swell your enemies there. In the name of heaven, what benefit will you have done to a single person by this tax? Even the extra dividend which Guinness will distribute will not be anything like a quarter per cent. You will have this great monopoly controlling practically the farmers of a place like Carrick-on-Suir. I want to have fair competition. You have in Carrick-on-Suir some 2,000 or 3,000 inhabitants, and this tax will wipe out the little brewery there and throw 100 families out of employment. You howl about unemployment in London, and you have your soup kitchens on the Thames Embankment, but because our country is immeshed in this great British system you say, "Oh, this is a principle of logic. It is true the Irish industries will be injured, and we are extremely sorry, but Jevons on Logic is much dearer to us than Irish industries." Be hanged to your logic! We want our industries, and your logic is nothing to us. When an appeal is made to you in regard to some important matter you always apply to us some great British principle and crush us out absolutely without mercy. My loathing of English legislation has been greatly intensified by this Budget, which has been introduced without consideration and passed with every circumstance of cruelty. The Prime Minister forgets that before he came in the Secretary to the Treasury stated that the Government could accept no Amendment except those that were on the Paper in the name of the Government—as a matter of fact, he read this off a paper as if it were a Cabinet announcement. What use is it to say that when the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford is reached, the Government will give it further consideration, because you cannot kick over a Secretary to the Treasury. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster stated that we had discussed this matter on the Clause, and he asked if it was worth while having a repetition of that discussion. I say solemnly that if ever there was a case that deserved consideration at the hands of the Government, it is the case of these small brewers in Ireland. It is a reason- 1709 able case to any man who lives in Ireland. Agriculture and labour is involved and the ruin you are going to create ought to induce any man—even an Englishman—to resent this tax.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 166; Noes, 105.1711
|Division No. 759.]||AYES.||[5.42 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Myer, Horatio|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Glendinning, R. G.||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Alden, Perey||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Athertey-Jones, L.||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Perks, Sir Robert William|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Pollard, Dr. G. H.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Barker, Sir John||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Barnard, E. B.||Hart-Davies, T.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Hedges, A. Paget||Rees, J. D.|
|Beale, W. P.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Higham, John Sharp||Robinson, S.|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Hobart, Sir Robert||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Hodge, John||Rowlands, J.|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Holland, Sir William Henry||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Horniman, Emslie John||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hyde, Clarendon G.||Seddon, J.|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Seely, Colonel|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Brodie, H. C.||Jackson, R. S.||Snowden, P.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jardine, Sir J.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Jowett, F. W.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Kekewich, Sir George||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Summerbell, T.|
|Clough, William||Laidlaw, Robert||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lamont, Norman||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Cooper, G. J.||Lehmann, R. C.||Verney, F. W.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Lewis, John Herbert||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||M'Callum, John M.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Maddison, Frederick||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Mallet, Charles E.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Essex, R. W.||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Marnham, F. J.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Massie, J.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Masterman, C. F. G.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Mond, A.|
|Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Morse, L. L.|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Bottomley, Horatio||Cullinan, J.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Bowles, G. Stewart||Devlin, Joseph|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Bull, Sir William James||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Dillon, John|
|Ashley, W. W.||Carlile, E. Hildred||Faber, George Denison (York)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Castlereagh, Viscount||Fell, Arthur|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Clancy, John Joseph||Fletcher, J. S.|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. G. (Winchester)||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Courthope, G. Loyd||Forster, Henry William|
|Boland, John||Craik, Sir Henry||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Gretton, John||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||M'Arthur, Charles||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Hamilton, Marquess of||M'Kean, John||Reddy, M.|
|Harrington, Timothy||Meagher, Michael||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Mooney, J. J.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Moore, William||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Hazleton, Richard||Muldoon, John||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Murnaghan, George||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Hill, Sir Clement||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sheehy, David|
|Hills, J. W.||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Hunt, Rowland||Nolan, Joseph||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Stanier, Beville|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Starkey, John R.|
|Kavanagh, Walter M.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Keating, M.||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Kerry, Earl of||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart.|
|Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||O'Malley, William||Young, Samuel|
|Lundon, T.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Younger and Earl Winterton.|
Question, "To leave out 'Cider: By a maker for sale of cider, £5 5s.,'" put, and agreed to.
§ Amendment made: After "Licence on which duty is payable," etc. ["by a brewer of beer other than a brewer for sale"], to insert" 44 and 45 Vict., c. 12, s. 14, or 48 and 49 Vict., c. 51, s. 5."
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL moved, to leave out the words, "Cider: By a maker for sale of cider, £5 5s."
I rise to offer some explanation of this Amendment. The Bill proposes to impose Licence Duties on a somewhat higher scale on all manufacturers of and dealers in intoxicants, and among the intoxicating liquors of a mild order must be considered cider. We propose, therefore, to charge a Licence Duty of five guineas on manufacturers and wholesale dealers in cider. It was recognised at the outset that it would be oppressive to impose a duty of this character on a farmer who merely made cider from his own apples, partly, perhaps, for his own use and the use of his own neighbours and partly for sale; and it was also considered that it would be going beyond the necessities of the case if a farmer was prohibited from purchasing apples to make up any deficiency in any particular supply. A proviso was, therefore, added that—
An occupier of land may, without taking out a manufacturer's licence, make cider for sale from fruit grown on land occupied by him, and from fruit not so grown if it does not exceed in amount the fruit grown on land occupied by him and made into cider.
§ Since that provision was made in the Bill it has been represented to the Government that purchases of apples for the manufacture of cider vary very considerably from year to year, and that a farmer one year may buy only a very few apples, 1712 whereas in another year there may be a windfall of apples in the district, and he may in that particular year purchase a large number of apples which cannot be used except for the purpose of making cider. Although this Budget has been described as a measure for the taxation of windfalls, it was only so described in a metaphorical sense, and not in a literal sense, such as now in question. It was clear that a modification would have to be made in this duty and in the exemptions from the duty in order to meet such cases as that if they were all to be properly met. The question then arose whether, after all, it is worth while to insist upon these Licence Duties. It is estimated that, if all the farmers are excluded, there will only be ten wholesale manufacturers of cider in the country.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
An estimate was made before the Bill was introduced. If, contrary to our intention, farmers who made cider had been brought in, then undoubtedly the number would be very considerably increased; but it was never our intention to bring in farmers making their own cider. The wholesale manufacturers of cider in the whole of the United Kingdom number ten, and the revenue to be derived would be £52 10s. 0d. The dealers in cider number 20, and it is estimated the revenue derived from them would be about £89. In those circumstances, the Government thought it unnecessary and, indeed, inadvisable, to insert a most elaborate provision in order to distinguish the farmer from the other manufacturers of cider, and consequently it was thought more suitable, and I have no doubt it will be acceptable to 1713 the Committee, to leave out these duties on manufacturers and wholesale dealers in cider, while maintaining the small alteration in the scale of the existing duties on retailers of cider. I trust the Government will not be blamed for sacrificing under this head a revenue of £141.
§ Mr. G. D. FABER (York)
I shall certainly not blame the Government for this concession, late though it comes in the Bill. What we want to know is why the provision was ever put in the Schedule at all. This Budget has been thought over night after night before it was put on the Paper, and the Government knew perfectly well there were only ten men who would be charged this Cider Duty, amounting to £52 10s. 0d. in all. When there is a deficiency of £16,000,000, £52 10s. will not make much difference one way or the other. One is therefore driven to the conclusion that the cider makers were included as a matter of principle. If there is one thing the Government hold fast by in sunshiny and stormy days it is principle. No question of expediency will ever override principle. Therefore, if the cider maker was put in on principle, on what theory is he taken out? I hope I may have an answer to that question. We want a little more light. We are getting almost to the last stage of the Bill in Committee, and the Government are throwing over parts of the Bill here and parts of the Bill there. We all know why—to get votes; in fact, that is the principle of the Bill. Do let the right hon. Gentleman make a clean breast of it, and tell us what is the secret, what is the interesting little piece of history that has led to the elimination of the 10 cider makers. There must be a great deal more in it than meets the eye. I should like to know how many petitions or letters the right hon. Gentlemen has had from the West Country. I hope we are not going to be left completely in the dark. Principle has gone to the winds; it is mere political expediency.
§ Mr. J. S. ARKWRIGHT
I should like to ask the Chancellor of the Duchy if he will tell us what circulars were sent out in order that some information might be gained by the Government with regard to this question of cider. Surely it is not too late even now to point out that we ought to be spared from what the Chancellor of the Exchequer once called these vexatious little taxes which give a lot of trouble, which are not understood, which 1714 cause a good deal of disturbance, and which have no justification whatever unless they are going to bring in some substantial revenue to the Government. The whole thing is a very much larger question than one merely affecting the cider making industry. I do not think that hon. Members representing the cider district or their constituents will be satisfied if this tax is simply taken off with just a few sentences of explanation by the Minister in charge for the moment. They think it ought not to have been put on at all, and it certainly ought not to be removed without some excuse, or explanation, or apology to those who carry on a legitimate industry which at the present moment is undoubtedly a struggling industry.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I do not propose to ask the right hon. Gentleman the reason for this change of policy; indeed, I do not think he could possibly give a satisfactory answer. He tells us that this only affects a small number of manufacturers, but I would remind him that it affects also a very large number of small farmers and manufacturers, and I know of the case of one man in my own Constituency who, as the result of the announced intention of the Goverment to put on this tax, disposed of the whole of his cider-making plant. I should like to ask if we are to understand that it is the settled policy of the Government, in the event of their being in a position to bring in a Budget another year, not to increase the tax upon cider. I agree with every word which has been said as to the undesirability of this tax, and I hope we may have an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that the Government will never again propose to increase it.
§ Mr. S. L. GWYNN
I am glad that the Government have, at all events, refrained from crushing one growing Irish industry, because, as a matter of fact, people are beginning to make cider in Ireland. I do not think the Government were aware of that fact. This is apparently the only Irish industry to which they are going to make a concession, and I think their reason for doing so is that they believed it to be a purely English industry.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster made the extraordinary statement that cider is only slightly intoxicating. I understood, from certain evidence given in an inquiry on 1715 this subject, that cider produces the worst headache of all. If you turn to the definition of intoxicating liquors in the Licensing Acts you will find there is no distinction drawn in your own legislation between cider, whisky, wine, beer, or any other intoxicant. If that be the answer of the Government on this point, may I ask why are you raising the duty on the retailer of cider from £1 to £5? You cannot have it both ways. You are abolishing the duty on the manufacture of the article, but you are raising the duty on its sale. You are also raising the duty on the sale of whisky and beer, so that if cider is only slightly intoxicating, why should you raise the duty on that fivefold? I think it is a most monstrous proposal. This establishes an absolute want of logic on the part of the Administration. But I now come to the really serious part of the question. If it be true, and it is so stated by the Government, and therefore I am bound to believe it—I make it a rule to believe every statement made on behalf of the Government; I do not say this Government in particular, but I accept everything said from the Government Bench, which I look upon as a kind of Mount Sinai—if it be true the Government were aware that there were only ten makers of cider when they introduced this Bill, and when the Chancellor of the Exchequer made his Budget statement, why did they put this miserable tax on to raise £50? Was it worth doing? It could not be the case of a hen-roost or even a duck-run, and it surely was not worth while bringing in this tax. The Government must have been in possession of all the necessary information; they knew at the beginning what it would produce, and yet they deliberately made this proposal. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, "I must get money somewhere; whether it is £50 or £5,000,000, I must have it. 'Every mickle makes a muckle,' and £50 even is important from my point of view."
I should like to know what happened subsequently. When did the cider drunk disappear from the mind of the Government? When did they say that, while imposing on the Irish and the Scotch distiller and the English and Irish brewer additional duties, it was not worth while pressing for this £50 Cider Duty? I am surprised that the Liberal Members from the cider country are remaining absolutely silent on this question. If this were an Irish tax that was being remitted we would grovel almost on our faces before 1716 the Government. Why is it that hon. Members from Worcestershire, Herefordshire and the West Country are remaining absolutely silent? They know very well that the withdrawal of the proposal is not due to the fact that the duty is so small, and that it is not because cider is only mildly intoxicating. I should like to know at what time the information impressed itself on the Government that it would be undesirable to press this tax. The right hon. Gentleman has suggested that representations have been made, but has the Government not also had representations made to it about beer and whisky? Have we not worried them with deputations from our country? How is it that a handful of Members from Herefordshire and Worcestershire have been able to get this remarkable concession? Is it on the ground of its smallness in amount? Its smallness is its significance. How, I repeat, have they been able to get this concession? We have not been able to get this information so far. The Government knew the sum was small when they originally made their proposal. They cannot, therefore, have abandoned the duty because of the small product. They are abandoning it on some other grounds, on what I should call a football ground. They discovered that a tax on football clubs was far from popular, and they dropped it. They discovered that a tax on building societies was unpopular, and away that went. They also discovered that the tax on ungotten minerals was unpopular, and away that went, and in the same way away goes the tax on cider. "Bang goes saxpence." Will the right hon. Gentleman give us the name of the logicians who persuaded him to abandon this tax? If so, we will hire them for Ireland and Scotland. Will he also tell us what it was that persuaded him? We have 80 votes here from Ireland. If you reckon up the Members for Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Devonshire, what do they number? I believe it is a fact that the Civil Lord of the Admiralty represents a constituency in Devonshire. Was that an important part of the argument? I do appeal to the Government to let us know the precise moment of time at which they were forced to their present conclusion, and the precise character of the representation which induced them to yield. If they will do that I can assure the right hon. Gentleman, with regard to taxes affecting our country, we will follow humbly in the footsteps of those who have adopted these persuasive doctrines. We 1717 wish to imitate the admirable manner in which they have induced the Government to drop this tax. Will hon. Gentlemen not let out the secret? Let them be generous, and impart to us from unfortunate Ireland the secret means by which they have extracted the dropping of this tax. It is a small matter, so far as they are concerned, but it is important to us. We have again and again referred to the ruin which is being caused to our country by the fresh taxes on whisky and beer; I can only suggest that a proper and good rallying cry for the Government to go to the country, as we understand they are about to do, would be "free feeding and free cider."
§ Mr. DILLON
On behalf of my hon. Friend (Mr. John Redmond), I move, in Schedule I., Spirit Dealer's Licence, to leave out "£10" and insert "£1" instead thereof. The Chancellor of the Duchy said on the Clause which has already been passed, Clause 29, that the Committee had assented to the principle that there should be a graduated schedule of duties on manufactures of whisky instead of the present taxes. My Amendment accepts that principle, although I voted for and supported the more sweeping Amendment that has already been raised. I chink this is a second line of defence. My Amendment proposes that it should commence at £10, and increase, not at the rate in the Government scale, which is £10 for every 50,000 gallons, and after than £10 for every 25,000 gallons, but I propose it should be a £1 increase. The Chancellor of the Duchy, in objecting to the previous Amendment, made use of one of the most extraordinary arguments used in this House. He said how can you object to this small additional duty on the manufacture of whisky because we have put an enormous duty on the manufactures. That is the most extraordinary argument that I have ever heard in response to the appeal against taxation. I am afraid it will make no matter or very little matter to some of the small distilleries in Ireland, because the tax may kill them, or, at all events, seriously injure them. I cannot understand the logic of the Government in taking up the position they have taken up on this matter that because they have put a tax on the manufactured article—which I say is absolutely without parallel so far as taxation of that article is concerned—they therefore are justified in 1718 putting a tax on the manufacturers also. The first thing I would say with regard to this tax it that it is impossible to consider it without keeping in mind the immense and unparalleled tax on the manufactured article. The first thing to consider is the contract which the Government have set up between their dealings with the English national beverage, which is mainly manufactured in this country, and the special manufacture of Ireland. I desire, in dealing with this subject, to look at the question not from the point of consumption. I quite agree that a very large portion of whisky manufactured in Ireland is drunk in this country. I look at it not mainly from the point of view of consumption, but from the point of view of Irish industry. I say that the Government ought really to consider it seriously from this point of view: You must remember that in considering the different treatment of beer and whisky making you have to deal in Ireland with people who are exceedingly suspicious of the proceedings of the Government of this country. I think they are justified. I put it to any man whether the Irish people have not had in their past history only too good ground for suspecting the Government of this country, and especially this House, of an unnatural desire to discriminate against any industry in Ireland, and to discourage Irish industry. Over and over again, not once but twice and three times, industries in Ireland, which were rapidly rising and threatening industries in this country, were deliberately put down by this House. Therefore, you have to deal with an extremely suspicious people in Ireland, and, while I do not myself make a charge, I say if you proceed with the present scale of taxation of Irish whisky and of the manufacturers of Irish whisky, as contrasted with the fact that you put no tax on the English beer, tens of thousands of people in Ireland will believe that it is the deliberate purpose of this House to strike down an Irish industry. I think in view of the past history of this country it is not an unnatural suspicion to be in the minds of our people. There cannot be the slightest doubt it will have this effect that by the operation of those two factors you will destroy or almost entirely ruin some distilleries in Ireland, and seriously cripple an industry. I have already pointed out the grossly unjust discrimination in this practice. You have put no tax on beer. Why did you not put a tax on beer? A small or moderate tax on beer would have brought 1719 in an enormous revenue. It would have brought in such an immense revenue that you might have reduced the tax on tea as well as done justice to the whisky industry in Ireland. If you had put a just proportion on English beer of what you have put on Irish whisky I, for one, would have been very slow to resist the tax. But you have done nothing of the kind. You have discriminated against the poorer country in a most indefensible and scandalous way. There are two other aspects of the matter. First of all, we are told it is a good tax. I know many Members opposite will consider it in the light that it is a good tax, because it promotes sobriety. These are the temperance people. I do not think it is a wise policy to attempt to promote sobriety by such a tax as this. Really, when you come to look into the matter, it does not do so. We hear already that the decrease in the consumption of Irish whisky has been enormous—far beyond what the critics of the Chancellor of the Exchequer allowed for, and far beyond what he himself allowed for. I am not going into the figures, but the decrease has been so great that instead of producing a revenue up to the present moment the tax has injured the revenue. Making full allowance for the anticipation of the great quantities which would be taken out in March and April I believe the returns are not equal to what they would have been if the duty had been left. There is no doubt that the falling off in the consumption of whisky has been very great, but has the falling off in the consumption of drink been equal to it? I think that the falling off in the consumption of whisky means that the people have taken more and more to the drinking of porter. Some people may say that that is a very good thing. I doubt it very much. I think it is a question for very serious consideration whether getting drunk on porter or getting drunk on whisky is the worse thing of the two. I do not believe, from any opportunity I have had for observation or medical study, that there is any choice between the two. I think the one is as bad as the other, and I am not quite sure if getting drunk on beer is not the most degrading of the two. I do not believe that this falling off in the consumption of whisky has had any serious improvement in temperance. The Chancellor of the Duchy said nothing would give him greater pleasure than to remove this tax or any other tax, but the revenue, he added, must be collected and the de- 1720 ficit must be met. Are you quite sure that you are contributing anything towards the deficit? I have seen enormous estimates made in Ireland of the frightful amount of money that is to be taken out of Ireland by this increase in the Whisky Duty. I have always inclined to the view that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is much more sanguine in his anticipations than his critics are. I do not believe you are going to get an enormous sum out of Ireland by this Whisky Duty. What you are going to do is to destroy an exceedingly important industry. I say, again, that one of the most indefensible things the Government can do is to place a tax on an industry which is tolerated by the law, and a tax of such a character that you will not get revenue, but will very seriously injure or destroy the industry. Therefore I say that in my opinion the answer of the Chancellor of the Duchy is no answer at all. If the revenue must be raised some tax ought to be devised which would be sure to bring in revenue and not destroy industry. With regard to the question of manufacture of whisky, a great deal of opprobrium has been thrown upon the manufacture of whisky. Is whisky such an abominable thing? I know some Members opposite really approve of this tax because it will destroy the manufacture of whisky. What is the particular evil in the manufacture of whisky? Is whisky, when taken in moderation, a worse drink than wine or porter? I think not, and I know medical men in this country have been in the habit of advising gentlemen who go out to dine to prime themselves with good Irish whisky and soda-water. Many men in this House have been taken off wine for the good of their health and ordered to have a drop of Scotch or Irish whisky. If it is taken in moderation, it is one of the most wholesome of all intoxicating drinks. All intoxicating drinks are evil if taken in excess. If you take champagne to excess, I believe it will undermine your health more rapidly than Irish whisky. I, therefore, protest against the idea that there is any evil or crime in the manufacture of whisky. The only evil I know of is that it is an Irish industry. I would ask that you should not inflict this gross injustice upon Ireland. If the Government are determined to persist in placing this crushing tax of 3s. 9d. per gallon on whisky, I ask that they shall not add to it by placing this considerable tax upon the manufacture of Irish whisky. Surely 3s. 9d. a gallon is quite enough duty on whisky. Although it may be true that the calcula- 1721 tion is correct that this is only one-tenth of a penny additional, I assure you it will raise a great deal of feeling, because it is taken from distillers in a different way. The sum at stake is a small one, and I would urgently impress upon the Government that they would not add to the very great irritation and anger that exist in Ireland already on this question of the Whisky Tax and the Tobacco Tax by persisting in this utterly unreasonable and unfair tax on the manufacture of whisky.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The hon. Member's speech would have been more appropriate upon a Debate on the new 3s. 9d. duty on spirits, and speeches such as that have been made, of course, by many hon. Members on several occasions when that duty has been under discussion. I do not think this Licence Duty on distillers can be considered as in any degree comparable or to be discussed on the same footing as the new duty on spirits. The hon. Member said the operation of these two taxes taken in combination would destroy a good many Irish distilleries, one being 3s. 9d. and the other one-tenth of a penny. Is it really possible to conceive that a tenth of a penny is a serious consideration in the case of an industry which is already taxed 11s. and will be taxed 14s. 9d.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The duty is imposed because the Government have, in revising the whole scale of the Licence Duties, except in regard to cider, imposed graduated scales on the manufacture of those liquors. The scale is graduated in the same fashion as the brewers' Licence Duty, but the brewers' Licence Duty imposes a charge of a very different amount from this. The hon. Member (Mr. Dillon) said you are discriminating most unfairly between the Irish and the English national beverage, and he asked why not impose a duty such as this upon beer. We are now discussing the Whisky Duty. If you take the Licence Duty on the manufacturer the distillers will be called upon to pay about £16,000 a year throughout the whole country, and the brewers will be called upon to pay £419,000 a year throughout the whole country. I am limiting myself to Licence Duties upon manufacturers. The burden is infinitely larger upon the manufacturer of the English national beverage than the Irish, 1722 and that should properly be so when you take into account that there is no Beer Duty comparable with the Whisky Duty Further, the Licence Duties press far more heavily upon the brewing firms who own public-houses in England than in Ireland. The revenue to be derived from retail licences, many of which are owned by the brewers, is out of proportion heavier in England than in Ireland owing to the much lower valuation of the Irish houses, and that also must be taken into account when considering this matter. I think the Government may fairly claim that they have endeavoured not to discriminate in any degree against Ireland in respect to the new duties imposed by this Bill. The hon. Member says that in Ireland the impression is created that the new Whisky Duty is deliberately intended to crush out an Irish industry, but he is surely aware that there is a country called Scotland, and that there is such a commodity as Scotch whisky, and that Scotch whisky is affected precisely in the same degree as Irish whisky by these new duties, and if there were any discrimination against one part of the United Kingdom compared with another that unfairness is shared equally by Scotland, which under no consideration can possibly be regarded as an object of any venom or ill-will on the part of the Government. This duty which we are now discussing is an exceedingly moderate one. The principle of it has already been sanctioned by the House and passed in the Clauses of the Bill. The duty is a tenth of a penny per gallon, and the duty which the hon. Member proposes is 1–100d. per gallon, and I trust the Committee will sanction the scale as it stands in the Bill.
