§ Order for Second Beading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ 4.0. P.M.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Member for the city of Cork 4.0 p.m. (Mr. W. O'Brien) has given notice of an Amendment to the Second Reading of the Bill, which will not, I think, restrict discussion, but which in its terms is specifically confined to Ireland. I hope he will not think me discour- 42 teous to himself if I intervene before the Amendment is moved to make a few observations. I think I shall detain the House only for a short time. My Friends and myself gave notice of no Amendment to the Second Reading of the Budget. We would have preferred to meet it at this stage of its course with a simple negative. If the hon. Member for Cork moves his Amendment, we shall, of course, vote for the omission of the words "That the Bill be now read a second time," but our grounds of objection are not exactly the same, and still less, if I may say so, are 43 they coterminous with the grounds taken by the hon. Member for Cork. We object to the Budget, not because it is unfair to Ireland, but because we think it injurious to the whole of the United Kingdom. We have at different stages argued each portion of the Budget in some detail, and, though there are provisions in it, as there are in all Budgets, to which we should not take any objection, still our opinion of the Budget as a whole remains the same as it was when we entered upon this discussion in the comparatively early months of last year. We think it a bad Budget. We can take no responsibility for it, and we must record our votes against it at this stage, as we have at all previous stages.
I am not going to-day to attempt to traverse the vast amount of ground covered by the Budget and over which I have travelled so often. I shall say nothing of the point with which I dealt the other day, when I made some observations on the last financial statement for the year 1909–10 delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I shall say nothing of the effect of the increase in the Death Duties. I shall say nothing further about the injurious effect of the Spirit Duty. I shall say nothing of the Income Tax. Indeed, as far as the 1s. 2d. tax is on practically the ordinary scale of collection, we have never raised any objection on these benches, and as far as it is a Super-tax our objections are of a different character, different in strength and degree to those which we hold towards other portions of the Budget. Neither shall I attempt to go again into the effect of the Land Taxes. We have dealt with them pretty fully, and it so happens that the point on which stress was laid the other day in respect of the Land Taxes is one of the very few points which we can deal with in the Committee stage to some extent at any rate even under the present extraordinarily severe guillotine rules. I, therefore, put all that on one side.
One word I must say, because, owing to forgetfulness, I omitted it altogether from my observations last week, upon the congratulations which the Chancellor of the Exchequer offered to himself about the ultimate surplus of revenue over expenditure for the year which is now closed, a surplus which, of course, is still in the realm of Estimates, because a good many of the taxes are not yet collected, but on which, if those taxes be collected in accordance with the expectations of the 44 Chancellor of the Exchequer, he expressed himself with some pride. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer had a little deceived himself and not unnaturally perhaps a little deceived the House of Commons as to what was the nature of this surplus. It is not provided by these taxes; it is not provided by his original Budget, or even by the revised Budget of the autumn; it is provided by the total suspension of the Sinking Fund. I think that total suspension, at any rate as a temporary measure, was necessary under the circumstances, and I did not criticise the Chancellor of the Exchequer for proposing it; but really he presumes a little I think on the intelligence of the House when he takes pride to himself for securing a surplus which, if all his expectations are realised and all his Estimates as now modified for the fourth or fifth time come true—and that has not been their fate hitherto—will result purely from the raid he has made upon the Sinking Fund, purely not merely from the raid he has made upon the Sinking Fund, but from the additional raid which he made by the Treasury Borrowing Bill of the earlier months of this year. I will only say further that, if the surplus be realised, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's first duty is to restore it to that purpose from which he has temporarily diverted it and to use it for the reduction of debt. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said the other day that this surplus would be at the disposal of the House for the reduction of debt or any other purpose for which they might like to use it. By the settled law of the Kingdom, and by the clear and deliberate will of Parliament, it is not at the disposal of the Government; it is already allocated, not as new Sinking Fund, but as old Sinking Fund for the reduction of debt, and, except on the very best cause shown—and there is no cause shown at present—it should go to that purpose in any event, and it is especially necessary that h should go to that purpose in the present event.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I am not trying to multiply causes of dispute. We shall know sooner or later whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer's hopes are realised. In the meantime we may be content to wait and see. I am, however, quite certain I shall have the support of the hon. Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Gibson Bowles), than whom no one has 45 been more insistent on the sanctity of the Sinking Fund, old and new, in this House of Commons and in past Houses of Commons, and, although I do not know that there is any particular reason why I should go out of my way to bear testimony to the hon. Member, I do so on this point. He has been perfectly consistent, and he has held that view against his own party, whatever that party was, and has pressed it with great persistence and sometimes with a little acerbity. I hope neither his persistence nor his acerbity will be wanting on the present occasion.
§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
I still so hold, as I held before the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends turned me out of my seat.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I am glad to learn the hon. Member still holds that view. There is much to be said for it under any circumstances, and it is one which has quite exceptional weight at the present time when the credit of the country stands lower than we have ever known it—at a time when other national Stocks, which can be compared, are showing a recovery of value contrasted markedly and disastrously with the fall of Consols. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, I think it was, or somebody, the other day fell foul of one of my hon. Friends for his criticisms on the price of Consols, and asked whether he held the Government responsible, and whether he meant gravely to draw a rigid line, and to say to the House that, whilst Consols had been falling from the time when under Lord St. Aldwyn they touched 114 to eighty-five or eighty-six, and thence in the last four years to a little above eighty, the fall till the point eighty-five was reached was the result of natural or financial causes over which the Government had no control, and that afterwards it was entirely due to the Government or to their proposals. The Chancellor of the Exchequer omitted to notice that the fall from the point of 114 had been influenced, not merely by the occurrence of a great war and the heavy borrowings which that involved, but also by reduction in the rate of interest following, after many years of interval, on the late Mr. Goschen's scheme of conversion. That a good deal vitiates- his calculation. In the earlier years there was a general fall in gilt-edged securities of all kinds. Yes, but has there been the same fall in the gilt-edged securities of all kinds and of all nations in the last four years, and especially in 46 the last twelve months? No; there has been recovery elsewhere. If you take home securities, there has been recovery in London County Council Stock. There has been recovery in the stocks of France and foreign countries—yes, and of Ger many. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Hobhouse) will find that out if he consults the ordinary books of reference.
For anyone who will observe facts and note them with an impartial mind, it is evident there are now special causes depressing British Government securities which are not of general application to all securities of that kind elsewhere. What are those special causes? They are the general trend of legislation—the ideas which have been prevalent in the late House of Commons and in this, on property, on investments, on capital, on the rights of the State, and on the demerits of individual investment, and still more the speeches which have been made and the principles appealed to in support of the legislation, principles and speeches which go far further than the legislation itself, and which justify, if they justify arything, not an attack merely on the particular forms of property which are now chosen for attack, and not merely that degree of taxation on unpopular forms of property which is now fixed upon, but a general raid at the will of the Executive, and at the will of a majority, on any form of accumulated or invested property in this country. That has shaken credit. The results of it are already apparent, and unless the movement can be decidedly checked these results will ripen and increase in volume and become more and more dangerous in their influence upon trade and the credit of this country, and first and foremost on the Government itself. I think, while I allude to the prices at which Government securities stand, you can easily lay too much stress on the market quotations of such securities as a test of Government credit. You have to ask yourself not only what the present stock stands at, but what is the borrowing capacity of the Government should an emergency arise which necessitates borrowing. I venture to say that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, even in his rosiest moments, after his recent experience, will not be able to give a very favourable account of that. I believe what happened on the recent issue of Exchequer Bonds is without parallel in our history—that the Government should have had to close the list early, not 47 because applications were so numerous that otherwise they-would have been overwhelmed, but because they were so few, and those which had been made were being withdrawn, and if the lists were kept open for the ordinary time the Government loan would not have been covered. That is a fact of the very gravest import to the Government of this country—not to one party or to the other, but to the nation as a whole. Under these circumstances, it behoves the Government to walk carefully and to do everything it can to allay the distrust which it has created, to cultivate the confidence which it has destroyed, and to restore the credit it has so seriously injured.
I pass from that very grave matter to one more immediately connected with the Budget, and the only one on which I really propose to detain the House to-day. There is one part of the Budget on which we have said practically nothing this Session, and on which we shall have no opportunity of saying anything. We have practically had no chance hitherto, and we shall have still less chance to-morrow when we go into Committee on the proposals of the Government in regard to licences on the brewing trade generally, for they are a closed book to the Committee. We nominally enter on the Committee stage of the Bill, but we really enter into Committee consideration of such proposals—some half-dozen in number—aa the Government have altered in their original Bill. Where the Government have made no alteration the Committee will have no opportunity of passing the Clauses of the Bill in review or of expressing any opinion by speech or even by vote upon it. That is, indeed, to reduce the House of Commons to a farce, and, had I not lived to see it, it is an indignity which I would not have believed any House of Commons would have submitted to. We shall be unable to discuss these proposals in Committee. No Amendment can be made, and the House and the country will, in a short time, be face to face with the results which the Government have created by their licensing clauses. They have been held in suspension, in terrorem, over the trade for the last twelve months. The axe will shortly fall, and the full weight of these provisions will be felt. What is going to be the result? What is the object with which they are produced? Are they proposed in order to obtain revenue, or are they proposed as a measure of temperance reform? The Chancellor of 48 the Exchequer is very agile. He hops from one leg to the other. He is equally pleased with himself, and he desires the country to be equally pleased, whichever leg he stands on. He proposed the Whisky Duties as a great source of revenue. He was proud of them as such, and boasted of the results they would produce. And when his boast was entirely falsified, when they produced less than nothing, instead of the £1,600,000 which he had anticipated, he appeared before the House with an almost lyric appearance of satisfaction over the great temperance reform which he had carried. Neither side of the House, no party in the House will speak lightly of measures which are honestly, genuinely, and justly devised for the promotion of greater sobriety among our people. But none of these adjectives are applicable to the course of the Government in this matter. They devised the measure partly to extort revenue and partly to punish opponents. They failed to extort revenue, but they succeeded in punishing a trade against which they had a grudge. If temperance had been their object, they would have found many men on both sides of the House willing to cooperate with them, but then their measure would have been devised against all classes of the Iiquor trade equally, and they would not have selected a special part of the trade for special and exceptionally heavy taxation. If temperance had been their object, and temperance only, they would have promoted that great object with a sense of their responsibility to those whom the State had encouraged to enter upon a lawful trade, and who had conducted that trade without committing any offence, but with credit to themselves and under the greatest difficulties, without coming within the meshes of the law. They have done none of these things. Their measures are unequal in their operation. They are unjust to the individuals pursuing a lawful calling who never have infringed the strict and severe law under which their trade is carried on. We know what has been the result as regards whisky. It has very nearly ruined the people who had carried on that trade, and probably has ruined a considerable number of them and others engaged in subsidiary industries dependent on it. I am bound to say once again that the same result will follow, and must follow, from the taxes on licences and on brewing which are embodied in this Budget.
The House has had one or two figures at different times indicative of the enor- 49 mous increase of the burden which the Government is placing upon this trade. There has been further time for the consideration of these proposals, and for weighing the exact measure of alleviation —as far as that can be exact which depends on the will of Commissioners whose mind cannot be in detail anticipated beforehand—for measuring the exact result of the alleviation they have promised. I will give the House a very few figures. I 'will mention a case of one brewery as illustrating what may be the fate of many. It is a brewery which, I think, nobody will say was floated with inflated capital, which no one will say has been badly managed, and which is probably at least as well equipped as any other brewery in the country similarly circumstanced as regards its power to meet the additional strain placed upon it. I am willing to give the name of the brewery if any Member of the House desires it. I do not volunteer it because it is not my business to advertise or name the brewery unless my figures are challenged, but I have authority to give the name if so desired. The additional charges imposed by this Budget on this brewery are estimated as follows:—For manufacturer's licence, an addition of £9,750. Here let me pause for a moment to say that the year before this Budget was brought in the Prime Minister was directly asked by an hon. Member sitting behind me whether the Government would not graduate the Brewers' Licence Duty in accordance with the amount; of beer which they brewed, and he replied that that was a registration duty not suitable for or applicable to graduation. That was a considered reply in answer to a written question. Yet without one word of explanation, apology, or excuse the Government have executed a right about face, and propose to graduate on the most severe scale this duty which the Prime Minister declared to be unsuitable for the purpose. The additional duty under this head on the brewery will be £9,750, and on the public-houses and beerhouses which are tied to it there will be levied an additional £43,000, giving a total additional sum of £52,750. After making allowance for the most favourable results of the so-called concessions involved in the alternative scale for the assessment of houses over £500, it is estimated that the lowest I sum payable will be £52,750. There is one element which is uncertain, and that is I how much of that will be paid by the other party where there is a double or triple 50 tie, what portion of the new charge the Commissioners may think fit to allocate to each of the ties. If the tie be for beer, for spirits, for mineral waters, or for tobacco the Commissioners are to define what is the share proper to be borne by each of the interests to which the house is tied. At the lowest computation I am advised there would remain on this brewery the additional charge of no less than £40,000 a year. The total amount divided by the brewery among their ordinary shareholders, after meeting debenture and preference charges, is £28,588. The whole ordinary dividend, every penny of the return—and that return is only 2½ per cent, on capital in the case of a brewery which, as I said, was not floated on an inflated value—but which is due to the decrease of trade that has been going on in the last few years—the whole of that modest return of 2½ per cent, on the shareholders' investments is swept away, and a deficit of something like £12,000 is left to be met out of preference or debenture charges. What effect is this going to have on these securities. With brewery shareholders you have not much sympathy, although I do not know why they should not be treated as fairly as any other class of investments. I believe that the great bulk of them are small people and not men of large property, but setting individual interests aside, if this be the case in regard to one of the breweries most able to meet the new state of things, what is going to be the position of other great concerns less happily situated? What is going to be the effect on credit and on mortgages and debenture interests? The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Government, without knowing it or without caring about it, may be putting a receiver into half the great brewery concerns of the country. They may be causing, besides the loss of trade, a loss of property and credit, the ultimate results of which no man can measure, and which they themselves would be unable to make good or compensate. In individual cases, outside of the shareholders and the debenture holders, you will be doing an amount of injury, inflicting hardship—aye, and ruin—such as I think will revolt the country when it sees the scheme in practical working.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is a little sensitive about his estimates on these licensing matters, and he covers his own position by saying that we were equally wrong and the trade was equally wrong on the question of the Spirit Duties. 51 If he likes to say that the trade did not believe it was going to work the ruin it has done, is that any satisfaction to him, because he has worked the ruin and done the injury? They believed the injury would be less, and therefore he has worked more that he expected. I do not know what injury he expects to do to the licensed trade, but I know that his estimate* of what he will get from the Licence Duty can only be justified by his assumption—a perfectly well-founded assumption—that he is going to close without a penny of compensation a great number of licensed houses in this country. I say that that means a large amount of undeserved hardship on honest, hard-working individuals, who work under the most stringent restrictions!, whose character is most scrupulously examined before they are allowed to enter upon the trade, and whose every hour of public trading passes under the review of the police and the law in a way which no other trade does—and these are the men who without a shadow of compensation, though for years past they have been contributing to a compensation fund, without an allegation that they have done wrong in even the least particular, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to deprive of their business and their living and turn out into the streets. That is not taxation, but simply confiscation. It is not one whit the less outrageous because the right hon. Gentleman applies it to a trade which is under the political ban of his party and is unpopular with his own supporters. It is the business of a man—it is the business of the Chancellor of the Exchequer before all men to uphold a standard of even-handed justice in these matters and to resist even the strongest pressure from bitter partisans to do under disguise of fiscal legislation what would not be tolerated if it were brought forward in its naked and undisguised form.
It only adds to the aggravation of the situation that the method of assessment which the Government have chosen tells with the most unequal force as between trader and trader, and that in one house you will charge as high as 3s. 7d. a barrel in new taxation on the beer, while in average houses in London you will charge something like 2s. 6d. or 2s. 9d. for the Brewers' Trade Duty, and in other cases— and these the cases in which it is most desirable, not by the means of this Bill but by honest means, to get rid of first— the charge will only be a shilling or so 52 on every barrel of beer which is sold. I say a measure that is so devised, framed in that spirit, and fraught with that result, is ill-omened for our credit, is injurious to that sense of security on which all trade depends, and destroys the confidence which it ought to be the first duty of Governments to create, or to reinforce in order to encourage the investment of capital in this country, to stimulate industry and to provide the employment which we are lacking. I say to embody these measures in a Bill which pretends to be a-Finance Bill is to outrage every canon of sound finance by whom ever laid down on whichever side of the House he sits, and is to destroy the last shadow of ground there would be for the contention of the Government and the majority of this House that it is safe to trust to a majority of this House the whole financial arrangements of the country without check or control in any other place, and without the right of appeal to the people. Why do you not dare to put these proposals in a separate measure, and bring them in, as they should be brought in, as a Licensing Bill for the reduction of licences? Such a measure would meet with the same fate that your other proposal of that kind was met with. [Hon. Members: "Lansdowne House."] Lansdowne House if you like, in the first instance, and, after all, I would just as soon have my affairs settled at Lansdowne House as at a meeting in the National Liberal Club, or even at a convention in the Rotunda. I say that such a measure would meet with the same fate as your other proposal met with; it would be rejected in the other place I daresay. But would you dare to take it to the country? If you did, I say it without fear of contradiction—every man knows it, I do not care how strong a temperance reformer he is— you would be beaten in the country, because your proposals are intrinsically unjust and unfair, and our countrymen, whatever be their opinions, value justice and fair treatment as between man and man and as between class and class.
§ Mr. J. J. CLANCY
I rise on behalf of the party with which I act to say that we intend to vote for the Second Reading of the Bill, and I may say at once that the reason why I do so, and we do so, is entirely unconnected with the merits or demerits of this Bill. I frankly confess that up to a very recent date I felt convinced that we should be obliged to take the opposite course. It seemed that the cause for which I care most was being sacrificed to other 53 interests, and that in fact the interests of the democracy of Great Britain were also imperilled, and I considered that, regard being had to the pledges we had given to our own people, there would be no alterative but to put an end to that state of things, if we could possibly do so, winch threatened to end in such disaster. Happily we find ourselves in a position to take the course which I have announced. The unmistakable declaration of the Prime Minister on Thursday night has, in my opinion, completely altered the situation. Let anyone who doubts, that, especially any Gentleman above the Gangway, read the letters and articles in the Unionist Press from day to day upon the subject of compromise and on the necessity of burying Tariff Reform with a view to prevent, of course, the abolition of the Veto of the House of Lords and the early passage of a Home Rule Bill, which ire evidently regarded as convertible terms almost, and are regarded as inevitable, unless there is a change of tactics on the part of the Unionist party.
If this be so, then the duty of Irish Nationalist Members, as we conceive it, is clear beyond all doubt; it is to sink our objections, whatever they may be, to this Budget for the sake of the greater object which the passing of it will in our opinion enable us to attain. Moreover, I believe that the time for mere abstention on our part has passed. We did abstain on the Third Reading of this Bill last year, for the reasons then clearly stated by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond), and which are well understood on both sides of the House, and in both countries at this present moment. But many things have happened since then. The Albert Hall speech of the Prime Minister had not been then delivered; the question of Home Rule had not then been put as an issue at the Election as it was in that speech put as such an issue, and no pledge had then been given such as was given in that speech that the first object of Liberal policy would be the abolition of the one obstacle which for the last twenty years has stood in the way of that Irish reform as well as of the majority of the reforms desired by the great majority of the democracy of Great Britain. And, just as we refrained on that occasion from recording our votes against that Budget from a desire not to strengthen the hands of the enemies of Irish liberty, so now, for the purpose of strengthening 54 the hands of the friends of Irish liberty in the great conflict now impending, we will vote for the Budget without doubt, hesitation, or fear as to the meaning which will be put upon our motives by our own people.
I am the less sorry to be obliged to take this course when I find myself opposed in this matter by a party which, by the mouths of its Leaders even on this very night, has for the last fourteen or fifteen years denied the existence of the grievance of the over-taxation of Ireland, which was established, to my mind, beyond all doubt, by the Royal Commission of 1894. I remember very well the many Debates which have taken place ever since that time on this Question. Every one of the Leaders of the Opposition who has spoken on the subject at all ridiculed from the beginning to the end of their speeches the very idea that Ireland was being overtaxed. The Leader of the Opposition especially distinguished himself by taking this line. I forget whether he was Leader of the House or Prime Minister when he said that if we stopped drinking whisky we should have no grievance at all. Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, was challenged by various Irish Members to say what view he took about the obligations imposed on this country in respect of Irish taxation by the Act of Union. He was not by any means the worst of the lot, but he expressly denied that we were entitled to separate treatment under the Seventh Article of the Act of Union, and he expressly declared that never would the Unionist party, at least, assent to the doctrine that we should get separate treatment. He did this not once, but several times, and in successive years. The same line was taken by his successor (Mr. Austen Chamberlain), and it is rather curious and significant that the very first sentence which the right hon. Gentleman spoke tonight was a repudiation, practically, of the proposition contained in the Amendment of which notice is given by the hon. Member (Mr. William O'Brien) that Ireland is entitled to separate treatment. Not only that, but those Gentlemen between them during the long period in which they exercised power, added two and a half millions a year to the over - taxation of Ireland, and it is a curious and significant fact that in the whole course of the Budget Debates of last year and this year, notwithstanding all their talk against this Budget, never once did any Unionist leader admit that Ireland was 55 over-taxed, and never once did any one of them promise that if the Budget were defeated, and the Unionist party were called upon to frame an alternative Budget, they would exempt Ireland from its operation. I challenge any of them now to say that if this Budget were rejected, not a shilling of additional taxation would be put upon Ireland if they came to power. It is needless to put the question. We know what they will do. They will impose the additional taxation required, and Ireland will not be exempted from it. We all remember what occurred at the close of last year, when the late Attorney-General for Ireland, late at night, protested with heat and indignation against the differentiation in the matter of the licence duties in favour of Ireland. But instead of being cast on the rich, they would cast them on the poor in Ireland, and thus a greater addition would be made, because the poor are more numerous than the lich, to the taxation of Ireland than is made at present. Meanwhile they would continue to maintain the Union and the present system of governing and of taxing Ireland, which makes the over-taxation of Ireland possible, and makes it inevitable that it should continue.
But it is said that Ireland, and especially the farmers of Ireland, will be ruined by this Budget. The farmers of Ireland might indeed be ruined, and we might well be forced to vote against it, even though a worse one were to follow, if all the stories which have been spread about it in Ireland were true. Most of these stories may be fitly, and I think moderately, characterised as gross exaggerations. Take what I may call the two-million myth. Never has there been such a hardy product of the imagination. It has been fathered by responsible as well as irresponsible personages in public, and has outlived, until the close of last week, repeated exposure. It was itself inherently improbable. Under the system of indiscriminate taxation Ireland paid, in the financial year previous to the Budget, one-sixteenth of the total taxes raised in the three kingdoms, and what the Irish people have been asked to believe by the authors of the two-million myth is that of £12,500,000 additional taxation, raised, in the main, under the same system of indiscriminate taxation, Ireland's share would be not one-sixteenth but one-sixth. I do not think the Irish cause is served by statements which can be so easily demonstrated to be 56 absolutely without foundation. Take, again, the Death Duties. It has been stated that, as enacted in this Budget, they will hit every farmer in Ireland. The spectacle of landlords and partisans of landlords meeting on behalf of the poorer tenants in Ireland was itself suspicious. We do not gather figs from thistles or grapes from thorns, and it struck me as particularly audacious to find men who, either in their capacity of Members of the House of Lords or as outside advisers, had taken part in the mutilation of the Land Bill of last year coming out on public platforms or in the Press as the saviours of the Irish agricultural community against the imposition of these new Death Duties. Under this Budget there is absolutely no increase at all in the rate of the Death Duty until the sum of £5,000 is reached— a fact never mentioned on the public platforms in Ireland. Ninety per cent, of the farmers in Ireland are covered by that figure, and would escape altogether any additional Death Duty if there were nothing else. But the Budget as originally framed proposed to repeal the provision of the Harcourt Act of 1894, which limited the valuation of agricultural property for Death Duties to twenty-five times the Poor Law valuation. It was that proposal alone which would have caused an addition to the Death Duties in the case of the overwhelming majority of the Irish farmers, and it would have seriously aggravated the grievance of the overtaxation of Ireland by putting a tax on Ireland which, from the necessities of the case, could not be levied in England.
While certain critics of the Budget were absent in Ireland some of us remained here and pressed on the Government the expediency of amending the provision and the result is seen in Clause 61, which, though it does not go to the whole extent we would desire, and pressed for, does, beyond all doubt, protect 80 per cent, of the whole body of the Irish farmers. In the first place, every yearly tenant in Ireland, including every tenant holding under a statutory tenancy—in other words, every tenant who has had a judicial rent fixed on his holding, is expressly protected, no matter what his valuation. Thus at the start, more than half of the whole body of the agricultural tenants of Ireland are expressly saved. In the next place all tenants are saved who have purchased and whose net assets do not amount to £1,000 net. That, again, means that more than 80 per cent, of those tenants are saved also, and those who have bought 57 get a further advantage which they never had before. Hitherto, if the gross assets of a tenant were under £500, a reduction could not be made in the assessment of value for Death Duties of the amount outstanding of the advance made for the purchase of his holding. That result came about from the very fact of the purchase. It was the result, in other words, of land purchase, and of the Land Purchase Acts, which are so much belauded. That deduction is now allowed for the first time.
