HC Deb 03 July 1928 vol 219 cc1201-16

The duties chargeable on the following excise liquor licences, that is to say, retailers' on-licences for spirits, beer, or wine and retailers' off-licences for spirits, beer, or wine, shall be reduced by twenty-five per cent.—[Mr. Looker.]

Brought up, and read the First time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

I move this in the absence of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Sir A. Holbrook). The object of the Clause is to make certain reductions in the duties chargeable on retailers' on-licences and retailers' off-licences. The principle that the duties on such licences should bear some relation to the hours during which liquor is permitted to be sold is one which has always been recognised, and consistently recognised, by the Legislature, particularly by this House. In 1872, a rebate of one-seventh was granted in respect of houses which were open only six days in the week, as compared with those which were open seven days, including Sunday. In 1874, a similar rebate was granted in recognition of the fact that earlier closing hours were enforced for certain establishments. In the earlier days of the War, a similar rebate was given proportionate to the hours which were lost owing to certain war Measures; and the principle finally received legislative sanction in the Finance Act, 1917.

I think hon. Members will recognise the justice of this principle, which, indeed, is obvious. The licensee must get his living and recoup himself from the moneys paid him for the liquors which he sells, and the longer he is able to keep his shop open the more chance he has of getting his living and recouping himself, while of course the shorter the hours the more he is out of pocket. What is the present position? The present duties were imposed in 1910 when the permitted hours were 17½ to 19½. They are now eight to nine, but the duties are the same; and I would with great respect submit to my right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury that it is indefensible to ask retailers to pay the same duty for the privilege of trading for nine hours as they paid for the privilege of trading for 19 hours. That is a principle which, if it were left to the House, I do not think for a moment the House would endorse.

Those grounds alone, are, I think, sufficient to establish my claim, but there are others in addition which reinforce it. The fact is that on the prices prevailing to-day there is a smaller percentage of profit made on the turnover than was made before, which makes it all the more difficult for these licensees to get a living, and at the same time to pay the very heavy duties which are demanded. In addition, the disproportion between the purchasing power of the public and the high prices rendered inevitable by this duty very much emphasises that position, and it also emphasises the injustice of these duties remaining at their present rate. In his Budget Speech, the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself admitted that beer was down by £5,000,000, and that can only mean that these licensees were still being prejudiced, as regards their sales of liquor, by the fact that the public is not able to consume the amount which it used to consume previously; and that, again, emphasises the justice of this claim for reduction. When a deputation waited upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer a short time ago on this very subject, he acknowledged the justice of this claim, and informed them that if he had a surplus he would give the matter his earnest consideration. Now he has his surplus, and we are asking that we should now have our consideration, and I hope that the result of the consideration will be that he will be able to accept this Clause.

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Churchill)

I do not take the slightest exception to the manner in which the hon. Member for South-East Essex (Mr. Looker) has put forward his argument, and, though I am not able altogether to meet him, nevertheless I wish to make it quite clear that I am not at variance with him upon the general issue which he has put forward, namely, that the effective value of a licence has been greatly affected by the diminution which has been made in the hours during which licensed premises may remain open. I received a deputation upon this subject a year ago, and after very carefully examining the whole question, I reached the conclusion that undoubtedly a case of some injustice had been made out. I have not found it possible to deal with this matter in the present Finance Bill. When last year the subject of the possibility of making some reduction in these duties was raised, the Debate became involved with what was called the small bottle, and I pointed out that it would be impossible to deal with the small bottle issue, an issue which affected off-licence holders, unless and until an attempt were made to adjust the burden which was put on on-licence holders; but I said that, if ever it were found that the general finances of the country would justify a mitigation of the burden on on-licence holders, that would be the time to deal with the question of the small bottle.

I am not in a position to do that this year; I think it would be better to await a greater assurance of a surplus before dealing with the question, but I will say now that I hope, and indeed confidently hope, that it will be possible, unless some very unfavourable turn takes place, to make some mitigation of the on-licence duty next year; and, if that should be the position, that will be the time, and then would arise the necessity, for dealing at the same time with the question of the small bottle, which was so strongly pressed upon us by representatives of the Labour party and, indeed, by hon. Members in all parts of the House. The Amendment which was moved last year, which would have had the effect of authorising the sale by off-licence holders of small bottles, was supported on the Division I think by the great majority of the Labour party.