§ Mr. GRETTON
We now know the reason of this duty on the distilleries. The Chancellor of the Duchy has let the cat out of the bag. He is going, on the ground of principle, to sacrifice the distillers to the tune of £16,0000 in order that he may raise on a false pretence £419,000 from the English and Scotch brewers. There is no principle whatever in this tax. He wants an excuse to call the tax which he proposes to get out of the brewing trade a manufacturers' tax. He therefore places on the distillers a tax of a similar kind, though less in amount, in order that he may go on with his excuse and have a colourable case to call the tax upon the brewers a manufacturers' Licence Duty. That is the real meaning of the tax. The Irish and Scotch distillers are to be sacrificed for a false principle, and the 1723 Government have not even the courage to maintain their principle. Their Cider Tax they sacrifice straight away. That was a matter of principle, and they are going to sacrifice the distillers in Scotland, Ireland, and England for this false principle to the tune of £16,000. I think this tax deserves the utmost reprobation of the House, and I hope those gentlemen who represent constituencies where distilleries are situated will press the matter to the utmost and carry their opinions into the Division Lobby.
§ Mr. JOHN J. MOONEY
In former times, when the House wanted to destroy an Irish industry, they recited the facts of the case in the preamble of a Bill. It is left for the present Government to attempt to destroy an Irish industry by introducing a few lines, without any preamble at all, and to impose a tax on the industry so as to crush it out of existence. The Chancellor of the Duchy has made a defence of the tax on most extraordinary lines. He first of all says, when we are discussing the tax on the distiller, in his opinion it is out of order to discuss the tax on the commodity itself, but you cannot discuss the taxation of the distiller without discussing the taxation of the article itself, and it is perfectly in order to discuss the extra tax of 3s. 9d. He then says that because he is going to tax the article heavily it does not matter whether he puts on the additional tax or not. I do not know where that doctrine comes from, but it seems most extraordinary to say to a man, "if I put a tax on you and call it A I am taxing you so heavily under B that it does not matter." The Government are going back on the policy of Mr. Gladstone in 1880 when he did away with the graduated form of the tax, which was found to work badly, and which did not bring in the revenue it was meant to bring in, and only spoilt the trade. What will happen under this duty is that you will crush out the small distilleries all over Ireland. It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to say that a tenth of a penny makes no difference. The business in which the distillers engage is cut so fine that the whole difference between a profit and a loss or between sale or no sale may turn on a twentieth of a penny a gallon. It is no argument to tell the distiller, "I am not putting a penny a gallon on you, but only a tenth of a penny," when that tenth may make the whole difference between the distiller being able to conduct the transaction at a 1724 profit or a loss. It is admitted that the consumption of whisky is going down in the most alarming manner. We were first told there was no falling-off in the consumption, but when the figures were given this afternoon they show that there has been a steady falling-off up to the present date. On the top of this you are going to put increased taxation on the distillers, and the small man must go to the wall. That means that the agricultural industry all through the district where the distillery is situated must also go to the wall. You cannot destroy a distillery without destroying the market of the farmer in the district.
I really think that with the increased taxation you are putting on you might have left the distiller alone, and if the Government persist they ought to find a slightly better argument than to say to the distiller, "You ought not to grumble, because we are putting so much on the whisky." That may be logic, but if it is I do not understand it, and I do not want to. I think the Government will be wise if they withdraw this tax or modify it as suggested. You are always talking about keeping people on the land. If you crush out these small Irish distilleries either the trade will go into the towns or else these people, being bereft of their employment in the country districts, must emigrate. You are piling taxes on the remaining industries which exist in Ireland. There are other industries which you could get a large amount of revenue from. Is the distinction that liquor is the only thing that ought to be taxed? If not, why not tax some other large industries—mineral water, for instance. You would get a much larger revenue from that, though it is quite possible that the pressure which would be put on the right hon. Gentleman would be so great that they would probably withdraw it. The Government might consider the scale that we put down. It is a much more reasonable one, because, as it stands at present, it will undoubtedly tend to crush out the small distilleries. If that is what the Government want to do, they are going a very good way about it. The figure I have of the yield of the whole tax is £169,000. I do think the Government might see their way to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. H. CECIL LEA
I would not have intervened in the Debate but for the extraordinary speech made by the Chancellor of the Duchy, who showed a lack of knowledge of the conditions governing the 1725 wholesale spirit trade of this country. The right hon. Gentleman said it was an absurd thing to couple the additional duty of 3s. 9d. per gallon with the one-tenth of a penny which would be incurred through the infliction on distillers of the Licence Duty. May I remind the right hon. Gentleman that the 3s. 9d. per gallon only comes into operation when the spirit is duty paid in this country. A lot of the distilleries in the Lowlands of Scotland and also in Belfast turn out spirit of a very cheap character, and they have to compete with a very cheap spirit which is made under bounty-fed conditions. Therefore this extra 3s. 9d. does not come in at all, but the addition of a tenth of a penny would be a great factor in the matter. If the right hon. Gentleman has any doubt about that, I can bring to him 20 or 30 dealers from Mark-lane who would tell him that 3s. 9d. would make it impossible to sell in some neutral markets altogether. The production of 100,000 gallons with the extra licence works out at an increase of 7 per cent. Two or three years ago there was an export duty of 1s. per ton on coal. That only meant an added factor of 5 per cent. on the price in Baltic ports, but that resulted in a tremendous loss of trade there.
§ Mr. H. CECIL LEA
If you take the production at 100,000 gallons, that means a Licence Duty of about £30, which is a trifle over 7 per cent.
§ Mr. H. CECIL LEA
The liquor you put the addition on comes out at 10d., 10½d., or 10¾d. This very stuff is sold in decimals of a penny, so that an addition of a tenth of a penny is a tremendous factor in the sale. A lot of the distilleries in the North of Ireland even sell this liquor at a loss, and they can only keep going by their sale of yeast. It is a known fact that the price is cut so fine that distillers could not keep their doors open but for the sale of by-products. I would strongly urge that the right hon. Gentleman, before this matter is passed, should appeal to some of his advisers in the City and in the North of Ireland, and also among the grain dealers of Glasgow, in order to find out what the effect would be in the neutral markets.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. JOHN O'CONNOR
It is impossible to deal with the question without at the same time considering the state of trade both in Ireland and Great Britain. I was rather surprised by the statement made by the Chancellor of the Duchy when he alluded to a place called Scotland. He asked if there were such a place as Scotland where whisky and porter, the articles we are now discussing, were also manufactured? The manufacture of spirits in Scotland is not Scotland's only manufacture. Unfortunately it happens to be the only manufacture you have left in Ireland. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Well, is is one of the few industries left in Ireland. This tax does affect not only that particular industry, but all the cognate and surrounding industries. For example, it has been pointed out by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Waterford that it affects agriculture. How does it affect agriculture? The growth of barley has decreased in the last year by 16,000 acres in Ireland, and, not only that, the import of barley has been decreasing during the past two or three years in Ireland, showing that you are attacking not a flourishing but a declining industry. It may be stated with absolute confidence that the manufacture of whisky and beer in Ireland is a declining industry, and it is on that you are putting what the hon. and learned Member for North Louth (Mr. T. M. Healy) called the last straw which will break the camel's back. It has been pointed out by the Chancellor of the Duchy that it is a very unimportant tax which is under discussion. It is a very important tax when you consider that the increase in the duty on spirits is no less than 44 per cent. An increase of 3s. 9d. on 11s. is 44 per cent. I am thankful to the hon. Member for South Salford (Mr. Belloc), the only English representative in this House to-day who has pointed out to the Committee that Ireland has been left with this languishing and only industry on account of the iniquities of English laws. There has not been a word spoken about Ireland on the Ministerial side of the House except by him, although many hon. Members on that side must be convinced that Ireland has had her industries crushed, that she is overtaxed, and that she is about to be further overtaxed. I would have expected something to be said by Liberals, who must have thought out the subject. I would have expected a friendly word to be spoken by the right hon. Gentleman 1727 the Member for Islington who has written whole treatises on the subject of the over-taxation of Ireland. One would have expected a word to be spoken by hon. Gentlemen on the benches opposite, who have studied the financial position of Ireland, and who know well that this tax upon Irish industry is going to drag more money out of a country which is admittedly overtaxed. On this subject I should have liked to hear a word spoken by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway on this side of the House from Ireland. They have not, so far as I have heard, spoken a single word on the subject of the over-taxation of Ireland. They used to join us in protesting against the over-taxation of Ireland. They claim to be as devoted sons of Ireland as hon. Members who sit around me, and yet they witness Ireland put on the taxation table and again bled beyond endurance, and no word of protest is spoken by them. I submit that there is great differentiation between Ireland and Great Britain in this matter. Ireland has the misfortune to be tied to Great Britain, and when we raise a protest we are told by such masters of language, unsympathetic language, as the Chancellor of the Duchy, that there is nothing unfair to Ireland in the proposed tax. I do not expect sympathy from him. There is no sympathy in that kind of nature. There are figures and the logic figures. There is no sympathy with nationalities. There is no sympathy with poor people. There is only a comparison by the right hon. Gentleman between the condition of a poor people and that of a rich people. There is only a comparison which is not just and genuine. I would point out that there is no comparison between the people of Scotland and the people of Ireland. Scotland has abundance of industries of all descriptions. Scotland has been blessed by nature with mineral wealth. Scotland has, I might also say, by reason perhaps of her better political conditions as compared with those of Ireland, been a pampered country. At all events, by reason of her mineral wealth she has grown rich, and yon cannot compare a poor country like Ireland, which has one or two industries, with a country which has the great mineral wealth of Scotland. Therefore it was entirely beside the mark, and I have only to urge with whatever force is at my command the suggestions that have already been offered, that with regard to the taxa- 1728 tion of these two articles, whisky and porter, Ireland is suffering an injustice, and that the condition of the country with regard to its taxation was not taken into account when this Schedule was proposed. I hope, therefore, that the suggestions of my hon. Friend and the Amendments that are on the Paper will be accepted by the Committee.
§ Mr. T. H. SLOAN
I do not intend to comment on the speech of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. J. O'Connor) who has just sat down, but I may point out to the Committee that as regards the over-taxation of Ireland we are all agreed, or I think we were unanimous until the passing of the Old Age Pensions Act, when we discovered that Ireland was run at a loss of over a million pounds. If there is any other way of reducing taxation in Ireland we shall be very pleased, but we think that the best service can be rendered by the taxation of this particular industry, and if before this Committee it is seriously proposed that the only way that Ireland can prosper is by increasing whisky drinking and porter drinking, then I say Ireland must be in a very bad state. I do not think in this particular case that the hon. Member will get a single Member from the North of Ireland to support him. Hon. Members below the Gangway enter their protest against this tax, and this is not only natural, but desirable, from their point of view, because it must not be forgotten by this Committee that the best supporters of the party who are now representing a particular trade are the liquor trade.
§ Mr. SLOAN
The distillers of Ireland may be nearly all strong Unionists, but it does not alter the truth of the statement which I have made that a large amount of the support to the party representing this particular trade comes through the liquor trade. My point is that Ireland may be overtaxed, and while it is desirable if possible to reduce the taxation of Ireland, I believe honestly that the majority of the people of Ireland of all religious denominations and all political parties would be in favour of the taxation which the Government now proposes.
§ Mr. SLOAN
It is very easy to make these statements about Ireland, but if the hon. Gentleman would come over to Ireland and investigate the matter, as I have for years, he would speak with better knowledge. I do not wish to speak at any greater length, but merely desire to emphasise the point that not a single Member from the North of Ireland can be found to oppose this particular tax in regard to the particular industry affected. For my own Constituency I can honestly and sincerely say that this tax is one of the most popular taxes that can be imposed.
§ Mr. J. C. FLYNN
The hon. Member who has just sat down has invited the hon. Member for St. Pancras to come over to Ireland.
§ Mr. FLYNN
He invites both to come over to Ireland if they want to know what the people of Ireland think about these taxes. I have just come from Ireland, and know the feeling of opposition to them, outside the extreme advocates of temperance reform, who, like the hon. Member, only look at the matter from one point of view. Of course, the Government can declare that this is a bonâ fide temperance measure of a repressive character, involving in its Clauses sumptuary laws. There may be something to be said for it. But there is another and a different view, which the hon. Member for East Mayo put forward. It interferes not alone with the possible consumption of whisky in Ireland—that is a small part of it, and the decreased consumption is a matter I observe with pleasure—but it also interferes with an Irish industry of a legitimate character, which has been severely handicapped in a double sense. I claim that the conjoint effect of the increased duty of 3s. 9d. a gallon and this additional duty on the distiller is to penalise the small distiller, who makes an honest Irish malt spirit, and similarly with regard to Scotland, while it puts a premium on the larger distillers in Belfast and elsewhere, who, as the Customs' Returns will show, are importing German silent spirit and other deleterious products and exporting them at a great profit as Irish whisky. You crush 1730 out the small man who encourages the growth of barley in his district, and who makes an honest whisky. I remember the late Sir Wilfrid Lawson asking me years ago if there was such a thing as honest whisky. I will not repeat my reply, which extends to half a column, but if whisky is to be drunk at all it is better for the community and better for the individual that they should have an honest malt spirit, which is not deleterious in its effects and which does not produce these bad results that follow from the use of bad spirits. But you are crushing that out to a large extent and encouraging the large distiller, who does not care a thraneen if not an acre of barley were grown in Ireland. He can get all the fusel oil he wants in silent spirit imported from Germany, which is sometimes made from damaged grain, or, as a wag has suggested, it might be made from sawdust. You can extract it from almost any substance, and palm it off on the credulous, gullible, thirsty English people.
You are absolutely crushing out the small distiller who has inherited the traditions which have come from generations of experience, and you are playing into the hands of large distillers in other places, not confined to Belfast alone or the North of Ireland, and you are placing in their hands a monopoly which was never intended. On the Resolutions with regard to these taxes before the House some months ago, I ventured to make that argument against this portion of the Budget, and I repeat it now. I voted for every section of the Land Clauses, and for all their proposals, but I repeat that these portions of the Bill should be looked at in this way. Do you really mean as temperance reformers, for whom I have the highest respect, by these Clauses in the Bill to so encourage temperance as to crush out this industry altogether, or do you mean to raise revenue? The result is to penalise the honest malt distiller. Is not this, if you look at it in another way, an exhibition of British intolerance by a British majority exercised against a Celtic minority? Reference has been made over and over again to the fact, which is not disputed, that many other Irish industries were crushed out by you either by direct legislation or by special taxation of this character. Are you now going to repeat that action? With regard to this industry, which, apart altogether from the question of home consumption, we regard as an important Irish industry of a most beneficial 1731 character, I was really rather disappointed to find that our Scotch Friends in this matter did not take a more independent course. No doubt the hon. Member recently, a Member of the Government whom we all respect, did at an earlier stage, at any rate as far as putting Amendments down on the Paper is concerned, show some indication of a desire to join with his Irish colleagues in protecting a legitimate Irish and Scottish industry. But he has fled from the scene. He may have bade his troops keep fighting, but he has abandoned us. Our case is then really that by the operation of this and the 3s. 9d. duty you are penalising and discouraging, and in a short time you will find you are absolutely crushing out a large number of the small industries of Ireland, which make a good article not alone for home consumption, but for consumption in this country, and you are encouraging that which leads to drunkenness, insanity, and many other great social evils—an increase in the manufacture of the poorer and the worst and the most deleterious forms of alcoholic liquor.