§ Mr. CLANCY
I really do not wish to enter into controversy with the hon. Member, but that is not because I admit his statement to be correct. As a matter of fact those who desired to obtain advantage of the 30s. and the 50s. duty could not deduct anything if that incumbrance was created by the deceased. The hon. Member will have to admit that. That deduction is now allowed for the first time, and the right is extended for the first time—and here is another point which is never mentioned in Ireland by the critics of the Budget—to everybody who has bought his house with money borrowed from building societies, including hundreds and thousands of persons who have bought their houses in the towns of Ireland. It was a most important, concession in my opinion, affecting almost all the tenant purchasers, because the average amount advanced for the purchase of a holding does not exceed £400. It enables persons who would otherwise have to pay at the ordinary rate to avail of the right to pay at the fixed duties of 30s. and 50s., with only 15s. for court fees, and others to escape duty altogether, who would otherwise have paid it. I have myself been furnished within the last few days with some particulars of cases by a respectable solicitor in Dublin, whose name I have permission to give—Mr. Thomas Early. He wrote to me a letter, which I hope he will publish in the Press, and which he thought might interest me because it concerned five or six cases in my own Constituency. I will not trouble the House with all the details. I will give the facts regarding two of these cases. They may be taken as samples of many others. There was one case of forty-eight acres (Irish) bought under the Land Acts, and five acres (statute) in a second holding, and other assets £195. Under 58 the old law as it existed before the Budget was introduced at all the duty would have been £2 10s., and the Probate Fees about £2, or, altogether £4 12s. Under the original proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that duty would have been monstrously increased. It would have amounted to about £33 for duty and £6 for fees, making together £39. Under the Budget as amended, and as it is going to pass through the House, the duty actually paid in this case is £3 5s. I should say, rather, the total is £2 10s. for duty and 15s. for court fees, making together £3 5s. That is the case, not of a small farm, and, moreover, it is in the metropolitan county of Dublin where land is supposed to be more valuable than elsewhere—wrongly supposed I believe.
Let me take the case of a small farm of four acres purchased and eleven acres agreed to be purchased, and other assets. The duty under the old law would have been nil, but the fees would have amounted to £1 10s. That would have been raised by the Budget as originally introduced to duty £2 10s., with fees £3, making together £5 10s. Under the Budget as it now stands the duty is nil, and the court fees are only 15s. In other words, instead of being worse off, 80 per cent, of the farmers of Ireland are in the same position as they were in before, or in a better position. It is nonsense, therefore, to talk of the oppressive character of the Death Duties so far as the great bulk of the farmers of Ireland are concerned. A small minority of big farmers will be hit, I admit, and I am very sorry for them, because I do not want to hit any class in the community. I think they should have been exempted as well as the others, but if there must be increased taxation, I am glad it is not the majority who will suffer. I would direct the attention of the few large farmers to the fact that if they are hit now, they will be equally hit if any alternative Budget is introduced, for on the Third Beading of the Bill of last year, as those who were in the House will bear witness, the Leader of the Opposition did not object to the Death Duties at all, and, in fact, he objected to none of the new taxes, except the Licence Duties and, I think, the Land Taxes. Before I pass from this subject let me give an illustration of the manner in which the battle over the Death Duties has been fought in Ireland. A Dublin solicitor, Mr. Lawrence O'Neill, wrote a letter to the Press giving particulars of a case in which he had been professionally concerned, The 59 father of a family died, he said, prior to the introduction of the Budget, leaving to his son a farm of over ninety acres. That, be it observed, is not a small holding, and it was in the county of Dublin, in my own Constituency. It was held under a tenancy. The Estate Duty paid was £11 11s. 7d. The son who succeeded purchased under the Land Acts for £4,343, plus the bonus of 12 per cent. He died in his turn and left the purchased holding to his sister. The Estate Duty then actually paid on behalf of the sister after the introduction of the Budget was £120, or ten times more than the duty paid on the previous occasion before the Budget. Mr. O'Neill's letter, need I say, was given wide circulation. It was before the General Election; it was a perfect godsend to the critics of the Budget. It was circulated, I am bound to say, mostly by Unionist candidates in the North of Ireland. The comments made may be left to the imagination. What happened? A short time afterwards Mr. O'Neill, whom I know to be a thoroughly honourable man, who would not keep a secret of this kind to himself after having made the previous statement, wrote another letter, in which he stated that since his previous letter he had obtained a refund under Section 61, Sub-section 1, of the present Bill as amended of the difference between £11 11s. 7d. and £120, so that the duty eventually charged in respect of this large farm was exactly the eame as would have been paid if this Budget had never been introduced. Did the second letter receive wide circulation? Of course, it was not noticed at all. It was never alluded to by one of the critics of the Budget, and to this day I have no doubt that many, if not most, of those to whom the story in Mr. O'Neill's letter was repeated have never heard of the second letter. It is little wonder that there should have been popular misapprehension, and that consequent agitation should exist.
Let me give another illustration of what is actually going on at the present moment. I have heard within the last few days that a story is current in various parts of Munster that farmers who now choose to make a marriage settlement, and to give a son or daughter a farm by ordinary marriage settlement, would have to pay double Stamp Duties. It is an absolute falsehood. By Sub-section (6) of Section 74 of this Bill marriage settlements are absolutely excluded. The fact is that the 60 Budget is not nearly so bad as it is represented to be, especially when we remember —and this is a point that is never mentioned in Ireland by the critics of the Budget—that we get back out of it considerable sums for local purposes, such as roads, drainage, light railways, harbours, and tramways, and I hope, indeed I feel assured, for the solution of that most, urgent of all Irish social problems, namely, the housing of the poor. My purpose is not to minimise the grievance which the Budget does inflict. It does inflict a grievance in adding anything at all to the taxation of Ireland. I do not allude to the Land Taxes. I do not believe, and I have never believed, these Land Taxes will touch a single inch of agricultural land which is not also building land. I was glad to hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer declare that if any doubt existed that agricultural land as such is not to be taxed, he will accept an Amendment which will remove that doubt absolutely.
As I understand the meaning of the Amendment made in the Bill it is this: Various criticisms have been passed upon Clause 7, and two points were taken, and only two worth attention, by a learned friend of mine at the Irish Bar, who wrote an elaborate opinion to this effect, that as Clause 26 was to be read in connection with Clause 7, two things might result. First, that the agricultural value to be ascertained in Clause 26 would be stereotyped, and therefore, if there was any increase of value when the tax came to be paid, that increase would be taxed notwithstanding Clause 7. The second was that the value taken might be the economic value, and therefore, if there was a competition value which would be higher, the difference between the agricultural value and the competition value would be taxed. I understand, and I hope I am correct in understanding, that the Amendment made in the Bill is this, that it meets those two points. By putting in the words "at the time" it provides that the valuation shall not be stereotyped, but that the value taken, the agricultural value meant, shall be the value at the time of the sale, death or otherwise; and in the next place that that value shall be the competition value, because the words "in the open market" are used. I myself have some doubt still as to whether or not there will be criticism made on these words. I will make one myself. I would say that the words "if sold" still suggest some shadowy 61 doubt. They might refer to only one of the occasions upon which duty is levied. I desire that the "market value" shall refer to all the occasions not only of sale, but of valuation or of death, and therefore I would suggest that the Government should adopt some such words as these which I shall take the liberty of putting down myself—to leave out the words "if sold in the open market at the time," and make the clause read "at the market value at the time for agricultural purposes." In my opinion if that Amendment is made agricultural land is safe; and I would point out to any learned Gentleman above the Gangway that, after all, this is a taxing Statute, and if there is any doubt as to whether the subject is to be taxed, then the doubt must be given in favour of the subject.
And now one word about the valuation. Terror has been sought to be created in the minds of Irish farmers by representing to them that a valuation of the whole of the land of Ireland would be immediately undertaken. I do not believe that anything of the kind is going to occur. Moreover, my opinion is that nothing of the kind has ever been suggested by the Government. And I think what the Chancellor ought really to say, what I think he has practically said before, that so far as Ireland is concerned there will not be, and need not be, any new valuation. There is a valuation already, Griffiths' valuation. It can be taken as the basis; and if you want to find the capital value the only thing to do is to find out a number by which you can multiply the annual value. So I do not believe that there is anything in this cry of valuation. And in any case, in my opinion, there will never be a single halfpenny of tax put, under this Budget, upon any agricultural land which is not also building land. I have said that while the Budget so far as Ireland is concerned is not the monstrously unjust Budget it is represented to be, it is still unjust. How does it come to be unjust? Everyone knows that it is the direct outcome of the infamous Union of 1800, brought about by Pitt and Castle-reagh.
Some of us have thought and said in past years that we might make our stand in our fight against overtaxation on the financial provisions of the Act of Union. But every Unionist Chancellor of the Exchequer, as I have already observed, repudiated the interpretation of the Seventh Article of the Act of Union, which we 62 have endeavoured to impress upon them. Every single Unionist Chancellor of the Exchequer has done it, and so has the Leader of the Opposition, and he will not deny it. No separate treatment is to be given to Ireland if he and his party can help it; and it thus happens that when new or increased taxes have to be raised Ireland is always treated as if it were an English shire, and is taxed at the same level as England, with the invariable result that, as Ireland is poorer than England, it is always overtaxed in comparison with England. That is what is called the overtaxation of Ireland. That is the thing to which we want to put to an end. We cannot even begin the process of putting an end to it until the Veto of the House of Lords has been destroyed. It is because that issue of the Veto is about to be put in a few weeks to the country that we of the Irish party will no longer abstain from voting on this Budget, but will vote for it. And if we had any doubt as to whether we were right, it would assuredly be removed by the reflection that we shall find in the opposite Lobby every enemy of Irish liberty.
§ Mr. W. F. PERKINS
As a new Member and representing an agricultural Constituency, I rise to emphasise the opposition which I share with the vast majority of my Constituents against particularly the first part of the Finance Bill. I do not propose to go into what I call Committee points at this stage, but I confine myself entirely to the broad general principles which underlie this new and unprecedented form of taxation of land. It was upon the question of additional taxation of land that I fought, and I claim to have won the victory in my Constituency, and, therefore, it is a matter on which a new Member particularly ought to raise his voice. The first point to which I wish to direct attention, and which, I think, has escaped attention in this Parliament, though I believe it received a certain amount of attention in the last, is that there is no logical reason why a profit which is made on a land transaction or an unearned increment arising out of land should be taxed, while other forms of profit taking and other forms of unearned increment remain untaxed. The Prime Minister last year, speaking not in this House, but, I believe, at Oxford on this very question, laid down the principle that the reason why land should be selected for a particular form of taxation which was not put on other forms of investment, was that land was a mono- 63 poly, and was limited in quantity, and that as the whole community wanted land and the quantity was limited, therefore land was a fair subject for taxation. I do not for one moment contradict the logic of the Prime Minister in saying that land was a monopoly, and that land was limited in quantity, but I do most strenuously protest against the assumption that land is the only matter of value which is limited in quantity.
Take, for example, the case of water. Water is a matter of vital necessity. It is limited in quantity. If it were unlimited in quantity it would have no value, and the mere limitation of its quantity is the essence of its value. Now Parliament has in times past permitted companies to become monopolists in the supplying of water, and Parliament has permitted and has safeguarded companies in supplying water to towns. It has safeguarded and put a ring-fence round those companies, and has prevented other companies competing with them for supplying water, and it has allowed companies to make large profits, even up to 10 per cent., out of the supply even of a necessity to the community. If companies are allowed to trade, in water which is a necessity of the community, why should not companies or individuals be allowed to trade in land, which is a similar monopoly I But it seems to me in practice it would be exceedingly difficult for any set of commissioners or valuers to distinguish in fact on any transaction, such as the sale of land, between the land and the buildings which may be upon it. Take, for example, a very common instance: Say two men go into the market to invest £10,000. One buys a large town house with a small piece of ground, and it is agreed between himself and the Commissioners that the value of the land and the house upon it should be apportioned as to £9,000 upon the large town house and £1,000 upon the ground upon which it stands. That man sells the estate and makes a profit of £1,000 unearned increment. Has he made it out of the house or out of the land? Nobody can say. However, to be fair, I assume that the Commissioners would say that the profit must be apportioned pro rata between the house and the land, so that the £1,000 profit would be divided up in the proportion of £900 out of the house and i £100 out of the land. Accordingly, on that £100 unearned increment, and on that £100 only of the transaction, one-fifth, or £20, 64 would be paid in tax. The other man with his £10,000 goes into the market and buys, instead of a small piece of land, a large piece of land, with a small country house— a farmhouse, for example—upon it.
Assume that the converse takes place. He spends £10,000—£1,000 the value of the house, and £9,000 the value of the land. He sells at £1,000 profit. That £1,000 profit must be apportioned pro rata—in other words, he has got to divide as 1 to 9, or £900 profit out of the land and £100 out of the house, and he has to pay Unearned Increment Duty on the £900. He has, in fact, to pay nine times as much as Unearned Increment Duty on that transaction in the Country as he would have to pay on a transaction in London. By no logic, by no principle of fairness can that system be justified, and until we see a way of entirely separating the land from building—which I believe is the intention of the Government—and until transactions in land are free from all that is upon the land, it will never work fairly, and it will raise endless controversies. The second point I wish to make, and which affects my own Constituency very much indeed, is in regard to the incidence of these taxes on small holdings. I do not think that this matter has been properly ventilated in the country. I do not think that the hundreds of thousands of small holders in this country realise that in very many instances they will be subjected to this new and unprecedented taxation. It is quite true that there are apparent safeguards in regard to Unearned Increment and the Undeveloped Land Duty, but those safeguards do not provide in many instances within my own knowledge for people who have invested small sums of money in agricultural land for the purpose of cultivating it as small holdings. The point that particularly affects my own Constituency in the New Forest is this: In the New Forest there is a large number of small holders. In consequence of the charms of the forest, a great many desire to come there to live, and the result is there is a demand for land as sites for country houses. No one can tell when a person coming from the North of England, or elsewhere, will select a particular spot of land on which to build a house; therefore, every piece of land in the New Forest which is adjacent to open glades of the forest, or commands a good view, is a potential building site. No one can say that the land has not a building value, but on the other hand no one can say when that value will be realised. A great many 65 small freeholders in the forest are content to cultivate their land until such time as they are able to sell it at a profit for the purpose of building. It may not happen in their life, or in the life of their heirs, sons or grandsons, that particular pieces of land may be bought or attempted to be bought by newcomers. Therefore, it will form a particular hardship on them that this Increment Duty should be levied not merely at the time of the sale, but also at the time of a change of ownership, in consequence of death. The land may pass from father to son, but before the son can inherit he will have to pay Increment Duty, although possibly for many years after he has inherited, possibly during his life, he will never have the advantage of the increment. The increment is not merely unearned but unreceived, and possibly unreceivable within the man's lifetime.
So, in that case, it comes as a great hardship on the small holder. Again, it is only the small holder who is the occupier; it is only the small holder whose house is of a certain size who is exempt from this taxation; it is only the small holder who owns less than fifty acres all told who is exempt from this taxation. I put it parenthetically to the Government, How do they propose to ascertain whether a man has no more than fifty acres. Suppose a man has fifty acres, we will say, in the New Forest—if he has the misfortune to have a quarter of an acre in Kamschatka, or "elsewhere," then he must not claim exemption, because he has more than fifty acres altogether. The Act says "elsewhere." Again, take the case of the small holder, whose land is worth more than £75 an acre. By this Bill it is provided that if land has no more value than £75 an acre the small freeholder is exempt. But in my own Constituency there is any amount of land which is at present used for agricultural purposes, which as agricultural land would not be worth more than £1 or 30s. an acre, or, to buy, £25 or £35, but which, as a matter of fact, no owner would think of selling at that price, because he realises that there is a potential value outside and beyond it. I say it is unfair to levy duty on that potential value until it has at least been received, and it will cripple enormously the resources of many poor people if you put this burden upon them, so that they will have to pay on profits which they have never received. The next point is a very 66 important one, and it has reference to the valuation. Elaborate propositions are laid down for the conduct of the valuation. I understand that a list of something like 500 gentlemen has been prepared, who are to go into every part of the country to make the necessary valuations, and, I assume, to complete it within five years. I think their task is considerably bigger than perhaps they imagine. I may say in passing, in reply to the hon. Gentleman who spoke last, that he need not in the least be disappointed about a valuation of Ireland, because if he refers to Clause 26 of the Bill, he will see that the Commissioners "shall as soon as may be after the passing of this Act cause a valuation to be made of all land in the United Kingdom," and Ireland will have her share of the valuer and his attentions. What has the valuer to do? He has a task before him which I venture to predict even the most experienced valuer, in England at any rate, cannot contemplate with equanimity. Every piece of land in separate occupation is to be valued, down to the smallest area, the smallest piece of potato patch, the smallest allotment, and the valuer is to set forth figures as to the five separate elements of value. First of all, he has to arrive at the gross value, then at the site value, then at the total value, next the assessable site value, and eventually at the value of the land for agricultural purposes. Each has to be settled by the valuer on the very smallest area, and every tiny patch of land in this country which is in separate occupation will have to be valued in this way. Imagine the enormity, the practical impossibility of the task.
Armed for that duty, the valuer or the Commissioner has the power to demand of every owner all the facts in his possession with regard to every piece of land he holds. He can demand, and insist on obtaining, under a fine, first of all, a statement of the area, which in many cases would mean an expensive survey. He can demand and obtain the tenure of the land, and, worst of all, he can demand and obtain from the owners the price they have paid for the land in question. Many will absolutely decline to tell the price they have paid for any piece of land they hold. I put it to the House that no one would willingly agree to disclose the price he has paid for' any investment outside and apart from land, and this demand will be resisted and give rise to very great difficulties. This is an inquisitorial inquiry into matters of 67 the price, tenure, and family history and so forth of the land in question. Then these wretched valuers, to be scattered through England, have got to begin again and arrive at a revaluation every fifth year of all undeveloped land in this country. Five hundred valuers—I doubt if 5,000 valuers will suffice. The whole scheme is chimerical from the valuers' point of view—and I speak with some experience—and it is almost impossible to arrive at any satisfactory result on the extraordinary and difficult theories and propositions as to valuation which are laid down in this Bill. There will be endless litigation, greatly at the cost of those who have to wrestle with these valuers. Already there is the gravest dissatisfaction among small as well as large, and I am here particularly to speak on -behalf of the small holders this afternoon. On their behalf, I say, that these land taxation proposals are viewed by them with the greatest abhorrence and the greatest dissatisfaction. The more they see of them the more they dislike them, and the more they dislike the Budget, and particularly this part of it. For these reasons I am myself strongly opposed to the Second Reading of the Bill, and I hope that an opportunity will be given, in spite of the closure, to new Members coming fresh from the battle outside this House, to express in Committee their objections to its numerous details, and to criticise line by line, syllable by syllable, and comma by comma, the grave proposals which are embodied in this measure.
§ Mr. WILLIAM O'BRIEN
I beg to move to leave out from the word "That to the end of the Question, "and to add the words," inasmuch as the announcement of this Bill has already done a cruel injury to more than one great Irish industry, and seriously shaken the confidence of the new occupying proprietors as to their future, and as it proposes to impose upon Ireland unjust additions to her already excessive taxation, the Bill be read a second time upon this day six months."
I am quite aware in moving the Amendment that it will have no immediate effect on the fate of this Bill, and that I shall be, as the French say, cutting water with a sword. It will, of course, be difficult for any Irishman to resist the imposition of this Budget in the name of Ireland, for the simple reason that it is Ireland's own representatives who have hauled down the 68 flag and sold the pass, and who, as the hon. and learned Member for North Dublin has just announced to us, will presently troop into the Lobby to vote down this Amendment. Ireland's grievances from this time forth will lie against those Gentleman, and not against the Tory Government of ten years ago, against whom the hon. and learned Member turned all his artillery. The grievance will not even lie against the present Government, because they have only taken over the keys of the Irish fortress from its faithless defenders, and they have not even paid them back as much as a bawbee for their surrender, not even so much as half a dozen Liberal votes on the sham Anderson Amendment the other night. Under these circumstances, any further resistance on our part is in the nature of a forlorn hope, but there are some of us in this House who have not been for the last thirty years altogether unaccustomed to taking part in forlorn hopes. Forlorn hopes somehow or another in the long run have a way of turning into victories. Although no doubt we cannot hope for any success in view of the announcement which has been made as to the destruction of the present Budget, we can at all events place it on record that there are some Irish Nationalist representatives who will not be consenting parties to the damning confession of the abandonment of Ireland's claim for relief from over-taxation, which beyond all doubt will be involved in the Irish vote for the Budget to-night.
The party behind me may have the power to accept this Budget, but time will tell whether Ireland will accept the Budget, or will accept the Irish Budgeteers. We shall see bye-and-bye whether Ireland will not repudiate as something very little short of an act of national apostasy the shameful surrender that has been made in the name of Ireland of her whole case that the present financial relations between the two countries are already crushing and intolerable, with her voluntarily taking up the fresh taxes which are imposed under this Budget, or rather imposed by Ireland's own representatives, because they have only to support this Amendment and the Budget Bill will be thrown into the waste-paper basket before this night is over. We had it in Ireland, as we thought, already fully established and decided by a Royal Commission containing the best among the most eminent of British financiers that even fifteen years ago the load of over taxation that was laid upon the shoulders of Ireland was by 69 £2,500,000 per year oppressive and unjust, and a violation of the engagements of the Act of Union. That charter of Irish liberty has been deliberately torn up in this House to-night by the hon. and learned Member for North Dublin (Mr. Clancy). It is not the first time, I am sorry to say, that we have witnessed the painful scene, and the shameful scene of Irish Nationalist representatives getting up in this House as understudies to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to suggest that Lord Welby, and Sir Robert Griffen, and Mr. Childers, and the rest of them, were all wrong in reporting that Ireland was overweighted in taxation, and in suggesting really that instead of these new taxes being any fresh grievance for Ireland that we ought really to go on our bended knees to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for having resisted the temptation of putting, I think, £1,300,000 a year additional, for which undoubtedly he deserves some credit, for had he done so, he could have done so with the confidence that he would have been fully justified by the new school of national economics that has been introduced in Ireland. "What was the speech of the hon. and learned Member? Why, it was one prolonged panegyric of the greater portion of this Budget. If that is so, I want to know what was the meaning of all the splendid concessions that the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) boasted at Liverpool and Tipperary that he could have secured, but has not secured.
Really, one sometimes begins to think, to listen to speeches from these benches, that it is a crime, almost a blasphemy, for an Irishman to stand up in this House and to suggest that the British Treasury is capable of even thinking of planting £2,000,000 per year on Ireland. It is actually claimed as a virtue for the Chancellor of the Exchequer that his calculations as to Irish Spirit Duties broke down, after he has already half strangled one of the greatest of Irish industries, and that to which he looked for the greater portion of those £2,000,000. Now we are triumphantly told that it is all a mere bagatelle of £500,000 per year, and it is treated as a bagatelle by the men who would have made the welkin ring with indignation if Ireland was to have been taxed within one-fourth of that amount for the iniquitous purpose of financing land purchase and abolishing landlordism. This mere bagatelle of £500,000 per year is, in these Gentlemen's eyes, a mere beggarly gift from Ireland in gratitude for 70 the Old Age Pensions Act, That Old Age Pension Act has been referred to very often and thrown in our teeth pretty often, but it was not framed for the sake of Ireland. The representatives of Ireland had no more to do with producing that Act than, they had with producing Bailey's comet. That Act was rushed through this House hastily, and, as I think, unthinkingly, and to a very large, degree as party electioneering strategy; and it was rushed through this. House without the smallest consideration of the totally different circumstances of Ireland. I say that that Act, as it stands, will be an absolutely insuperable and insurmountable difficulty in the finances of any future Irish Parliament. That is the kind of apology that we are beginning to be accustomed to hear chanted from the Irish Benches to the glory of the British Treasury by gentlemen who affect to speak for Ireland. Apparently their position is that we ought to kiss the rod that scourges us and that we ought to be very grateful to the Chancellor of the Exchequer because he has not made the scourge quite as severe as he might. I do not want to dwell on that point, which must be one of humiliation, and I might say of anguish, for every decent Irishman.