§ Mr. BELLOC
I only rise because my name has been twice brought into the discussion. I have very little more to say than to repeat what I said on the former Amendment and also to beg hon. Members who sit opposite to believe that, apart from the professional politicians who approach the consideration of these matters in a spirit of caution, there is a very strong body especially of educated Liberal opinion in England on this matter of over-taxation in Ireland—a body which does not express itself through the political vote, but which expresses itself, as I think Irish Members know, through the pen, and must ultimately do its work. I would further ask these hon. Gentlemen, such as the hon. Member for Belfast (Mr. Sloan), whether they have considered that the extra taxation now being levied is being levied only because this country got into a financial mess through the Jewish war in South Africa? Was there any body of men who protested against the military finance of that time with the zeal and honesty of the Irish Members? It is the first time I have heard any man claiming to be patriotic when he defended a tax, no doubt ethically a beautiful tax, which was imposed en his own people. As to his challenge to come over to Ireland, I may say 1732 that if he will get some Irish Member to show me that he will be quite safe in any Nationalist part of Ireland when he goes on a platform to defend this extra taxation of Ireland to pay for this particular financial crisis into which the City of London, which is still largely English, got itself through the South African War, and advocate on that platform the imposition of this tax for that purpose, then I will argue the opposite, and we shall see which side will gain the approval of the meeting. I have seen the Irish race not only in Ireland but in many parts of the world, and I think their logical faculty will take the view that I, who am not Irish, had shown more sympathy with their patriotism than the man who claims to support them. Nevertheless, it is the business of an English Member of Parliament to vote for this small tax. It represents a tax which does not weigh much upon us in the condition of our finance, and of the large sum of money which we have to meet it forms a small part, and it forms a useful part.
§ Mr. BELLOC
The explanation is quite clear. According to my theory of politics a Member is sent to this House to represent a certain number of people called electors. If, in his opinion, they would support him in a particular course which would make the country better and wealthier, then he must take that particular course on the floor of this House. Therefore, holding that view, and representing an English constituency, I vote for this tax. If I represented an Irish constituency I should without hesitation vote against it.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I should not have intervened in this Debate, seeing that an irresistible case has been made out for Ireland, but for the challenge thrown out by the hon. Member for the Southern Division of Belfast (Mr. Sloan). The individual who should accept that challenge is one of his colleagues in the representation of that city, and I rise for the purpose of stating that the hon. Gentleman does not speak for Belfast in this matter. He does not speak for any division of that city, and the whole of Belfast is opposed to this taxation of Ireland. There was recently held in Belfast a meeting in reference to this Budget, which was addressed by the Lord Advocate, and I am given to understand it was one of the most enthusiastic meetings in favour of the land taxation clauses 1733 of this Bill. I do not believe there is a city in Ireland or in the United Kingdom where there are so many capitalist organisations as in Belfast, yet, owing to some singular circumstances, there has not been a single public meeting held in Belfast in favour of the licensing proposals of the Budget. The hon. Gentleman is rather flippant in his charges against my colleagues and myself, as to our representing the licensing interest in Ireland. We represent every interest in Ireland. I do not know what the hon. Gentleman thinks, but a publican is not necessarily an outcast to be tracked and hunted down. He is engaged in a legitimate trade, and to simply say that you are to impose most outrageous exactions on that particular trade in Ireland because you have certain views in regard to moral questions is a form of ethics to which I, at all events, cannot subscribe. The hon. Member has said that we are representatives of the licensing interests. I have not a single distillery in my own Constituency. If there were distillers there they would be—as are distillers in Sandy-row and everywhere—opposed to the national aspirations of Ireland. We defend every interest irrespective of politics. I have received circulars from many of those engaged in the distillation of liquor in Belfast and elsewhere, and they state that these proposals will undoubtedly destroy, or go a long way to destroy, the business of the distilleries. The argument has been advanced that whisky made in Ireland is largely exported. The hon. Member, because of his temperance principles, is going to destroy a great industry.
I wonder whether, if he were to go to South Belfast or anywhere in Ireland, he would find any support in endeavouring to destroy the industry carried on in the distilleries of Sandy-row in order to promote a similar industry in the Fatherland? I wonder how many votes would come to him from the working classes of that large community in which so much employment is given to the people engaged in this trade? The hon. Member said that no Member from the North of Ireland would come forward in support of this tax. Where are the hon. Gentlemen's colleagues in defence of the sacred union? He will find that not even the hon. Member for North Armagh (Mr. Moore) will come here to defend this tax. Not a single Member from the City of Belfast will defend it, nor will a single Member for Ulster, with the exception of the hon. Member himself and perhaps one hon. Gentleman opposite. I 1734 think it is unfair that the hon. Member for South Belfast, or the hon. Member for Antrim, should use the isolated political positions they occupy here, not to save Irish industry, but to lend themselves to a nefarious transaction of this character. I listen to an hon. Gentleman opposite often with more intellectual pleasure than conviction, and I heard him say that new whisky was far better for people than old whisky. I do not drink whisky myself, but I will accept the hon. Gentleman's judgment on the point.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
If the hon. Gentleman is referring to me, I did not say that new whisky was good for people. I said that new whisky was bad for people, and that I had no evidence to show that old whisky was any better for them than new.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I did not charge the hon. Gentleman with speaking from experience. I merely stated that it was a somewhat extraordinary statement to come from the lips of one of those temperance reformers, who, by their attitude on this and other questions, seem to imagine that they are to enjoy not only the luxuries of this world but of the next. I came to the conclusion, from what the hon. Member said, that it would be better to drink new whisky than old, and I think that was the only conclusion to which I could come.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
If it were anybody but a temperance orator who spoke I should say he was a bit mixed in his observations. I am a believer in temperance either in the House of Commons or anywhere else, but I hate cant. I am an admirer of the Liberal party of England, and there is no one who more keenly feels how much the British working classes owe to that party. Nor is there anyone who more greatly appreciates the great services it has rendered to the cause of the poor; but I object to the publican being ruined for the purpose of paying an old age pension to some person who desires it. This question should be adjusted on right lines, and therefore I take up the challenge of the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Belfast. I had not intended to speak in this Debate, but I feel that all my colleagues in the representation of Ulster are bound to protest against the allegation of the hon. Member that they are in favour of this tax.
§ Mr. GWYNN
I am glad that the hon. Member for South Belfast has raised this question as to the link between the party of which I am a member and licensed interests. Every great liquor lord in Ireland is our enemy, politically, from Lord Iveagh down to the smallest distiller who associates himself with the political party which is opposed to us. Nevertheless, we, as a party, are here to support the industry which is affected by this Bill. I am glad also that this discussion should have drawn from the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Byles) the statement that there should be an adjustment of separate interests in the taxation of the two countries. I hope the House will realise how different a thing it is to impose a new and heavy tax in a country whose revenue is yearly increasing by leaps and bounds from imposing a new and heavy tax in a country whose income is absolutely fixed and, perhaps, in many cases, is tending to decrease. Let the Committee consider plainly what the proposal is. At the present moment whisky is taxed as much as 200 per cent. ad valorem. It costs between 3s. to 4s. a gallon to make the best whisky, and you put on that at present 8s. per gallon in taxation. Under this Budget you will add another 100 per cent. ad valorem to the taxation of whisky. What is the proposal that we are discussing here? To manufacture whisky a State licence is needed, and the State proposes now, at a time when it is adding 100 per cent. ad valorem to the article, to increase the tax on the manufacturer. The thing is contrary to common-sense and common justice, and I do not see any attempt to defend it, except on the ground that the Government want money, and I do not feel confident that the money is forthcoming. One thing that has been gained from the extraordinary length of time that these Budget discussions have been prolonged is that we know the mischief that has been done, and we are able to point to the statistics of consumption, and show that our fears for the distilling industry, with its inevitable results on the agricultural industry, are justified; and, what is not at all certain, is that there is going to be any increase in the revenue. You may get more money possibly from the big distillers, but I think that a great many of the small distillers will not in two or three years be paying Licence Duty at all. These proposals may possibly be well adapted to this country, but they are entirely ill-adapted to the circumstances of Ireland. I do not believe there is one 1736 man in this House who believes that an Irish Parliament would impose taxation of this sort, and that is, from our point of view, a sufficient condemnation of it. I really do not know that one could argue the case from the point of view of strict logic, because the whole position is fundamentally illogical. The assumption is that the conditions of the two countries are analogous, and that the position is identical. That is not so, and therefore when you set out on a parity of treatment in any of these taxes you land yourself in a false position.
§ Mr. HORATIO BOTTOMLEY
I desire to disassociate myself from the extraordinary doctrine of representation in this House which was expounded by my hon. Friend the Member for Salford (Mr. Belloc), with whom in nine cases out of ten I have the intellectual privilege of being in agreement. As far as I understood his argument, it was this: This is a tax which may be, and probably is, very unjust to a certain section of the British Empire, but it was favoured by his particular constituents, and therefore he feels justified in voting for it. The hon. Member is a much greater authority on constitutional theories and doctrines than I am, but I was under the impression that although we are sent to this House by what we all term electors, and though we nominally represent constituencies, that that is only machinery for the convenience of election, and that when we are once here my impression is we are all equal as Members of the Imperial Parliament and that each of us is charged with the fullest responsibility for the interests of every section of that Empire. The very fact that Ireland says by an overwhelming number of her representatives that this tax is unjust and injurious to it, throws upon me a sense of absolute responsibility for considering the justice and expediency of that tax. To my own knowledge that tax is revengeful in its character, and injurious for a certain industry, which also leads me to the conviction that I have no other course but to vote against it. What amazes me most is the extraordinary conspiracy of silence on the part of Members on this side, in view of the fact that every one of these taxes almost has undergone fundamental and material changes since it was first propounded, and that every one of the Members on this side was equally enthusiastic with the taxes in their original form as they appear to be with them in their amended form. I cannot help thinking that we on this side are 1737 suffering from the application of a party discipline which, however good it may be for party interests, is not good in the interests of the country at large. I cannot understand why it is that some of us who speak so freely in the Lobby and in the Committee rooms cannot come here and say what we say there. We are very bold and candid in our criticism behind the Chair, but the moment we come here we have not the political pluck to say boo to a gosling, a much less a Chancellor of the Duchy. Because I regard these taxes as unjust and vindictive, and because they are peculiarly injurious to my Irish constituents—I use the phrase advisedly—I shall vote against them, as I have been reluctantly compelled to do against other sections of the Budget.
§ Mr. THOMAS SCANLAN
It strikes me that to pass off this Bill as a temperance Bill is an attempt to impose on the credulity of innocent people in this country. I think the Government know that by this time the people of Ireland are unlikely to be imposed upon in this manner. This country has been governed for a series of years by Prime Ministers who came from Scotland representing Scotch constituencies. The late Prime Minister was shrewd enough to point out at a meeting which he addressed in his own country that real temperance was not to be promoted by legislation, but was to be the effect of education. No one can contend that the proposals of this Bill are intended to make the people of Ireland or of this country more sober than at present, but if it is meant to promote sobriety in Ireland the Government must know that there are other agencies for the promotion of temperance at work in Ireland, and that those great agencies are not likely in the least to be promoted or encouraged by proposing taxation such as is contained in the Government's proposals. Indeed, one cannot understand the taxation imposed in this measure in any other light than an attack on the trade, which, after all, must be regarded by the promoters of this Bill, and even by the Chancellor of the Duchy, as a legitimate trade. Can the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy say that it is not a legitimate trade, because if the distillation of spirits is not legitimate the way to oppress it is not by imposing taxation but to forbid it altogether. The Chancellor of the Duchy has justified this measure in two ways. He says that the amount to be derived from this tax is not important. 1738 The amount of the tax as to its importance is to be viewed not only in relation to the revenue derived from this method of taxation, but as to its effect on the producer of spirits and the distiller. It has been pointed out by hon. Members who are well acquainted with the effect of this tax that on large distillers it will be most serious, while, as to small distillers and a large number of the small distillers in Ireland, there is no doubt whatever that the effect of this tax will be to sweep their trade away and to ruin and destroy an Irish industry.
I also, with hon. Gentlemen who sit with me, object to anything in the nature of increase of taxation of Ireland, as it is well known to hon. Members in all parts of the House that Ireland is at present enormously overtaxed, and on that account alone we are justified in protesting against this increase in Irish taxation. We are also justified in protesting against it because it can possibly do no good. It is an odd thing for a responsible Government Minister to justify a tax because, he says, the amount that is to be derived from it is relatively unimportant. He made the point, for instance, that the amount to be derived from the imposition of this tax is considerably less than the Licence Duty to be gained from the Licence Duty on the manufacture of beer. It is very little consolation to the distillers in my country to hear that while they are being fleeced the manufacturers of beer in England are to be fleeced for licences to some extent. It is very small consolation to be told, as we have been told, in the way of argument, the force of which does not appear to me in the least, that Scotland is also to be taxed just as Ireland is. There are a great number of industries in Scotland, and through the mastery which Scotland has always obtained in the Government of this country Scotland is well able to protect her other industries, and Scottish Members, if they wish to express their views of their constituents who are engaged in the distillation of spirits, or other industries, may do so, but whatever may be said by hon. Members representing Scotch constituencies according to hon. Members in all parts of the House, the people of Ireland are frightfully overtaxed already, and as this is an attempt to raise a tax which is unjust, and which cannot be argued for on any grounds that appeal to any person in this House, and as it is purely vindictive and an attempt to destroy a trade rather than to increase revenue 1739 I protest against it, and I suggest that the Amendment that is down in the name or the hon. Member for East Mayo should be accepted by the Government.
Mr. P. J. POWER
Despite what has been said, I believe that the temperance party is against this increased taxation. I know that there are some extreme men who think that this will decrease drinking, but I believe that the vast majority of reasonable temperance men who regard this matter from a reasonable point of view are against this increased taxation. I believe myself it puts a premium on the worst class of drink, which will do infinitely more harm than the genuine article. I believe also it will have the effect of increasing largely the amount of "potheen" there is now distilled in Ireland. "Potheen" is a drink which I think hon. Members would not care very much for, because as a rule it is impure, and the people who distil it get rid of it as quickly as possible. When I read and hear these Debates purposing to increase the indirect taxation of Ireland I often ask myself, was there ever a Financial Relations Commission? By your action in adding 3s. 9d. per gallon to spirits you must enormously increase the indirect taxation of Ireland. At present the indirect taxation of Ireland is far greater than the indirect taxation of Great Britain. We all know that indirect taxation hits a poorer country harder than a richer country, and the poorer individual harder than the rich. I believe even from the revenue point of view this tax will pay to bring in the money that was expected from it. I well remember Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, speaking at that Table and proposing to increase the taxation on spirits by 6d. per gallon, said he did not believe it was capable of producing more than that, and that he doubted whether it could stand any further increase. I also remember Sir William Harcourt saying exactly the same thing, and that a further increase on the duty on spirits in Ireland would kill the industry.
I think it has been shown that at present we are paying a great deal too much on the few industries that we have. I will not repeat the arguments which have been put forward from the agricultural point of view, but I firmly believe that further taxation of spirits will decrease the area of tillage in Ireland. Statistics prove that next year you will have a much smaller area under barley than you have had in years past. It is our duty as Irish repre- 1740 sentatives to make our protest on this matter, and to do everything we can to, prevent any further increase of taxation on a country already overtaxed.
§ Mr. J. P. NANNETTI
I wish to join in the protest against this additional impost on my country, and I do so from the point of view that by this taxation you will destroy some of the distilleries in Ireland, thereby throwing on the labour market a great number of men who are now employed in that industry. The effect of this tax will be to throw an additional burden on the City of Dublin in its endeavour to provide work for the unemployed. I have the honour of being chairman of the distress committee in Dublin, and last year we received something like £7,000 from the Government to provide work for those who were out of employment. I cannot look forward with any equanimity next year or the year after to facing the number of men who will be out of employment in a city where we have no means of finding fresh work for them. I look at the matter also from another point of view. By this tax on whisky you are also taxing the industry of the farmers of the country, and as a natural result of its effect on barley-growing there will be an exodus of farm labourers and others from the country to the city to swell still further the number of unemployed. It is new to me to find men on the other side, who profess Free Trade principles, yet putting a tax on a home-grown article and allowing German spirit and foreign maize to come in as a substitute for the barley grown in our own country. I have been a consistent Free Trader all my life, but if you are going to destroy all the industries of my country I do not see the use of being a Free Trader any longer. Irish Members will have to take into consideration whether we are obliged to support a Government pledged to Free Trade when we find them doing all they can to kill their own arguments and to give protection to German spirit and American maize. Will any member opposite, who knows what a glass of whisky is, contend that when he gets a glass of patent spirit he is drinking a wholesome or decent article? I have heard some Members say that they do not snow the difference between the two kinds of spirit. I would like them to have a debauch on patent spirit one night, and the next night, when they were trying to cure themselves, to drink the Irish article. They would be able to tell in the morning which of the two is the better. Will any Member who 1741 knows good Irish or Scotch whisky say that it is fair that those manufacturers should be placed at a disadvantage in competing with the American maize whisky or patent still whisky? You will not promote temperance by this legislation; you will simply madden people if they are forced to drink patent whisky. The man who wants whisky will have it, whether it is patent still or anything else. You will do much more good by preaching in a proper way and by appealing to the respectability and intelligence of men. I am sorry that my hon. Friend from Belfast (Mr. Sloan), who has taken a great interest in the unemployed question, should give his assistance to the Government in passing a tax which he must know will throw a number of men out of employment both in Ireland and in England. I do not know what on earth the Government mean by these proposals. I am anxious to see the Government get money for old age pensions and to meet the proper demands of the country, but I think they might get it in other ways than by attempting to destroy the very source from which the revenue is derived. It is the duty of every Irish representative, Liberal or Tory, Unionist or Home Ruler, temperance man or otherwise, to protest against anything which will tend to destroy another of the industries of our country. I attended a big meeting in my own Constituency the other day—one of the largest held in Dublin for some time. On the platform there were temperance men as well as men who could take their glass of grog. They all entered their protest against this tax because it will not only destroy this industry, but will drag from our country an amount of money which ought to be left there for the purpose of encouraging struggling industries, many of which are being killed by British legislation. As an Irish representative, and having to voice the feelings of my constituents, I say that there is no portion of these proposals that will meet with greater condemnation in Ireland than the attempt to impose additional taxation on the beer and whisky manufactured in our country.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Mr. DAVID SHEEHY
This tax is a most peculiar one; you are imposing a tax on the manufacture itself of Irish whisky, the greater portion of which whisky is exported. Free Traders are not saying anything to-night on the question of Free Trade for Irish whisky. On the contrary, they are imposing a tax on Irish whisky 1742 which has to compete with the bounty-fed whisky of other countries. That is absolutely contrary to the principles of Free Trade. It is said that this tax is imposed for the purpose of keeping up equality of taxation between this country and Ireland. Between a poor country like Ireland, which has been deprived of nearly all its industries, and a rich country like England, which is creating new industries, there is no equality. I, for one, would not object to any tax if my country was to benefit from it in any way, and, in so far as this Budget in general is concerned, I admit that, out of the proceeds, we are to get something in connection with our land legislation. But I do not believe in the doctrine of robbing Peter to pay Paul, or of destroying one industry to assist another. That, however, is what you are likely to do. This is not merely robbing Peter to pay Paul; it is killing Peter for the purpose of giving a dole to Paul. I do not believe in that. You are not genuine Free Traders in this matter, because you are imposing a tax on a home-manufactured article which has to compete in other lands with a bounty-fed article. I contend, on these grounds, that you have no right to impose this miserable tax, for miserable it has been proved to be. It is a small thing so far as revenue is concerned; but, small as it is, it will be sufficient practically to destroy this one industry, and, in so doing, to inflict serious damage on the agricultural industry. Barley is not the only article that is malted; oats also are malted. You will destroy practically the whole of the grain-growing industry which we are endeavouring to bring back to Ireland. We want to create competition between grains grown in Ireland and grains imported, so that more employment may be given in our country. But by these proposals you will destroy every effort to grow grain and frustrate all our endeavours. You are putting obstacles in our way, and you will not gain anything by it. The sort of equality of taxation, which you say you wish to keep up, has been the cause of many a wrong inflicted on Ireland, and I protest against this tax as being hurtful to one of our few remaining industries. No man from Ireland will say that the people engaged in this particular manufacture are supporters of ours. It is not for that reason we enter our protest. We protest against this tax, because of the hurt it is likely to do not merely to that particular industry, but to many other 1743 industries which are associated with it. I do hope before we go to a Division upon this that better counsels will prevail with the Ministry, and that they will reconsider this question, and allow these little manufacturers, at any rate, to escape from the burdens that are being imposed. Is it not sufficient for you to have your 3s. 9d. if you can get it. I am afraid you propose to give us no Amendment; that no concession will be given beyond those which have been placed on the Paper by Members of the Government. In imposing this tax you are not merely hurting one small industry, but the agricultural industry, and in doing that you are certainly preparing difficulties for Ireland for the time when we get an opportunity of managing our own affairs.
§ Mr. A. B. MARKHAM
We have been bombarded with suggestions from the other side of the House, and I think it is time someone on this side arose so as to suggest that there is not a conspiracy of silence not to answer arguments of hon. Members opposite. May I ask first of all the Chancellor of the Duchy what is the amount that Ireland is going to pay towards this Licence Duty of which we have heard so many complaints during the last two or three hours?
§ Mr. MARKHAM
In view of that fact, is it right that hon. Members opposite should come down to the House, and put forward their epithets because we are taking some £5,000 in respect of this particular license—because that is the one tinder discussion now, and not the one dealing with the 3s. 9d. per gallon. We are discussing this Licence Duty qua Licence Duty. One hon. Member from Ireland tells us that this tax is going to destroy industries in Ireland, going to bring about unemployment, and various other ills. Why cannot hon. Members really do justice to the English and the Scottish people, and say something of the sum of £2,000,000—
§ Mr. MARKHAM
As I understand the amount previously stated, Ireland receives £2,000,000 for the purpose of old age pensions.
§ Mr. MARKHAM
Very well; you are making a contribution towards this great expenditure in Ireland which will be the means of spreading far more good than the miserable sale of liquor, because you have two millions spent amongst your agricultural industry. That will find employment for shopkeepers, and in other directions. I myself am a Home Ruler, but I say, though a Home Ruler, that if this is the kind of treatment we are going to get from Ireland when we have given her money and everything almost that she has asked for—
§ Mr. MARKHAM
You have not got much of recent years that you did not want. The position is this: Where this amount that we are asking is so small a one, I think we ought to have the money granted, and I think Irish Members should co-operate with the Government in giving that money to the State, instead of opposing in the manner they are doing.
§ Mr. KILBRIDE
The hon. Member who has just sat down has correctly stated the view that from one standpoint this is a small tax.
§ Mr. KILBRIDE
The hon. Member said it is a small tax. I shall endeavour to tell him why this tax will do an immense amount of injury, and far beyond anything commensurate to the £5,000 which the Treasury will get out of it. You have 14s. 9d. under this Finance Bill on a proof gallon of whisky. The price of that to produce is 2s. 6d. or 3s., and you are putting on a tax five times the value of the article. We have had the Chancellor of the Duchy and the Financial Secretary for the Treasury day by day answering questions as to the decreased consumption of whisky and the decrease in the revenue. That will show us that it is possible to tax a commodity to such an extent for revenue purposes as to tax it almost out of existence. Hon. Members are most anxious to know why we oppose this small tax. I am sorry the Chief Secretary for Ireland has left the Treasury Bench, but the Chancellor of the Duchy knows very well that in the county of Wexford more land has been purchased under the Land Purchase Acts than in any other county in Ireland. Wexford is the largest barley-producing 1745 county in Ireland. In that area is the largest barley-producing Poor Law union area in Ireland. That area is in the constituency which I have the honour to represent. Almost the whole of the land in my Constituency has been purchased from the Duke of Leinster. All the tenants of the duke are now annuitants of the Treasury. At the present moment the distillers in Wexford and South Kildare have to pay a duty of 14s. 9d. upon a proof gallon of whisky. £5,000 was said to be a very small sum. It is quite sufficient to keep the distillers from making any profit. When you put this £5,000 solely, as it may be, upon those who make pot-still whisky in Ireland, that affects Irish barley, oats, and wheat. As everybody knows, the best whisky in Ireland is produced, 80 per cent. from barley and 20 per cent. from wheat and oats. When you put this tax on pot-still whisky you drive it out of existence. It is 14s. 9d. on the article, the cost of production of which is 3s. That brings it to 17s. 9d. You put 14s. 9d. duty upon a proof gallon of whisky, the cost of which to produce is between 10d. and 1s., but that is the stuff which is made from German spirit or from Indian corn. You penalise the pot-still distiller by every proposition in the Budget, and you put a premium on the man who manufactures patent-still whisky. The latter does nothing whatever for the farmers of Ireland or those who are annuitants of the British Government; those who have been transformed from the position of tenants of an Irish landlord to tenants of the British Treasury. £5,000 a year, small as it may be—and as I think it is—will, in my opinion, be almost sufficient to drive those who are producers of pot-still whisky out of existence altogether in Ireland. Take the case of John Jameson and Mr. Power, who buy a great deal of farmers' produce. They cannot produce a whisky except it is an expensive one. Everyone who knows anything about whisky sales knows that if you put 14s. 9d. on to the 7s. 6d. you will drive them practically out of existence, in view of the fact that you can buy patent still whisky at 10d. or 1s. a gallon. In the first case the article produced is no longer a commercial article.
§ Mr. KILBRIDE
To put that on the 14s. 9d. runs it up to 22s., and I am surprised that the distiller should be so modest as to accept 2s. profit as the hon. Gentleman opposite suggests. Then, of course, you propose to put another 3s. 9d. on. What then will be the effect of this small tax? The patent-still distiller will be able to pay it. The pot-still distiller will not be able to pay it. You penalise the pot-still distiller in favour of the patent-still distiller. Of course, I know there is no barley grown in Ulster. Therefore the hon. Member for Belfast is not interested, I suppose, in this aspect of the case. Whatever effect this proposition may have on the barley-growing districts of Ireland will not affect one man in a thousand who occupies any land in the Province of Ulster, for the simple reason that there is practically no barley grown there.
That is the reason I am interested in this matter. It will be a serious thing for the Treasury if the farmers of Wexford and of South Kildare will not be regular with their annuities and come to the Chief Secretary with the excuse that his own Government, having killed the industry by which they paid their annuities, he cannot expect them to be punctual in their payments in the future. It is for that reason that I am opposed to any tax, no matter how small it may be, the effect of which will be to handicap the pot-still distillers in favour of the patent distillers; or, in other words, that will handicap the article produced from home-grown material in favour of the article produced from foreign patent spirit.
§ Mr. FIELD
I support this Amendment as a temperance man, and I do so for the simple reason that those who drink whisky, in my opinion, ought to drink good whisky. I do not pretend to be versed in the mysteries of whisky-making, but, like some of my expert friends, I have had considerable experience of men drinking bad whisky and men who drink good whisky, and the difference is enormous. Anything that could be done by the Chancellor of the Exchequer or by the Treasury to diminish the evil ought to be done in the direction which would lead to a decrease in the manufacture of the patent whisky or German spirit. Therefore, I hold it is the duty of the Government, instead of endeavouring to tax such men as Jameson and Power, it is the duty of the Government, in their endeavour to promote public utility and also to promote temperance and good health, to avoid taxing men like those I have 1747 mentioned who used the native material. Undoubtedly it ought to be made clear that the majority of the people of Ireland, whether they are teetotallers or moderate drinkers or men with what is called a perpetual thirst, are all opposed to this tax. I assisted at a public meeting at Dublin not long ago, which was one of the largest that ever assembled at that city, to protest against these taxes. Of course, I know the Dublin people can drink their share as well as anybody else, and, although we are constantly taunted with the accusation that Irishmen are more thirsty than Englishmen or Scotchmen, if you look into the statistics you will find that Irishmen really drink less. That is one of the calumnies that goes about and become sanctified by usage, that Irishmen are fond of liquor. It seems to be a comfort to the minds of some people to think that Irishmen are not as good as they are in any single way, but that is one of the fallacies which has to be exploded when we get Home Rule for Ireland.
The hon. Member for Mansfield laid great stress upon the fact that this increased taxation would only amount to £5,000 a year. I object to pay another extra halfpenny, because we are overtaxed already to the tune of £4,000,000 a year. Governments have given us coercion, over-taxation, disarmament, a perpetual Coercion Act, and every other evil that could be thought of. Yet we find hon. Members in this House who talk about the generosity of England towards Ireland. It is about time this argument was given up, and the sooner the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Chief Secretary come to know that the Irish people are thinking seriously about this matter the better, and that in the near future that they are going to tackle this question of over-taxation and coercion—and this is a matter of financial coercion. I am not in favour of the consumption of whisky, but all the whisky made in Ireland is not consumed in Ireland. What would be thought of a British Member who stood up in this House and proposed something that would interfere with the ordinary export of this country? You live upon your export trade, and any Member who stood up here to advocate a tax upon articles that were exported would be regarded as a lunatic. We are in the position here of representing Ireland. This is not a question merely of £5,000 a year. There is a matter of principle involved in it, and we intend to fight it out by going into the Division Lobby. 1748 We are in a minority, but minorities are, often right, and the voice of the minority often obtains support when people really come to understand the question which they advocate. We want the Chancellor of the Exchequer to realise that we are quite in earnest about this, and that Irish Members one and all, whether temperance men or so-called moderate drinkers, are all united against the imposition of this tax.
The Irish Members are entitled to voice, the opinions of the Irish people. That is what we are sent here for, and we would be lacking in our duty unless we stated plainly what exactly we require for the country we represent, and I go further, and say that the business of this House is to listen to the reasonable demands either of the Irish, English or Scotch Members upon subjects which touch their country vitally. Otherwise there would be no use in our coming here at all. I was talking this matter over with a man engaged in the spirit trade the other day—and whether a man is a teetotaller or a moderate drinker, when a question affects the whole community he has a right to put his own feeling on one side and represent the feelings of his constituency—and he told me he had made a calculation as to the number of people that will be thrown out of employment if these taxes are passed, and he assured me that there would be something like 14,000.
The effect of the Licensing Clauses generally is not under discussion. The question before the Committee is the Amendment.
§ Mr. FIELD
I am only wandering a little. In my own Division the people are very much affected by this proposal, and I am rather a curious anomaly in this House, because, although I am a temperance man, and have been all my lifetime, I represent a Constituency in which there is more drink manufactured than probably in any other constituency in the world. I think it shows the liberality of the opinions of my Constituency when they return me, as they have done twice, without any opposition, and I hope that will occur again. I hope the irrefutable arguments we have put forward will be seriously thought over by the occupants of the Treasury Bench. There are only two Ministers present, but they make up in brains what they lack in number. The Irish Members one and all are determined to oppose this portion of the Bill, and I 1749 hope the views we have expressed will meet with the consideration they deserve at the hands of those in charge of the Bill.
§ Mr. JOSEPH NOLAN
Attention has been drawn to the fact that the amount under discussion is small, and it has been stated that it might be allowed to pass almost without discussion. I should be inclined to favour that view if this tax of £5,000 a year stood by itself. Unfortunately it happens that it does not, because it is added on to other taxation upon this particular industry to an extent which is out of all proportion to what is right and just under the circumstances. To-morrow the people in Ireland will read with very great attention indeed the result of this discussion and the decision of His Majesty's Government. The hon. Member for South Belfast spoke about the representations made from Ireland, and I think he invited hon. Members in this House to go to Ireland and ascertain on the spot what the views of the Irish people are with regard to this tax. I wonder what the hon. Member could have been thinking about, or what was in his mind's eye? It is a notorious fact that ever since this Budget was introduced this question of the Licensing Duties and the Whisky Tax has been before the people of Ireland, and all through Ireland the people have risen up like one man to denounce the proposals of His Majesty's Government. I do not suppose that outside one narrow little corner of Ireland there is a single public body elected by the popular vote which has not passed resolutions condemning the proposals of the Government. Public meetings have been held up and down the country, at which resolutions have been passed condemning this and other taxes contained in the Finance Bill. In my own county I attended two meetings—one in the northern and the, other in the southern division—and at both those meetings attention was drawn to the fact that never before, perhaps, in the memory of living man had such representative meetings been held. They were thoroughly representative, and included people belonging to every creed and class. Those meetings unanimously denounced these taxes. I would like to ask the representatives of the Government who are present what they think the effect of these proposals will be upon the people of Ireland. Already Ireland is admittedly overtaxed, and taxed largely beyond her resources, and, although this tax of £5,000 is regarded as a small matter, I contend 1750 that under the circumstances it may have a most disastrous effect. There are a large number of whisky distilleries in Scotland and there are a number in Ireland.
I wish, however, to draw the attention of the Committee to a fact which is well known to everybody who possesses a superficial knowledge of the trade, that in Scotland the distiller is a small man connected with the liquor trade, and the big men in the liquor trade in Scotland are the merchants. In Ireland it is different, because there the distiller is the big man and the merchant and the distributer is the small man. If you take the distillers of Ireland, you can count them almost on the fingers of one hand. If you take five distillers in Ireland, you have not got outside that number many that need to be taken into account. Taking this small tax and distributing it amongst these five distillers, £1,000 taken from the revenue for each of these distilleries may bring one or more of them to grief. My hon. Friend has drawn attention to the fact that there may be a number of employés thrown out of employment. What will be felt in Ireland to-morrow will be that here we have got a Government which professes to sympathise with the Irish people, who admit the Nationalist claim that Ireland is already overtaxed, and yet, without the slightest regard for the effect which will be produced upon this industry in Ireland, the Government propose to increase this tax. I should just like to say one word upon the effect this tax is likely to produce upon the agriculture of Ireland. I represent one of the greatest tillage counties in Ireland, and I have made it my business to inquire into the effect the proposals of the Government will have upon the agricultural population. The distiller converts 2s. worth of produce into a liquid gallon. The Government propose to increase the duty of 11s. per proof gallon to 14s. 9d. The liquid gallon, however, produces 125 instead of 100 degrees of alcohol, so that the distiller who pays 2s. to the agriculturist for the raw material of a liquid gallon will pay to the Government 18s. 5d. This may be regarded as a matter of small importance, but those best acquainted with the trade and the position to which it has been brought by the legislation of successive Governments are under the impression that it will irretrievably damage a great industry in Ireland and lead, in addition, to a diminution in the revenue of the Government. For these reasons I, as one of the representatives of 1751 the Irish party, protest. I shall go into the Lobby against the proposal of the Government, feeling that I am only discharging a duty, not only to the whisky consumer and manufacturer, but also to the farmers and labourers whom I represent in this House.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 170; Noes, 97.1753
|Division No. 760.]||AYES.||[8.40 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||O'Grady, J.|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Hart-Davies, T.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Hedges, A. Paget||Pollard, Dr. G. H.|
|Barker, Sir John||Helme, Norval Watson||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Henry, Charles S.||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Higham, John Sharp||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Beale, W. P.||Hobart, Sir Robert||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Hodge, John||Rees, J. D.|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Holland, Sir William Henry||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Horniman, Emslie John||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Hyde, Clarendon G.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Illingworth, Percy H.||Robinson, S.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Jackson, R. S.||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Brodie, H. C.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rowlands, J.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Jowett, F. W.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Kekewich, Sir George||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Clough, William||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Lamont, Norman||Seddon, J.|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Seely, Colonel|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Lehmann, R. C.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Snowden, P.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Steadman, W. C.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Lewis, John Herbert||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Crossley, William J.||Lynch, H. B.||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Summerbell, T.|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||M'Callum, John M.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Verney, F. W.|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Maddison, Frederick||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Elibank, Master of||Mallet, Charles E.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Essex, R. W.||Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Markham, Arthur Basil||Watt, Henry A.|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Marnham, F. J.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Massie, J.||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Masterman, C. F. G.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Mond, A.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Morrell, Philip||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Morse, L. L.||Winfrey, R.|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Myer, Horatio|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Napier, T. B.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Baldwin, Stanley||Carlile, E. Hildred|
|Ambrose, Robert||Banner, John S. Harmood-||Castlereagh, Viscount|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Clancy, John Joseph|
|Ashley, W. W.||Bridgeman, W. Clive||Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Bull, Sir William James||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Joyce, Michael||O'Malley, William|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Kavanagh, Walter M.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Crean, Eugene||Keating, M.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Cullinan, J.||Kilbride, Denis||Philips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Kimber, Sir Henry||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Dillon, John||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)||Reddy, M.|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lundon, T.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Fell, Arthur||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Field, William||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Flynn, James Christopher||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Sheehy, David|
|Forster, Henry William||M'Kean, John||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Foster, P. S.||Meagher, Michael||Stanier, Beville|
|Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Mooney, J. J.||Starkey, John R.|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Muldoon, John||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Gretton, John||Murnaghan, George||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Haddock, George B.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Winterton, Earl|
|Harrington, Timothy||Nolan, Joseph||Young, Samuel|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Younger, George|
|Helmsley, Viscount||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)|
|Hill, Sir Clement||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Hills, J. W.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Patrick O'Brien and Mr. Hazleton.|
|Hunt, Rowland||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
§ Question put, "That £10 stand part of the Schedule."1754
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 174; Noes, 98.1755
|Division No. 761.]||AYES.||[8.45 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Elibank, Master of||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Essex, R. W.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Esslemont, George Birnie||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)|
|Armitage, R.||Evans, Sir S. T.||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Everett, R. Lacey||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Lynch, H. B.|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs),|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Barker, Sir John||Fuller, John Michael F.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Fullerton, Hugh||M'Callum, John M.|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Furness, Sir Christopher||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Gibb, James (Harrow)||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
|Beale, W. P.||Glendinning, R. G.||Maddison, Frederick|
|Beauchamp, E.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Marnham, F. J.|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Massie, J.|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Mond, A.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hedges, A. Paget||Morrell, Philip|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Helme, Norval Watson||Morse, L. L.|
|Brigg, John||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen)||Myer, Horatio|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Henry, Charles S.||Napier, T. B.|
|Bytes, William Pollard||Higham, John Sharp||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Hobart, Sir Robert||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Grady, J.|
|Clough, William||Hodge, John||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Holland, Sir William Henry||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Horniman, Emslie John||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Hyde, Clarendon G.||Pollard, Dr. G. H.|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Illingworth, Percy H.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S||Jackson, R. S.||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Crossley, William J.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Jowett, F. W||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Kekewich, Sir George||Rees, J. D.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Lamont, Norman||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Sloan, Thomas Henry||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Robinson, S.||Snowden, P.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Steadman, W. C.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Rogers, F. E. Newman||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Rose, Sir Charles Day||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Rowlands, J.||Summerbell, T.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Ratcliffe)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)||Thomas Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)||Winfrey, R.|
|Seaverns, J. H.||Verney, F. W.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Seddon, J.||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Seely, Colonel||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Morton.|
|Sherwell, Arthur James||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Haddock, George B.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Harrington, Timothy||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, H.)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Helmsley, Viscount||O'Malley, William|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Hill, Sir Clement||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Hills, J. W.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hunt, Rowland||Philips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Jordan, Jeremiah||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bull, Sir William James||Joyce, Michael||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Kavanagh, Walter M.||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Keating, M.||Reddy, M.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Kilbride, Denis||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Kimber, Sir Henry||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Crean, Eugene||Lundon, T.||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Cullinan, J.||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Sheehy, David|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Stanier, Beville|
|Dillon, John||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Starkey, John R.|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||M'Kean, John||Valentia, Viscount|
|Fell, Arthur||Meagher, Michael||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Field, William||Mooney, J. J.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Muldoon, John||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Murnaghan, George||Winterton, Earl|
|Forster, Henry William||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Young, Samuel|
|Foster, P. S.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Younger, George|
|Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Nolan, Joseph||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Patrick O'Brien and Mr. Hazleton.|
|Gretton, John||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)|
§ Mr. STAVELEY-HILL moved to leave out "25,000" ["for every further 25,000 gallons"], and insert instead thereof "50,000."