I desire to give the great mass of the Members from Ireland, who support and who are sponsors for this Budget, credit for an honest belief that in some extraordinary way they are not giving an insincere vote upon this Budget, but that they are in some singular way vindicating the rights and capacity of Irishmen. In my opinion that belief is one of the most mournful and most fantastic superstitions that ever fastened on the minds of representatives of our nation. In my poor judgment, at all events, they are by the action they are taking to-night doing as grave an injustice to Ireland's hopes of Home Rule as they are to her financial interests. Instead of battling against the Veto of the House of Lords by passing this Bill into law, in my judgment, they are interposing a far more formidable Veto to to Home Rule than the Veto of the House of Lords, and that is the Veto of Bankruptcy. The Veto of the House of Lords, and we have had a good deal of experience of it in the long run, is a far more soluble and more changeable thing and a more changeable obstacle than the financial scheme that will be stereotyped and petrified in this Act that Ireland is passing here to-night. I give hon. Members from Ireland credit for believing that they 71 are under some debt to the Government, because otherwise every vote that they would give for this Budget would be a lie, they would be voting for a Budget that they know in their hearts is in itself a cruel wrong and a betrayal of their country.
In my judgment the position in which they stand to-night is this, that the substantial effect of their bargain, or rather of their abject failure to make any bargain, is that we are not even to have Home Rule plus bankruptcy. We are to have national bankruptcy without Home Rule, and it is all to be the work of Ireland's own representatives. I do not wish to speak ill of men, many of whom were colleagues and comrades in many an olden fight, and we may possibly be again, because although our Irish quarrels are sometimes very hot, still those conflicts of opinion in Ireland are quite as legitimate and quite as disinterested as those of Englishmen, and are possibly a little more easily forgiven after the heat of the battle. But I do say, although we are at the present the minority in this House, and as we were a minority for many years in this House, but a minority that was right, and that very speedily became a majority, I do say that the men who will vote against this Amendment will not speak for Ireland, and I do say that before very long the world will understand the act of Ireland's representatives as an act of abyssmal folly, and that Ireland will repudiate it as a blow at her growing prosperity, from which she may not be able to recover for many a year, and she will repudiate it as an act of betrayal of her national interests, and an act which m fatuity is only second to that of the Irish representatives who voted for the Act of Union, and to that of the other Irish representatives who, I think it was in 1852 or 1853, voted for that most unfortunate measure of Mr. Gladstone's, for the spoliation and over-taxation of Ireland, which has never since been dropped from the Statute Book, and which is the only blot upon Mr. Gladstone's career and noble services to Ireland.
The opposition of my Friends and myself to this Budget has been per fectly plain and straight from the beginning. We did not believe and we do not believe that by swallowing an unjust Budget we should be bringing Home Rule one hour nearer. We believe, on the contrary, that the party behind me (the Irish 72 Nationalist party) are on as hopelessly wrong lines in their way of winning Home Rule as they are in imagining that they are going to procure the success of Home Rule, if it comes, by confirming in an. even aggravated form a scheme of finance for Ireland which I should be glad to see the hon. and learned Member for Water-ford (Mr. J. Redmond) or the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) take the responsibility for as Chancellor of an Irish Exchequer. We do not believe in crushing one of the few remaining great Irish national industries by way of a sort of by-product of the Government scheme of vengeance for the rejection of the English Licensing Bill. We have no patience with the dialectical discussions of the hon. and learned Member, in which it is now admitted that it will depend upon the obiter dicta of certain judges or Treasury valuators how far the property of Irish peasant proprietors is to be laid hold of under this Budget. We have no patience with the whole scheme of Death Duties, Stamp Duties, and general valuation by which it is in reality proposed to steal out of one pocket of the Irish peasant proprietors a great part, at all events, of the profits that they are at long last beginning to realise after a land war of thirty years' duration. But I shall not speak on that subject, the whole matter having been explained by my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Cork (Mr. M. Healy) with an accuracy and a depth of knowledge that no man in this House could exceed. To me it is tragic to see the Chancellor of the Exchequer, from the abysses of his blissful ignorance of Irish affairs, playing the game of the purchase blockers or purchase killers and sowing the seeds perhaps of a great yield of serious and perhaps endless trouble by these new imposts and hints of the nationalisation of land. In all probability it will end land purchase and future sales in Ireland.
We base our opposition to the Budget not upon this or that particular tax, but upon a national and international right to the autonomous and exceptional treatment that was guaranteed to us by the Act of Union and confirmed by a Royal Commission appointed by the party who are the authors of this Budget. Our position is that Ireland is an excessively poor agricultural country just struggling to its legs, chained to the wealthiest and most prosperous country in the world, and as utterly unable to bear the burden of that relationship to an Empire with a Budget of £160,000,000 or £170,000,000 a year as 73 a small fishing boat would be to take one of your tremendous warships in tow. All the old difficulties of Ireland, as church establishment, university education, county government, landlordism, are settled, or are on the way to settlement. There is only one question now remaining in dispute between these two countries; it as of the essence of any national settlement, namely, the question of pounds, shillings, and pence. It is simply a question of adjusting taxation as to how far the richest of all countries is to force the poorest to participate in your magnificent extravagances, or perhaps necessities. The first thing you have to learn about these crucial armaments of yours, which of course are the cause of these bloated Budgets, is that they are not necessary for the protection of our poverty, although no doubt they are necessary for the protection of your boundless wealth and commerce. You cannot argue this question as if it were one in which you could find a common denominator that would apply equally to Yorkshire or to Cork. Ireland is in my opinion on the high road to becoming a comparatively comfortable country for an agricultural country, and will be all the happier a country because it can never hope to be rich in the sense in which your great industrial communities are. But, believe me, the one thing in Ireland in which any really great Imperial statesmenship will find additional taxable material, will be the increase of Irish contentment, goodwill, and attachment to this country. That increment may not bring much in money to the coffers of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it may not help you to build many "Dreadnoughts," but it will certainly help you to man them, and it is just possible that the occasion may arise when that would be at least as valuable a contribution to Imperial defence as any wretched dividend of plunder that your Death Duties or Land Taxes can win out of the peasant proprietors of Ireland. At present I dare say it would be idle to suggest it, but I believe that whenever the great men of both British parties come together and set themselves to consider what Ireland can really do in the way of aiding the defence of this Empire they will find that their first consideration will have to be that these two countries must be treated as wholly separate entities, and, if not by totally separate Budgets, certainly by totally different categories of charges in the one Budget. For the present we can 74 only repudiate root and branch this whole financial scheme, aggravated still more as it is by this Budget, by which you are doing a thing most unwise for yourselves, as well as most unjust for Ireland. Already we have a taxation greater than that of at least four or five wholly independent countries in Europe which I could name, which have an army and a navy of their own.
I do not expect Britons on either side to understand at once the frame of mind of Irishmen, who are perfectly willing to le friendly to both British parties, and to the entire British people, but yet are determined not to make the interests of their country subservient to those of either one British party or the other. For the last twenty-five years some of my friends and I have had to face a good deal of unjust clamour from both sides of the House and from both parties in turn, but I do not think it has ever particularly daunted us. For the last six or seven years it has been the fate of some of us to have added the still keener and sharper ordeal of clamour equally unjust and unthinking from some of our own countrymen. I do not think that even that form of injustice will terrify us or make us doubt that we shall manage to live that down as well. You here in England have now, with the happiest results, come to understand the frame of mind of men in South Africa, who, four or five years ago, were battling you bravely in the field, and who are now among your best friends. By and by, whether we are here or not, you will come to understand, just as well, the necessity in your own highest interests as well as ours, of having a similar experience in regard to Ireland. As far as my Friends and I are concerned, we are determined to stand or fall by the principle of going to the utmost lengths of patience and of rational concession upon the basis of our common substantial interests and of our higher patriotic interests as well. For my part I will not rest the hope of the future of Ireland upon any mere politician's dodges or intrigues, but upon those solid interests which are as much the interests of this Empire as they are of Ireland. I will not leave the future of Irish nationality in the ignominious position of depending for its subsistence upon the funeral bakemeats of a land war which, thank God, is dead and gone, or, at all events, would have been dead and gone by this time but for the folly of Irishmen. However that may be, what I am perfectly satisfied about is, that in the whole course of our conduct in this matter—first as to 75 our willingness for friendly negotiations, and now as to fighting—we have ever consulted the best interests of our country. Whatever Irish representatives may have qualms and misgivings to-night in going into the Lobby against this Bill, all I can say is I have none. I shall, with a very easy conscience, go into the Lobby against the Second Reading of this Bill.
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Herbert Samuel)
There is no task more easy for the Members of this House to perform than to oppose the imposition of further taxation. Any Member is sure to please his constituents if he stands upon the floor of this Chamber to declare that they are too heavily burdened. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has shown a greater courage, for he has not only denounced the additional taxation that is imposed upon Ireland, but he has also denounced the system of old age pensions from which Ireland benefits, and for the sake of which, in large measure, this additional taxation is necessary. He tells us that over £2,000,000 which Ireland receives in old age pensions is the result merely of an electioneering measure—
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
In great part, and that the Irish Members had nothing to do with the passing of that Act. He said that it was not framed for the benefit of Ireland or to meet Irish grievances, and that, as a matter of fact, from the Irish point of view, it was an injury, for it would merely embarrass Irish finances if Ireland ever had a partially separate financial system. He places the British Government in a dilemma. If the Grants are refused, Ireland, we are told, is treated with pointed injustice; if the Grants are made, we are told that we are doing nothing but embarrass Irish finances. I would ask the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork whether he would have desired to see Ireland exempt from the Old Age Pensions Act? I do not think that his voice was ever raised to oppose the extension of that measure to the Irish people, and I do not think he would venture to get up in his place now and ask this House to pass a law to exclude the aged people of Ireland from the benefits of that ordinance. If that be so, let us see how the balance of the account really 76 does stand, for I agree with him that it is purely a matter of pounds, shillings, and pence as between the two countries. He declares that the additional burden cast upon Ireland by this Budget amounts to £2,000,000 per year. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has given the House another estimate. His estimate is £435,000 per year. There is this difference between the two; that while the estimate of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is supported by published figures showing in detail precisely how—
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The figures have been laid before the House, and each item that makes up the £435,000 has been declared, and that is the difference between the estimate of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the estimate of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork. While the particulars of this £435,000 are given in all detail, the figure of £2,000,000 of the hon. Gentlemen the Member for Cork is a peroration and nothing more, and is unsupported by one single fact or figure. He might as well have given a figure of three, four, or ten millions for all the influence it would have upon the House or the country. On the other hand, there is no doubt about the receipts—about the amount which goes to Ireland in pensions. It can be calculated week by week to a shilling. The amount, too, which goes to Ireland for assistance in other directions under this Budget has also been stated in detail by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Does the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork suggest that in return for these benefits, amounting to £2,800,000 yearly, Ireland ought to contribute nothing at all I That she has to receive this vast sum, and yet pay nothing to the Imperial Exchequer in respect of it1? Ireland is asked to pay, but, Sir, she is asked to pay in proportion to her capacity In exchange for this £2,800,000 receipts she is asked to make an expenditure of £435,000. In any other part of the United Kingdom, or part of the world except Cork, it would indeed be thought to be a good bargain to pay £400,000 odd and receive £2,800,000.
But I rise not only to reply to the hon. Member for Cork—and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will reply more fully to that speech—but also to say something in answer to the remarks with which this Debate was opened 77 by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain). The right hon. Gentleman devoted himself mainly to the question of the Licence Duties, which last year he and I were painfully and perhaps too long familiar with. The case he especially presented to the House was that of a brewery company that distributed a certain sum to its ordinary shareholders in dividends. According to his figures that company would be called upon to pay as a Licence Duty a larger sum under this Budget than the shareholders would receive. I, of course, have been unable to enter into au examination of the figures, or to check them. Very many calculations which in the past have emanated from the trade— and I presume he has been furnished by the trade with these figures—have been found on examination to have been greatly exaggerated, and not to have taken into account counterbalancing circumstances that ought to have been considered.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
Last year we had very many illustrations, especially those that were given again and again by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Holborn. He himself is a member of the trade and his figures were found on examination to have been totally inaccurate with regard to the Holborn Restaurant, Whitehall Court, and the London breweries. His figures were incapable of being substantiated in debate. I am not in a position to-day to dispute the figures which have been given by the right hon. Gentleman. What I do dispute is the assumption that a tax upon the liquor trade is necessarily paid out of the present profits of that trade. Taxes are not necessarily paid out of profits. They are an incident of the business which is being carried on. Partly, no doubt, they are paid out of profits. Partly they may be paid by economic production. Partly they may be paid by the adjustment of the quantity sold, or, in some cases, of prices. When the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues some years ago imposed an extra Beer Duty of Is. a barrel, drawing a sum of about £1,500,000 per annum from the trade, did they state at that time, or do they claim now, that that £1,500,000 every year came out of the pockets of the owners of ordinary shares of brewery companies? When the trade boasts, as it does 78 boast, that it pays the entire cost of the Navy, does it expect anyone to believe that the individual shareholders, and the individual directors, actually pay out of their own pockets year by year for our battleships and cruisers? That the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Ayr Burghs supplies us every year, let us say, with a torpedo-boat destroyer?
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
Or that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Rutland perhaps supplies us with a cruiser? Obviously everyone knows that taxation is borne by business as a whole. The contention of the right hon. Gentleman that the amount of the Licence Duty levied in any particular year on the brewery companies means the entire absorption of the dividends of the Ordinary shareholders of that company is as absurd as if I were to suggest that the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Ayr Burghs supplied us with a portion of our Navy every year. There is this further circumstance to be remembered. The right hon. Gentleman pointed to the fact that our Licence Duties involve a considerable increase on the scale that existed be fore. Obviously that is true. But two calculations can be drawn from that comparison. One is that our new scale is unduly high; the other conclusion is that the old scale was unduly low. I think that anyone who has impartially investigated the scale of Licence Duties that has existed in England for the last thirty years will say that, so far as the larger houses are concerned, it is unduly low. Ten years ago the late Sir Henry Camp-bell-Bannerman was askedwhere he would look for additional revenue if the State was not to impose a tax upon sugar. He declared that in his opinion the larger public-houses could well afford to pay additional licence duties, and that the then existing scale was anomalous, indefensible, and ought to be increased. That was long before the Licensing Bill of last year was even thought of; long before it was rejected by the House of Lords—a rejection which hon. Members opposite pretend is the cause of the increase of the Licence Duties.
Ten years ago the Leader of the Liberal party declared that it was in the direction I have noted that the State ought possibly to look for a larger revenue. A few years later the Royal Commission on Local 79 Taxation reported in favour of an increase of Licence Duties. The Chancellor of the Exchequer of the late Conservative Government (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), some years ago, while Chancellor, used these words:—The present scale of Licence Duties is utterly unfair to the smaller houses as compared with the bigger houses. The bigger houses might very well bear additional taxation. The large hotels should be very highly taxed.No one would suggest that Sir Michael Hicks-Beach is a confiscator, or animated by those principles of robbery which hon. Gentlemen opposite are good enough to credit to His Majesty's Government. Yet Sir Michael Hicks-Beach declared, speaking as a Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the scale of Licence Duties of the larger houses ought to be greatly increased. Do hon. Gentlemen opposite really think that a scale of 50 per cent, on the rateable valuable is too high a scale? [HON Members: "Certainly."] Take a house, for example, rated at £50 a year, which may be doing a very considerable business. Is there anyone who would say that a Licence Duty of £25 is too much for the publican to pay on that house? That is the actual scale of duty which has been paid in this country for thirty years past on some houses, and the proposal is to apply to the larger houses the same rate of duty that has so long applied to the smaller ones. The houses with a rateable value of £500 per year obviously and certainly do a larger trade than the house of £50 a year, but the house of ten times the rateable value is only called upon to pay twice the duty of the small house of £50. The right hon. Gentleman declared in tones of indignation that the effect of our new duty must necessarily be to close vast numbers of public-houses throughout the country, and to turn great numbers of unoffending persons unemployed into the streets. I do not deny—I never have denied—that the effect of the new Licence Duty might be to close a certain number of houses—I do not think a large number. Any tax imposed upon any commodity must have an effect upon the sale of that commodity, whether it may be tea, sugar, or whatever it may be. If you impose a tax upon licences it must have some effect upon the number of licences taken out. When Mr. Gladstone imposed his new Licence Duties in 1880, moderate as they were, and they were universally admitted to be moderate, the effect was that a certain number of pub- 80 licans failed to take out licences. Everyone who is familiar with the trade is aware that at the present time there are a great number of houses that are uneconomic, which do no remunerative trade, and which are kept open merely for the purpose of receiving compensation under the Act of 1904; there is no doubt about that. Houses that would have been closed long ago if the Act of 1904 had not given them an inducement to continue so long, remain open in the hope that some benevolent compensation authority will ultimately suppress them and pay them considerable sums out of the Compensation Fund. As the House is aware, and rejoices in the fact, the consumption of alcoholic liquors has declined in recent years. In the last ten years there has been, on the average, a decrease of about 20 per cent. If the consumption of any other commodity declined 20 per cent., would not a certain number of the houses that supply that commodity be closed 1 If there was some rapid growth of vegetarian principles and the consumption of meat was to decline in a few years by 20 per cent., would there not be fewer butchers' shops? If by some successful application of the principle of physical culture the consumption of drugs was to decline among the population obviously the result would be that the number of drug shops would be diminished. Why should it be assumed that the liquor trade should be different from all other trades, and that although the consumption has declined by 20 per cent, in ten years the number of shops for the retail sale of liquor must always remain necessarily approximately the same?
I do not deny that some publicans may find the Licence Duties to supply the last inducement to them to discontinue the conduct of their individual houses; but I suggest to hon. Members it is no reason why the State should forego its revenue, that the trade keeps open an excessive number of retail outlets for the sale of its commodity beyond what the circumstances of the case require. There is indeed one hardship from which publicans might suffer as a. result of this Budget, or rather as a result of its rejection by the House of Lords and the long delay in its coming into operation. It will be a heavy burden upon the licensed trade to find the duties for the year 1909–10 in the month of May or June, and then again in the month of October to find an equal sum for the duties of the year 1910–11. The close approximation of the two dates 81 upon which the duties will have to be paid is due, not to the action of the Government, but to the action of the House of Lords in rejecting the Budget and in having given rise to this delay. Yet the Government are anxious to avoid, so far as it may be, the imposition of these hardships, which, it must be agreed, are hardships, upon the licensed trade of the country. Therefore, if my right hon. Friend is responsible for the finances of the year 1910–11, it is his intention to make provision in the Budget of this year for arranging that the duties of the year 1910-11 shall not be collected all at once in the month of October, when they fall due, but shall be paid by instalments over the greater part of the year, so that there shall not fall upon the trade two considerable sums of money to be paid in respect of a man's licence within the space of a few months. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcester (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) declared that our proposals struck a blow at commercial capital, struck a blow at the confidence of the business community in the operation of financial legislation.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Before the right hon. Gentleman passes away from the Licence Duty, may I ask him whether it is proposed to extend the instalment payments for the 1910–11 licences to both countries?
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
Yes, certainly the provision in regard to the instalments will apply equally to the two countries. The right hon. Gentlemen opposite denounced these proposals of ours as destroying the confidence of the business community and shaking financial credit. Hon. Members opposite always play one or other of two notes, either confiscation or revolution. First it is the one, and then it is the other. Any fiscal proposal of the Government to which hon. Gentlemen opposite are opposed is confiscation. Any constitutional proposal to which they are opposed is revolution. The right hon. Gentleman said we ought to give inducements to capital to invest in the trade of the country, and we ought to take care not to discourage its investment in our national industries. I venture to suggest that so far as the liquor trade is concerned it is not to the national interests for the Government to give inducements for capital to flow into that industry. It would be far better, and more conducive to the permanent well-being of the country and the happiness of the 82 whole population, if the flow of national capital were directed into other productive movements instead of into the liquor trade of this country.
§ Mr. GEORGE CAVE
I rise for the purpose of dealing as well as I can with the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster-General upon the subject of the new Licence Duties. The Postmaster-General began by disputing in general terms figures which were given last year by us, and which tended to show that the new duties would impose considerable hardships upon individuals. I do not know whether the Government really dispute that a heavy addition will be made by these duties, and that they will mean a severe loss to individuals engaged in the trade. I will only mention a few figures in regard to on-licences— I am not dealing at the moment with the charges upon manufacturers and wholesale dealers and off-licence holders. I want to give one or two figures relating to the holders of on-licences, who are specially hit by these duties. The total additional duty is put at £2,100,000 a year. Taking a certain class of on-licence holders—I will take the figures given by the hon. Member for Hud-dersfield (Mr. Sherwell)—he estimated that the average increase of these duties is 133 per cent., and he shows that 8,000 houses will have to pay an average increased duty of £45 per year; 1,600 houses an increase of £122; 1,000 houses an increase of £180, and 1,300 houses an increase of £190 or more a year.
These are serious new and sudden changes upon individual traders, and these figures are only averages. I shall now take some individual cases. I will only give a dozen figures out of some hundreds that might be mentioned. I first take half a dozen tied houses, and I shall verify every one of the figures. In one case the Licence Duty increases at once from £35 to £147; in another case from £40 to £196; in another from £45 to £245; in another from £50 to £275; in another from £55 to £325, and in the last case from £60 a year, the maximum, to £500 a year. These are all tied houses, and I know hon. Members opposite do not care about tied houses. I think they are wrong.
Let me give similar figures in regard to free houses, where the man pays every penny of the Licence Duty and has no company upon which he could fall back. I will take another half a dozen houses. In one case, there is an increase from £35 per year to £127 a year; in another from £45 83 to £200; in another from £50 to £275; in another from £55 to £330; in another from £60 to £800, and in another case from £60 a year to £1,000 a year. There you have an enormous, most ruinous and most unjust increase in the taxation of one individual. Whatever may be your views as to the capacity of that trade for bearing further taxation, I do say there are ways less unfair than this to tax the trade.
We proposed again and again last year that if you wanted more taxation upon intoxicating liquors you should put a tax upon purchases or sales, so that the increased duty might be, as the right hon. Gentleman says it ought to be, put upon the consumer, but it is grossly unfair to put this particular tax upon certain traders who cannot recoup themselves by the ordinary methods by which other people can recoup their losses. These are figures that mean real injustice, and real ruin to individuals. I think that the matter ought to have a little further consideration. These men paid their yearly contribution in years past, amounting in the whole to £1,000,000, to a Compensation Fund set up for the purpose of insuring them against the loss of their licences. Now you are going to make that fund a mere mockery. You do not in terms take away their licences, but you put a charge upon them so heavy that they cannot possibly pay it, and they will have to drop their licences, and they will have no right to resort to the Compensation Fund. Some of them, the ante-1869 beerhouses, have what is called a Parliamentary title and right to their licences. You are going to put upon these men, who have paid taxes hitherto of £3 10s. a year, a charge equal to one-third of their annual valuation, amounting in many cases to £100 a year and more. Therefore, indirectly, you are going to take from these people the title that you admit is at present a statutory title. The right hon. Gentleman says these charges need not be paid out of profit. In this case that is not true. If you put a charge upon an article it can generally be recovered by adding it to the sale price, but in this case you put it upon a man who cannot recoup himself, because you charge only one channel of supply while, you leave open the others. Off-licence holders, clubs, and so on get off, while you put a heavy charge upon one of the channels of supply. He has to compete with all the other sellers who have licences of other kinds, and, therefore, he cannot put the charges on the consumer. These charges will 84 fall upon the individual. The Postmaster-General says, "Oh, that is all nonsense. These charges are not too high, and the trade will be able to bear them." The Government's own statements show that they do not believe that to be the fact. The statement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer shows that to be the case, because, if he had estimated that all the present houses would pay these duties, he would have put his total very much higher. His estimate shows that he expects a wastage and the closing of a very large number of houses indeed. But apart from that, we have declaration after declaration from Members of the Government, and we have had a further one just recently, to the effect that these heavy duties are not imposed for the purpose of revenue, but for the declared purpose of closing public-houses. We have had that asserted in speech after speech from Members of the Government in the discussions on the Licensing Bill, but I think the most open declaration came from the First Lord of the Admiralty, who said:—The licences are intended not only to raise money, but indirectly, by the very act of raising money by taxing licences, to effect a reduction of superfluous licences.In other words the object of this tax is not to get money so much as to close houses, and by what you call "the economic check" — which of course, means charging a man so much that he cannot go on—by that artificial check, you propose to attain the end that you tried to attain under the Licensing Bill. The right hon. Gentleman says this is just the same thing. He says, if you put a tax upon butchers, some of them will have to shut up. Let the Government try it on the butchers or on any other trade, and they will soon be told that they are doing something unjust. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are very glad to support taxes which, by the express declaration of Ministers, will put upon individuals so harsh a burden that they cannot bear it, and must submit to ruin. So much about the observations of the right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster-General upon the general matter.