§ I think the subject-matter of this Amendment has already been discussed sufficiently in Committee. My Amendment proposed to reduce the duty on distillers' licences by one-half. The arguments in favour of this Amendment were put forward in the discussion on an Amendment which preceded it. The Government will only be doing justice to the distillers if they accept this Amendment.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I am obliged to the hon. Member for the Kingswinford Division for the succinct way in which he has moved this Amendment. The Committee, as he says, has given prolonged and minute attention to this proposed new 1756 duty, and it is no discourtesy to the Committee if I do not elaborate the arguments against this Amendment. Briefly, they are the same as those advanced against the previous Amendment. The Government could not consent to a decrease of one-tenth of this duty, and they could not now consent to a decrease of one-half.
§ Mr. G. D. FABER
It is the old cry we hear on every Clause of this Bill. The Government want money. There is no logic in their arguments. I will have great pleasure in supporting my hon. Friend if he carries his Amendment to a division.
§ Question put, "That the first 25,000 stand part of the Schedule."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 162; Noes, 96.1759
|Division No. 762.]||AYES.||[9.0 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Myer, Horatio|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Napier, T. B.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Armitage, R.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||O'Grady, J.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvill)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.||Pollard, Dr. G. H.|
|Barker, Sir John||Hedges, A. Paget||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Henry, Charles S.||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Beale, W. P.||Higham, John Sharp||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Hobart, Sir Robert||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Rees, J. D.|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Hodge, John||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Holland, Sir William Henry||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Horniman, Emslie John||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Robinson, S.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hyde, Clarendon G.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Brigg, John||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Brodie, H. C.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Rowlands, J.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Jowett, F. W.||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Clough, William||Kekewich, Sir George||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Lamont, Norman||Seddon, J.|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Lehmann, R. C.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Steadman, W. C.|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Lewis, John Herbert||Summerbell, T.|
|Crossley, William J.||Lynch, H. B.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Verney, F. W.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||M'Callum, John M.||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Maddison, Frederick||Watt, Henry A.|
|Essex, R. W.||Mallet, Charles E.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Marnham, F. J.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Massie, J.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Masterman, C. F. G.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Mond, A.||Winfrey, R.|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Morrell, Philip|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Morse, L. L.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.)||Fell, Arthur||Kilbride, Denis|
|Ambrose, Robert||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Field, William||Lea. Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lundon, T.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Flynn, James Christopher||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Forster, Henry William||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Foster, P. S.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Goulding, Edward Alfred||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Gretton, John||M'Kean, John|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Haddock, George B.||Meagher, Michael|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Mooney, J. J.|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Harrington, Timothy||Muldoon, John|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hazleton, Richard||Murnaghan, George|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Healy, Timothy (Michael)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Helmstey, Viscount||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Hill, Sir Clement||Nolan, Joseph|
|Crean, Eugene||Hills, J. W.||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)|
|Cullinan, J.||Hunt, Rowland||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Devlin, Joseph||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||Joyce, Michael||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Dillon, John||Kavanagh, Walter M.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Keating, M.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|O'Malley, William||Remnant, James Farquharson||Valentia, Viscount|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Philips, John (Longford, S.)||Salter, Arthur Clavell||Winterton, Earl|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Scanlan, Thomas||Young, Samuel|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Sheehy, David||Younger, George|
|Ratcliff, Major R. F.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Reddy, M.||Stanier, Beville||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Staveley-Hill and Mr. G. D. Faber.|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Starkey, John R.|
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND moved, in Scale 2 (licence to brewer for sale), to leave out:ߞ
|Not exceeding 100 barrels—|
|For the first 100 barrels||1||0||0|
|For every further 50 barrels or fraction of 50 barrels||0||12||0,"|
|and to insert instead thereof:—|
|For every further 50 barrels or fraction of 50 barrels||0||12||6."|
§ I hope the Chancellor of the Duchy will be able to make some concession in this matter, although after what has occurred I have not very great expectations. The argument against us which was used by the Prime Minister, namely, that there are a number of small breweries in England which under this Amendment would practically escape from the tax, is not a sound one. We are not proposing in this scale to remit the tax. We are admitting the principle of the tax and an increase of the tax. At present, as I understand, the brewers' licence is only £1 all round. We admit the principle that that should be raised, and the only thing I propose in this Amendment is that, instead of it being raised according to the scale in the Bill, it should be raised in accordance with the more moderate scale that I propose. My scale is drafted with the object of letting down easier the small breweries in comparison with the large ones. It is no use quoting for us the case of England and telling us about all the small breweries in this country. The small breweries in England if they were extinguished to-morrow, while no doubt it will inflict hardship upon individual brewers, would not inflict upon England as a country the same kind of injustice and hardship as would be inflicted upon Ireland if the Bill was carried in its present shape. The destruction of these small breweries in Ireland will be something in 1760 the nature of a national calamity. You cannot judge Ireland by English standards, and I think it is a cruel thing that, when you do not want this provision so far as Ireland is concerned for the purposes of revenue, you should inflict this hardship upon these small businesses and in that way do an injury to the whole population of Ireland. The Amendment, if carried, will mean a very considerable increase of the present system of taxation. It will just safeguard the small breweries and prevent their utter extinction. It is a moderate Amendment, and the least we can ask is that in a matter of this kind, where revenue is not concerned, and where the interests of England are not concerned, the Goverment should accept our proposal and safeguard these small industries.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The Prime Minister said the Government would be glad to listen with sympathetic minds to any fresh arguments which might be advanced in moving this Amendment, but the Government have heard on this occasion no new reasons why they should alter the decision which they previously arrived at. The hon. and learned Member has realised that the latter part of the Amendment, as it stands, would have been out of order, because it would have imposed a rate of duty above what the Resolution authorised.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
The Amendment as originally put down was open to that criticism, but as it appeared on the Paper it is not. I altered it.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I am informed that in certain cases it would meant an increase of the tax above what the Resolution authorises. As it stands, it would mean a loss to the revenue of about £100,000 for the whole Kingdom. I cannot agree that Ireland stands in any peculiar position in this respect. The number of breweries in Ireland is only about 30 altogether. In England they are numbered by thousands, and there is a vast number of small brewers here whose disappearance would seriously affect the well-being of the towns in which their businesses are situated. After all, England and Scotland 1761 ought not to be omitted altogether from the purview of the Government in dealing with a matter such as this, but we suggest that neither in England nor Scotland nor in Ireland will the brewers be seriously affected by this new Licence Duty. Comparing the present time with the times which have gone by, there has been a very large decline in the cost of materials used for brewing. It has not been so in the immediate recent past.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I am speaking of a much more considerable period of time. There has been a progressive and steady decline in the cost of material, while at the same time there has been no appreciable decline in the price charged to consumers in the public-house or to home consumers for the product which the brewers manufacture. Furthermore, I would emphasise the fact that the brewers got relief of taxation last year on the Sugar Duty, and this affects a certain number of brewers in Ireland as well as in England. [An HON. MEMBER: "Which of them?"] Does the hon. Gentleman expect me to give names? I have made inquiry, and I am told a considerable majority of the Irish brewers do use sugar in brewing. The relief on the Sugar Duty last year gave relief to the brewing trade generally to the extent of 1¼d. per barrel. It may be slightly less in Ireland, but certainly some relief was obtained by brewers there as well as in England. This duty proposes an increased charge of slightly over 2½d. per barrel, so that the Sugar Duty would be equivalent to half of that. The Beer Duty at present is 7s. 9d. per barrel, and I really cannot accept the argument that the small brewers in Ireland or in England are not able to carry on business with the duty at the increased amount. We propose to treat them all alike and make the duty 7s. 11½d. It is absolutely unjustifiable to say that the small breweries would be closed, and that the persons they employ would all lose their work. For these reasons the Government think that a case has not been made out for the Amendment. We believe this duty will be shifted in one way or another on to the consumers. The small brewer will be able to relieve himself in that way, and therefore no graduation in this particular case is required.
§ Mr. YOUNGER
I would not have intervened in the Debate but for the statement made by the Chancellor of the Duchy in regard to the brewing trade at the 1762 present moment. That statement is inexcusable. The same arguments were used by the Prime Minister, and they were promptly contradicted on this side of the House. The position with regard to the cost of material is not as the right hon. Gentleman says at all. I have not the figures here, but I can tell pretty nearly what the position is. Ten or twelve years ago the price of barley of the kind which is largely used in brewing had fallen to something like £1 per quarter from an average of 27s. That lasted for a certain time, but only for a very few years. At that time there was a simultaneous reduction in the price of beer, certainly in Scotland, and I know that in London the brewers took 3s. per barrel off the price of beer. The reduction which then took place in Scotland still continues. Since then there has been a gradual appreciation in the value of material. Barley has gone up from 18s. or 19s. to 33s. or 34s. per quarter. The price of hops goes up and down. They were cheap last year, but were again dear this year. They have risen from £2 or £3 to £7 or £8 per cwt., and yet the right hon. Gentleman, with all the information at his disposal, stands up and tells the Committee that the material is so low and the change in the cost of production so great that the Government are justified in taking more out of the unfortunate brewer, who has been "salted" up to the present, and who has a diminishing trade. Apparently the brewer is supposed to have a very large measure of original sin, and therefore he is to have another atrocious tax added to those which he had already to bear. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond) has not endeavoured to confine his proposal to Ireland. It is a proposal which affects the whole kingdom, and although I am not sure that I agree entirely with the way his scale is drawn, still there is an element of fairness in it, and if he goes to a Division I shall support the Amendment. The largest brewers in Ireland are not very much affected by the hon. Member's scale; Under the Government's scale they will pay £26,000 a year, while under the hon. Member's scale they will pay £23,500, so that they will be very pleased if the hon. Gentleman's scale is carried. I am bound to say that although the great brewing concern in Dublin has a commanding influence in Ireland, it has, so far as I am aware, never taken up an unfair position towards other breweries. I think the firm have acted fairly and honestly as regards their 1763 competitors. They have never attempted to lift up a finger against other brewers. They have always acted upon the principle, "Live and let live." Under these circumstances, I think the Chancellor of the Duchy has wholly failed, as the Prime Minister failed, to make good any kind of case for the retention of the scale which appears in the Schedule.
I have referred to the Resolution, and I find there is a slight variation between it and the Amendment. If the hon. and learned Member will leave out 12s. 6d., and insert 12s., the Amendment will be in accordance with the Resolution.
§ Mr. YOUNGER
I think that is a mistake. The Amendment is not beyond the scope of the Resolution, if you will allow me to say so.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN read the Amendment, leaving out 12s. 6d. and inserting 12s. in the last line.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I do not propose to deal with the question of how Ireland is affected under the Bill, but it has been pointed out in the course of this Debate that this tax will affect a large number of small breweries in this country. The Prime Minister admitted in the course of the Debate that the output of the majority of brewers in this country was 1,000 barrels and under during the year. This Debate disposes of the contention that this brewing trade is composed of big businesses and great local interests. It is obvious that the brewing trade, certainly as regards the South of England, is in the hands of small people, whose trade compared with persons engaged in other businesses is comparatively restricted. You are not merely hitting the small breweries that happen to be in Ireland, but you are hitting a large number of small breweries in England at the same time, and when the brewers are badly hit the trade of the local town is seriously affected. The trade of many small towns is absolutely dependent on the prosperity of the small brewers. So that this tax will affect not merely a large number of individual brewers, but will hit the majority of small country towns in the South of England. The question has often been asked, but has never been answered— 1764 where is either the justice or the financial equity of increasing largely your tax on an article of decreasing consumption, which is likely to decrease still more in the immediate future? It is a well known fact that as far as the South of England is concerned that the trade done by the bulk of brewers is decreasing. Every year far more people are drinking lemonade and mineral waters than formerly. There can be only two objects in such a tax as this—either the Government are so hard up for revenue and this country has come so near the end of its resources for raising revenue that it is compelled to put a largely increased tax on an article decreasing in consumption every year, or else the Government are frankly putting a tax on the brewing interest because they dislike the brewing interest and wish to revenge themselves upon it. There is no other solution of the question. The decrease in brewing is beyond all doubt, and if it goes on at its present rate in 10 or 15 years there will be no beer left to tax.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The hon. Member for Ayr Burghs has challenged a question of fact in a speech of mine; and I should like to give the information in my possession. He said that if I had consulted the expert advisers I should have been prevented from falling into the error that the price of brewing materials had fallen and that, therefore, the new tax would not be onerous. Some time ago I did make inquiry from the Board of Excise on this very point, and I received these figures from them. Although the materials used fluctuate to some extent, some brewers using more of one substance and some more of another, yet taking brewers' material generally, and taking the year 1878 at a standard of 100—
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I took the year 1908 as the last year for which figures were available, and then I took periods of 10 years back to 1898, 1888, and 1878.
§ Mr. YOUNGER
I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but he is founding his argument on the last year at which they were at very high prices, and I object to that altogether.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
That year has 100 as a standard. For the year 1888 the figure was 71.3, for the year 1898 it was 64.4, and for 1908 it was slightly higher, 68.8. Those are the figures on which I relied for the statement that, taking a series of years, proves that the materials as a whole had fallen in price.
§ Mr. YOUNGER
The whole point of the case depends in starting with 1880 and not with 1878, because there was an extraordinary fall from 1878 to 1880 in the cost of materials. The fall was so great that I remember distinctly myself buying a class of barley which at present costs 34s. 6d. to 35s. for 18s. 10½d. in 1880, so that the House will see at once that 1878 is a ridiculous year to take; and, moreover, that is not the question, because the Prime Minister's whole argument was that since Mr. Gladstone altered the tax there had been this fall in materials, and I frankly admit a decrease for a certain number of years. What I say is it has gone up again, and, at the present moment, prices are higher than they were then very considerably. That is my argument, and I challenge the right hon. Gentleman to controvert it. He cannot do so. Besides this, he forgets that since that time extra duty on malt, equivalent to 7s. a quarter, or 1s. 9d. a barrel, has been imposed on brewers.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
In listening to the Chancellor of the Duchy's reply to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Waterford, I attribute what he said to ignorance on the part of the Government as to the conditions of Irish life. When I heard him talk of breweries in Ireland as being only 28 in number, and ask why they should be considered, I was really appalled to think that a man of such intelligence should be capable of using such an argument. The mere fact that there are only 28 breweries in Ireland brings out in tragic relief the meaning of this tax on that industry. The fact that there is a large number of breweries in England and a small number in Ireland is not a fact against the proposal of my hon. Friend—it is the strongest fact in its favour. The right hon. Gentleman has certainly never lived in a small Irish town, or if he had done so he would know what a small industry of any kind means to that town. I remember seeing a small town in Ireland illuminated, with banners flowing from every window, simply because a small sack factory was to be opened. Unemployment was so frequent and so terrible a calamity 1766 in that town that the erection of a small sack factory was regarded as a great civic event, promising a new future to the town, and it was celebrated by men of all creeds, the Catholic bishop at their head. That will give some idea of what even a small factory means to small towns in Ireland. I could certainly go, I think, through most of the towns in which these small breweries are established and show that they are the hope and support of a large portion of the people of those towns. I think, when the right hon. Gentleman says that this is a small matter, it shows, with all due respect to him, that he is in a state of most tragic ignorance as regards the realities of life in Ireland. Another point which the right hon. Gentleman made struck me as showing that insensibility which, I am sure, does not come from anything like natural malignity, but from what I may call ignorance of the facts: He said this was a question of farthings and pence.
If the figures which have been handed to me are correct, the observation that this is a matter of farthings and pence would really appear to be, if I did not know that it was unintentional, and arose from unconsciousness of the facts, something like adding a gross insult to a great injury. There are 14 breweries in Ireland that brew less than 10,000 barrels. That will mean in their case an addition to the tax of £119 16s. each. There are five that brew less than 20,000 barrels, and that means £239 16s. There are five breweries that brew less than 100,000 barrels. But before dealing with the large breweries I should like to say another word about the small breweries. Does the Committee realise what the character of the small brewing business in Ireland is? The small brewer in those small towns of Ireland does a mixed trade; he does not make his living solely by his brewing; he is a manufacturer of mineral waters, he makes a living by selling stout and other liquors, and he does a mixed trade in the full sense of the word, his brewing being only a portion of the small living he gets. To put a tax of £239 on a small brewery like that I should say in some cases would absorb a very considerable portion of his profits; indeed, in some instances I believe the profit would almost disappear. I say to put £239 on a small brewery like that is practically to ruin, or threaten to ruin, the business. As I understand, some of my hon. Friends around me have connections in the brewing trade who hold some of these small breweries in Ireland, and they are already 1767 preparing to close up some of them. This is a question the right hon. Gentleman says of farthings and pence. Some of these people who have small breweries in Ireland belong to the middle classes, who are often much poorer in reality than in appearance, and a tax such as that which is now proposed to be imposed would affect their livelihood. There are five breweries that brew less than 100,000 barrels, and two that brew less than 150,000 barrels. On the first class the tax under this Clause which my hon. Friend proposes to amend will be £1,199 16s., or £1,200 a year. Farthings and pence, with an additional tax of £1,200 a year in the place of £1, upon a comparatively small brewery? It is not a question of farthings and pence; it is a question of life and death. Take the case of two breweries brewing less than 150,000 barrels. The tax on them will be £1,799 16s.—an increase of £1,700 instead of £1. A matter of farthings and pence! Such an argument could not be advanced if the right hon. Gentleman were not, by the fact of this deplorable want of opportunity, in ignorance of the conditions of Irish life.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The hon. Member misunderstood what I said when I stated that it was a matter of farthings and pence. I did not mean that the total tax amounted to farthings and pence, because altogether it would bring in nearly half a million a year to the Revenue. What I said was that the Sugar Duty was a question of 1¼d. on the barrel, and I was apologising for advancing an argument which dealt merely with 1¼d., as the whole of this tax raised questions of farthings and pence. May I ask the hon. Gentleman how much is the Beer Duty which is now being paid by these small brewers?
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
I am talking of the Licence Duty, of the brewer's licence; and I do not want to be diverted into any other question from the particular argument I am now using. After all, the right hon. Gentleman has referred to another issue. I have no desire to misrepresent him, but the words he used and the general tenour of his speech certainly seemed to convey that the duty with which we are dealing was comparatively a trumpery affair, and that we were really making a tempest in teapot. I am entitled to say, in the case of a speech of that character, that when you increase the tax from £1 to £1,199 a year, and from £1 a year to £1,799 a year, it is really a very serious 1768 matter indeed. Some allusion has been made to the fact that these taxes touch the small breweries in England as well as in Ireland. So far as we are concerned we would spare the small brewery in England as well as the small brewery in Ireland. We do not regard it as an objection to this Amendment that it would spare the small brewery in any country whatsoever. We think that in these days of the gigantic syndication of capital, the preservation of small industries is to the interest of the community and a protection to the community in Ireland. Now, of course, at the same time we quite understand it applies to England. But the case of the small brewer in Ireland is a much more poignant case than that in England, though I do not wish to dispute what has been brought forward by hon. Members above the Gangway. Twenty-eight breweries do not form a great artery of industry in England as they do in Ireland.