I want to say a few words now upon a matter of immediate interest, and that is the retrospective character of these duties. We are going into Committee on this Bill to-morrow, and I should like to know exactly what the Government propose to do. In England these licences were granted last October—that is the on- 85 licences—for twelve months, therefore, if you leave them alone, they will run until next October. This Bill proposes that every one of those licences shall be cut short and taken away on 30th June next, and that if a man wants to renew his Excise licence from 30th June for the remainder of the current year to 30th September, he will have to pay upon that three months' renewal the whole of the difference between the old duty and the new duty. In the case of a man whose duty will be £1,000 a year he must pay the difference between £60 and a £1,000 a year, and he must pay that on 30th June as a condition of getting his licence for the remaining three months. Therefore, you have granted the man a licence for a year, and you are going to take it away after nine months, and make him pay a heavy charge for three months. That is about as great a breach of faith as you could possibly commit, but quite apart from the question of a breach of contract, see what this means in the year 1910. It means that where as under the existing law the trade would pay in October Licence Duties amounting to about £2,200,000, under this Bill they must pay £2,100,000 in June—
§ Mr. CAVE
Yes; roughly, it is right to say they will pay £6,000,000, and pay it practically within the three months between the end of June and September. That is the effect upon the trade as a whole. I think that is a great harship upon tied-houses and those who hold brewery securities. My right hon. Friend went into this point so fully that I need not say anything more about it because all of us have seen privately the great loss to individuals who have put their money in these shares. But apart from this there is a gross injustice to the holders of free houses. I have never been reluctant to stand up for those engaged in this trade, although I have no kind of interest in the matter, my only connection with the trade being as a magistrate. I think that a grievous injustice is being done by these proposals. Only this morning I had particulars of a case sent to me by a free licence holder, 86 who says he wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, sending him a copy of his letter.
§ Mr. CAVE
From Twickenham. He gives these figures:—I desire to place before you shortly the effect the; proposed Licence Duties will have upon this house, which is absolutely free and untied to brewer or distiller. I purchased the lease of about seventy years at £125, in 1906, for £6,850, and valuations amounting to over £1,000 more, and Stamp Duty was duly paid to the State. The present income is £40 and £34 the compensation levy, which I have entirely to bear. The assessment is £266. Under the new duties, I understand I shall have to pay in June £131 (less £40), and £ 131 in October, a net amount of £222. The profits for the past year are £237 before charging any interest on capital or repairs which should have been done, but postponed. As the trade is falling, the profits must be less this year. The inevitable result must be that the house will be closed and all the money lost, as unlicensed it would not fetch the rent for other purposes, There must be hundreds of others in a similar position.So that this man will have to pay this year Licence Duties equal to the whole of his I profits for the year. The Chancellor of the Exchequer probably knows more than I do about this case, but I have seen many more such cases. Another man who gives his name wrote a letter in the Press the other day, and the facts can be tested. This is also the case of a free house. He says:—I have been a member of the trade for a number of years, as my father was and all the members of my family are. We have acquired the freehold of these premises and by dint of steady application, hard work, and thrift, extending over a long period, have been enabled to hold it entirely free from encumbrances of any sort. It is, consequently, what is popularly known as a 'free' house. The effect of these Budget proposals upon us is that our present maximum Licence Duty of £60 is raised to £1,000, being half of the amount at which we are assessed for rating purposes. We shall have to pay this £1,000 on July 1st, less the £00 already paid, and in October next—unless in the meantime the scale should be altered by fresh legislation—another £1,000 will become payable for the ensuing year. So that there will then have been extracted from us close upon £2,000 for Licence Duties within a single year.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The hon. and learned Gentleman really ought not to quote a case like that, because he knows perfectly well that nobody is charged Licence Duty up to £1,000 for a public-house.
§ Mr. CAVE
I know a man assessed under £500 has the option of paying upon the 87 annual value or upon the proportion of his annual licence value, but it must not be assumed that that option is a benefit to everyone, because there are many cases where it will be no benefit at all. In any case the minimum is £250 a year, and in this case the man will have to pay £500 this year, at any rate, instead of £60.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I know the hon. and learned Gentleman is anxious to be fair. I endeavoured to show that the publicans would not be required to pay this October for their Licence Duties for 1910–11 in consideration of the fact that they have already paid in June the greater part of their duties for last year, and a large part of that payment would be postponed.
§ Mr CAVE
I was only reading the letter. Apart from these particular figures you cannot deny that the retrospective effect of this duty will prove a great hardship upon many members of the trade. In many cases there will be no chance of the publicans recouping themselves this year the amount they will have to pay in June, because they have not put up their prices. I know the price of beer was put up in London for about four months, and the effect was not very encouraging, because I am told that sales went down 15 per cent., and what they gained in price they lost in sales.
So that method of recouping themselves which was tried in one part of the country only was tried without success. I want to remind the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the recent defence which he gave for these high duties. Speaking of the Spirit Duty in May last year, he said:—This is an experiment which enables the retailer to take it off the consumer. I have done it deliberately, because I have not thought it fair in cases of this kind to put on the tax in a way that would embarrass the trade and make it very difficult for them to pass it on to the consumer. Here they are able to do it. It is fair to them. It not only enables them to pass it on to the consumer, but it enables the retailer to charge practically the increased Licence Duty on his whisky in most cases, and he is doing it.Recognising that this charge for increased Licence Duty is very heavy, the right hon. Gentleman said, "You can recoup yourselves by an extra charge en spirits, and in that way you can get the tax." The result of the increased charge 88 on spirits, however, has been to enormously decrease the sales of spirits. The estimated falling off in the revenue in that year is something very nearly approaching £3,000,000, which of course means enormously decreased sales. There has therefore been no recouping in that way of the loss, and I think the fact that that consolation, so administered by the Chancellor to these people, has completely failed and broken down is some reason why, as a fair-minded man, he should reconsider the matter, and say whether this enormous charge ought to be made retrospective, so that the whole of one year's charge, at all events, must be paid in cash on the 30th June.
There is another fact I should like to mention, and that is that, as between the different parts of the kingdom, this Bill does not act quite fairly. Whether it is due to the influence of Scotch Members in the Cabinet, or to the arguments of my hon. Friend the Member for Ayr Burghs (Mr. George Younger) I do not know, but the fact is that whilst as regards England and Ireland the new duties date back to October, as regards Scotland they only date back to 31st December. The English people will have to pay twelve months' retrospective tax, and the Scotch publicans will only have to pay nine months' retrospective tax. I do not grudge Scotland the particular advantage which it has got, but I think England ought to have the same advantage. I do not think the Government can defend taxing the English on-licence holder in this way and letting off the Scotch licence holder. I think at the very least you ought to advance the date for England to 31st December, and I should rather say you ought to advance the date for the whole country to a still later date. You have caused this injustice, because it is an injustice, specially by the retrospective action of these duties. It is an injustice which ought to be redressed, and it can be redressed, because the Chancellor was very proud the other day of having an estimated realised surplus of £2,900,000 on the last financial year. With that in hand, ought not the Government to reconsider the question of making this very heavy tax retrospective?
I am glad to hear that at all events the Government have realised there is some hardship in the matter, and that they are going to make some concession. I should like to know, and I hope we may know before this Debate closes, in all its details, 89 what that concession is. Under the Bill as it stands, if the duty exceeds a certain amount it is payable in instalments, half at the end of September and half next March, so that there is already a provision for postponing part of the duty. We should all like to know what further provision the Government intend to make. I do press upon the House that they must meet this very real and very genuine grievance. Financially, they can afford to do it, but, apart altogether from financial reasons, I do submit to the House that in common fairness and justice this grievance ought to be met. They ought not for whatever reasons of policy, whether for the sake of a temperance measure or for any other reason which may be in their minds, to pursue their public ends at the cost of a great injustice to individual trades, and they ought to treat this trade, so far as the traders are concerned, as they treat any other trade. Tax it if you please, but tax it fairly and with regard to the position of individuals and to what individuals can pay. Do not by means of your Budget bring very great loss and misery and even ruin to a very large number of persons.
§ Sir THOMAS WHITTAKER
Before I refer generally to what has been said by the hon. Member, I should like to say one or two words about the position taken up by the Irish Nationalist Members. With regard to the point they make as to the over-taxation of Ireland, I have always felt there is not such a substantial case there as they make out. I feel that the difference is one not of nationalities, but of classes, Any man who goes from this country to live in Ireland, and has the same income and the same kind of expenditure, will not pay a penny more taxation in Ireland than here, and any Irishman, coming to live here and spending the same income in the same way, will not pay one penny less taxation here than there. There is no difference in the taxation of the two countries. Hon. Members, as I understand it, base their claim on the Act of Union. My opinion as a layman is not worth much, but I have always felt, as the result of my investigations, that there is no claim on the Act of Union. The fact is that it is a question of the taxation on poor people as compared with rich people, and Ireland, having a larger proportion of poor people, suffers if there be any grievance of that kind. It is not a question of nationalities, but of classes. If there be a grievance to rectify, it needs rectifying by moderating the taxes on the poorer classes, and that would benefit the people 90 in all parts of the United Kingdom. It is not an injustice which requires rectifying, in Ireland alone; it requires rectifying throughout the United Kingdom.
I agree fully, and I think this is the key to the position, that poor people and poor countries obviously cannot spend as much as rich ones, and the remedy is that we must tax the rich people more. Expenditure which is justifiable for rich people is not justifiable for poor ones, and in the same way expenditure which is justifiable for rich countries is not justifiable for poor ones. When you have expenditure which is justifiable for a wealthy country, you must take care that the wealthy people in that country pay for it. As a poor country cannot afford luxurious expenditure, so poor people in a rich country cannot afford luxurious expenditure; and when you show that a country as a whole can afford luxurious expenditure, that does not prove that the poor people in that country can afford that expenditure. That is one good point in the Budget; it puts the burden upon the well-to-do.
I agree that the fact that this Budget is largely required to meet expenditure on old age pensions does justify putting a certain amount of taxation upon the poor people in this country, but it puts it moderately, and it puts it on luxuries which, if needs be, need not be bought. I also agree, and I think this is a strong point with our Irish friends, that their country would be much more cheaply governed under Home Rule. They are tied to a rich people, but we ought not to tax poor people, whether in Ireland or in any other part of the United Kingdom, because we are a wealthy country. We must see that the expenditure we incur because we are a wealthy country is put upon the backs of the well-to-do, who can afford that expenditure.
With regard to the point made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) as to the price of Consols, I do venture to say that discussing and using the price of Consols in a party attack is a very dangerous business and is a very dangerous weapon. The price of Consols varies very much owing to reasons with which parties have nothing to do, and if either party attempts to attribute the fall in the price of Consols to the action of their opponents, they are very apt to be caught by their own arguments. The right hon. Gentleman says that the fall in the price of Consols is due to the legislation of the Government, and more especially 91 to speeches which have been made, and he also points out that the price of London County Council Stock has not fallen at the same rate. If anything is being done or said to affect the security or the stability of this country, it would affect London County Council Stock more than Consols.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
If securities are to be affected by legislation here and by speeches by Liberal politicians, they will not be saved because you have a Unionist majority on the London County Council. Reference was made to the comparative prices of British and foreign securities, but comparing the highest prices in 1905 with the lowest in 1909, I find that practically all the principal securities of the world—the Three per Cent. Securities—have pretty substantially fallen. I find that Consols fell from 92, the highest price in 1905, when we had the advantage of the right hon. Gentleman opposite as Chancellor of the Exchequer, to 82, the lowest price in 1909; but I also find that Canadian Three per Cents, fell from 101 to 90, French Rentes (3 per cent.) from 100 to 95¾ in 1909—
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
The price of French Rentes on Saturday was 97½, and German Threes fell from 91 in 1905 to 81¾ in 1909. There was a general fall in all the securities, but it is true British securities have had a somewhat further fall this year than others. Is it surprising when, owing to the action of the House of Lords, our Government have had to go into the money market and borrow very freely indeed? I venture to suggest it is a marvellous testimony to the stability of the financial position of the nation that we have been able to pass through this financial crisis with so small an effect on the price of securities. One tiling which does affect the price of securities is heavy taxation, and I have yet to learn if right hon. Gentlemen opposite had been in power that our taxation would have been less. Indeed they are attacking us because we are not spending more on the Navy and the Army. When they refer to legislation sending down the price of Government securities, let us remember what happened when they were in power. The right hon. Gentleman touched on the South African War. The expenditure on that sent down the price 92 of Government securities very heavily. In addition to that, they altered the rate of interest, and that had an effect, to a certain extent, on Consols. But they also extended the scope of Trustee Securities, and when you have an enormous volume of valuable securities thus brought in for investment in the market naturally the price of such securities as Consols fall. That was the result of the action of the Government of that day. I do not blame them for it. They were responsible for it, of course. What I do suggest is that it is a rather dangerous weapon to attempt to make party capital out of the price of Consols.
May I refer to the case which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire gave of a brewery company which is to be brought into dire distress on account of the Licence Duties. It is a company which divided—and the word divided is important—£28,000 last year in paying a dividend of 2½ per cent. We are told that the extra Licence Duties will amount to £40,000, and that that will wipe out the amount paid in dividend. The right hon. Gentleman has been good enough to give the name of the brewery, and in the short time at my disposal I have looked up some particulars in regard to it. I find that that brewery company has been accustomed for some years past to write down an exceptionally large amount, and in last year's account they wrote off £142,000 out of profits for debts and depreciation. [An HON. Member: "In one year?"] Yes, in one year, and, therefore, £20,000 is only a part of a profit they made in that year.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I quoted this case because I had been supplied with information with regard to it. It occurred to me also that it was a concern which was soundly managed, and, therefore, probably in a better position than most breweries to bear the burden. The right hon. Gentleman has repeatedly reproached other brewers for not making similar provision. He has said that they ought to have devoted more of their profits in the way that this particular company has done.
§ Sir T. WHITTAKER
I have no doubt that this writing-off is quite proper, but for the last two years it has been, in the case of this company, very heavy indeed. It has all had to come out of profits, and my point is that if this company is in trouble it is not because of the extra Licence Duties, but because of the very large 93 amount it finds it necessary to write off. One of its troubles is that the consumption of drink in this country has diminished; but then other trades have likewise suffered from depression, and I want to know are we to tax those other trades in order that the liquor trade may escape? What is the general condition? The increase which is being made in the Licence Duty is £2,100,000 a year. What was the expenditure on liquor last year—a low year? It was £155,000,000. The increased duty represents an increase of £1 7s. per cent. on the retail price of the liquor sold. The total charge for Licence Duties would be about £4,000,000, and that means about 2½ per cent. on the total turnover of the trade. These are the Licence Duties taken as a whole, but all Licence Duties do not fall on public houses. There are the wholesale manufacturers' licences and the brewers' charges, which go to make up the whole total of about £4,000,000. Will anybody suggest that 2| per cent, on the retail price is an extravagant charge for this country to make on a great monopoly? Again, during the last twenty-five years the number of licensed houses in this country has very largely diminished, and, as the number diminishes, the remaining houses become worth more money. In England and Wales, in the last twenty-five years there has been a diminution of 13,000 on-licences. Last year there was spent on liquor in the United Kingdom £10,000,000 sterling more than twenty-five years before; thus we have an additional expenditure of £10,000,000, and 13,000 fewer houses to share it. These other houses should, therefore, possess a greater value. The money the Government require has to come from somewhere. This is a long-neglected source of revenue. It is a trade which has enjoyed an enormous privilege of monopoly and profits in the past. The time has come when the nation wants money, and it looks to get it not by a penal charge but a charge of £1 7s. per cent. on the retail income. This Budget will enable us to get down to a better basis for the Licence Duties. They should be based on the amount of liquor sold, and I am sure the change which has been made in levying these Licence Duties will, in the long run, be far more equitable than it has proved in the past.
I come to the effect of the tax on spirits. The diminution in the consumption of spirits has not by any means been entirely due to the additional taxation. The reduced 94 expenditure on liquor of all kinds in the United Kingdom last year as compared with the year before was £6,000,000, but that was nothing exceptional, because, in 1908, the expenditure on liquor fell by £6,000,000 as compared with the previous year. In 1905 there was a fall of £4,000,000 as compared with the year previous; in 1904 a fall of £6,000,000, and in 1903 a fall of £5,000,000 as compared with the preceding twelve months. Therefore the diminution in the expenditure on liquor last year was obviously not necessarily due to the new taxes. There was less consumption of alcohol. They paid a higher price for their spirits, but they got less alcohol for their money, and that was why it hit the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The actual expenditure was, I believe, pretty well as much as it would have been if there had not been the increased taxation. I do not want to trespass too long on the time of the House, but I should like to say a word on the Land Taxes. My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer will both remember the position I took up when these taxes were introduced, and I have said since in my own Constituency that the modifications which were made in those taxes during the time the Budget was passing through the House dealt with a very large proportion of the criticisms I offered, and even at this late hour I should like to pay my tribute to the good temper displayed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer during those Debates. My criticisms were three: First, I doubted the wisdom of including the Land Taxes in the Budget, not because I disapproved of the tax on increment value—I have always advocated that—I advocated it m my election address in 1892, and I have voted for every Bill brought into this House in regard to it, but I disapproved because the Budget was hitting a lot of people in other directions, and I therefore doubted the wisdom of putting more taxes upon them. I also felt that the proposals needed a good deal of consideration and amendment. Indeed, they were seriously amended in the House. When the Budget came in the Land Clauses portion occupied nineteen pages. It now occupies forty-one. Twenty-two pages added to the Land Clauses alone represents substantial change and serious amendment. With regard to the proposals of those who are known as Land Taxers, they are, in my opinion, to put it mildly, rubbish. This Budget 95 does not embody the proposals of what is known as kind taxation at all. If you diminish rates rents will rise. If you increase rates rents will fall, and that means that the landlord bears the burden. The landlord bears it every time the tenancy is adjusted; he is bound evidently to do so. My suggestion is that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen need not be alarmed at taxes of this kind. They will not seriously affect property if they be justly levied on the person who enjoys at the time the beneficial interest in that property. The danger is when you break contracts and do not levy the taxes on the person enjoying the immediate benefit of the property of other people. This Budget does not rip up contracts. It respects contracts and puts the tax upon the person who is enjoying the beneficial interest at the time. I contend very strongly that any increment in the value of land owing to the growth and expenditure of the community, and not owing to the expenditure of the owner of it, is a legitimate subject of taxation, and if you only tax it when he has got it—when he has in his hand the increased value, or can get it by selling the property—you are doing no injustice to anybody. I admit that one result of these provisions has been to affect the value and price of property, but I hold that that result has been brought about not by a clear understanding of the proposals themselves, but by misconceptions and exaggerations, which have been circulated on one hand by the opponents of the measure and on the other by the extreme advocates of land taxation. Between them they have scared the property owners and done much harm, but there is no need for alarm or outcry, and I think hon. Members opposite will find in this case, as they have found in others, that when this tax has got into operation they are not suffering anything like so much as they think will be the result.
As to the Super-tax and Death Duties, I think there is a general admission that they are sound. It has been suggested, however, that the estates for Death Duties are ceasing to show an increasing total. That is so, but it is mainly owing to the fall which has taken place in recent years in the value of property and the value of securities, and has nothing to do with anything which we are discussing. Apart front that, there has been a considerable drop in the value of properties and securities. Consols, for instance, have fallen from 114 to 80; and if a man holds Consols 96 it is obvious that his estate will be returned at very much less, although he is holding the same amount of Consols. The decrease, or the stationary position in the total, has been largely owing to the fall in the value of securities. I think this Budget holds out a very great prospect to us in the next year. Personally I do not look forward to the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposing any very serious increase of taxation next year, and my opinion is that his much-talked-of Whisky Tax will yield a good deal more next year than it has done this year. We shall not have these withdrawals in anticipation of the Budget which took place this year. The trade of the country is growing, and as the trade of the country grows, we may expect an increase of 2 or 3 per cent. in our revenue. Then we shall come in next year for the whole yield of the new taxes which we had not last year, and, again, this year we shall not have two Easters, as we did last year; we shall not have one in this financial year. I think that, as a whole, the financial operations of the year are a great triumph for Free Trade, and whatever may be our individual views of details here and there, it will be found, I think, that the Members who sit on these benches and those who support them in the country are solid against the fallacies and follies of Tariff Reform.
Mr. A. L. HORNER
As a new Member I rise with diffidence to intervene in this Debate. My reason for doing so is as an Irish Unionist and as Member for an Irish agricultural constituency, to enter my protest on behalf of the Irish agricultural community against the heavy additional burdens which this Bill seeks to impose upon them. What has been the attitude of the Irish Nationalist party upon the taxation of Ireland since 1896? Repeatedly in this House and on thousands of platforms in this country and abroad, it has been asserted by them that Ireland contributes between two and three million pounds more than her fair share to the joint taxation of the United Kingdom. Speaking in the Committee stage of this Bill last year, the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) put the case thus:—The Act of Union seems to me to be absolutely forgotten by every Chancellor of the Exchequer when he sits down to prepare his Budget. That Act which was, according to English opinion and English declaration, not merely an Act of Parliament, but was in the nature of a treaty between two sovereign Parliaments, and between two nations, provided that Ireland was taxed only in accordance with her taxable capacity as compared with Great Britain, and it was specially provided that if the Exchequers became amalgamated as they did 97 in 1817, and if taxation became indiscriminate for the two countries, there should be exemptions and abatements for Ireland, so as to make sure that she would never be called upon to pay more than her fair share. That treaty, as England has always called it, has been persistently neglected and disregarded and shamefully violated by successive Chancellors of the Exchequer.The hon. and learned Gentleman used no such language towards the Chancellor of the Exchequer to-day. He went on on that occasion to say:—The Financial Relations Commission which sat in 1894–5, reported that, according to the spirit and letter of the Act of Union, Ireland had been systematically overtaxed, and on the figures of 1894–5, that she was being overtaxed to the extent of between two and three millions a yearWhat has been the attitude of the Liberal party, the so-called friends of Ireland up to the introduction of the present Budget? In the same speech, the same hon. and learned Gentleman said:—When a discussion took place on the Report of that Commission in this House the entire Liberal party voted with us in accepting the Report and demanding that redress should be given. In a memorable speech, which I will never forget so long as I live, the Prime Minister in 1897, made a remarkable declaration, in the course of which he said he found no man to really dispute the findings of the Commission, that the real facts were that Ireland was overtaxed to the extent of two-and-a-half million pounds per year. Not only has the Report of that Commission been disregarded, but the taxation of Ireland has been increased by millions since that day.We hear now that although there was no bargain between the Government and that section of the Nationalist party which is led by the hon. and learned Gentleman, both are somehow in agreement that, although Ireland is, according to themselves, groaning under an excessive taxation, she is to have an additional burden cast upon her by this Bill. The hon. and learned Gentleman is quite candid as to his altered and inconsistent position. But no explanation whatever is forthcoming as to the inconsistencies of the Liberal party. He was, he said, in a position to get concessions from this Government—a sympathetic Government—upon this question of rural taxation. Why has he not done so? Surely the ambiguous statement of the Prime Minister, "the remarkable declaration" made a few evenings ago in this House about guarantees is a very intangible thing to offer to the Irish people as a substitute for at least £3,000,000 a year of over-taxation. They have thrown over their position on the Budget on the plea that the question of the Veto is the supreme issue for them, because it means Home Rule for Ireland. But if Home Rule as obtained it will be upon the basis of the additional taxation now imposed, whereas if Home Rule is not obtained the present tactics—and this is a Government of tacticians—of that sec- 98 tion of the Irish Nationalist party which supports the Government is the merest folly. I pass from that aspect of the question, as it is one with which I as a Unionist have little to do. There is the broader question, namely, that we have a Bill now being driven through Parliament which vitally affects the lives and well-being of every person in the country, and yet the voice of the country is against it. There is not a single representative from Ireland, be he Unionist or Nationalist—the Liberal party is now extinct in that country—whose constituency is not against this Budget. Not a single representative public body in Ireland has passed a resolution in favour of it. Hundreds of resolutions all over Ireland have been passed against it.
I will briefly refer to and summarise two or three of the objections from the Irish farmer's point of view. The policy of all parties in this House has been to make the Irish tenant-farmer the owner of his holding. The taxes that are aimed at the dukes and the land-owning classes in Great Britain will fall in future upon the peasant proprietor. Our only Irish dukes have sold their estates to their tenants, and can laugh at the ineffectual attempts of the Budget to touch them. But the people who were formerly their tenants will in future bear the burden. The moment this Bill passes, the tenant farmer, where he has not bought out, or the new owner where he has, will have an indirect tax of no inconsiderable amount to meet in fighting the valuation of his holding. A new valuation and a new system of valuation will be made under this Bill. Every piece of land will be valued, whether it is building land, agricultural land, grazing land, waste, mountain, or garden. It must be valued under Section 25 for site value, gross value, full site value, total value, assessable site value, and original site value. There is no definition of "value" except so far as it is defined to be the value if sold at the time in the open market by a willing seller. Every occupier of land, therefore, will be put to the cost of fighting this difficult and intricate question, for he will not readily be satisfied with valuation which the fancy or caprice of the Inland Revenue Valuer may fix. We can form some idea of the enormous cost of this valuation from the fact that, in fixing fair rents alone in Ireland, the Treasury and the litigants have spent something like £4,000,000. There will be 600,000 new separate valuations of agricultural holdings.