I look on this question purely as a trade matter. I am not discussing it as a matter of beverage, as a matter of temperance or anything of that kind. I am discussing it purely as an industry giving employment in a country where employment is one of the most terrible facts that faces everybody. I gave an instance the other night of the old town of Galway, which I had the honour of representing for five years in this House, and which I think is one of the most deplorable examples of bad and stupid legislation the world has ever seen. I gave a case where 100 people were actually turned out of employment, and the closing of one of those breweries in any one of those small towns in Ireland will mean an addition to the already vast and hungry army of unemployed of hundreds of people. Allusion has been made to Guinness's brewery, but we have made no case against Guinness's brewery, and the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend does not make any case against it. It is a very gigantic and very opulent business, and it is a business, therefore, which might very well be asked to pay a large proportionate share to the expenditure of the country, and as I understand nobody on behalf of that great firm has come forward and made any objection, I think it is very much to their honour. While I say all that, everybody knows that the very vastness of the business of Guinness is a standing menace to the smaller men of the country. It has not, I am glad to say, been guilty of the folly and stupidity of tying a number of houses, but at the 1769 same time I understand that, in order to obtain a supply of Guinness's stout there are certain restrictions, which, of course, must operate to the disadvantage of the smaller breweries, and, therefore, you have by the action of this Licence Duty an extraordinary state of things brought about. On the one hand you overtax a number of small people, and on the other hand you increase the enormous power already existing in one gigantic business to destroy and exterminate those small businesses. If it were a question of Guinness's alone, I must say that I would not feel so strongly upon this, but with my knowledge of Ireland and of the country, for, with the exception of a small period, I lived in small towns, with my knowledge of the momentous part that even a small brewery plays as to the question of unemployment, I regard this proposal as one of the most pernicious and one of the worst submitted.
§ Mr. GRETTON
While it is exceedingly interesting to hear the hon. Gentleman's recollections of Ireland, I do not think they bear very greatly on the question of this Amendment. The Amendment is entirely drawn up to suit particular cases in Ireland, and, as I am informed, it is so graduated that every brewery in Ireland except one comes within the lower scale and pays £25 only—at least so I am informed. The hon. and learned Gentleman who moved this Amendment has forgotten that there is an option under this Bill of paying the duty either on the standard barrel or the bulk barrel. I am informed that only one brewery under the bulk measure would come over 100,000 barrels, the standard which has been fixed in this Amendment, so that this Amendment hits one brewery only, and the others get off practically scot-free. I wish to say a word in support of what has been said by the hon. Member for Ayr Burghs (Mr. Younger). The Government again and again said that the breweries ought to pay more because their material is cheaper. It is always a source of great mystery to us engaged in the trade how they make up the price of material. Their figures are not the experience of anyone connected with the trade. They seem to be the result of some mystification in the method of those who compile the statistics. It is a matter of very common knowledge that between the year 1880 and the year 1900 there was a fall in the price of material. The Government have taken all advantage of that fall, because 1770 they have been constantly increasing the rate of taxation in the brewing trade.
I am prepared to show the figures to any Member who cares to look into them to prove that whenever there has been a fall in the price of material, the Government have put on increased taxation, with the result that the decrease in prices has been taken by the tax imposed by the Government. Then, to come down at this time of day, when that fall in material has ceased, and when anybody who has any experience of brewing knows that they are paying more day by day and week by week for the material, to come down and say that they are entitled to put on this tax and call it what it is not, a manufacturer's licence upon the brewing industry because their materials are cheaper, any man who says that must be absolutely misinformed as to the facts, and is stating what is absolutely contrary to the truth. That argument is really not worthy of being used by anybody who studies this question. I have always found the Chancellor of the Duchy very careful in his statistics, but I have found him here in this matter abandoning that great caution. He has insisted on the year 1878 as the standard year for the price of materials. Everybody who knows anything about the brewing industries in this country or in Ireland, or anywhere else, knows that 1878 was a dear year and the year 1880 was a cheap year. He should have taken care to look into these facts, and to know that the year he selected was a fair average year and was not a dear year. There was a rapid fall in the two succeeding years. It appears to me that the Debate which has taken place has shattered the whole case for this tax. I cannot say the hon. and learned Gentleman who moved this Amendment improved the matter very particularly by the Amendment which he has proposed, but I admit there are advantages in the Amendment compared with the proposal of the Government, but I cannot see that it is any real mitigation of the hardship which the Government proposes, and I shall certainly vote against the tax, and shall oppose it strenuously on every possible occasion.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
The Chancellor of the Duchy has more than once referred to the trifling character of these taxes. In the case of whisky it was "only a tenth of a penny"; in the case of beer it was "so small as not to be worth talking about." What does the City of London 1771 say about slight taxes? The City of London is the richest community in the world. In the Act of 1891 the tax put upon marketable securities and Bank of England stock was for every £10 and any fractional part of £10, 1s.; and on marketable securities for every £20 or fraction of £20, 6d. A Resolution of this House was passed to double that tax. Up rose the City in arms, and we got as the result Clause 52 of this Bill, which, while it doubled the taxation on everything else, had this provision with regard to the richest community of the world: "Provided that this Section shall not apply to the conveyance or transfer of any stock or marketable security as defined by Section 122 of that Act." That is what the City of London thinks of putting an extra sixpence upon the transfer of marketable securities and of stock in the Bank of England. Then take what happened when a Tory Government was in power. Sir M. Hicks-Beach, I think, proposed to put a twopenny instead of a penny stamp on cheques. The trained bands almost were called out, and down came every banker and every Crœsus from Lombard-street, declaring that we were going to rob the City by putting another penny on a cheque for a million of money. But when you come to the distillers the right hon. Gentleman says, "Oh, it is only a tenth of a penny, and you should forget that because you have been taxed 15s. on the whisky itself." I think it was Josh Billings who said that tight boots were a blessing, because they made you forget all your other troubles. Because 15s. was put on whisky we are to forget the tenth of a penny put on the distiller. When we come to beer, we have exactly the same argument. According to the figures of the Chancellor of the Duchy, there are 29 brewers in Ireland, and they are to be taxed. There are ten makers of cider in England; they are to be absolved. Where was the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. C. Roberts) when we were taking off the tax from that abominable drunken beverage, cider? Where was the hon. Member for Appleby (Mr. Leif Jones)? Each of these hon. Gentlemen is particeps criminis in this transaction, because, sitting silently behind their Government, they have been parties to taking the tax off an article to make men drunk. They do not say a word when a tax of £5 5s. a year is being taken off one drunken commodity; but there is a wholly different 1772 story when you propose to take a tax off whisky or beer. That is the extraordinary position occupied by hon. Gentlemen opposite—for their own country make as much intoxicating liquor as you like without tax, but when the breweries of England and Scotland are spoken of they must shade their chaste visages. That is the way in which this Debate is being conducted. Whence does the Chancellor of the Duchy get his figures with regard to production? In any other business when an expert gives you instructions you always suspect him because he is an expert; but when a Government are getting loaded to the muzzle with figures from their experts you are expected to believe every word they say. I do not. These Bills are the Bills of the experts. They first get the Government to propose these taxes, and then they invent the figures to support them. The Prime Minister referred to the repeal of the Malt Tax in 1880, but the Chancellor of the Duchy introduces the year 1878 when dealing with materials. Do the materials include coal? Let temperance men remember that coal is the root of all evil. You would not have a mash or a brew without coal. Why do you not tax it? The first thing the Government did when they came into office was to remove the tax from export coal. I say that every argument put forward by the Government has been met in Debate. Finally take the Irish case. The right hon. Gentleman said that his exports told him that sugar was used in Ireland. We all take it in our tea. The truth is that the materials used in brewing and in distilling in Ireland are far more expensive than those used in this country. Leave aside for the moment any question of alcoholic liquor. If you ask any tea merchant in England he will tell you in regard to the quality which suit the taste in our country that even the very poor prefer the more expensive if they can get it. I will tell you why. It is because the mass of the people are without any other food. The English can afford to take more or less coarser stuffs, because they have plenty to eat; but the men who live, as I have seen many of these unfortunate men in Ireland live, on a cup of tea in the morning, or stout in the middle of the day, or some whisky at night, are in a very different position. Be that as it may, the taste of the people is consulted by the manufacturers, and nothing but the best barley in many cases goes into the mash. 1773 They have not used these deleterious compounds whch have been palmed off on this country. For another reason also: there is the question of carriage at stake. English people get the substances practically at their doors. With us there would be additional carriage to bring them into Ireland. It is cheaper for those concerned in the end, at all events not dearer. What we have been met with to-night, both on the question of distilling and on the question of brewing, is the Closure. We have not been met in Debate. I do say this: It is a significant and remarkable thing that the Government have thrown a cold chain of silence over every one of their supporters below the Gangway, and all through this Debate. Why, Sir, it is not a Debate on these subjects; it is a Treasury Bench monologue. You do not allow your men to attack. It is no longer the House of Commons discussing this matter; it is some paid Minister. Some paid Minister stuffed with expert figures! In Debates such as we have had upon the promotion of the foreign policy there is an attack, reply, there is repartee, and so forth; but in this business, which concerns not foreign politics, not China, not South America, but the dearest interests of our own people, is a question—a tax upon the subject—which the Treasury Bench would not allow one of their men to take up. If a Liberal Member were to get up and support the Irish position, the Liberal Association in his Constituency would be ransacked to-morrow by the Whips. The Whips would send out to that Association that that Liberal Member was a traitor to the Liberal party in supporting the ignorant Irish against the beneficent Liberal Government. We knew that; we know that! A Liberal Member might, at least, if he believed in these things, get up and say so. Remember you cannot waste the time of the House, because it is all going to come to an end on Wednesday. Remember another thing, that if you Liberals were to waste the time of the House you would be the first to be closured by your own Government. We opened this Debate by a statement from the Secretary to the Treasury that no Amendment whatever would be accepted by the Government, and at all events, though the Government have shifted and juggled the figures, they have been true at least to that one statement.
§ Mr. E. B. BARNARD
So far as I can understand this discussion it amounts to 1774 this: that there is one brewery in Ireland that brews 2,730,000 barrels of beer, and there are a number of other breweries that brew 700,000 barrels put together. So that the figures that we are really discussing at the present time amount to about £8,000 odd. I do not go into that. But there is another point where I think the Irish party, or the Irish brewers, have a distinct grievance if it had been brought forward. It is to me a matter of great astonishment that not one single one of the Nationalist leaders referred to it. It was just referred to by one hon. Member. The paragraph in Scale 2 says: "For the purposes of this scale, barrels may be taken at the option of the brewer either to be bulk barrels or standard barrels, and a standard barrel shall be," etc. I find that the Irish brewers have paid on standard barrels, which are many more than the actual barrels which they turn out. So that in effect they are serving a much stronger article, and they are really paying very much more per barrel than English and Scottish brewers, who apparently give more water and less malt. If it had been made a case, I should certainly have considered that there was a very tangible Irish grievance to argue upon that point.
§ Mr. H. CECIL LEA
Two reasons the Chancellor of the Duchy gives for the imposition of this licence. First of all, the progressive decline in the price of brewing materials, and I am bound to say if that is true—and I believe it to be true—that that progressive decline equally favours the producers of beer abroad and within our Colonies. Then he went on to say that the effect of this licence would amount to about 2½d. per barrel, and as the present Excise Duty was 7s. 9d. per barrel, it was a mere fleabite, and, there fore, could be disregarded. As a matter of fact, I believe some 33 to 34 millions of barrels of beer are brewed on an average in this country. Several hundreds of thou sands are exported. On every one of those barrels exported there is a drawback of 7s. 9d. handed back to the brewer, whereas this simply means that on every barrel of beer which is exported—if this Licence Duty is passed—there will be additional taxation of 2½d. Although I am bound to say I am not a believer—
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
Perhaps I may shorten the Debate by saying that the point raised by the hon. Member is already dealt with. As most of the 1775 Members of the Committee are aware, in Clause 62 there is an additional Customs duty upon beer imported, and a 3d. drawback on English beer exported.
§ Mr. DILLON
I should like to say a word or two in reply to some of the statements made by the Chancellor of the Duchy. He said that the Government listened to hon. Members on this side with a sympathetic mind. That is very small comfort for a reply refusing absolutely to grant any of our requests. Then he went on to point out that this was a very trifling matter, and amounted only to a duty of 1d. in the quarter on a barrel of beer. That is not our complaint at all. On the contrary, we say that the Government have put too little on beer, and too much on whisky. It is not the case that we are not raising any complaints against the extent of this taxation, but we do say that this particular tax on the, brewers will discriminate against the small brewers in favour of the monopoly of the Guinness's in Ireland. It will probably lead to the extinction of a very large proportion of the 29 breweries that exist in that country. Some hon. Members above the Gangway appear to make out that we have been attacking Messrs. Guinness. I must confess that neither I myself nor any of my colleagues have made any attack upon Guinness's. On the contrary, I am of opinion that Guinness's is an enormous monopoly in Ireland because of Guinness's splendid way of doing their business, and the excellent material they turn out. It is a monopoly—and this is a thing I have never quite forgotten—to the firm of Guinness; their monopoly has been earned through the quality of their goods, and has been the means of rescuing Ireland, and saving it from the abominable system of tied houses. Probably all our houses would have been tied but for the fact that no house can do without Guinness's, and Guinness's has not tied a single house. Most of the breweries in England are half ruined, but Guinness's is more prosperous than ever, and they have continually increased their business. There was one observation made by the Chancellor of the Duchy worthy of special notice. He said the breweries can pass this tax on to the consumer. How is that to be done? How are you to pass on to the consumer a duty of 2d. per barrel on beer. There is only one way, and that is by watering the beer or shorten- 1776 ing the measure. The Irish brewers have not resorted to that trick. They have not cut down the specific gravity. That is a practice that may be carried on in this country, but the specific gravity of Irish beer has been kept up in spite of these taxes, much to the honesty of the Irish brewer, whereas here it has been watered down. It is a nice thing that a Treasury Bench should advise the brewer of this country to pass this tax on to the consumer by cheating the consumer of what is his due. The hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Barnard) reproached Irish Members for not having brought forward this point. It was brought forward, and most emphatically, too, by a deputation that waited on the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr. Malone, one of the most important Irish representatives of the trade, pointed out to the Chancellor that the great bulk of the trade consisted of stout or porter, and that the gravity of this article had been maintained all through, no matter what the changes, and therefore in that respect the position of the Irish brewer was quite different from that of the English brewer. I did not like to allow the Debate to close without pointing out that we had a grievance, or rather I should not say "we," but that the Irish brewers who are our political opponents have a grievance. The comfort which the Irish brewers get for endeavouring to do the right thing in not watering their beer is that they are now told they can hand this tax on to the consumer.
§ Mr. JOHN O'CONNOR
The method of taxation as proposed by the Government compared with the method as proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford shows clearly that the English condition of the trade only was had regard to when they were composing their Schedule. The Government datum line, if I may say so, is 100 barrels. There is no brewer in Ireland who brews 100 barrels of beer. There are a great many in England who brew 100 barrels or who may brew two barrels, which they sell over their own counters, and they can water their beer as much as they like. A man who makes 100 barrels or 200 barrels to sell to his own customers over the counter may make it of any specific gravity he likes, but where the line is drawn by the hon. Member for Waterford is at 1,000 barrels. The difference between 100 barrels, for which the licence is £1, and the 1,000 barrels, as proposed by the hon. Member for Waterford, is 900. 1777 On every 50 barrels there is to be charged 12s., that is 24s. for every 100. So that a man in Ireland who brews 1,000 barrels—and no brewer brews less in Ireland—will have his licence extended from £1 to £1,800. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] At all events, there is some enormous difference. There are no small brewers in Ireland, and
§ therefore the tax will fall much heavier on the large brewers in Ireland than on the small brewers in this country.
§ Question put, "That '100' stand part of the Schedule."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 178; Noes, 111.1779
|Division No. 763.]||AYES.||[10.25 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Agnew, George William||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||O'Grady, J.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Armitage, R.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Hart-Davies, T.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.||Perks, Sir Robert William|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Hedges, A. Paget||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Barker, Sir John||Helme, Norval Watson||Pollard, Dr. G. H.|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Hemmerde, Edward George||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Henry, Charles S.||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Beale, W. P.||Higham, John Sharp||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Hobart, Sir Robert||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Rees, J. D.|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Hodge, John||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Horniman, Emslie John||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hyde, Clarendon||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Robinson, S.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Brigg, John||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Poe, Sir Thomas|
|Brodie, H. C.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Byles, William Pollard||Jowett, F. W.||Rowlands, J.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Kekewich, Sir George||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Clough, William||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Lamont, Norman||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Lehmann, R. C.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Steadman, W. C.|
|Cooper, G. J.||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lewis, John Herbert||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lynch, H. B.||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Summerbell, T.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Crossley, William J.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||M'Callum, John M.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Verney, F. W.|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Maddison, Frederick||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Markham, Arthur Basil||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Marnham, F. J.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Elibank, Master of||Massie, J.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Essex, R. W.||Masterman, C. F. G.||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Mond, A.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Morrell, Philip||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Morse, L. L.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Winfrey, R.|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Myer, Horatio|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Napier, T. B.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Ashley, W. W.||Banbury, Sir Frederick George|
|Ambrose, Robert||Balcarres, Lord||Banner, John S. Harmood-|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Baldwin, Stanley||Beckett, Hon. Gervase|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Bridgeman, W. Clive|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hills, J. W.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hunt, Rowland||O'Malley, William|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Joyce, Michael||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Kavanagh, Walter M.||Philips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Keating, M.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Crean, Eugene||Kerry, Earl of||Ratcliff, Major F. F.|
|Cullinan, J.||Kilbride, Denis||Reddy, M.|
|Devlin, Joseph||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Dillon, John||Lundon, T.||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Fell, Arthur||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Field, William||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Fletcher, J. S.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Sheehy, David|
|Flynn, James Christopher||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Forster, Henry William||M'Arthur, Charles||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Foster, P. S.||M'Kean, John||Stanier, Beville|
|Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Meagher, Michael||Starkey, John R.|
|Gretton, John||Mooney, J. J.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Valentia, Viscount|
|Haddock, George B.||Muldoon, John||Walker, Col W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Murnaghan, George||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Harrington, Timothy||Nannetti, Joseph||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Nolan, Joseph||Winterton, Earl|
|Hazleton, Richard||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Young, Samuel|
|Heaton, John Henniker||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Younger, George|
|Helmsley, Viscount||O'Connor, John (Kildare, W.)|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Hill, Sir Clement||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||G. D. Faber and Mr. S. Roberts.|
Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
I called in the usual way for the doors to be locked. It so happens, on this particular occasion, I inquired whether they were locked, as I was not sure if my words were heard, and I found that they were.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL moved, in Scale 2 ["Provisions applicable to manufacturers' licences"], to leave out the word "place" ["holder of the licence at the place"], and to insert instead thereof the word "premises."
§ Question, "That the word 'place' stand part of the Question," put, and negatived.
§ Mr. CHARLES ROBERTS
, in Scale 2 ["Provisions Applicable to Manufacturers' Licences"], moved to omit the following words: "And elsewhere by a servant or agent of the manufacturer if the liquor is supplied direct from the premises where it is manufactured."