99 As regards the Increment Tax, I wish to associate myself with every word which my right hon. and learned Friend, the junior Member for Dublin University, said on Wednesday evening. Everyone knows that a vast amount of agricultural land is sold every day in Ireland for prices which exceed its value for agricultural purposes, and this enhanced price will be subject to Increment Duty. As to the additional Stamp Duty, I will take a case in point, to show the undue and vexatious severity of the tax. Take the case of a farm of forty acres, held under a judicial rent of £35, and Poor Law valuation, and suppose the market value to be £650. On the sale of that farm the Stamp Duty will be increased from £3 5s. to £6 10s. If a voluntary assignment, exclusive of course of marriage settlements, is made by the owner of the holding to his son or daughter, whereas now it is subject to a 10s. tax, it will be subject in future to a tax of £6 10s., or thirteen times as much. That is a clear illustration of thousands of transactions which will take place in Ireland every year. But take the same farm if it is bought out, and the State has advanced £850 for its purchase, and if the owner wishes to sell the farm, the Stamp Duty will not be £7 10s. as it is now, but £15, and if he wants voluntarily to convey it to his son or daughter, always excluding marriage settlements, instead of being 10s. it will be subject to a duty of £15, or thirty times as much. There is not much jargon about these figures. They illustrate what will take place in tens of thousands of cases every year.
Take the Death Duties. I have the statement issued by the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland a short time ago, and I think hon. Members will surely admit the impartiality of that great society. Supposing a farm of fifty acres was bought out under the Purchase Act, we may assume, as a fair average, that the tenant's interest in the farm will be £600, and there may be £450 worth of stock, agricultural produce, etc. Under the new Finance Bill the Death Duties payable will be £31 10s. Hitherto their value for duty would have been £450 only, and the duty would have been £2 10s. only, or £29 less. In other words, the new Bill imposes a liability of more than twelve times as much as before on a fifty acre farm. I quite admit that the hon. Member (Mr. Clancy) is quite correct in regard to the provisions of Section 51, Sub-section (2) when the assets 100 are valued for £300 or £500. You have, therefore, a state of things which is anomalous and unjust to the farmers of Ireland. On the one hand you have a great Department of the State, the Land Court, with elaborate and expensive machinery set up to advance public money for the benefit of tenants and tenant-farmers. On the other hand, you have another great Department of the State, the Inland Revenue authority, with equally elaborate and expensive machinery, set up to deprive those owners of the very advantages which the State has given to them. Could absurdity in legislation go further?
One word with regard to the old age pension theory which has been advocated to-day by the Postmaster-General. That very argument is in itself an admission that the taxation, so far as Ireland is concerned, that is going to be imposed by this Bill would be unjust and unfair but for the old age pensions. But so long as Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom surely she is as much entitled to old age pensions as are the inhabitants of Yorkshire or even of Wales. The fallacy of the argumunt of the Postmaster-General is obvious if one only examines the figures submitted to the House on 10th March by the Secretary to the Treasury. Seventy years ago the population of Ireland was 8,000,000, or a little more, and the population of Great Britain was 18,000,000. To-day the population in Ireland is only half of that, and the population in Great Britain has doubled. You must compare the figures with seventy years ago in order to get at the real test, and so compare the amount per head that we in Ireland are entitled to just as you in England are, and we find that, judged by that test, Ireland is getting per head less actually than the old age pensioners in Great Britain. This anomaly will rectify itself in time. There is no provision in the Bill that if it does decrease the taxation imposed by the Bill will decrease proportionately. For these and other reasons which I hold in common with hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House, I shall vote against the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ Mr. J. E. SUTTON
I have been sent here from a very important Constituency for the purpose of supporting the provisions of the Bill, and personally, I should like them to have gone much further than they do. I say an important constituency, because it was represented by the Leader of the Opposition for over twenty years; 101 but the democracy of this country is taking a different view from what it did during those twenty years. On two questions alone have I been sent here, and one of them is this Bill. I have been surprised to hear statements made in this Debate by hon. Gentlemen opposite that if the Bill is passed it will be the means of causing more unemployment. To my mind, if it is passed, as I believe it will be, it will be the means of finding more employment than we have to-day. The Opposition have been crying out during the past election for work for the unemployed. If they were consistent they would vote for the Bill. I am glad the Chancellor of the Exchequer has included in the Finance Bill the taxation of Mining Bents and Royalties. Although it is only a small tax, it is a beginning. Having some little connection with the miners, I believe that mining rents ought to be abolished, and when you remember that the landlords of this country are receiving in mining rents something between £7,000,000 and £8,000,000 per annum, to my mind it is an absurdity. This is a tax upon the industry of the miners of the country, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer is doing right in asking for a small tax. I have often wondered how it is that the coal-owners of the country have never attempted to agitate along with the miners for the taxation or the abolition of mining royalties. I expect it is because the coal-owners are friends of the owners of the land on which the collieries are sunk. However, I believe if the royalties were abolished, a tax of at least 9d. per ton would be taken off the industry of the miners, and the poor consumers would be able to get their coal at a much cheaper rate.
I am heartily in agreement with the Land Clauses. Two hundred odd years ago we used to derive more revenue from land in this country than we are deriving to-day, and to my mind it is not so much the 4s. in the £ that the landlords in the country are objecting to as the valuation scheme. We shall then be able to find out the value of the land in this country, which we do not know to-day. I am a member of the Manchester Corporation, and I was at the inauguration of our tramway undertaking, for which we had to borrow £2,000,000 on the credit of the ratepayers. The result was that the value of the land in the neighbourhood was increased in hundreds of cases from 2d. to 6d. per yard, and yet the owners of the land never contributed a farthing towards the relief of the rates. This Bill says that 102 at least one-half of that tax will come back to the local ratepayers. That alone is a thing that the House ought to support. I could give other instances of a similar character. I trust the Chancellor of the Exchequer will make a bold stand and will not make any more concessions. Too many concessions have already been made. It is a question of putting the tax on the shoulders best able to bear it. When you remember that practically 30 per cent, of our population live below the poverty line, it will be seen that these people are already taxed enough. The aggregate wages of the working classes are going down at the rate of nearly £2,000,000 per annum, while the profits of the rich classes who pay Income Tax are going up at the rate of nearly £200,000,000 per annum. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is doing the right thing in making those people pay the tax who are best able to bear them. I heartily support the Rill and trust it may become law, because we believe it is a step in the right direction.
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Mr. ORDE-POWLETT
I would not, have intervened in the Debate, but I think it is only right when a Member has been returned, chiefly on the subject which we are now discussing, that he should be able to voice the opinion of those who return him to the House. At this time of day it would be almost beyond the wit of man to find a new argument for or against the Budget proposals. You have thrashed it out for many months last year, and we have thrashed it out in the constituencies during the General Election, and the result has been that the Government has been returned to power with a very dwindled majority, and there are many on this side, including myself, who have been returned by rural constituencies with a mandate to oppose the Budget by all the means in our power. I think hon. Members opposite very often look down a little upon rural constituencies. They consider they are of minor importance compared with the industrial constituencies, and they think, especially when they are represented by Members on this side of the House, that their opinions are not worth taking into account. I know hon. Gentlemen opposite think they represent the democracy, but there are still a few democracies in the rural constituencies and a few men who are still carrying on, or trying to carry on, the great and most important industry of agriculture, and in these constituencies we have come—in England, at any rate, by a large majority—to the 103 conclusion that the Budget proposals are going to have a serious effect on our industry. We are sent here and it is right that we should regard it as our duty to protest against taxation which now or in the future, either directly or indirectly, is likely to place any further burden upon the industry of agriculture.
I know the Government have said that agricultural land is not going to be affected by the Budget proposals, but we take a diametrically opposite view of that. I think it is not difficult to see that the Land Taxes are brought forward with the view of hitting the big landowners in this country. When we read the speeches made at various times by hon. Gentlemen opposite we must conclude that these proposals are brought forward more with the view of altering the existing system of land tenure in this country than to obtain revenue for the needs of the Exchequer. I agree that when the Government pass their Budget they will carry out the object of hitting the big landowners in this country, but they will do more than that. They will hit harder, and in some cases smash, the smaller landowners, and in that case, whoever may pay the taxes imposed by this Budget, they are bound to inflict an injustice upon tenant farmers and labourers who are employed on those small estates. It is those employed on the small estates that they are going to hit. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told us that agricultural land is not subject to Increment Duty. Judging from the Debate which took place on Thursday last, it seems very doubtful indeed whether the intentions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer are carried out in the clauses of the Budget. Even granting for a moment that agricultural land is exempted, I do not believe it will be possible in future to exempt agricultural land if once the principals you are proposing in the Budget are passed into law. Agricultural land, even if it is exempt from Increment Duty, is not exempt from the other duties proposed in this Budget. There are hundreds of thousands of acres round towns which will be subject to the Undeveloped Land Duty, and that land is at the present moment producing food for the people of this country. All I can say is that if this tax is placed upon land which is producing food for the people, you are to all intents and purposes placing a tax upon the food of the people. I know that at the General Election this Undeveloped Land Tax was spoken of by 104 many hon. Gentlemen opposite as being very small in amount—only a halfpenny. They asked, What is the use of making such a fuss about a mere halfpenny of taxation? But they carefully avoided saying that that halfpenny was on the capital value and not the annual value of the land. Everyone knows that a halfpenny on capital value is a very different thing from a halfpenny on annual value. Is there any guarantee that this Tax will not be increased in the future? [An HON. MEMBER: "I hope not."] Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer guarantee that this tax will not be increased so long, at any rate, as he is responsible for the finances of this country? There are hon. Members sitting on the Labour Benches who make no effort to hide the fact that they wish to see this tax raised to a great deal higher point than at the present moment. Hon. Members are honest in stating what they wish. They say they do not want to see the tax remain at a halfpenny, and that it should be raised to 20s. in the £. This is a very ingenious way of annexing land by the State without paying for it. But if hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway wish to see the tax raised to that extent, keeping in view the bargains which have been going on during the past few weeks, I do not believe the Government would be capable of resisting the pressure placed upon them by the Labour Members. Even without that tax, I think, if this Budget is passed into law, agriculture and the owners of agricultural land throughout the country are bound to suffer. I do not refer to the large and wealthy owners of land, but rather to the smaller owners.
I know some cases myself of people who own some purely agricultural land and a little land round a town which has a building value. Those owners have nothing to depend upon except what comes out of the land. During the past thirty years three-fourths of these properties have depreciated enormously in value. The only bit they get anything to speak of from are those parts round towns. The proposals in the Budget ignore the fact that three-fourths of these properties have depreciated, and it is proposed to place the tax upon that small portion of property round a town which may have increased in value owing to no effort on the part of the owner. I think it is admitted on every hand by professors of economy that if a tax is taken for increment, some relief should be given in respect of decrement in the remainder of a property. The Government take no notice 105 of the depreciation in three-fourths of these properties. To my mind the whole of the Land Tax proposals are aimed at the land, and the owners of land alone. You may think you are hitting the owners only, but I think you are very much mistaken. By hitting the owners you are hitting the tenant farmers and agricultural labourers, and you are doing a serious injury, in some cases giving a mortal blow, to people who during thirty years of depression have been striving carry on agriculture in this country.
§ Mr. CLOUGH
As the representative of a rural constituency bordering on that represented by the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Orde-Powlett) I would say that the hon. Member may be surprised to learn that we on this side of the House find it a real pleasure to-day to be in full cry on a hot scent of the enemies of the people's Budget, and that we have the exhilarating feeling that after taking three very easy fences at the gallop without touching a rein, we shall be in at the kill. This Budget has been happily named "the people's Budget." It is a Budget the common people love and appreciate. They were very quick to recognise during the last election the self-sacrificing and painstaking labours of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer in getting this Budget through last Session of Parliament. In fact whenever his name was mentioned at any of the election meetings a voice was sure to cry out, "Three cheers for Lloyd-George," and you were lucky if you were allowed to proceed without an encore. At any rate, that was the experience in the North of England in the county represented by the hon. Member opposite. The electors in the North are educated and intelligent, and they know what is at stake on their behalf in the issues of this Budget. Perhaps the same observation might not apply to the constituencies in the Home Counties or in the South, or to the Universities. They are so benighted in these constituencies that a canvasser was asked by one of the electors, "Who is Mr. Budget? What constituency is he standing for?" You may understand from that how versed some of the electors were in the questions of the day. The people want this Budget, and none other, because they shrewdly guess that if an alternative Budget were brought in by the Opposition and the House of Lords it would not be a people's Budget, but a landowners' and log-rollers' Budget.
106 Why do the people take such a strong fancy to this Budget? What is the secret of its popularity? It is because it is founded on sound, fair, and well-tried principles. First of all, it levies taxes only for revenue purposes. There is no Protection and no log-rolling in it. The whole product of these taxes goes into the nation's coffers. That is the Free Trade finance of this Budget. Once it has gone through it will make Free Trade finance immortal, and strike a mortal blow at the Tariff Reformers' nostrum. The second principle is that it imposes new taxes only on luxuries and non-necessaries of life. It does not touch food or the necessaries of life. In the third place, it instructs the tax-collectors to call only on those persons who have enough and to spare, and they are not to knock at the doors of the poor and needy. In what respect does this Budget differ from past Budgets? It is built up on the same lines. It has increased old taxation. It has added 8d. per pound on tobacco, 3s. 9d. per gallon on spirits, 3d. per barrel on beer, 2d. in the £ on unearned incomes. It has increased the scale for motor licences and the Death Duties, and it has initiated or invented several new taxes. What are they? They are 6d. in the £ on super-income—that is income above £5,000 a year; Is. per £ on Royalties; 3d. per gallon on petrol; 4s. in the £ on the unearned increment on land values when realised. If they never realise they will never have to pay. Then there are ½d. in the £ on undeveloped land values and 2s. in the £ on windfalls from reversion.
It is plain that each of these is a luxury or a non-necessity of life, or, to use a more Parliamentary word perhaps, a superfluity. We can assume that it is a luxury to smoke or drink; we shall all agree that it is a great luxury to drive a motor car and to have an unearned income, and we shall all agree that the greatest luxury of all is to have an assured income of above £5,000 per year. No man need be hit by this Budget, if he is determined to be missed. There is no Act of Parliament compelling a man to smoke or drink or to drive a motor car, or to eke out a miserable existence on an unearned income. In fact, a witty barrister who was a Member of this House, and worked hard to secure the passage of this Bill last Session, said that the Budget suited him down to the ground, because he did not smoke, he did not drink, and he had no income. Now it is to the everlasting glory of the working masses that they have never grumbled 107 at the increased taxation under this Budget, because they understood its true inwardness. They knew that in the long run they would benefit by it. A Tariff Reformer tried to scare a working man by telling him this Budget would make him pay more for his pipe and his glass, and he promptly retorted, "That is all right. There is only one man in this house smokes and drinks, and that is myself. But there are eight of us eat bread"; and there he went to the very root of the matter. At the close of one of our meetings in the Skipton Division, when the meeting was breaking up, a labourer who was lighting his pipe said, holding up his tobacco, "Here you are, threepenorth o' bacca and hawporth o' 'Dreadnowt.'" In welcoming this extra halfpenny on the ounce of tobacco which he was paying for the "Dreadnought," he seemed to be rather proud of his interest as a shareholder in the "Dreadnought." It was not a pride that was reciprocated by the Liberal candidate, but it was there in the mind of this man.
In telling the tale outside it was easy to adorn it by pointing the further moral that the smoker realised that he had to pay that extra half-penny an ounce for his tobacco and that the foreigner did not pay it for him. The foreigner did not send over a cargo of half-pence along with the cargo of tobacco. He also realised that the tobacconist, out of the goodness of his heart, did not pay it, for while the Chancellor of the Exchequer made his Budget statement on 29th April last year, the man who went down to the tobacconist next morning had to plank down an extra halfpenny for his ounce of tobacco. After that it was perfectly hopeless to appeal to Northern constituencies to try to gull the voters into the belief that the foreigners will ever pay the tax, that the foreigner will send along with his shipload of grain a shipload of florins in order to pay two shillings a quarter upon foreign corn. No, that idea of making the foreigner pay the tax died a sudden death, beyond the powers of resurrection. The foreigner did deceive the workman with regard to his tobacco, and he will take good care that he does not let him deceive him either with regard to foreign corn or foreign manufactures. The man in the street also learnt in double-quick time that this extra taxation was not going to be paid either by the distiller, or the brewer, or the publican. It soon became manifest that the consumer would have to pay, and in that 108 merciless school of experience, the taxpayer has learnt, let us hope once for all, that he can only escape the burdens of taxation by their non-imposition, or by their remission on the part of his own Chancellor of the Exchequer, and not on the part of a Chancellor of the Exchequer of any foreign Government. But the industrial masses have never grumbled at this Budget. If they have to build "Dreadnoughts," if they can only have their old age pensions, they are willing to stand their corner in paying the extra taxation upon their luxuries. The only classes to wince under this Budget have been the poor, but honest dukes, and those who hobnob with them.
Why have they winced? They have winced because of the Valuation Clauses that are contained in the Budget, the Doomsday Book up to date. That is what frightens them. They are not frightened at the revolution and the end of all things. They are frightened at the revelation, the new Book of Revelations, to be edited by St. George the diviner. There will toe many chapters in that book of untold millions' worth of pounds of real property, which will now have to pay a modest toll of a halfpenny in the pound, but which hitherto have escaped scot free. That scandal will be brought to an end by means of this Budget. This Budget is deservedly popular with the common people, because the Chancellor makes out the demand notes on the same rule as that in which a doctor makes out his bill. A doctor bases his fee on the rateable value of the house in which his patient lives. If he visits Lansdowne House he charges £5 a visit; at least he ought to do so, if he does not. If he visits the manor house, he charges a sovereign a visit. If he visits the cottage he charges half-a-crown a visit. He never refuses. "Where duty calls, or danger, he's never wanting there." But when he has been to a very poor patient he very often forgets to send in his account. There is a well-authenticated example of a noble doctor in a neighbouring constituency of Otley, who had a sliding scale even lower than this. The doctor was a Wesleyan local preacher. If the President of the Board of Trade were here he would appreciate this example, seeing that he himself was a brother of that right hon. fraternity. This doctor had as a patient a poor man, who was also a local preacher. He saw what the patient wanted was not physic, but food; so when he went home to his surgery he made up his prescription 109 and put it into a pill box, and inscribed thereon, "To be taken as required," and when the person opened the pill-box he found that it was full of sixpences. The Chancellor of the Exchequer makes out his Income Tax assessments exactly on the same lines as that doctor followed. He goes to the man with about £5,000 and demands an Income Tax of 1s. 8d. in the £; to the man with an unearned income he demands an Income Tax of 1s. 2d. in the £; from the tradesman he demands 9d. in the £, and where a man has only £160 a year he sends him no demand at all. To the very poor man or woman above the age of seventy years, metaphorically speaking, he sends him or her from two to ten sixpences a week. Is there little wonder that this Budget is acclaimed by the multitude of the common People? It will be a long day before the Liberal party forget the great Budget introduced in 1894 by the late Sir William Harcourt, but the first Budget introduced by the right hon. Gentleman, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, will be remembered gratefully for generations to come. It will be, indeed, a red-letter day in the calendar of the United Kingdom when this Budget finds an abiding resting place on the Statute Book of the realm.
§ Mr. E. ROYDS
I ask the indulgence of the House in addressing it for the first time. Hon. Members who have spoken on the other side approved of this Budget because it places the burdens on the broad backs of those who are able to bear them, and they approve of the Land Taxes because they are placed on broad backs. I would ask those hon. Gentlemen whether, because a man owns one acre of land, or ten acres, or a thousand acres, has a back which is necessarily so broad as to be able to bear not only a fair share of the country's burdens, but also an additional and special burden which is not placed on other forms of property? No such tax is proposed to be placed on those who may make, in the course of a few weeks, 100 per cent, in gambling on the Stock Exchange; but the man who owns land, and has probably to be content with a return of 2, 3, or 4 per cent, at the outside, is considered to have a back so broad that he ought to be picked out to bear this special burden. The remarks of the hon. Gentleman seemed to me to be very much in accord with those which were made on almost every Radical platform in the course of the General Election. The Chancellor of the Exchequer himself is not free from blame in leading 110 the country to suppose that the burden was being put on the broad back—by broad back I mean the back of the landlord. He himself set an example of making attacks on the big landlords of the country, and so led the people to suppose that it was the big landlords only who were touched by this particular tax, and not the small owners. The truth is that this Land Tax will fall on the rich and poor alike. It will fall on all owners of land, great and small, and by far the greater number of owners of land in this country are exceedingly poor. [HON. Members: '"Oh."] That is the true position. The bulk of the landowners in this country are poor, and the small and poor landowners outnumber the big landowners by twenty or thirty to one. There is no doubt about that at all. And the Labour Members, in supporting this Finance Bill, overlook the fact that land is a favourite investment for the working classes. It is the one form of investment for an artisan with savings. He likes to make his investment in land and house property, and he is very right to do so, because it is a form of property he understands and can see. The Chancellor of the Exchequer mentioned last week that he was proposing to make a commencement by taxing out of existence certain owners of land who were holding up the land. If you refer to the Land Clauses of the Budget you will find there is no reference whatever to owners who hold up the land. All owners of land are dealt with alike. If there are any considerable number of owners holding up the land to the detriment of the community, instead of punishing all owners of land, great and small, surely the proper course would be to apply to Parliament for powers to enable the community affected to acquire the land compulsorily on reasonable and fair terms. I think the most serious consequence of these land proposals will be that they must of necessity drive capital away from the land. It is of very much more importance to a man, whether he is a builder or a purchaser of land, that he should get his money on reasonable, cheap, and easy terms. Of much more importance to him is the price at which he gets his money than the price which he pays for the land.
If a man buys, say, ten acres of land all the benefit of the outlay in respect of building will probably be at least ten times what he obtains from the land itself; and therefore the House will see that the terms on which he gets his money is of much more importance to him than the 111 price at which he gets his land. At the present time land has been looked upon as a safe investment, and money has been available on very reasonable terms— generally something like 4 per cent. If these Land Clauses become law the result must be disastrous. No man will in future lend money on such a. complicated security and such a complicated title. It must be obvious that these provisions, if they are passed, instead of making the land attractive to the investor, will have the effect of driving him from it. In my view that is a most serious part of these Land Clauses. I think the fact that money will not be available on easy terms must be a very disastrous thing. The whole body of practical men connected with the land—builders, lawyers, architects, and surveyors—have all given their opinion on these Land Clauses, and have been absolutely united in condemning them. But apparently the opinion of practical men, who give that opinion perfectly honestly, goes for nothing. It has gone for nothing, and no notice has been taken of the opinion of these practical men. These Land Taxes and the whole scheme seem to me to be worked by theorists who have no practical connection with land, and have no practical knowledge of the developments of the land. That seems to me to be a most unfortunate state of affairs. Many speakers who represent agricultural constituencies have dealt with the agricultural part of the matter. I say nothing on that beyond the fact that I should like to make it clear in my opinion these Land Taxes, as they stand, apply to all land in the country, agricultural land included, but there is some agricultural land which may be temporarily exempted. I think that is all that can be fairly said of the position of the Land Taxes of the Budget.
§ Mr. C. A. GRENFELL
I think that the remarks of the last speaker are only on a par with previous predictions that we have had from hon. Members opposite. We have had almost every epithet that could be imagined applied to this Budget. We have been told that it was a sham, a penal, a revolutionary, and a Socialistic Budget, and I think one hon. Member described it as the maddest Budget ever introduced. We were told it would produce too much revenue, and, on the other hand, that some of the taxes produced no revenue at all. We were told Free Trade finance had broken down. We were told, more- 112 over, that it would have three main effects, that it would cause unemployment, commercial depression, and tend to drive capital abroad. I think anybody who listened to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his opening statement last week will have come to the conclusion, as he quietly unfolded and revealed the definite results of his policy, that he had completely vindicated that policy, and that he had emerged so triumphantly as to justify a pæan of joy and even perhaps a peroration in Welsh. Financial croakings have always formed part of the stock-in-trade of politicians. Lord Macaulay, in a chapter on the period from 1690 to 1700, goes very fully into the croakings which then began on the first creation of the National Debt, and that swelled with each successive increase of that Debt. Lord Macaulay sums them up thus:—There must have been some great fallacy in the notions of those who uttered mill or those who believed that long succession of confident predictions so signally falsified by a long succession of indisputable factsLet us go back to the time when this Budget was introduced. Trade then was not good. It was a doubtful period, but the Government with exemplary courage decided on the increased expenditure necessary for old age pensions, the Navy, and social reforms long needed. Again we were told that it could not be inflicted without imposing great hardships, but it has been done without inflicting any hardships, or any damage to trade or commerce, or any privations on the great masses of the people in this country, or without a single poor man, woman, or child having to deprive themselves of a single meal, or of any of the necessities of life. Seven-eighths of the taxes have been collected, and the balance obtained by temporary borrowing. So that the collection of the amount now required is not, figuratively speaking, fresh indebtedness. That has been accomplished too in an abnormal year when nearly every first class Power with their protectionist fiscal systems have had to meet their annual expenditure by permanent loans. We shall when the whole of the collection of the taxes is completed have redeemed over £8,500,000 of Debt, and quietly met the great expense of the year, an expense which I think should satisfy every single Member of this House. To be perfectly candid, there has not been financial chaos. All is well that ends well, and what an eloquent tribute to the common-sense of the people of these islands. I think we perhaps little realise how near we may 113 have been to having a very great disturbance in the money market. A chance word, a strike, some dispute with a foreign Power. Any of those unforeseen circumstances might have created a very dangerous situation. Meanwhile, trade has increased and unemployment has decreased, and the Stock Exchange has enjoyed its booms. Last year, which began badly, ended well. The town, Metroplitan, and country clearings of cheques and bills showed an increase over 1908 of £1,400,000,000 (fourteen hundred millions) as regards the Clearing House. It was a record of over £700,000,000 (seven hundred millions) over anything previously done in this country before. This year already, for three and a half months, there is an increase in Clearing House returns of £494,000,000 over what it was last year, which, as I have pointed out, was a record. We know that Clearing House figures are not entirely reliable as evincing the activity of trade, but taken in conjunction with other figures, they help to form what Lord Macaulay called "indisputable facts." The other figures I take are those of the railway traffics. Railway traffics during the first half-year were poor, and they improved during the last half-year. All our principal railways either maintained or increased their dividends. For the present half-year fifty-three railways of the United Kingdom show an increase of £835,000. Those figures are very remarkable. Further, the Board of Trade figures show that our over-sea trade has increased until at the present moment it has almost reached, and I confidently predict it will reach, the high-water mark of 1907. We have now a gross over-sea trade of over £100,000,000 per month.
The criticisms which we have heard during these Debates on the Budget seem to me to be mostly those of detail. A great many hon. Members on the other side agree with us, I believe, that these Land Value Taxes, or, at any rate, some of them, would be amply justified if their proceeds went entirely to the municipalities. If we take them with us so far I think we have gone a long way towards agreement. When it is remembered how interwoven our national finances are with municipal finances it is not a very long stretch to say that it is only fair that half the proceeds of these taxes should be retained for the National Exchequer. Another general argument is that the Land Clauses will cause much unemployment. Putting it in the form used on the platform, 114 which, perhaps, is not one I would always commend, it has been stated that the taxes would lead to the dismissal of butlers, footmen, gamekeepers, and other employés on the estates. Surely that argument can be applied to any and every tax which increases the annual levy. If hon. Members opposite agree that we have reached a period where an increase of taxation is necessary they must agree that you cannot raise more money for the purposes of the State, whether by Free Trade or by Tariff Reform, without narrowing the margin that a man has to spend. If you narrow that margin, unless he is very rich, a man has got in some way or other to make some sacrifice. I agree with a previous speaker, that, speaking of the fairly well-off people, the man on whom these taxes will press most is the smaller county gentleman. I also agree that his voice has not been heard. The voice we heard all through the election and before was that of the very rich landlord, who, to my mind, can easily afford to pay. On the other hand, there are the country gentlemen in whose cases any increase of taxation so narrows the margin of what they have to spend that it may make it difficult for them to live in the houses which they have inherited. Those are the men who give their time to county work and assist us with the Territorials, and if the increased taxation does press hardly on them they have my fullest sympathy.
Another question which has been fully discussed is that of foreign investments. On these financial questions we all have different theories. It is a very wide field to cover. The argument which has been brought forward, like most of the Tariff Reform arguments, is entirely a comparative one—that is to say, that British credit has fallen, but the credit of other countries, which also has fallen, has not fallen so much in proportion. It has also been said that there has been a rise in the credit of many of the municipalities of foreign countries and of foreign countries themselves, whereas there has not been any similar rise in this country. That is probably so, but many of the foreign countries which enjoy good credit now, and many of the municipalities which are now able to issue loans in our markets, when I first went upon the Stock Exchange either enjoyed no credit at all or in some cases did not exist. Naturally, when a young municipality first goes into the market it has to borrow at a higher rate than subsequently, when its credit is more firmly 115 established. I think it is one of the most-ridiculous arguments ever put forward, as if the rise and fall of the credit of Japan compared with the rise and fall of the credit of England had anything to do with party politics. There is not the slightest difficulty in this country in getting money for sound and legitimate enterprises. I am a director of one of the tube railways and associated generally with the scheme. We have schemes out now for further extensions, but we shall not have the slightest difficulty in getting our money, and we shall get it on better terms than any other country would get money for a similar enterprise in that country. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury made a statement the other day on this subject, the only fault of which, so far as it referred to the City of New York, was that he put the case too mildly. The City of New York recently borrowed—I think last month—and had to pay 4¼ per cent, for its money, whereas the Three per Cent. Stock of London stands at about 95 to 96. If you read the Debate in the House of Lords on the subject you will see that the very people who seemed to be decrying these foreign investments were Lord Rothschild and Lord Revelstoke, the two people who have most tempted the investors of this country with their foreign dishes, and perhaps done more than anyone to lead our investors to prefer them to the solid roast beef of England. Messrs. Baring last year issued a 4 per cent. United Pacific Bond at 95. I think it was a first mortgage on a portion of the line. At any rate it was an exceedingly well-secured bond on one of the greatest railways, if not the greatest railway, in the United States. That loan returned 4¼ to 4⅜ per cent., the same as at that time you were able to obtain from English railway ordinary stock. Is it a matter for surprise that those who had to make investments preferred a first mortgage on the United Pacific Railway, a concern paying 10 per cent, on its ordinary shares, to the ordinary stock of one of our railways?
The truth of the matter is that there is no one factor by which you can measure the price of stocks. I should say myself, and I speak continually with eminent financiers, that the great factor was the value of money at the time, or what had been the value of money for a certain period. France is a country whose security at the present moment stands, I think, on an equality with ours. First of 116 all, French Rentes are tax free, and are a very favourite investment with the people of that thrifty and saving nation. The French have had a bank-rate for the two or three years of 3 per cent, against our 4 per cent. Moreover, they have not had to pay off £30,000,000 War Loan, which we have recently had to do. They have not had to raise £34,000,000 on bills, which we have had to do owing to the action of the House of Lords. They have not had to use their credit to the tune of £60,000,000 or £70,000,000, which we have had to do in the last few years under the Irish Land Purchase Act. They have not had to lend their credit to the Transvaal as we have recently done to the tune of £5,000,000 sterling. If you view all these things that this country has done, it is marvellous that we should still hold the premier position, as we do, in the finance of the world.
If the Chancellor of the Exchequer has the power, as alleged, to divert capital into different channels; if he has to have the discredit of having driven money into foreign investments, I think at any rate that we ought to give him the popularity of rubber and oil! Let me finally say that what we are decrying here, foreign investments, are being encouraged as much as possible at the present time an the United States. Hon. Members will have seen the other day that that country insisted in taking their share in the negotiations that were going on for a loan to China. President Taft certainly made a speech on that point, and stated:—That it is necessary that the United States should as much as possible encourage her foreign in vestments with a view to stimulate the export tradeI am not going to detain the House any more with my views on the financial situation. But I do rather hope that that bogey, alongside the Socialist bogey, which has repeatedly been thrown at us over this Budget, has been laid to rest. I think that the Socialist part of it was laid to rest, and the grave was dug by the Tory ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord St. Aldwyn, in his letter to "The Times" on 18th December last. I wish to most heartily congratulate the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the satisfactory manner in which, in spite of great difficulties, he has been able to meet the situation.
§ Mr. J. L. BAIRD
At the very beginning of the Session the Member for the Black-friars Division of Glasgow (Mr. Barnes) expressed the opinion that the new Members of this House take no part in the 117 discussion on the Budget. The hon. Gentleman is not in his place at present. I should like to ask him when he returns whether he means by that that his constituents are going to pay taxes that my Constituents otherwise ought to pay, because I cannot imagine any other reason for depriving Members of this House of the right of speech on any measure that comes before this House. The fact that the Budget was discussed at great length in the last House of Commons has nothing to do with the matter. A new House was elected mainly on the subject of the Budget. My Constituents were, no doubt, unintentionally, but none the less quite deliberately, misrepresented on the last occasion that this measure was before the House. I think rather that the Member for the Blackfriars Division of Glasgow was giving us a forestalment from the methods which obtained on the last occasion that we enjoyed a unicameral Government in this country, which was at the time of the Commonwealth, of what was likely to happen. The House of Commons then, having been forced to agree to a dissolution, decided that the old Members were, ipso facto, to be re-elected, and were to have the power of vetoing whatever the new Members decided. As we have not yet reached that stage, I think it due to my Constituents to lay before the House some of the objections which they felt towards this Budget, for which their Member voted upon the last occasion that it was before the House. The hon. Member for Mansfield Division maintained that the Budget had not been talked about by his opponents at the election. I daresay that was very lucky for him, for I am certain my opponents talked about it, and I talked about it, and everybody had an opportunity of deciding whether they would vote for it or not. I have here a leaflet issued by my opponent at the last election, and the virtues of the Budget are here freely set out. He says it lifts the burden off the poor, unlocks the land to the people, adapts the burdens to the backs that can bear them, and that it is the crowning test and final argument for Free Trade. I think that puts it very succinctly, but the misfortune was that my Constituents did not see it in that light. They thought it did none of these things, and they thought that the Government were quite wrong upon the subject, and in consequence they sent me here with a direct mandate to oppose this Budget which was passed the last time. Hon. Gentlemen opposite think 118 it is going to be passed through this House and the House of Lords. How is it going to be passed? How is it to get through this House? [HON. Members: "By a majority."] The hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond), upon whom the passing of the Budget depends, as hon. Members opposite admit, made this statement in the "Freeman's Journal" of 11th February:—If Home Rule is to be put upon one side, then I will fight the Budget, but if it is a question of the Budget and Home Rule I will accept the Budget.That is nine-tenths Home Rule and one-tenth Budget, and that is why you have a majority for the Budget now. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford is pleased to vote for it, because he thinks right hon. Gentlemen opposite will give him Home Rule. Well, a great many years ago it was said by a gentleman no less ingenious and no less fertile than the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. The hon. Member for Waterford may yet see the wisdom of that when he comes to show his people the value of this Home Rule. Meanwhile, the Irish people have to swallow the Budget, which they hate, in the hope of getting Home Rule, which the Nationalists want. Hon. Members will admit that but for the support of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford they would never get their Budget.
It is said by supporters of the Budget that it is based on altogether novel principles. It is held to be one of its virtues, that it introduces these novel principles. We have only to refer to the statements of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to know what these principles are. He admitted that in order to find the money necessary for various measures he had to-look round for hen-roosts to rob. The Lord Advocate said, speaking at Coventry, on 11th September last year:—These Land Taxes involve a principle which is capable of very wide application, and very great extension.That is what we object to in the Land Taxes. It is not only what is intended to-be done now in regard to them, but it is the possibility of their extension, which is to make land absolutely valueless in. the country. You can see how that principle works out from a statement which is reported to have been made upon this subject by the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden):—For present purposes, either for revenue or for land reform, the Land Clauses, attenuated as they now are by countless concessions to the landowners, are all 119 but worthless. For some years there would be no net revenue from the Land Taxes at all. The cost of the land valuation will more than swallow up the revenue from increment, from reversion and Undeveloped Land Taxes for the next four years at least.So that the Land Clauses of this financial measure will produce no revenue for four years.But the impression is abroad that this Budget is clipping the wings of the landlords—or pulling their teeth would perhaps be a better simile—and the supporters, of the Budget believe that when once the machinery is built and the principle established, it would be easy to increase the amount of the taxes.I am bound to say that that method of taxation, pulling the teeth of the landlords, seems to be going back to rather barbarous days, or to the very Socialistic state of affairs that prevails among some primitive nations. If hon. Gentlemen want to introduce that system into this country they cannot be surprised if other people oppose it. The object of the Land Taxes, we are told, is to draw the teeth of the landlords. It may be some satisfaction to some people to do that, but the question is, are you going to do any good by it for the poorer people; are you going to reduce land? Are you going to put money into anybody's pocket? Are you going to increase wages? Are you going to make it more easy for a man to get a house and to pay the equivalent rent necessary? How are you going to do all that? It is very easy to make promises of that sort, but is it by throwing land upon the market you make it more easy for land to be obtained? I have not the slightest doubt that a great deal of land will be thrown upon the market; you will find plenty of willing sellers. How many buyers will you find? You will find no buyers at all.
I should like to mention an incident that occurred at Rugby. There there is a building society kept by the working men. When the Budget was brought in they had a large sum of money in the bank, and they sought to obtain power for the society to invest this money in securities other than land. That money which was meant to be invested solely in land, but owing to the state of the land market due to the introduction of the Budget, they found it was not possible to invest in land. These people were not imaginary dukes such as the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer described, in Lime-house, but were workmen whose savings were intended for the purchase of houses, yet the first thing that happened after this measure was brought in was that that society sought powers to invest its funds in securities other than 120 land. How is that going to help the working man who wants a house? He is not going to invest a farthing in land. As a matter of fact I do not think hon. Members opposite will deny that the operation of the Land Taxes is the same as any other "bear" operation upon securities. You depreciate the value of the securities; the poor man sells, and who is it that buys? The rich man who can afford to wait and see. Hon. Gentlemen cannot but know that when stocks are falling the security is falling. That is a concrete example of the effect of these taxes on land as regards building. Another effect as regards employment is that one builder I know, who usually employs 2,000 people, is now only able to employ 600. Are hon. Gentlemen opposite going to find work for the odd 1,400? [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen may laugh, but these are facts to do with working men, whom they claim to represent. I claim to represent as many trades unionists as hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, and I know they are not in favour of the Socialistic remedies advocated by them. Again, nobody knows what is going to happen in regard to agricultural land. Is it going to be unlocked for the people? At one time we are told it is not going to be affected, and the next thing we hear is that it is all going to be valued. What is it all going to be valued for? Is it going to be valued to satisfy the curiosity of hon. Gentlemen opposite with a view of eventually taxing it? If you are going to put a tax on it, why not say so. Why is the liberty of the individual to be infringed in this way? How would hon. Gentlemen opposite like to be pestered with valuers, surveyors, lawyers, and clerks? There is no reason at all why a certain class should be singled out for treatment of that kind because they have invested their money in land. It used to be one of the greatest securities in the country, and now it is one of the worst.
It is perfectly impossible in the time the Government has given to the House to go into many of these taxes at all, and only a few of them can be dealt with superficially. It does not matter what we say, because the Government have already decreed that no alteration in the Bill is to be made in spite of the fact that the 168 opponents of this Bill in the last Parliament has now been increased to 295. That shows their regard for popular liberties and the value the Government, put on "government of the people, by the 121 people, for the people." Tobacco is taxed 500 per cent. There is a tobacco factory at Rugby, and the cigars manufactured there are consumed by the poorest section of the community. Before this Budget you could get those cigars at 3d. per packet, and they were very much fancied, but the first effect of this Budget is that those packets are to be put up to 3½d., because there is no coin to represent the exact increase in the tax, and the working men refused to buy them. What is more important, sixty women employed in the factory were at once turned away. Under these circumstances I do not see how it can be claimed that there is any advantage to the working classes in this tax either from the point of view of the convenience of working men or employment. The fact that these people were thrown out of work makes less money available for circulation in the town, and that reflects on the shopkeepers who supply food and clothing. The beer dealers also suffered very much. They used to pay a Licence Duty of £3 10s., and they will now be called upon to pay £10 10s. That means that a great many of them will have to give up their business altogether. I notice that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Spen Valley (Sir Thomas Whittaker) was very much in favour of these Licence Duties, and he quoted figures to show that the consumption of drink was steadily decreasing. If ever there was a moment when it is unjust to tax a business surely it is when that business is on the decrease. The taxes on the trade have been increased enormously out of proportion to its capacity to bear it. That is not taxation, but sequestration. This is an attempt to make people drink cocoa, and incidentally you are throwing a great many perfectly honest people out of work, making employment difficult to get, and decreasing the amount of business done and the amount of profit made amongst the shopkeepers and tradesmen in the town.
Then there is the duty on hotels. In Rugby they are not doing particularly well. They were assessed eight years ago much higher than the amount they paid, and they also had to contribute to the Compensation Fund. They now find that the amount of taxation they will have to bear will be largely increased. That is distinctly unfair. This increase in the hotel duty is not going to raise money, but it will do harm to individuals who are con-corned in this perfectly legitimate trade. 122 The upshot of the whole thing is that these people in South-east Warwickshire, who were misrepresented here on the last occasion when the Budget was before this House, voted for the rejection of this Budget and for the adoption of some other means of raising the money. Their views cannot now be given expression to on account of the support of hon. Members below the Gangway, who hate the Budget just as much as they do, and are only voting for it because they hope to achieve a different object, and one to which the electors in South-East Warwickshire are equally opposed. This is an admirable example of the system of log-rolling that is going on, and which is favoured by hon. Gentlemen opposite, who by a system of bargaining, or rather by what I should call manœuvring, can manage to obtain a majority for a measure which the whole House is not in favour of. This they accomplish by the manipulation of the votes of various groups in the House. We have in this a fine example of what single-chamber Government really means. It means that extreme parties can have their wishes thrust down the throats of the country, and that ordinary moderate men have to stand aside and are unable to have the quiet, ordinary progress we have been accustomed to in this country. Whatever hon. Gentlemen may say with regard to the effect of the Budget on our credit, there is no denying that anybody who has any money to invest, either foreigners or Englishmen—because foreigners used to come to this country to invest—the last thing they want to invest in are British securities. Whatever may be said about theory, the fact remains that people do not go to the City nowadays and ask for British investments, but for foreign investments, and the net result is that you have struck the most damaging blow which has ever been experienced in the metropolis of the Empire, and which is bound to act unfavourably both in this country and in the great sister States which look to us for an example.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
The speech to which we have just listened seems to sum up the views of the hon. Gentlemen opposite with regard to this Budget. They remain to this day unrepentant and impenitent, condemning the Budget, so they say, as much to-day as on 29th April last year, when it was introduced first of all by my right hon. Friend. It is, so they told us with sickening reiteration during the last Parliament, Socialistic; it is revolutionary, and it is the end 123 of all things. So bad was the Budget that the House of Lords was justified, as a patriotic Assembly, in throwing it out. That was the reason and justification, so we were told, for the action of the House of Lords in referring this Budget to the people. This Budget, plausible as Beelzebub, it might be the people of this country would be so blind as to accept, but, if so, then their blood be on their own heads. The House of Lords would have discharged the patriotic duty of a Second Chamber by referring this revolutionary legislation to the electors of this country. That was the justification put forward, and the House of Lords did it. We had an election last January, and we came back here in February. I remember on the first night of the Session the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool (Mr. F. E. Smith), who condescends to lead the party opposite when he is here, and who when he is absent leaves the right hon. Gentleman the official Leader of the Opposition to lead it, said three times, like the bellman—You are beaten, Yon are beaten, you are beaten.And we sat on these benches cowed in silence. We thought the hon. and learned Gentleman would never have been able to use such emphasis or talk with so much confidence unless it was true, and we began to think there was a majority in this House perhaps, or a majority in the country, of that view. Such was the spell and the fascination of the hon. and learned Gentleman that we began to think we were in a minority over this question. We were told that the House of Lords had been fully justified in its unprecedented action in interfering with the finances. Very well, does anybody say that we are in a minority here? It has been said over and over again in these Debates that this Budget is going through as the result of a corrupt, wicked, and sinister bargain between my right hon. Friend (Mr. Lloyd-George) and the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond). We were told by the Leader of the Opposition only last week what the price is which is being paid by the Government to the hon. and learned Gentleman. The enslavement of the House of Commons, the destruction of the House of Lords, and the degradation of the Crown—that is the price we are told that the Government has paid to the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. I only read this morning a leading article in "The Times" news- 124 paper which sums up all these contentions of hon. Gentlemen opposite. This is what is said:—On appeal the country returned a majority against the Finance Bill, which is now at last to be passed by 'the machine,' after long drawn-out intrigues, in which the wishes of the country have been totally ignored, while the open enemies, alike of the Constitution and the integrity of the United Kingdom, have been cajoled with 'bated breath and whispering humbleness.'That is the view expressed and entertained, I have no doubt, by hon. Gentlemen opposite as to the nature of the bargain, it is called, by which this Budget is to go through. Let me ask in all seriousness, if they really do believe what they profess, why allow this Budget to go through at all? The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has only to ring the bell and his obedient servants at the other end of the corridor will throw out this unwelcome intruder. Why does he not do so? Why does he not call a meeting at Lansdowne House? Here is a wicked, corrupt, and unpatriotic Government, by a sinister and degrading bargain with the Irish rebels, with this disloyal party from Ireland, thrusting an unpopular measure on an unwilling people. If it was the patriotic duty of the House of Lords last year to throw out this Bill, surely now, when the Bill is not only intrinsically bad in itself, but is being thrust through the House of Commons by means so corrupt and wicked, it is twice their duty to throw it out! Why does not the Leader of the Opposition ask the House of Lords to do so? One little signal is all that is needed. Let him say the word, and the House of Lords will do his behest at once. No, the real truth is not that. The real truth is what the right hon. Gentleman the late Solicitor-General (Sir Edward Carson) said the other day. He accused the Government, in tones of indignation, of humbugging the House of Commons. That is what he and his colleagues are doing now. They are humbugging the House of Commons, and they hope to humbug the country as well. You cannot have it both ways. Either this Bill is a bad Bill carried into law by corrupt and bad means, or hon. Gentlemen do not mean what they say. The country will not be at a loss to know which version to accept. What is the real meaning? [An HON. MEMBER: "Wait and see."] We do not want to wait, we can see now. All this tall talk and all this tawdry rhetoric is taken by us for what it is worth. I listened during the whole of the discussions last year to the speeches of the Leader of the Opposition on the Budget, and I am sure if he were 125 here he would believe me, knowing Parliament, as he does, when I say on this side of the House there are to be found quite as sincere admirers of his ability as on that side. I listened very carefully to what he said in the Budget discussions, and I never found a single trace from beginning to end of anything in the nature of a signal to the House of Lords to throw out the Budget Bill last year. He struck me as being by no means an irreconcilable enemy of the principles of the Budget. Everyone knows this Debate is most unreal. It is merely a far-off echo of the worn-out platitudes that have done duty on thousands of platforms during the past year. Why does the right hon. Gentleman not now give a signal to the House of Lords and throw it out. I think the fact is it is part of the plan of the right hon. Gentleman to "dish" the Tariff Reformers. Last week we saw the first step of that in the letter to "my dear Mr. Courthope," throwing over the agricultural party, putting aside the tax on Colonial corn, and throwing over the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Chaplin), who has not since appeared here.
Mr. L. WILLIAMS
At any rate, the right hon. Gentleman has thrown over the agricultural party in England, and I am inclined to think that that is this second step in the acceptance of the Budget. We were told, over and over again, two years ago that Free Trade finance was bankrupt, and that the growing needs and requirements of a democratic State demanded an expanding revenue such as could not be provided under the Free Trade system. The answer has been supplied by my right hon. Friend here. He has produced a Budget which provides sufficient money for all your "Dreadnoughts" and old age pensions, and which will provide an expanding revenue adequate for the growing needs of a democratic and civilised state for the next ten years. You cannot, therefore, contend that the Free Trade system is bankrupt. [An HON. MEMBER: "How about the Sinking Fund?"] That ground of argument has now, I think, been abandoned. What the next step will be I do not know; but I saw an extraordinary letter in "The Times" last Saturday from 126 Lord Salisbury, who called himself an "unorthodox Tariff Reformer." He went further than I or anybody on this side of the House who tries to conduct our Debates with decency and in order would care to go, in describing the policy of hon. Gentlemen who are associated with Tariff Reform. He said that to try and foist food taxes on the people of this country at the present moment was "treachery to the State." It almost seems to me that that will be the third step in the Cecilian policy to be adopted by the right hon. Gentleman. The Leader of the Opposition, whatever his demerits, is a man of open mind. He is a man with no great settled convictions. He reminds me of a lady on board a liner who was very friendly with a passenger, and when he asked her whether she was married, she replied, "I am not a bigotted married woman." Whatever may be said of the right hon. Gentleman no one can say he is wedded to Tariff Reform. I believe he would not object to a little graceful philandering with his Free Trade relative, the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University (Lord Hugh Cecil). Let me say, in conclusion, that next Wednesday will be a red-letter day in the history of democracy in this country. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has had to contend with many and many a difficulty in passing through the House this complicated measure of finance, but he will have his reward in days to come. He will live in the memory of the poorest of the poor.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
I must just say one word before I touch on the subject of the Budget with regard to what fell from the last speaker. He stated that we on this side hated the Budget. I can assure him that I do not hate the Budget, because if it had not been for it I might not at the present time have been a Member of this House. At all events, I think we can all agree that the hon. Member spoke with very great moderation of speech and also with very great oratorical effect. He made remarks about another place. One thing I have always heard when I have heard discussions on that other place was that there was more oratory there than here. Hon. Members will agree with me that we have just had an oratorical effort which would certainly knock out any peer, and, in consequence, I think we should speak up for ourselves. I sincerely trust we shall see, when the 500 elect put in an appearance 127 in another place, the hon. Member himself will be one of those who answer the bell when the present Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Home Secretary rings it in the next Parliament. Of course the Budget is an old story for old Members here, but for some of the new Members, and especially those who were returned in order to oppose it, and who have had no chance of doing so, it is not so uninteresting. The hon. Member for Barnard Castle (Mr. Arthur Henderson) and the hon. Member for Mansfield (Mr. Markham) said that no Tory in their part of the world among their opponents had discussed the Budget, and that the candidates who had been standing against them never mentioned it, and had run away from it. That is of course the very reason why we have the pleasure of their company here at the present moment, and I cannot say that I regret it. At any rate, speaking for myself, I did discuss the Budget, and another subject which does not come in here, the Veto. Although the hon. Member for Mansfield said he was returned on the Budget, the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir Henry Dalziel) said he was returned on the Veto. On that occasion the House may remember he drew tears from the Prime Minister by saying that if the Veto were not taken first he would be made a fool of in his constituency. I am glad he has been saved.