I move this Amendment in order to get some information from the Government, as I think the effect of these words has not been appreciated. The paragraph proposes that the Manufacturer's Licence Duty should frank the manufacturer for 1780 wholesale dealing at the place of manufacture. That is fair. But the words which I propose to omit would frank him also for wholesale dealing in any other place, provided the wholesale dealing is conducted by his servant or his agent, and the liquor is supplied direct from the place where it is manufactured. That practically means the total abolition of the wholesale dealer's licence, because every wholesale dealer will, in that case, regard himsef as the agent of the manufacturer. Now, the wholesale dealer's licence produces £200,000, and that sum will be severely cut into, as many retailers who now take out dealer's licences will not require to do so in the future. In addition to that, the brewer or distiller will be able practically to establish his agent anywhere free of duty; indeed, I do not see that there will be any necessity to take out wholesale dealer's licences at all. Consequently, from a revenue point of view, it is worth while the attention of the Government to look into the matter. There is one other point which attracts my attention in reference to this matter. Such dealer's licences are, I must say, often a nuisance in those districts—they are pretty common in the country districts and not unknown in the towns—where licensing justices have kept areas in which there is no licence at all. There was a case in Newcastle some time ago. We have found in some of those no-licence 1781 areas an attempt has been made to break down the no-licence area by means of those dealers' licences. At the present time there is a certain check on it—the check that the dealer's licence requires payment of ten guineas in the case of spirits, or £3 6s. 1d. in the case of beer, but in the future, if this provision goes through, there will be absolutely no safeguard in the case of those no-licence areas, and any brewer or distiller who really wishes to break down those few cities of refuge which are left to us in the country will simply have to send down a servant, or agent, to supply him direct from the brewery, and he can do that without paying one penny. I really think this is a matter which requires the attention of the Government. I personally rather welcome the indirect effect of the raising of the dealer's licence, which comes on in the next page of Amendments, but that is perfectly valueless if there is a means under this provision whereby the dealer's licence can be utilised for this purpose in a way which, I am quite sure, it would be used. I should ask the Government to be good enough to look into the matter. If I am wrong they will correct me, but I think the matter requires attention. There is really an important point to dealers involved.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The hon. Member who moved this Amendment has really so detailed a knowledge of the law that I should hesitate to say he was in error in saying that an important point of policy is involved here. Our view is that the Bill as drafted merely repeats the provisions of the existing law. The fact is that the brewer now has precisely the same right preserved to him under the Brewers Licensing Act, 1850, chap. 67, and the law with regard to distilleries is precisely the same. They are able to supply to servants or agents or to sellers liquor which is the produce of their brewery or distillery direct from the place of manufacture without the taking out of any dealer's licence for that purpose. If my hon. Friend can show that an improvement can be made without making a difference in the law that matter shall be carefully considered. I shall not be prepared to go beyond the present law, as an hon. Member opposite wishes to propose by an Amendment on the Paper, which enables brewers to make stores in any place and supply from their brewery without taking out any additional licence for those stores. That is 1782 quite a different matter. It goes quite outside the provisions of the existing law and ought not to be accepted without more powerful arguments being advanced than I can foresee. There is one slight Amendment which I shall ask the Committee to make if they will be good enough to do so. We say that the liquor may be sold by the servant or agent of the manufacturer. The present law allows the manufacturer himself to sell the liquor, and it will be obvious that if the servant or agent of a manufacturer can sell the liquor the manufacturer or small man should be entitled to the same right, without the necessity of employing a servant or agent for the purpose.
§ Mr. YOUNGER
I do not think the right hon. Gentleman is quite correct in his statement of the law. At present the brewers, who have stores in other parts of the country, have to take out a wholesale licence, which costs £3 6s. 1d. When the Government were putting on brewers such an enormous tax—instead of the £1 they now pay, a tax varying from £10 to £26 a year—I thought they were at least going to have the decency to save them the expense of paying the wholesale licence of £3 6s. 1d. in the various parts of the country in which they store and sell their beer. Apparently that is not the object, and the word "elsewhere" has crept in by mistake. My Amendment, to which the right hon. Gentleman referred, is intended to make it quite clear that where the actual brewery is the only place in which the beer is stored, this should apply. Now the right hon. Gentleman carries that a great deal further, and says it is intended to cover the case of a brewery—say, in Edinburgh, having stores in London or Liverpool. The Government put upon the brewer this enormous tax and ask him in future to pay £10 10s. for each store instead of £3 6s. 1d. There is nothing like piling up the agony, I suppose. That is the principle on which they seem to act. I do not know when they are going to stop, but I really thought there was a glimmering of decency in this proposal, and I am very sorry to find that the right hon. Gentleman does not intend it in that way at all, but to put another penalising tax on an industry which already has had a deal of his attention.
§ Mr. CHARLES ROBERTS
What I object to is the power to sell 4½ gallon casks, which is a distinct infraction of these no-licence areas. For once I find myself in agreement with the hon. Member (Mr. Younger) because I certainly have never 1783 come across these cases where the brewers use these wholesale dealers' licences without paying. I think it has hitherto been understood, at all events, that it is the law that they should pay. It may not be a very large matter in reference to revenue, but I think the Chancellor of the Duchy has assured me that, if that is the case, between now and the Report stage he would look into the matter, and if he finds that this point does require safeguarding, he might perhaps see his way to find some method of doing it. Under these circumstances I should ask leave to withdraw, but I think if this is a mere repetition of the Act of 1850, circumstances have arisen in many districts owing to the action of landowners, some of them Members of this House, in clearing their estates of licences altogether, which have made some safeguard necessary, and on that ground also I hope the Chancellor of the Duchy will look into it and see what can be done.
§ Mr. GRETTON
It would be desirable, before we put in these words, that we should know the exact bearing of the word "elsewhere." I do not think the right hon. Gentleman quite realises that every brewer who has more than quite a local trade must have stores where he can put his beer and distribute it where his trade carries it. I take it this Clause is meant to cover such a case. I imagine that when the right hon. Gentleman comes to look into this he will find that the Clause covers the cases. The question raised by the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. Charles Roberts) is entirely different. It is a question of retail dealing, and has nothing to do with wholesale dealing. I think we should have an explanation from the Treasury as to what is exactly meant by the words in the Bill.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
We do not mean to impose additional restrictions or give enlarged facilities by this paragraph in the Bill. I will undertake to look into the matter, and compare the provision with the existing law.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
It must be borne in mind that these men are being made to pay a considerable burden of taxation, and for that reason pettifogging restrictions should not be put upon them.
§ Mr. YOUNGER
I think it would be monstrous to put that charge of £3 6s. 1d. on men you are charging thousands of pounds a year.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment made: In paragraph 1, after the word "by" ["and elsewhere by a servant"], to insert the words "the manufacturer or."—[Mr. Herbert Samuel].
§ Amendment proposed: To leave out—
§ "(2) An occupier of land may, without taking out a manufacturer's licence, make cider for sale from fruit grown on land occupied by him, and from fruit not so grown if it does not exceed in amount the fruit grown on land occupied by him and made into eider."—[Mr. Herbert Samuel.]
§ Mr. R. L. EVERETT
I desire to thank the Government for the concession contained in the three previous lines of the Bill renewing to the cottage brewer the privilege of brewing without any tax beer for his own consumption, which was given him in 1886, and which is highly valued.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Amendment made: In paragraph 3, after the word "year" ["at any time during the preceding year"], to insert the words, "or in respect of which a licence has been in force but no spirits have been distilled or beer brewed under the licence during the preceding year, as the case may be."—[Mr. Herbert Samuel.]
§ Amendment made: In paragraph 3, to leave out the word "bulk" ["or the number of bulk barrels."]
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I beg to move at the end of paragraph (3) to add "(4) For the purpose of the duties under Scales 1 and 2 the preceding year shall be taken to be the year ending the thirtieth day of June or such other day as the Commissioners may fix either generally or as respects any particular manufacturer."
The Licence Duty is payable on 1st October, and if the words in the Bill stood without the Amendment they would be understood to mean the 12 months up to that date. Consequently it is proposed to date back to June. The 12 months' period of licence is always from 1st October to 1st October, and the duty is payable from that period. The only question is what previous year is to be taken as the basis on which the licence is to be assessed. In some cases it might be a convenience in order to save them additional book-keeping, to have another day than 30th June, but if the representatives of the trade 1785 object to the proposal, certainly the Government would not wish to press it.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
As I understand the Amendment the proposal is to enable the Government to take this taxation from 30th June last.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Which 30th June is it? Is it the proposal of the Government that this Bill for this purpose shall not come into operation until 30th June next?
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Therefore it must be 30th June last. The right hon. Gentleman, who is largely skilled in finance, says that this Bill is not to date from 30th June next. Then it must be 30th June last, unless it is going to be 30th June, 1912, which the House of Lords may provide for.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The Licence Duty is payable as before for a 12 months' period from 1st October this year to the 1st October next year. This Amendment makes no difference whatever in that respect. The only question is on what basis is that duty to be paid? What year is to be gone into for the purpose of assessing the Licence Duty payable for the period from 1st October to 1st October. Instead of taking from 1st October, 1908, to 1st October, 1909, we take it from 30th June, 1908, to 30th June, 1909. It makes no difference whatever to the amount of revenue which is paid or to the period for which the revenue is raised.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I do not consider that a particularly graceful wriggle. Let us understand exactly where we are. On 1st October last the money was due and will be payable. What money would be due and payable? The money that was payable before this Act passed, and when this Bill proposes to insert the 30th of June it must either be 30th June, 1909, or 30th June, 1910. The Government are going to collect this tax as from 1st October last. On that date these wholesale brewers were entitled to take out their licences at the old rate. You could not compel them to do anything else. This Bill has not yet become law, and the Resolution does not affect the licences. Either the Amendment is of some cogency or it is not; either it was brought in for some purpose or it was not. Is the Government content with the law as it is? That is the question. On 1st October, according to the right hon. 1786 Gentleman, the licence expired, and then the new licence ought to be taken out. There is a large number of brewers in London. On what rate had they to pay on Friday last for the new licences? On paying a pound, or whatever it was, they were entitled to carry on their business. As I understand the Amendment, the Commissioners may make it 30th June, 1909, or 30th May, 1909, and they may antedate the whole of these charges so as to make it include 30th January last. Sifted down, it comes to this, that the duty may be collected at such a date as the Commissioners may appoint. I for my part decline to give any such power to any Commissioners.
§ Mr. ARKWRIGHT moved, in Scale 2.—B (Wholesale Dealers' Licences), to leave out "£15 15s.," and to insert instead thereof "£10."
§ I think we should have some explanation from the Government why they have increased the tax, and why they have chosen this precise amount. I simply move the Amendment in order to have an explanation from the Chancellor of the Duchy, and to ask whether he has obtained any estimate of the amount of taxation which will be derived from this particular tax?
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
In this case the Government are of opinion that when you are imposing fresh taxes on the manufacturers of intoxicating liquors, and also on the retail dealers, that it is not unreasonable to ask a slightly increased revenue from those who stand between them, the wholesale dealers of intoxicating liquors. The increase is a very moderate one. With reference to spirits, the increase is from 10 guineas to 15 guineas. It is very difficult to ascertain the amount of revenue, as it is not known how many persons will find it necessary to take out licences. It is impossible to give any precise estimate, but I can give an estimate of the probable loss the hon. Member's Amendment would involve. It is only a very rough estimate, for reasons I have given, but it would probably be somewhere about £30,000.
§ Mr. YOUNGER
There does not seem to be any real scheme in this proposal, because while you add 50 per cent. to the wholesale spirit dealers yet when you come to the brewer you treble his duty. I do not know why you do so, but the brewer always comes off worst. This is 1787 proposing a very considerable alteration of the law so far as Scotland is concerned, because it will restrict the retailer of spirits and beer to the sale of certain quantities. I rather think it penalises them in this matter. While I do not suppose
§ it is possible to object to 50 per cent. being put on, I hope when they come to breweries they will take the same course.
§ Question put, "That £15 15s. stand part of the Schedule."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 179; Noes, 116.1789
|Division No. 764.]||AYES.||[11.5 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Armitage, R.||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.||Pollard, Dr. G. H.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Hedges, A. Paget||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Barker, Sir John||Helme, Norval Watson||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Rainy, A. Holland|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Henry, Charles S.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Beale, W. P.||Higham, John Sharp||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Hobart, Sir Robert||Rees, J. D.|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Hodge, John||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Horniman, Emslie John||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hyde, Clarendon G.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Robinson, S.|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Brigg, John||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Brodie, H. C.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Kekewich, Sir George||Rowlands, J.|
|Byles, William Pollard||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Lamont, Norman||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Clough, William||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Lehmann, R. C.||Seddon, J.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Seely, Colonel|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Compton-Rickett Sir J.||Lewis, John Herbert||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Cooper, G. J.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Lynch, H. B.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Summerbell, T.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||M'Callum, John M.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Crossley, William J.||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Maddison, Frederick||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)||Verney, F. W.|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Markham, Arthur Basil||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Marnham, F. J.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Massie, J.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Mond, A.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Elibank, Master of||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Essex, R. W.||Morrell, Philip||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Morse, L. L.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Myer, Horatio||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Napier, T. B.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Winfrey, R.|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Nuttall, Harry||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Glendinning, R. G.||O'Grady, J.|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Baldwin, Stanley||Boland, John|
|Ambrose, Robert||Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Bridgeman, W. Clive|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Banner, John S. Harmood-||Carlile, E. Hildred|
|Balcarres, Lord||Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Malley, William|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Joyce, Michael||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Kavanagh, Walter M.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Keating, M.||Philips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Crean, Eugene||Kerry, Earl of||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Cullinan, J.||Keswick, William||Ratcliffe, Major R. F.|
|Devlin, Joseph||Kilbride, Denis||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lundon, T.||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Fell, Arthur||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Rutherford, John Lancashire)|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Ffrench, Peter||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Field, William||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Fletcher, J. S.||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Sheehy, David|
|Flynn, James Christopher||M'Arthur, Charles||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Forster, Henry William||M'Kean, John||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Foster, P. S.||Meagher, Michael||Stanier, Beville|
|Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Mooney, J. J.||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Starkey, John R.|
|Gretton, John||Muldoon, John||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Murnaghan, George||Valentia, Viscount|
|Harrington, Timothy||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Hazleton, Richard||Nolan, Joseph||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Winterton, Earl|
|Heaton, John Henniker||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Helmsley, Viscount||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Hill, Sir Clement||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Arkwright and Mr. Younger.|
|Hills, J. W.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Hunt, Rowland||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
§ Mr. G. D. FABER (for Mr. Arkwright) moved, in Scale 2—B (Wholesale Dealers' Licences), to leave out "£10 10s. 0d." (Beer), and to insert instead thereof "£5 5s. 0d." The existing beer dealer's licence costs only £3 6s. 1d., with 5 per cent. off. The last Amendment dealt with an increase of 50 per cent.; this is an increase of 200 per cent. Have the Government any principle at all in this matter? What is the reason for this enormous increase in the wholesale dealer's licence?
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
This is a very moderate increase. The present duty is £3 6s. 1d., a very odd sum, and an exceptionally low sum. The justification for this increase is simply the justification for other increases—that we need more revenue, and must increase the duties accordingly.
§ Mr. G. D. FABER
The only reason the right hon. Gentleman has given to the Committee for this extraordinary increase of 200 per cent. is that he wants a round sum for revenue.
§ Mr. ARKWRIGHT
The Chancellor of the Duchy has not answered the question which my hon. Friend put to him, namely, why you should have an increase of 50 per cent. in one case and 200 per cent. in another? That is a startling, simple and obvious fact, and considering that we 1790 are not discussing these questions at any great length, and only asking a question which we really think ought to be answered, we ought to have some reply. The reason I put down five guineas in my Amendment was that, working out the increase on beer at the same rate of proportion as the Government have worked out the increase on spirits, I find that the increase on beer would come to £4 19s. 1d. So that I have given them something more. If the Government are anxious for round figures, I suggest they might accept this Amendment.
§ Mr. REMNANT
Of all the extraordinary reasons that have ever been put forward by a responsible Minister for increasing a tax, I think that given by the Chancellor of the Duchy is the most absurd. He is asked to explain why, in the case of the wholesale beer dealers' licences, the Government have made an increase of 200 per cent. as against 50 per cent. in the case of the wholesale spirit dealers, and the reason he gives is that the present licences amount to £3 6s. 1d. So we have got the everlasting copper. The odd penny seems to have struck the right hon. Gentleman as being an extraordinary amount, and accordingly, for the sake of getting round figures, he proposes to increase the £3 6s. 1d. to 10 guineas, because the Government want money. We know they want money; they want 1791 a great deal of money, but they are not going to get it in the way they expect from the licensed trade. How much does the right hon. Gentleman expect to get out of this increased Licence Duty? The right hon. Gentleman cannot tell us what he expects to get from this tax. Will the Solicitor-General give us the information? We have got to the condition of dealing with different Ministers from day to day on this Bill. Instead of having a right hon. Gentleman who understands the subject and could give us the information, we have a Minister who cannot—
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The hon. Member's remarks are very uncalled for. I was not asked to say how much the increased duty will bring in. It will bring in about £49,000 increase.
§ Mr. REMNANT
Well, we have certainly advanced a point. We have it now that the Government expect to get an increase of £49,000 from this increased duty. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will get it, but I do not believe he will.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Samuel Evans)
The Licence Duty was fixed as far back as 1855. There was an increase of 5 per cent. in 1840, with the result that the £3 3s. was increased to £3 6s. 1d. When we require more revenue is it unfair to ask £10 10s. from those who are entitled to deal wholesale in liquor?
§ Mr. YOUNGER
Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many of these wholesale licences are taken out by brewers and how many by independent people. He will find that they are nearly all taken out by brewers, and the wholesale dealer is more and more disappearing. In so far as they are taken out by brewers it is a monstrous thing to put £10 10s. on to them because they are heavily taxed in
§ other ways. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will keep to the old licence.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
May I point out that the brewer can sell direct from his brewery without a licence. It is only if he wants a different depôt for a wholesale sale that he is required to take out this licence. Probably a certain number of grocers in Scotland will find it necessay to take out these licences.
§ Mr. YOUNGER
The right hon. Gentleman knows a good deal, but he does not know everything, and he knows very little about the brewing trade. Does he suppose that when a brewer has a store in another part of the country he wants it to do anything but carry on his business? It is perfect nonsense for the right hon. Gentleman to talk as he has been talking.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
This proposal puts upon the wholesale licence the £5 5s. which it is proposed to take off the wholesale makers of cider. That may be Liberalism, but it is not sense. The right hon. Gentleman and the Solicitor-General say there is only one answer to the question, "Is it fair to put £10 10s. on the brewer," and that answer is "Yes." At what moment does it become unfair to put £5 5s. on the wholesale distributors of cider. If the Government have no object on earth except to raise revenue, why do they propose to take off the £5 5s. which they originally proposed to put on cider. I will make a sporting offer to the hon. Member for Appleby (Mr. Leif Jones). He made an offer to me a moment ago from which I rather shrank, but when we come to the next Amendment I will, with pleasure, tell with him against the proposal to abolish the duty of £5 5s. in the case of wholesale makers and sellers of cider.