It has been proved that two of our general contentions were well founded. The first was that the Budget was not purely a finance measure at all, and the second point was, and we certainly had very good proof of it, that of hon. Members opposite hardly one of them admired the Budget for its financial proposals, but rather for all the rest of the legislation that was tacked on to it. I have gone through all the speeches in the last few days, and only one hon. Member said a word about the financial side, while all the other hon. Members alluded to the electioneering side of the Budget. This proves at once that it is not a measure of finance. I was wrong as to the number of Members who mentioned the Budget, but the hon. Member for Northampton is one of those hon. Members whose mind I cannot quite follow, because he dislikes and went for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because, as he naively put it, he had several builders in his constituency who objected to the Land Clauses. No doubt the local paper will have a long 128 account of his speech, and point out that he went for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but it will not state what I do, that having gone for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he voted with him. That is not what I call honest politics. If you want to denounce the Budget you should also vote against it. Our Leader stated very accurately and concisely the way in which agricultural land is directly taxed, and I need not touch upon that, but I can state the way in which it is indirectly taxed in regard to whisky. I think after the statements we have heard that it must be apparent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as was said by one hon. Member, that the 3s. 9d. duty on whisky has to go in the near future, and if it is not taken off there is going to be a storm in the Nationalist camp in a very short time, but Scotland may also ask why she has been selected to bear this particular tax also. The reason is not far to seek, because when the Government tried to put a tax on beer it lost them several thousands of votes. It was perfectly easy to put a tax on whisky in Ireland because the right hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well that if he put it on there, much as they objected to it, he could bring in the Nationalist Members with a cry and a promise of Home Rule. He knew he was perfectly safe in that, and as far as my own country, Scotland, is concerned, he knew that the Radicals there were so Tory that nothing could shake them, and he knew that the greater majority of Members who are not Scotch would be perfectly docile. But in regard to the indirect effects of this taxation, I want to say one word about the farmers in Perthshire, Morayshire and Banff and other Scotch counties, who grow a great deal of barley, which is one of their staple industries. They have been almost ruined. The average yield of barley per acre is about five quarters, and each quarter of barley produces about twenty gallons of whisky. It is said that land is the source of all wealth, and therefore I think we might also say that in consequence, all taxation falls upon it and the duty of 11s. a gallon, at this rate of produce, would amount to a £55 tax per acre, and with the extra 3s. 9d. it means £73 15s. per acre of barley.
§ Mr. FLAVIN
Is the Noble Lord aware that since the Budget was introduced barley last harvest carried record prices throughout the United Kingdom?
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
I am very sorry that I am not aware of that fact. I know that it used to command 33s., and farmers now get 18s. for their barley. In one particular district the trade has fallen so much that the chairman of the Great Northern Railway stated that the freights on whisky had gone down about £5,000 on that railway, and that shows the amount of the decrease. These farmers are not like distillers; they are a more ignorant type of person. They do not read the papers every day, and the result was that they put their crops in, and never realised that when they reaped it it would have fallen some 35 per cent. The result is that these crops have gone down 35 per cent, and the land will have to be put to some use which involves very much labour, and that means that agriculture has been decidedly hit indirectly in this particular case. I could say a good deal more, but I know that the Chancellor of the Exchequer wants to explain why we are to swallow the Budget without a chance of discussing it, though we have been returned in order to oppose it.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
Like the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) I feel that I owe an apology for trespassing on the House on the Budget. He and I have spoken so often on the subject during the past eight or nine months that I am sure he feels, like myself, that we would rather have left further talking on the matter to someone else. At the same time, I think it will be necessary to make a few observations in reply to criticisms which have been passed. The Noble Lord who has just sat down said he is in this House because of the unpopularity of the Budget. His constituency seems to form an exception to the rest of Scotland, because Scotland at the last election returned at least one more Member in support of the Budget than was returned in the Parliament of 1906. The only further observation I would make is that a constituency which believes that by this Budget you are imposing £73 an acre on barley would really believe anything. But it is a very fair illustration of the kind of exaggeration which has been used in criticising the Budget, and I congratulate the Noble Lord upon being the only one who has taken part in the Debate who has had the courage to repeat these exaggerations in the House of Commons. The criticisms that we are familiar with on the platform about the Budget I have never heard here. I have listened during the last three or four days in vain for the kind of wild state- 130 ment which has been made on the platform with the hope of getting a chance of refuting it, but I have not had it. There was an hon. Member from Ulster who spoke to-night. Someone gave me a leaflet which he circulated about the Budget. I waited to see whether he would repeat the statements which he had made in his own constituency—statements by which he turned out my Friend, Mr. T, W. Russell. This is the sort of statement he made:—The Budget imposes at least six new taxes, and increases seven old ones, every one of which will fall upon the fanner and the labourer.10.0 P.M.
The Super-tax will be borne by the South Tyrone labourer. The Motor Taxes —the Ulster agricultural labourer will pay upon his sixty horse-power Napier a great deal more than he used to do formerly. The millionaire's Death Duties will be paid by the Ulster labourer. I will give another illustration of the sort of statement made on the Ulster platform, but not repeated here:—The Budget proposes to raise over £10,000,000 by heavier taxes on ten sugar, coffee, cocoa, and such articles as that.Half the tax on sugar taken off by the previous Budget, and not a penny put on now. Nothing put on either tea, coffee, cocoa, or any articles of food, and yet this hon. Gentleman says £10,000,000 are put on. That is how the hon. Member got here to vote against the Budget. The sort of statement he made about the Income Tax is a very fair sample of the statement which was made in Ireland about it:—Under the Increment Tax Duty it compels you to pay a tax of 20 per cent, on any improvement in the value of your farm if at any time yon should desire to sell it.The only answer to that is that it is not true, and the hon. and learned Gentleman dare not repeat it here. And yet these are the statements made on every platform in Ireland in denouncing the Budget. The hon. Gentleman made a speech here of quite a different character. It is rather remarkable that although the £500,000 a year imposed upon Ireland as taxation is crushing and oppressive, the £2,850,000 given to Ireland is not worth taking into account. It is six times the amount, but it should not be mentioned in the ledger at all. Here is another thing I should like to say to the hon. Member (Mr. William O'Brien), as well as to the hon. Member (Mr. Horner). I have heard a good deal about the £2,000,000 imposed by this 131 Budget on Ireland. I have asked over and over again for particulars. I have never had them. They are simply a nice round figure. Any other sum would do just as well. But never have I heard a single attempt in this House to justify a single item in that £2,000,000. At least I have given full particulars of my £500,000, and I am prepared to justify every one of them when they are challenged, but they have not been challenged; and I am awaiting with a good deal of interest, not mere vague denunciations, but some attempt at analysis of these taxes and some attempt to prove that these £2,000,000 are something beside a mere figment of the imagination. [An HON. MEMBER: "They cannot do it."] That is why I am challenging it with such confidence.
There is another thing I should like, to say before I dismiss the subject of Ireland. Whenever hon. Members who criticise this Budget from the Irish point of view refer to the bills for which the taxes were imposed, if they happen to sit below the Gangway, they say it is for "Dreadnoughts." Hon. Gentlemen from Ulster who criticise the Budget never say a word about "Dreadnoughts." If you left "Dreadnoughts" out of account altogether, and I have done it for the purpose of striking a balance in the account with Ireland, £2,850,000 in the finance scheme, of which this Budget is a part, is given to Ireland without a penny spent upon "Dreadnoughts." Old age pensions, relief of congestion in the West of Ireland, a Catholic university, all these are items for the benefit of Ireland And I do say it is trifling and mean when we had no Member from Ireland getting up and saying, "We do not want them." after they are paid, for the hon. Member for Cork and others to come here and say, "We never asked for them." They do not say that they object to them. On the contrary, in this egregious leaflet from Ulster, one of the charges it brings against Home Rule is that under Home Rule you could not finance old age pensions, and that I believe is what the hon. Member for Cork says. Well, here we have financed old age pensions, and all we have asked from Ireland is one-fifth of the cost. The hon. Member for Cork and the hon. Gentleman for an Ulster constituency say: "This is an oppressive demand from Ireland." I venture to say that never was there a more moderate demand put forward by any British Minister, or one when there was so much given and so little asked. I 132 believe the real reason is that Ireland is poor in comparison with other parts of the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
The hon. Gentleman cheers that, as if he had discovered it for the first time. We said so last year when he was not here, and when hon. Gentlemen now sitting behind him were criticising the taxes, fighting night after night till five and six in the morning in order to wring from the Government concessions for their country. There is no doubt at all that is the reason. The reason is that you cannot exact the same proportion of taxation out of a poor country, and what is true of Ireland is true of the poorer districts of England, Scotland and Wales. One of the features of this Budget which has been ignored entirely is that the proportion which Ireland pays to the general taxation has been considerably diminished by this Budget. Next year the proportion will be still less. Why? Because the increased taxation will come directly from the richer classes, and not from indirect taxation, so that year by year, as the Land Taxes, the Death Duties, the Spirit Tax, and all those other taxes increase their yield, the proportion of Ireland will go steadily down and the benefits will go up. I should have expected the hon. Member for Cork to be generous enough—I will not say generous enough, but fair enough, when stating his case, at least not to ignore that part of the matter. He has talked a great deal about the Financial Relations Commission. I do not repudiate its findings, but undoubtedly a great deal has happened since then to redress the balance.
I should like to say a word with regard to licences. I have one general comment to make upon the criticism about licences. This is the fourth day of the discussion on the Budget in the new Parliament, and it is very remarkable that, although we have had three or four days' discussion upon it, this is the first day the publicans have been remembered at all.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
The hon. Member mentioned them in a very casual sort of way. I am talking now of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who sit on the Front Bench opposite. This is the first day which has been devoted to an examination of the publican's grievance. At any rate, I think he deserves something better than 133 that. We had a day or two given to the landlord, and he has only contributed a little support at the election. The publican did far more at the last election. He is the man who enabled the voters to appreciate Tariff Reform. He is the man who put them in a frame of mind to "damn the consequences," and yet it is only on the fourth day he comes in. Well, I think that is rather hard on him. What I have got to say about licences and about the publican's grievance as this. Every individual case that has been given has been proved to be an exaggeration. I will take the case given by one of the fairest controversialists in the House, the hon. Member for Kingston (Mr. Cave). He started quoting from a letter which appeared in the papers the other day the case of a publican with an annual rental of £2,000 who claimed that under this Bill he will have to pay £1,000. He will pay nothing of the sort. If he paid £1,000 at all, it would be on an enormous turn-over. The hon. Member overlooked the whole of the remissions which give him relief. I venture to challenge the hon. and learned Member. I should be quite willing to take his own individual examination of the case. Let him put the case into the hands of a valuer under the Bill, and I should be surprised if the publican paid one-fifth of what he claimed to pay.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I accept the correction. I should be very surprised if he paid more than his minimum under the Bill. There is a great difference between £250 and £1,000. It is an enormous difference. I say that in every individual case I have examined it turns out to be a case where the publican has rather exaggerated. I have no doubt it has been done under a sincere misapprehension as to the burden that will fall upon him. He believes all the electioneering stuff that has been taught to him, but when he begins to work the Bill he will find that it is not nearly so alarming as he has been taught to believe by his own champions. Why, if all the publicans were to pay all the money they apprehend they have to pay, it is not £2,000,000 I would get. It is at least £5,000,000. That is one general observation I desire to make with regard to the publican. The other observation I desire to make is that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen in criticising the Licence Duties forget that even now we are charging less than is charged in New York, and that in 134 many of the States higher Licence Duties are charged. The hon. and learned Gentleman says that we would not treat any other trade in this way. But this is not an ordinary trade. It is all very well to say, "You try it on butchers." But if you gave butchers a monopoly and restricted their number in a town to so many; if you said that the number of butchers were not to increase, but that by the machinery of the law they were steadily to diminish in number year by year, you would soon get butchers very ready to pay a high monopoly licence for this protection. That is what is forgotten by the hon. and learned Gentleman and by all those who criticise our provisions with regard to licences. We have asked simply for some return for a valuable monopoly which is granted by the State, and some return, I may add, for a very valuable freehold created by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition in 1904, when an annual tenancy was converted into a valuable permanent freehold. What return does the State ask for it? This is the first time when a return is asked at all, and I say that the return we ask for is a perfectly fair and legitimate one under the circumstances. So much for the licences. We may probably hear something more about it to-morrow.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
The right hon. Gentleman is quite mistaken. There is a great deal he can say on the Bill even as altered by us in regard to that. He will find that there is at least a whole page of Amendments under which he can discuss a great deal, and, at any rate, he can discuss a great deal more than he can with reference to agricultural land. I have not much to say as regards the general Debate. One thing that struck me very much is that the finance of the Budget has not been challenged at all. I listened very carefully through the whole of the hours in which this Debate has proceeded, and never once have I heard any criticism or any challenge of the Budget as a financial instrument. Would the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Pretyman), instead of laughing, give me the name of any particular case?
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
It is a discourtesy to his right hon. Friend that the hon. Gentleman should have made that observation. I listened carefully to what 135 the right hon. Gentleman said. He criticised the Budget, but he said he would not enter into those questions. Then he proceeded at once to go into the licences.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I do not wish to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman. I have criticised, I think, with reason the new taxes of the right hon. Gentleman as financial weapons.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Does the right hon. Gentleman wish me in every speech to cover the whole of the ground?
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
One would have thought that when the right hon. Gentleman criticised the Budget he would have criticised its finance, at any rate, on its Second Reading. Of course, after all, a Budget is a method of raising money, and in that respect this Budget has succeeded. It succeeded to such an extent that, in spite of the fact that a great many taxes will not be collected in full, you have still got a balance of £2,900,000.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I am referring to that in my very next observation. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire says, "What about the Sinking Fund?" If the Sinking Fund had been deducted there would still have been left a surplus of £200,000. But what about the taxes we have not been able to collect —£600,000 Stamps, £350,000 Income Tax, and £350,000 paying interest. [HON. MEMBEBS: "Whose fault?"] Hon. Members have asked me "Whose fault?" I will tell them. It is the fault of those who prevented the Bill becoming law in December last. We should have had at least £1,000,000 more under the Spirit Duty if the Bill had gone through. [HON. MEMBERS: "How?"] I have already explained that. It is for the simple reason that it would not have been necessary to deplete the stocks down to the very lowest if it were known that the Budget were going through. So that really if the Bill had gone through the House of Lords we would have had a surplus, after paying the £2,700,000 from the Sinking Fund, of £2,500,000.
I am not at all surprised that the right hon. Gentleman should not have thought it necessary on the Second Reading of the Bill to criticise the financial proposals of 136 the Bill. But the right hon. Gentleman said that it would injuriously affect the credit of the country. He had the usual Tariff Reform depreciation of the credit of the country. All I can say is that a criticism which is based upon the present price of Consols, and coming from the other side of the House at the present juncture, is a singularly shabby one. Why are Consols down at the present moment? Simply because we have borrowed large sums of money in the market, and because the Finance Bill is not through. Dees anybody who knows anything about the money market deny that the mere fact that we have to borrow £20,000,000 or £30,000,000 would not affect the money market? I should not have thought that anyone would have doubted that. But, in addition to that, from the tact that the Sinking Fund had to lie suspended for the same reason, we had not got the money to sustain the Consols market, and. naturally, the Consols would go down. Yet the party who have been responsible for all that come here and taunt us with the consequences of their own wrong. The right hon. Gentleman said that borrowing is the real test of the credit of the country. What country could borrow as we have borrowed even recently? Let him take Germany. He is constantly referring to Germany—the German tariff, the German Navy, and everything German. [An HON. MEMBER: "Black bread."] And German black bread. What did Germany borrow at? Germany borrowed at 4 per cent. We borrowed at 3 per cent, and 99½. Let him look at the condition of Germany at the present moment and compare it with ours. No House of Lords threw out their Budget, and still they have a deficit of £8,000,000, and they have paid nothing with respect to the Debt. On the contrary, they are borrowing even to build their "Dreadnoughts." We, on the other hand, paid about £3,500,000 in respect of the Debt; we have paid huge Supplementary Estimates of over £1,000,000; in addition to that, we have a surplus of £2,900,000, which is available for payment of the Debt, instead of having a deficit; and we can look forward next year not to a deficit of £8,000,000 like Germany, but we can look forward with confidence to be able to pay our way. What greater triumph can there be for our present system than that? It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to say that not the Budget, but speeches in support of the Budget have damaged our credit. What has happened since the 137 Budget was introduced and since those speeches were made? Trade has improved steadily, unemployment has gone down steadily. The City has had the greatest time in its life. The Noble Lord is very scornful of the Stock Exchange, but he ought to remember that his Leader represents the Stock Exchange. Capital, so far from being frightened, has been gambled in the City. That is the state of things. We are told that as a result of the Budget and the speeches made in support of the Budget that capital is leaving our shores. It is quite the reverse. I agree that in one sense it is leaving our shores, as our exports are increasing month by month; and I have not the faintest doubt that we are on the road, on the clear road, for one of the greatest trade booms that this country has ever seen. Every attempt has been made by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, by themselves on their platforms, by their Press, in the House of Lords and here, to try to frighten trade and commerce and the interests of this country, and what is the result? Every trade has prospered in this country except whisky. That, is the only trade which hon. Gentlemen opposite, I believe, could prove has been in the slightest degree damaged by the Budget. [An HON. MEMBER: "The building trade."] The building trade is improving. If the hon. Gentleman who interrupted me will just look at the statistics of unemployment he will find that the numbers are steadily going down in the building trade, as well as in the other trades. There is not a single legitimate trade in this country, except the whisky trade, which has in the slightest degree been affected. As a matter of fact, after twelve months of the Budget, we find ourselves, in spite of the action of the House of Lords, with the prospect of a great surplus of £3,000,000, trade improving, and credit and confidence getting stronger day after day.
I sympathise with the Chancellor of the Exchequer in one respect. I agree with him that those who like my right hon. Friend near me, and like himself have been occupied in discussing this Budget for twelve months, do not come with that freshness of zest, the same edge of appetite as some of my hon. Friends who have not had the opportunity either of hearing our Debates or taking part in them. I therefore do not regret that the time left me is limited to half an hour, provided the House will understand, what the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not 138 appear to understand, and that is that if you have only a limited time for discussing a great public matter, you ought not to be blamed for leaving out some very important aspects of it. Anything more extraordinary or more ungenerous than the taunt thrown across the floor of the House by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that we on this side did not devote as much time as he thinks ought to be devoted to the Licence Duties I never heard. What opportunity have we had of discussing them. If the Licence Duties had come first in the Resolutions passed last week no doubt the Licence Duties would have been discussed up to the time the guillotine fell. You cannot expect, and no Government has ever expected, the Opposition to apportion the time given for the discussion of important questions if they think that time grossly under-estimated and most unjust in its operation. Nobody expects or could expect that there should be great trouble to shorten Debate on important questions, in order that all the questions should be discussed. We discussed at not undue length the questions brought before us. We brought forward objections to the Government Budget and to the exploded Government pretensions. The Government made no answer. They were saved by the guillotine, and by the guillotine alone, from the discreditable confession which they would have had to make if Debate had been free. With regard to the Land Taxes, they put up the First Lord of the Admiralty, who knew nothing about them, to make a defence which was absolutely blown to shatters, and the Minister who followed the First Lord did not attempt to defend him, but allowed his case to go by the Board. They never were brought to the specific admission that all their statements through the country that agricultural land is not taxed under this Bill were a hollow pretension and a shameless sham; they were not brought to that admission for this reason, and this reason alone, that the Closure Resolutions prevented the discussion running its natural course, and the Government were able to take refuge, as they have often taken refuge before, behind something which is more forcible than the most forcible arguments and more effective than the most unanswerable objection. Then, having found this shelter behind the closure, they come down and reproach us for not having discussed some great interests which were not discussed, which ought to have been discussed, but which 139 could not be discussed because the Government prevented their discussion. I can understand many objections being made by the Government to the course taken by the Opposition. Governments always object to the course taken by the Opposition. But that a Government which has used the gag Resolutions as they have never been used before on the Budget should come down and reproach the Opposition for not having discussed certain big questions in the time left to them seems to me not only preposterous, but the most ungenerous objection ever urged by the tyrant against the slave.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer was virtuously indignant with my hon. Friend the Member for Tyrone for some leaflets which he circulated in his constituency. I have not seen those leaflets, but we know that a leaflet has been brought before the attention of the House by my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Pretyman)—a leaflet circulated about the Budget not by a single candidate here and there, but by the authorised exponent of the Budget, under Government patronage, the Budget League, presided over by a Cabinet Minister, and the secretary of which has been quite properly rewarded with office. My hon. Friend pointed out that this authoritative document was full of the sheerest mis-statements from beginning to end—not exaggerations, but falsehoods. The candid supporter of the Government who sits for the Mansfield Division (Mr. Markham), and who speaks with happy independence of all parties and all considerations, admitted that the pamphlet was full of falsehoods. Of course he was right. Then why reproach a single Member of this House with a pamphlet which the right hon. Gentleman thinks was inaccurate, when he and his friends were directly responsible for the extraordinary mis-statements made in the leaflet of the Budget League? I think the right hon. Gentleman ought to be more cautious in his attacks when he is necessarily putting himself in such a position when it comes to a question of defence.
There is one point I must make in regard to the contention made by one Minister after another in their arguments with the Irish Members. I never have agreed with the contentions of the Irish Members upon the subject of Irish taxation, but I must say that the methods adopted by the Government to prove to 140 the Irish Members that they were extremely well treated by the Budget are really the most extraordinary I have ever heard. What is it they say? They say: "The Budget taxes you only to the extent of £435,000 a year. Think how much we have done for Ireland in other legislation. This Bill gives to Ireland so many thousands a year. That Bill gives to Ireland so many other thousands a year." So they pile on the account on the other side. That may be perfectly legitimate when you are discussing the broad question of Ireland's share in the general taxation of the country. It does not affect particular Budgets. Because this Government have brought forward in one year an Old Age Pensions Act, is that a reason for overtaxing Ireland in a general Bill? Is that a reason for taxing Ireland specially in a Budget which is for the whole of the country?
All Budgets are for the purpose of paying all debts due by the State. It is quite true that all social reform is expensive— that all social reform has to be paid for out of the Imperial or a local Budget. To that proposition we all agree. But when you bring forward a Budget you bring it forward on its merits, and as equal between different parts of the United Kingdom. You have no right to say, "Something outside the Budget did you so much good that you ought to tolerate provisions in the Budget which, apart from that Bill, you would not tolerate." That is not a form of argument which I have ever known used in this House. It is perfectly fair upon a discussion of the relative burdens of taxation in Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom to say that Ireland gets so much and pays so much, and you may argue the question of the relative burdens upon different portions of the Kingdom upon that basis. But when you are bringing forward a Budget it is not business to say: "It is quite true this Budget may throw a burden upon Ireland that Irishmen have a right to object to, but then remember what we have done for Ireland in other Bills in other years and in other times." I hold the view myself that Ireland has gained financially, at all events in the period of time that I have any direct experience of public matters, by its. financial connection with Great Britain. That is my view. I know Irishmen do not agree. But I have never heard it suggested, and it has never been suggested by 141 a Unionist Chancellor of the Exchequer, that Irishmen had a right to be accorded other than Fair treatment, because, say, the Irish Land Purchase Act gave to Ireland the benefit of Imperial credit. You should not mix up the two things. The whole argument, adopted first by the Postmaster-General, then by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and then in other speeches by other Members of the Government, seems to deal with that aspect of the question, and seems to me to be wholly and utterly fallacious.
In the very few minutes in which I will further trouble the House let me go back to what I have always considered the fundamental objection to this Budget. That is that it raises funds for public purposes unequally as between different forms of property. It is oppressive in the sense that it deals arbitrarily and unequally with persons of equal wealth. There may be many objections, I think there are the gravest objections, to many portions of the Budget, not open to that objection. I think there are very serious objections, for example, to the Super-tax, though, whatever else can be said against the Super-tax itself, it is not open to that particular criticism. When we turn to the Super-tax or the Death Duties, both of them, I think, are open to serious objection, but, when we turn to the other taxes of the Bill, we find this Government have not accidentally, but deliberately, not as a mere inevitable incident in the difficult circumstances in which a Chancellor of the Exchequer may find himself, but of set purpose they have selected arbitrarily certain forms of property which they thought were either unpopular or were easily attacked, and they have thrown upon them an unjust share of the common burdens of the community. There cannot be a better illustration of that than the way they have treated the licensed trade. There are many illustrations that could be drawn from the Budget. One illustration is enough, and that, I think, is admirably supplied by the treatment the Government have accorded to one particular trade.
What defence has been given either by the Postmaster-General or the Chanceller of the Exchequer, who has just sat down? In the original statement of the Budget the Chancellor of the Exchequer suggested that, while a great burden was thrown in the first instance upon the licensed trade by the Spirit Duties, that burden would be gradually and enormously diffused throughout the whole community by a 142 corresponding rise in prices to the consumer, and that was his defence. We have seen exactly what has happened. It has been impossible for that diffusion of burden to take place, because directly there was an attempt to raise the price consumption fell off, and, therefore, the justification given by the Chancellor by which he admitted that burden was intended to be diffused over the community has entirely broken down. The Whisky Duty remains a burden, not upon the community, but on a particular trade in the community. And what is true of whisky is true in a still stronger instance of the Licence Duty. I think the way the Government have treated the Licence Duties and the way they have defended their treatment of them really constitute a scandal on justice of which this House ought to be the guardian. The Chancellor of the Exchequer says that previous Chancellors in previous years have gone to the makers and sellers of beer and have thrown upon them burdens for the conduct of great wars or for other public purposes, and that these burdens have been diffused over the community. I think it is very possible, and that it is a fact that was so. But is it the fact under the Budget of the right hon. Gentleman? He took a falling trade—a trade in which, from causes quite outside the Budget consumption, was diminishing, and he threw upon it, partly in the form of brewers' licences and partly in the form of licences upon public-houses, a burden quite impossible for any trade to bear without suffering loss which no Chancellor of the Exchequer could legitimately impose on any class of the community. And the burden is grossly unequal in its incidence. If you take a publican in London and compare his lot with a publican in the country, where the wages are different, you will find that the publican in London is grossly overtaxed. If you take a man whose premises have a very large rateable value he is overtaxed. If you take two breweries with the same amount of capital, one invested in public-houses and the the other not, you will find that one is enormously burdened by this tax and the other is left scot-free so far as the Licence Duties on public-houses are concerned. If you compare the man who sells beer in the public-house with the club that buys beer in the ordinary course of its business you find the inequality is still greater. Do observe how that increases the original inequality of the tax. Of course, in the case of a falling trade, production will 143 naturally flow into the cheapest channel. When the demand is rapidly increasing all channels are full, and there axe cheap channels and dear channels alike. But when there is a falling trade consumption diminishes, and, of course, the trend is to send the production down the road that is untaxed, or lightly taxed, and take it | from the heavily and arbitrarily taxed. That is what you are doing. The result is that you find certain members of the trade who for this reason or that are lightly taxed under your system will get what remains of the trade, and others will be made bankrupt and expelled altogether from the livelihood which they have hitherto honestly conducted.
Compare the position of a public-house and the position of a club under your new rules. You have inevitably driven the channels of consumption into the club and away from the public-house—into the institution which is not inspected away from the institution which is inspected, and in so doing you have indeed given no advantage or benefit to the club, but you have inflicted undeserved ruin upon the publican. Sir, there was a phrase in the Postmaster-General's speech which I heard with astonishment. He said that undoubtedly a few public-houses would be driven out of existence by the Budget. Why the epithet "few"? I think it was the Lord Advocate who said that one-fourth would be driven out of existence. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is perhaps a higher authority upon questions of financial fact, admitted that a very large number are to be destroyed. He has boasted that this is a great temperance measure. Has the House considered at what cost to our public character and credit this temperance measure is being carried out? For the first time, as far as I know, in the annals of this House, appeals to plain and obvious justice fall oil deaf ears. You may prove to this House to demonstration by figures which have never been denied, and cannot be denied, that you are taxing citizens of this country unequally, and as a result of that policy you are ruining those whom you are deliberately oppressing. That was stated over and over again in the autumn, and you never denied or refuted it then. It cannot be denied. I remember a Socialist Member of this House, the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden) defending the Budget in this way. He said, "I admit this Budget is unequal, and I regret it." He, at all events, had the courage 144 of his opinions. He would have liked, and I am quite sure, if he had been Chancellor of the Exchequer, he would have carried out his wishes, when meaning to tax certain degrees of wealth out of existence, at all events to tax them equally. He admitted the inequality. Lee hon. Gentlemen be as honest as he is. They are, in voting for this Budget, as they mean to do to-night, whether they know it or not, inflicting this great and permanent injury upon the character of this House and of this country. They are, for the first time, so far as I know, finally passing into law—for this is almost the penultimate stage of this Budget—provisions which, by the admission of every candid inquirer on their side and on ours, inflicts exceptional burdens on particular classes.
To those who think there ought to be no accumulated property—who think that is a social system which ought sooner or later to be abolished, it may be a tolerable policy. They may regret the temporary inequality and injustice, as the hon. Member for Blackburn regrets them; but at all events they are fairly consistent. But those who think, as the majority of hon. Members opposite do, that the right of a man to his accumulated property is one which does not merely concern him, but also concerns the community of which he is a member, that the expediency of justice in dealing as between different kinds of property has to be looked at not merely from the point of view of the individual, but also of the community to which the individual belongs, and that the social welfare depends upon this kind of fiscal justice being meted out to citizens of the same community, will see in this Budget a new departure, a disastrous departure, and a sinister commencement of a new system. Let them well consider what lies behind the principles advocated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the present Government. They will find those principles are meaningless and purposeless unless they are intended to look up to the consummation which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Blackburn honestly and sincerely desires. To those who do not wish the end aimed at by the right hon. Member for Blackburn, this Budget is a monument of ineptitude, because it shakes to the foundations the very elements of that great commercial society in which they believe, or profess to believe, as well as us—that commercial society based upon private rights and upon the equality of rights as regards property, based upon 145 foundations upon which hitherto all civilised society has depended, and which they have shaken in interests other than their own, doing nothing, justifying nothing, bringing forward no principles whatever, so far as I can judge, to show why this kind of property should be spared and the other kind of property taxed, and why we should enter upon a new régime in which the object, and the whole object, of the Chancellor of the Exchequer should not be to see how the burden of the national expenditure should be diffused among all
§ classes of the community, but how he should choose out here and there this section or that section, this interest or that interest, for bearing some special and undeserved share of the burden which ought to be the common portion of us all.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 328; Noes, 242.149
|Division No. 60.]||AYES.||[10.58 p.m.|
|Abraham, William||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Hindle, Frederick George|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Crosfield, Arthur H.||Hodge, John|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Cullinan, John||Hogan, Michael|
|Agnew, George William||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Hooper, Arthur George|
|Alden Percy||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)|
|Allen, Charles Peter||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)|
|Anderson, Andrew Macbeth||Dawes, James Arthur||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Armitage, Robert||Delany, William||Hudson, Walter|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Hughes, Spencer Leigh|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Devlin, Joseph||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Dillon, John||Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Donelan, Captain A.||Johnson, William|
|Barclay, Sir Thomas||Doris, William||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott||Duffy, William J.||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Barnes, George N.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick B.)||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Barry, Edward (Cork, S.)||Edwards, Enoch||Jowett, Frederick William|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Joyce, Michael|
|Barton, William||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Keating, Matthew|
|Beale, William Phipson||Esslemont, George Birnie||Kelly, Edward|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Farrell, James Patrick||Kettle, Thomas Michael|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.)||Fenwick, Charles||Kilbride, Denis|
|Bentham, George Jackson||Ferens, Thomas Robinson||King, Joseph (Somerset, North)|
|Bethell, Sir John Henry||Ferguson, Ronald C. Munro||Lambert, George|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Ffrench, Peter||Law, Hugh A (Donegal, W.)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Field, William||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis|
|Boland, John Pius||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Leach, Charles|
|Bottomley, Horatio||France, Gerald Ashburner||Lehmann, Rudolf C.|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Furness, Sir Christopher||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Brace, William||Gibbins, F. W.||Lincoln, Ignatius Timothy T.|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Gibson, James Puckering||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Brigg, Sir John||Gill, Alfred Henry||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Gianville, Harold James||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)|
|Bryce, John Annan||Glover, Thomas||Lundon, Thomas|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Greenwood, Granville George||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Greig, Colonel James William||Lynch, Arthur Alfred|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Grenfell, Cecil Alfred||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid)||Guest, Capt. Hon. Frederick E.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Gulland, John William||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Byles, William Pollard||Hackett, John||M'Callum, John M.|
|Cameron, Robert||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||M'Curdy, Charles Albert|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Cawley, Sir Fredk. (Prestwich)||Hancock, John George||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Linc. Spalding)|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Mallet, Charles Edward|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Manfield, Harry|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Marks, George Croydon|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Martin, Joseph|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Harwood, George||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Meagher, Michael|
|Clough, William||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Clynes, John R.||Haworth, Arthur A.||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Hazleton, Richard||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Helme, Norval Watson||Middlebrook, William|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.)||Hemmerde, Edward George||Millar, James Duncan|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Molloy, Michael|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Henry Charles Solomon||Mond, Alfred Moritz|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.|
|Cowan, William Henry||Higham, John Sharp||Mooney, John J.|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Rees, John David||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Rendall, Athelstan||Toulmin, George|
|Muldoon, John||Richards, Thomas||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Twist, Henry|
|Muspratt, Max||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)||Verney, Frederick William|
|Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Vivian, Henry|
|Nolan, Joseph||Robinson, Sidney||Wadsworth, John|
|Nuttall, Harry||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Walters, John Tudor|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Roche, Augustine (Cork)||Walton, Joseph|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Roche, John (Galway, East)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wardle, George J.|
|O'Dowd, John||Rowntree, Arnold||Waring, Walter|
|Ogden, Fred||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|O'Grady, James||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Waterlow, David Sydney|
|O'Malley, William||Scanlan, Thomas||Watt, Henry A.|
|O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Schwann, Sir Charles E.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|O'Shee, James John||Seddon, James A.||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Seely, Col., Rt. Hon. J. E. B.||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Shackleton, David James||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Pearce, William||Shaw, Sir Charles Edward||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Pearson, Weetman H. M.||Sheehy, David||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A.||Shortt, Edward||Wiles, Thomas|
|Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Simon, John Allsebrook||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)||Williams, Aneurin (Plymouth)|
|Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Snowden, P.||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Pirie, Duncan V.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Pointer, Joseph||Soares, Ernest Joseph||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Pollard, Sir George H.||Spicer, Sir Albert||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Strachey, Sir Edward||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Summers, James Woolley||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Sutherland, John E.||Wilson, T. F. (Lanark, N.E.)|
|Primrose, Hon. Neil James||Sutton, John E.||Winfrey, Richard|
|Pringle, William M. R.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Radford, George Heynes||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Raffan, Peter Wilson||Tennant, Harold John||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Painy, Adam Rolland||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Raphael, Herbert Henry||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Rea, Walter Russell||Thomas, David Alfred (Cardiff)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master|
|Reddy, Michael||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)||of Ellbank and Mr. Fuller.|
|Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)|
|Adam, Major William A.||Castlereagh, Viscount||Falle, Bertram Godfray|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Cator, John||Fell, Arthur|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Cautley, Henry Strother||Finlay, Sir Robert|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Cave, George||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Ashley, Wilfred W.||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.|
|Attenborough, Walter Annis||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Fleming, Valentine|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Fletcher, John Samuel|
|Balcarres, Lord||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Forster, Henry William|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Clive, Percy Archer||Foster, Harry S. (Lowestoft)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.)||Coates, Major Edward F.||Foster, John K. (Coventry)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Colefax, Henry Arthur||Gardner, Ernest|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Compton, Lord Alwyne (Brentford)||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton|
|Baring, Captain Hon. Guy Victor||Cooper, Capt. Bryan R. (Dublin, S.)||Gibbs, George Abraham|
|Barnston, Harry||Cooper, Richd. Ashmole (Walsall)||Gilmour, Captain John|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc. E.)||Courthope, George Loyd||Goldman, Charles Sydney|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Goldsmith, Frank|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Gooch, Henry Cubitt|
|Beckett, Hon. William Gervase||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Gordon, John|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Craik, Sir Henry||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Crean, Eugene||Grant, James Augustus|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Greene, Walter Raymond|
|Bird, Alfred||Croft, Henry Page||Gretton, John|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Dalrymple, Viscount||Guiney, Patrick|
|Boyton, James||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Guinness, Hon Walter Edward|
|Brackenbury, Henry Langton||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S. (Glasgow, E.)||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastb'rne)|
|Brassey, Capt. R. (Oxon, Banbury)||Dixon, Charles Harvey (Boston)||Haddock, George Baker|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Du Cros, Arthur P. (Hastings)||Hall, E. Marshall (Toxteth)|
|Brunskill, Gerald Fitzgibbon||Duke, Henry Edward||Hamersley, Alfred St. George|
|Burdett-Coutts, William||Duncannon, Viscount||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)|
|Butcher, John George (York)||Dunn, Sir W. H. (Southwark, W.)||Haray, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)|
|Butcher, S. H. (Camb. Univ.)||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Harris, F. L. (T'r Hamlets, Stepney)|
|Carlile, Edward Hildred||Faber, George D. (Clapham)||Harris, H. P. (Paddington, S.)|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Mallaby-Deeley Harry||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Mason, James F.||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Henderson, H. G. H. (Berkshire)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Sandys, Lt.-Col. T. M. (Bootle)|
|Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury)||Mitchell, William Foot||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter||Morpeth, Viscount||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Hills, John Walter (Durham)||Morrison, Captain James A.||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.||Stanier, Beville|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Mount, William Arthur||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Hope, Harry (Bute)||Newdegate, F. A.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Newman, John R. P.||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Horne, Wm. E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Horner, Andrew Long||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Stewart, Gershom (Ches. Wirral)|
|Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Nield, Herbert||Stewart, Sir M'T. (Kirkc'dbr'tch.)|
|Hunt, Rowland||Norton-Griffiths, J. (Wednesbury)||Strauss, Arthur|
|Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||O'Brien, William (Cork)||Sykes, Alan John|
|Jackson, John A. (Whitehaven)||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid.)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Thompson, Robert|
|Keswick, William||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Parkes, Ebenezer||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Kirkwood, John H. M.||Peel, Hon. Wm. R. W. (Taunton)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Knight, Capt. Eric Ayshford||Perkins, Walter Frank||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Knott, James||Peto, Basil Edward||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Lawson, Hon. Harry||Proby, Col. Douglas James||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Quilter, William Eley C.||White, Maj. G. D. (Lanc, Southport)|
|Lewisham, Viscount||Randles, Sir John Scurrah||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Llewelyn, Venables||Rankin, Sir James||Willoughby, Major Hn. Claude|
|Lloyd, George Ambrose||Ratcliff, Major R. F.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Winterton, Earl|
|Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsay)||Rawson, Col. Richard H.||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Remnant, James Farquharson||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan||Worthington-Evans, L. (Colchester)|
|Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm. Edgbaston)||Ridley, Samuel Forde||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Rolleston, Sir John||Yerburgh, Robert|
|MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Ronaldshay, Earl of||Younger, George (Ayr Burghs)|
|Mackinder, Halford J.||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|M'Arthur, Charles||Royds, Edmund||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|M'Calmont, Colonel James||Rutherford, Watson||Maurice Healy and Mr. Gilhooly.|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
§ And, it being after Eleven of the clock. Mr. SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 18th April, to put forthwith the Question necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at Eleven o'clock this day:—150
§ Question put, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 328; Noes, 242.153
|Division No. 61.]||AYES.||[11.12 p.m.|
|Abraham, William||Bentham, George Jackson||Channing, Sir Francis Allston|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Bethell, Sir John Henry||Chapple, Dr. William Allen|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Black, Arthur W.||Clancy, John Joseph|
|Agnew, George William||Boland, John Plus||Clough, William|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Bottomley, Horatio||Clynes, John R.|
|Alden Percy||Bowerman, Charles W.||Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)|
|Allen, Charles Peter||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Anderson, Andrew Macbeth||Brace, William||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.)|
|Armitage, Robert||Brady, Patrick Joseph||Compton-Rickett, Sir J.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Brigg, Sir John||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewellyn A.||Brocklehurst, William B.||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Bryce, John Annan||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Burke, E. Haviland-||Cowan, William Henry|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)|
|Barclay, Sir Thomas||Burt. Rt. Hon. Thomas||Crawshay-Williams, Eliot|
|Barlow, sir John Emmott||Buxton, C. R. (Devon, Mid)||Crosfield, Arthur H.|
|Barnes, George N.||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Cullinan, John|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick B.)||Buxton, Rt. Hon. S. C. (Poplar)||Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)|
|Barry, Edward (Cork, S.)||Byles, William Pollard||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Cameron, Robert||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Barton, William||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)|
|Beale, William Phipson||Cawley, Sir Fredk. (Prestwich)||Dawes, James Arthur|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Delany, William|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.)||Chancellor, Henry George||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lincoln, Ignatius Timothy T.||Robinson, Sidney|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Dillon, John||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Doris, William||Lundon, Thomas||Roche, John (Galway, East)|
|Duffy, William J.||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Duncan, C (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Edwards, Enoch||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||M'Callum, John M.||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Farrell, James Patrick||M'Curdy, Charles Albert||Schwann, Sir Charles E.|
|Fenwick, Charles||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Ferens, Thomas Robinson||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Linc. Spalding)||Seddon, James A.|
|Ferguson, Ronald C. Munro||Mallet, Charles Edward||Seely, Col., Rt. Hon J. E. B.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Manfield, Harry||Shackleton, David James|
|Field, William||Marks, George Croydon||Shaw, Sir Charles Edward|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Martin, Joseph||Sheehy, David|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||Masterman, C. F. G.||Shortt, Edward|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Meagher, Michael||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Gelder, Sir William Alfred||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)|
|Gibbins, F. W.||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Snowden, P.|
|Gibson, James Puckering||Menzies, Sir Walter||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Gill, Alfred Henry||Middlebrook, William||Soares, Ernest Joseph|
|Glanville, Harold James||Millar, James Duncan||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Glover, Thomas||Molloy, Michael||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Greenwood, Granville George||Molteno, Percy Alport||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Greig, Colonel James William||Mond, Alfred Moritz||Summers, James Woolley|
|Grenfell, Cecil Alfred||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Sutherland, John E.|
|Guest, Capt. Hon. Frederick E.||Mooney, John J.||Sutton, John E.|
|Gulland, John William||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hackett, John||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Tennant, Harold John|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Muldoon, John||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)||Murray, Capt. Hon. Arthur C.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Hancock, John George||Muspratt, Max||Thomas, David Alfred (Cardiff)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Thomas, James Henry (Derby)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Nolan, Joseph||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Nuttall, Harry||Toulmin, George|
|Harwood, George||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Twist, Henry|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Doherty, Philip||Verney, Frederick William|
|Hazleton, Richard||O'Dowd, John||Vivian, Henry|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Ogden, Fred||Wadsworth, John|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||O'Grady, James||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Walton, Joseph|
|Henry Charles Solomon||O'Malley, William||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Wardle, George J.|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Waring, Walter|
|Hindie, Frederick George||O'Shee, James John||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Hodge, John||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Hogan, Michael||Pearce, William||Waterlow, David Sydney|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Pearson, Weetman H. M.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Hooper, Arthur George||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Hudson, Walter||Pirie, Duncan V.||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Pointer, Joseph||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Pollard, Sir George H.||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Jardine, Sir John (Roxburghshire)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Johnson, William||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Williams, Aneurin (Plymouth)|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Pringle, William M. R.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Radford, George Heynes||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Jowett, Frederick William||Rattan, Peter Wilson||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Joyce, Michael||Rainy, Adam Rolland||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Keating, Matthew||Raphael, Herbert Henry||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Kelly, Edward||Rea, Walter Russell||Wilson, T. F. (Lanark, N.E.)|
|Kettle, Thomas Michael||Reddy, Michael||Winfrey, Richard|
|Kilbride, Denis||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|King, Joseph (Somerset, North)||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Lambert, George||Rees, John David||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Law, Hugh A (Donegal, W.)||Rendall, Athelstan||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Richards, Thomas|
|Leach, Charles||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Lehmann, Rudolf C.||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)||of Elibank and Mr. Fuller.|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Adam, Major William A.||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Newman, John R. P.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gibbs, George Abraham||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Gilhooly, James||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Gilmour, Captain John||Nield, Herbert|
|Ashley, Wilfred W.||Goldman, Charles Sydney||Norton-Griffiths, J. (Wednesbury)|
|Attenborough, Walter Annis||Goldsmith, Frank||O'Brien, William (Cork)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Gooch, Henry Cubitt||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Gordon, John||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Grant, James Augustus||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.)||Greene, Walter Raymond||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gretton, John||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Guiney, Patrick||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Baring, Captain Hon. Guy Victor||Guinness, Hon Walter Edward||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Barnston, Harry||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastb'rne)||Peel, Hon. Wm. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc. E.)||Haddock, George Baker||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hall, E. Marshall (Toxteth)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Beckett, Hon. William Gervase||Hamersley, Alfred St. George||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Hamilton, Marquess of (Londonderry)||Proby, Col. Douglas James|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Hardy. Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Quilter, William Eley C.|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Harris, F. L. (T'r Hamlets, Stepney)||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Bird, Alfred||Harris, H. P. (Paddington, S.)||Rankin, Sir James|
|Boyle, W. Lewis (Norfolk, Mid)||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Boyton, James||Healy, Maurice (Cork, N.E.)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Brackenbury, Henry Langton||Healy, Timothy Michael||Rawson, Col. Richard H.|
|Brassey, Capt. R. (Oxon, Banbury)||Henderson, H. G. H. (Berkshire)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Rice, Hon. Walter Fitz-Uryan|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Ridley, Samuel Forde|
|Brunskill, Gerald Fitzgibbon||Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Burdett-Coutts, William||Hillier, Dr. Alfred Peter||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Butcher, John George (York)||Hills, John Walter (Durham)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Butcher, S. H. (Camb. Univ.)||Hoare, Samuel John Gurney||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Carlile, Edward Hildred||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Royds, Edmund|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Rutherford, Watson|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Cator, John||Horne, Wm. E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Horner, Andrew Long||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Cave, George||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hunt, Rowland||Sandys, Lt.-Col. T. M. (Bootle)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Jackson, John A. (Whitehaven)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Clay, Captain H. H Spender||Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Stanier, Beville|
|Coates, Major Edward F.||Keswick, William||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Colefax, Henry Arthur||Kimber, Sir Henry||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne (Brentford)||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Cooper, Capt. Bryan R. (Dublin, S.)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Cooper, Richd. Ashmole (Walsall)||Kirkwood, John H. M.||Stewart, Gershom (Ches. Wirral)|
|Ceurthope, George Loyd||Knight, Capt. Eric Ayshford||Stewart, Sir M'T. (Kirkcudbright)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Knott, James||Strauss, Arthur|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Sykes, Alan John|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lawson, Hon. Harry||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Crean, Eugene||Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred||Lewisham, Viscount||Thompson, Robert|
|Craft, Henry Page||Llewelyn, Venables||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Lloyd, George Ambrose||Tobln, Alfred Aspinall|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. S. (Glasgow, E.)||Lockyer-Lampson, O. (Ramsay)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Dixon, Charles Harvey (Boston)||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Du Cros, Arthur P. (Hastings)||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm. Edgbaston)||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Duncannon, Viscount||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Dunn, Sir W. H. (Southwark, W.)||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||White, Maj. G. D. (Lanc, Southport)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Mackinder, Halford J.||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Faber, George D. (Clapham)||M'Arthur, Charles||Willoughby, Major Hn. Claude|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Magnus, Sir Philip||Winterton, Earl|
|Fell, Arthur||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Finlay, Sir Robert||Mason, James F.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Worthington-Evans, L. (Colchester)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Fleming, Valentine.||Mitchell, William Foot||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Fletcher, John Samuel||Morpeth, Viscount||Younger, George (Ayr Burghs)|
|Forster, Henry William||Morrison, Captain James A.|
|Foster, Harry S. (Lowestoft)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir A. Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|Foster, John K. (Coventry)||Mount, William Arthur|
|Gardner, Ernest||Newdegate, F. A.|
Bill read a Second time, and committed for to-morrow (Tuesday).