§ Question put, "That £10 10s. stand part of the schedule."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 170; Noes, 114.1795
|Division No. 765.]||AYES.||11.25 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Beale, W. P.||Burns, Rt. Hon. John|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Beauchamp, E.||Byles, William Pollard|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Beck, A. Cecil||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Cawley, Sir Frederick|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Channing, Sir Francis Allston|
|Armitage, R.||Berridge, T. H. D.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Clough, William|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Black, Arthur W.||Cobbold, Felix Thornley|
|Barker, Sir John||Boulton, A. C. F.||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Bowerman, C. W.||Collins, Sir Win. J. (St. Pancras, W.)|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs)||Brigg, John||Cooper, G. J.|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Brodie, H. C.||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Kekewich, Sir George||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Crossley, William J.||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Lamont, Norman||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Lehmann, R. C.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Robinson, S.|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lewis, John Herbert||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Rowlands, J.|
|Elibank, Master of||M'Callum, John M.||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Essex, R. W.||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||M'Laren, Rt. Hon. Sir C. B. (Leices.)||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Maddison, Frederick||Seddon, J.|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)||Seely, Colonel|
|Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Markham, Arthur Basil||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Marnham, F. J.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Massie, J.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Mond, A.||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Summerbell, T.|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Morrell, Philip||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Morse, L. L.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Myer, Horatio||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Napier, T. B.||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Verney, F. W.|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Nuttall, Harry||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Hedges, A. Paget||O'Grady, J.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Paulton, James Mellor||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Henry, Charles S.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wiles, Thomas|
|Hodge, John||Pollard, Dr.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Hyde, Clarendon||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Winfrey, R.|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Rees, J. D.|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Forster, Henry William||Mooney, J. J.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W.)||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Muldoon, John|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Murnaghan, George|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Murphy, John|
|Balcarres, Lord||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Harrington, Timothy||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.)||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Nolan, Joseph|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Healy, T. M. (Louth, North)||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary, Mid.)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Heaton, John Henniker||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Helmsley, Viscount||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Boland, John||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hill, Sir Clement||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hills, J. W.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Joyce, Michael||O'Malley, William|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Kavanagh, Walter M.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Keating, Matthew||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Kerry, Earl of||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Crean, Eugene||Keswick, William||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Cullinan, J.||Kilbride, Denis||Reddy, M.|
|Devlin, Joseph||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. Charles Scott||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Dillon, John||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Lundon, Thomas||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lynch, Arthur Alfred (Clare, W.)||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Fell, Arthur||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Ffrench, Peter||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Field, William||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Kean, John||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Meagher, Michael||Stanier, Beville|
|Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)||Valentia, Viscount||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Starkey, John R.||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)||Younger, George|
|Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Gretton and Mr. Hunt.|
|Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL moved, in Scale 2—B [Wholesale Dealers' Licences], to leave out "Cider, £5 5s."
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Surely we are to have some explanation of this. Here the Government, needing money enormously, actually proposes, without a word of explanation, to drop a tax of £5 5s. upon cider—one of the largest and most lucrative industries in the whole country. I appeal to the hon. Member for Appleby to join me in condemning this absence of virtue on the part of the Government. I shall be most delighted to tell with him against the proposal. I really do not see why one class of intoxicating liquor should be loaded with taxation and another class exempted. As this Clause was originally drawn it was logical. Intoxicating liquors were defined to include cider, but now the Government are proposing to drop not only the manufacturers' tax as regards cider, but also the duty for wholesale dealers. Whenever we claim exemptions for Ireland we are told that the Government must raise money somehow; yet, without a word of explanation, they are dropping the entire tax upon one form of intoxicating liquor, after having imposed it upon Scotch, Irish, and one form of English intoxicating liquor named in the Bill. I do not propose to say any more, but I wait for any explanation that can be offered for the dropping of this tax. The case made for the dropping of the tax on the manufacturer was that there were only 10 of them and it would bring in only £50. We stated in reply to that that there are only 29 brewers of beer. There are more than 10 persons who are wholesale sellers of cider. Whether they are 10 or 100, the Government have not made any explanation. Therefore, they condemn their own Budget. With full knowledge of the facts of the case, they are now proposing to slink outside, without a word of explanation. I trust I shall rally to my side moralists of the Liberal Party—and certainly if it be true that this is a Budget which makes for temperance and not for vengeance, we should have very large support in the Division Lobby.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
The challenge of the hon. Member for North Louth is one which I cannot resist. I certainly do not understand why a Government who has told us 1796 they are in want of money should have refrained from putting on this tax when they are putting a tax on beer and spirits. I am not surprised that they have thereby thrown themselves open to the taunts of the Member for North Louth who, however blind he may be to the evils whisky is doing in Ireland, has his eyes open to the evil which cider is doing in certain parts of this country. I agree cider is doing great evil. Certainly the same arguments which apply to whisky and spirits apply in lesser degree to cider. I shall have pleasure in voting with the hon. Member for North Louth against the Amendment.
§ Mr. S. BALDWIN
When any Member says that cider inebriates it is time for a member of a cider constituency to raise his voice. I should like to challenge the learned Member for North Louth, and ask him if he ever saw a man the worse for cider drinking.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I consider, and those I represent consider, that cider is a non-intoxicating beverage. It is an exceedingly healthy beverage; it is purely English, and domestic manufacture, and it has various subtle action on the internal economy, that are batter described in medical treaties, perhaps, than on the floor of the House. I do most earnestly thank the Government, on behalf of my constituents, for this concession. As no answer is forthcoming from the Chancellor of the Duchy to the query put so frequently by the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Healy) I should like to offer him my own solution, which is that the Government always turns its face towards the light, and at last, having been in a condition of tenebrosity, the light has penetrated, and they have learnt something about the facts of cider manufacture, about which they were in ignorance when they proposed these duties. I should like to comfort the hon. and learned Gentleman and assure him that in time, perhaps, more light may come into their minds on the subject of beer and whisky duties and, if not in this Budget, in some future Budget he may obtain the relief which he seeks.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
My hon. Friend seems to think you cannot take too much cider. That is an unprofitable subject of discussion, and I believe it to be perfectly irrelevant. I tried to explain to the hon. and learned Gentleman earlier in the afternoon what so puzzles and embarrasses him. It is not that hon. Gentlemen opposite think cider is a temperance drink. They have not altered their view as to the effect that cider has on the human constitution. They agree, as they always have agreed, with the hon. Member (Mr. Leif Jones). Their motive is really quite plain and quite different. I suggest that their motive is electoral. The right hon. Gentleman said there are only 10 persons concerned in the manufacture of cider, and they could have no electoral motives. It is obvious that what the Government mean to do is to exclude cider altogether from this Bill—at all events, all these collateral industries connected with cider, and for a perfectly plain and simple reason. The hon. and learned Gentleman asks why they have not done this for Ireland. They know exactly how Ireland is going to vote. Every constituency in which the Unionists are in a majority are going to vote against them. Every constituency in which the Unionists are not in a majority is going to vote for them. At all events Irish politics are understood. We know where the Irish are. They are one side or the other, and they are not going to be altered either by this Budget or by anything else. That is quite a simple issue. But the issue in the cider country is in doubt. Constituencies which manufacture cider have to be won or lost, and the Government proceeded to do their best to win them, and this is part of the electoral campaign. It practically does not pretend to be anything else. Neither the Chancellor of the Duchy nor any other Minister has suggested any reason for this exclusion, except the one which I have just given. The right hon. Gentleman was careful not to suggest that reason, though it is obvious enough. The member for the Appleby division (Mr. Leif Jones), so faithful a supporter of the Government, and a man of ingenious mind, had no suggestion to make. My hon. Friend made the suggestion that nobody got drunk on cider. That is a different point, into which I do not mean to go. But the Government themselves make no defence of this exclusion, and there is no defence except the one I have attempted to make on their behalf. I have endeavoured, to the very best of my humble ability, to defend the Government, 1798 and to show that the Budget is not the irrational collection of illogical and inconsistent propositions which hon. Gentlemen appeared to suppose. It is perfectly coherent and logical. The Government are animated by motives which are perfectly easily explained and understood, and if I have done anything to contribute to the general understanding I shall not have spoken in vain.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The right hon. Gentleman, speaking with long experience as the leader of a party, has given an explanation of the motives that underlie the action of Governments in the framing of Bills, and he assures us that it is merely for vote-catching purposes that this Amendment has been put down. The hon. and learned Member for North Louth (Mr. T. M. Healy) said that there were probably more than ten votes in question here. He is quite right. There are twenty, and as many of these persons would be able to get a reduction in the duty they have to pay, having also a licence for the sale of beer, the revenue to be derived is not twenty times five guineas but £89. I think the "Dreadnoughts" may be able to spare £89. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why did you put it in your Bill?"] These duties were placed in the Bill through, perhaps, excessive devotion to those principles of consistency and logic on which the hon. and learned Member for North Louth lays such stress. It is quite true as to cider being a very mild intoxicant, but still it is an intoxicant which, if taken with sufficient industry and perseverance, will produce a state of inebriety. It has always come within the scope of the Licensing Acts, and, consequently, when we were framing a Bill dealing with the sale of in toxicating liquors, cider was included. But the number of persons affected is small, and the revenue to be derived is infinitesimal, seeing that any person who holds a beer seller's retail licence can retail cider without any additional licence. When we took into consideration the smallness of the number of persons concerned, and the smallness of the revenue, it was considered unnecessary to press the proposal contained in the Bill, and to complicate our system of licensing by the introduction of a new form of licence for twenty persons. That is the plain and simple story why the duty was put in. I would point out, further, that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Somerset (Sir A. Acland-Hood) has put down 1799 an Amendment for the omission of this duty. If the right hon. Gentleman thinks that we ought not to press the Amendment, we shall be happy to take that view into consideration.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
The right hon. Gentleman has said that there are only twenty persons concerned in this matter. Observe the fallacy of that. It is twenty after you exclude those who have beer licences, but if you were to require that all retailers of cider should have a separate licence, as is the case for the retailing of wine, the number would be many more than twenty. It is only 20 because a man who sells both beer and cider can do so under the same licence.
§ Mr. REMNANT
I would ask the right hon. Gentleman how he arrived at the figure 20? Is it another random shot of the right hon. Gentleman in charge? He has been asked a definite answer to a definite question. I am quite sure that if the Prime Minister had been present he would have given us what we asked for. The hon. Member for Louth has proved conclusively what everybody has admitted all through in reference to this Budget Bill, that it is a Bill of robbery and jobbery.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 42; Noes, 228.1801
|Division No. 766.]||AYES.||[11.50 p.m.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Renwick, George|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Seddon, J.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Higham, John Sharp||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Hills, J. W.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Hodge, John||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. Charles Scott||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Watt, Henry A.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Paulton, James Mellor||Younger, George|
|Fell, Arthur||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Ratcliff, Major R. F.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. T. M. Healy and Mr. Leif Jones.|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Forster, Henry William|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Clancy, John Joseph||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S.W.)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Clough, William||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Fuller, John Michael F.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Fullerton, Hugh|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Glendinning, R. G.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Cooper, G. J.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)|
|Armitage, R.||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Courthope, G. Loyd||Hamilton, Marquess of|
|Balcarres, Lord||Crean, Eugene||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Crossley, William J.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Cullinan, J.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r.)|
|Barker, Sir John||Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Harrington, Timothy|
|Barnard, E. B.||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick B.)||Devlin, Joseph||Hazleton, Richard|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Beale, W. P.||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Hedges, A. Paget|
|Beauchamp, E.||Dillon, John||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Dobson, Thomas W.||Henry, Charles S.|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Hill, Sir Clement|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H|
|Black, Arthur W.||Elibank, Master of||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Boland, John||Essex, R. W.||Hunt, Rowland|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Hyde, Clarendon|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Brodie, H. C.||Everett, R. Lacey||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Ffrench, Peter||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Field, William||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Joyce, Michael|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Kavanagh, Walter M.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Fletcher, J. S.||Keating, Matthew|
|Charming, Sir Francis Allston||Flynn, James Christopher||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.|
|Kerry, Earl of||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Keswick, William||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Rowlands, J.|
|Kilbride, Denis||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Nolan, Joseph||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Norman, Sir Henry||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Lamont, Norman||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Nuttall, Harry||Seely, Colonel|
|Lehmann, R. C.||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Lever, A. Levy Essex, Harwich)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Sheehy, David|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||O'Grady, J.||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Stanier, Beville|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||O'Malley, William||Starkey, John R.|
|Lundon, Thomas||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Lynch, Arthur Alfred (Clare, W.)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Summerbell, T.|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Philips, John (Longford, S.)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|M'Callum, John M.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|M'Kean, John||Pollard, Dr.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|M'Laren, Rt. Hon. Sir. C. B. (Leices.)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Verney, F. W.|
|Maddison, Frederick||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Vivian, Henry|
|Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)||Rainy, A. Rolland||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Marnham, F. J.||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Reddy, M.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Massie, J.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Rendall, Athelstan||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Meagher, Michael||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Mond, A.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Mooney, J. J.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Worrell, Philip||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Winfrey, R.|
|Morrison-Bell, Captain||Robinson, S.|
|Morse, L. L.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Muldoon, John||Roche, Augustine (Cork)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Murnaghan, George||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Murphy, John||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
§ 12.0 P.M.
§ Mr. ARKWRIGHT moved in B (Wholesale Dealers' Licences) to leave out "£10 10s." [proposed Wine Licence Duty] and to insert instead thereof "£5 5s."
§ I move this Amendment in order that I may get from the Chancellor of the Duchy an answer to one or two questions which I find it rather difficult to answer myself. The Amendment is to halve the duty for the licence to be taken out by the dealer in wine. The duty is at present, as far as I can gather, £10 10s., and I propose that it should be £5 5s. in order to ask whether the Government have taken into their consideration what I believe to be the case, namely, that as the law at present stands the wine dealer has been allowed and authorised to sell in quantities however small, while if this Bill passes he will not be able to sell in smaller quantities than either 12 bottles or two gallons at any one time. I ask whether the Government have taken into consideration—if I am right as to the alteration—the worse position in which they have put the dealer in wines?1802
§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
I wish to ask why there is no increase in the wholesale wine dealer's licence. There is, as far as I can make out, £5 5s. on the wholesale spirit dealer's licence, and £7 3s. 11d. on the wholesale beer dealer's licence, and why is the wholesale wine seller's licence to escape any increase of taxation?
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
In answer to the hon. Member's question, it is the case that hitherto the wholesale dealer's licence carried with it the privilege of retail sale. That is not the case with regard to the others. That has now been taken away, because this Bill draws a clear line of distinction between the wholesale licence and the retail licence. It is for that reason we do not propose any increase in this particular licence. We leave it as it stands, and we cannot accept the proposal to reduce it by one-half.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Does the right hon. Gentleman say that the wholesale wine dealers all over the country can sell wine by retail also?
§ Amendment negatived.1803
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL moved, in paragraph 1 of "Provisions Applicable to Wholesale Dealers' Licences" to leave out all the words after the word "licence," and to insert instead thereof the words "authorises sale at any one time to one person of liquor in the following quantities, namely:—
- (a) In the case of spirits, wine, or sweets in any quantity not less than two gallons, or not less than one dozen reputed quart bottles; and
- (b) In the case of beer or cider in any quantity not less than four and a-half gallons, or not less than two dozen reputed quart bottles;
§ This Bill greatly simplifies the whole of our licensing system, which hitherto has been very involved and confused. I should like to take this opportunity of saying that I think the Committee and all persons interested owe a great debt of gratitude to the officials who have worked out, with infinite labour, this new system, which is an immense improvement on the old, and carries with it a remarkable simplification. In this simplification there was intended to be a clear cut division between wholesale and retail licences, so that they should not be allowed to overlap in certain points as they had frequently done under the previous system. In order to compensate, in a slight degree, the retailers for the largely increased duties placed upon them, it was proposed to make certain concessions with regard to the quantities they might sell. The present law is that a retailer may only sell less than one dozen bottles of spirits or less than two dozen bottles of beer. We proposed to allow the retailer to sell one dozen bottles of spirits and two dozen bottles of beer. That would, in a very large number of cases, absolve the retailer from the necessity of taking out a wholesale as well as a retail dealers' licence. In order to keep the line between wholesale and retail licences, it was proposed to restrict the wholesale dealer a little beyond the present limit. Instead of being allowed to sell two dozen bottles of beer or one dozen bottles of spirits, it was proposed to allow him to sell only more than two dozen and one dozen respectively. That, however, led to a great deal of opposition on the part of the wholesale dealers. We have, therefore, given up the exact symmetry of our system, and propose to permit both wholesale and retail licences to carry with them the right 1804 of selling the exact number of two dozen bottles of beer or one dozen bottles of spirits. It is in order to effect that that I move this Amendment, with one or two consequential Amendments.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
I should like some further explanation of this proposal, especially in view of the discussion which took place in the Standing Committee, of which. I was a member, that was dealing with one of the Sunday Closing Bills quite recently. It was pointed out, what I think is the general opinion, that the entire failure of the Sunday Closing Act in Wales is due to the fact that wholesale licensed dealers can sell any time on Sunday, providing they supply the man who calls for the drink at a wholesale rate. Many and many a time I have stood at the bottom of a well-known moor at Barry, and watched men go to the wholesale dealers' places—though it was Sunday closing in Wales!—and fetch barrel after barrel out and take it up on to the moor, and there get hopelessly drunk. Then hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway say that that shows that Sunday closing in Wales has been a failure. As a matter of fact, it shows that Sunday closing has been only partially carried out in Wales. If it is going to be effective, it ought to be properly applied. Now, I understand that the right hon. Gentleman is practically agreeing to the same thing which has been criticised time after time in this House when temperance Debates and discussions of the kind have been going forward. I did think that now that the Government were dealing with this proposition that they would at least have given some different interpretation of the powers of the wholesale dealer. Nobody knows this case better than the Solicitor-General. He knows cases—and photographs have been published in the South Wales daily papers—where a body of men can meet together, and under this arrangement with the wholesale dealer, buy a 4½ gallon barrel at any time they like on the Sunday, though the retailer is not allowed to sell at all. While they were dealing with the subject the Government at least ought to have dealt with that phase, which, after all, is a very serious subject to the people of this country, and especially at this place where Sunday closing has been passed.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
I am very happy to tell the hon. Member and the Committee that the state of affairs described by him have to a large extent disappeared. But 1805 I do not think it would be possible to deal with this matter of Sunday closing, essentially a temperance matter, on a schedule of revised Licence Duties.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule," put, and negatived.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendments made: In paragraph 2, after the word "licence" ["of the manufacture and the holder of the manufacturer's licence"] to insert the words, "at the premises where the liquor is manufactured, and elsewhere by the manufacturer or a servant or agent of the manufacturer, if the liquor is supplied direct from the premises where it is manufactured."—[Mr. Herbert Samuel.]
§ To leave out paragraph 3.
§ A person holding a licence to be taken out by a wholesale dealer in beer may deal wholesale in cider as well as beer without taking out any further wholesale dealer's licence.—[Mr. Herbert Samuel.]
§ To leave out paragraph 5.
§ An occupier of land may, without taking out a wholesale dealer's licence, deal wholesale, in cider made by him from fruit grown on the land occupied by him, and from fruit not so grown, if it does not exceed in amount the fruit grown on land occupied by him and made into cider.—[Mr. Herbert Samuel.]
§ In paragraph 6, to leave out "twenty-five" ["the duty payable on the wholesale dealer's licence shall be reduced by twenty-five per cent."] to insert instead thereof "fifty."—[Mr. Herbert Samuel.]
§ In paragraph 6, after the words "reduced by fifty per cent." to insert the words, "Provided that this provision shall not operate so as to reduce the total amount payable for the wholesale dealer's licence and the retailer's licence for any liquor below that payable for the wholesale dealer's licence alone."—[Mr. Herbert Samuel.]
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I suggest the right hon. Gentleman should now move to report Progress, as we are entering on an entirely new phase of the subject raised by an Amendment standing in my name.
§ Mr. G. D. FABER
Does not the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for the Ecclesall division of Sheffield (Mr. Samuel Roberts), come before 1806 the Amendment of the hon. Member for Waterford?
§ Mr. G. D. FABER
Then I will move the Amendment standing in the name of my hon. Friend (Mr. Samuel Roberts).
§ Amendment proposed: In Scale 2.—C. Retailers' on-licences (spirits—publican's licence), to leave out the words "A duty equal to half the annual value of the licensed premises," and to insert instead thereof "duty specified in Scale 3."
§ Question proposed, "That the words 'A duty equal to' stand part of the Schedule."
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again to-morrow (Tuesday, 5th October).