They only voted against the Government.

5.0 p.m.


The right hon. Gentleman says that they only voted against the Government. Did they only vote against the Government without any consideration of the merits of the question? Are they not to be held responsible in their constituencies for the topics upon which they vote in this House, and for the Measures which, if they had their way, they would carry into law? I have never heard of such a thing. I surmise that the right hon. Gentleman would be indignant if it were suggested that the Members of the party to which he belongs gave votes in this House caring nothing for the merits of the matter upon which they voted, but merely because they thought that there was some division in the ranks of the Government on the subject and that they might by going into the Lobby embarrass the Administration. I am, at any rate, bound to take note of expressions of opinion given by Members of any party in this House, and, on studying the Division List, I came to the conclusion that there was support from all parts of the House for the treatment of this off-licence question, but most strongly from the Socialist party. I was very much impressed by that, and by the divergence between their views and the view taken by some of the more straight-laced Members of the Liberal party. Feeling bound to give satisfaction whenever I can, I have addressed myself to the study of this question, and I am of opinion that there is a case for the relief of the off-licence holder. I will not burden the Committee with the details of it now, but I am quite clear on this, that it would not be right to make that concession to the off-licence holder unless it was in a Budget which found it possible to make some mitigation of the burdens which now rest on the on-licence holder. I must be guided entirely by what happens to the finances of the country. In this year we have found it necessary to impose additional taxation, no doubt for the purpose of making greater remissions, but the taxation is here and the remissions are still on the road, as has been frequently pointed out, and I have not felt that this was an appropriate time for making other remissions. But it may be that next year—I will not attempt to prophesy—our position will be more satisfactory, and that we shall have some mitigations to bestow without the need of any countervailing burdens. I do not say that it will be so, but it may be so, and if it were so, I should be very glad to deal with the vexed question of the small bottle, in which the Socialist party takes such great interest, and at the same time make a mitigation of the burdens resting on the on-licence holder.


I am sure the Committee enjoyed the simulated indignation of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the observation that I made. Are Members of Parliament, asks the right hon. Gentle man, not prepared to go down to their constituencies and defend the votes they give? The right hon. Gentleman is a very old Parliamentary hand, and he knows quite well what the game is. I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that he should look through the Division record of Members of his own party on the Budget Divisions when we were in office, and then look at the votes of the same hon. Members in the succeeding Session when he himself was in office, and he will find in that record Tory Members voting for the reduction of the Sugar Duty and the Tea Duty and remissions of Income Tax, when we were in office, and then the next year going into the Lobby, after speeches of the right hon. Gentleman in which he had opposed these Amendments, to cancel their votes of the previous year. That is simply the political game, and, as I say, nobody is more familiar with it than is the right hon. Gentleman.

I want to say a word about the rather unusual speech of the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman has established precedents during his tenure of office. It used to be the accepted and universally observed rule that the Chancellor of the Exchequer made no intimation as to what he intended to do in the way of remissions of duties until he actually proposed them, but for two or three months before the Budget of this year the right hon. Gentleman had been stating publicly, in public meetings and to deputations, what he intended to do; and, as a matter of fact, there was not a single surprise either for the House of Commons or for the country, when he opened his Budget about two months ago. It is nearly 12 months before the right hon. Gentleman is going to introduce his next Budget, and he has already told us practically what he intends to do. If he has the means, he intends to revise these liquor licences. I am not at all surprised to hear that the right hon. Gentleman, if he has a surplus; is going to come once more to the help of the brewers. The only remission of indirect taxation made by Tory Chancellors during the last five years has been in relief of the brewers, When the present Prime Minister was Chancellor of the Exchequer, in 1923, he reduced the Beer Duty by about £20,000,000, and we have the right hon. Gentleman saying this afternoon that the first call upon any opportunity that he may have of remitting taxation next year will go to the liquor interests once more. I suppose he thinks that the liquor interests are still the backbone of the support of the Tory party, and it is a question of carrying out the dictum of a former Tory Minister that the business of a Tory Government is to look after the interests of its own friends and supporters when it is in office and to take care that they are safeguarded in the event of their being out of office.

Just one word on the merits of this proposed new Clause. I submit that there is no case at all for the Clause. The right hon. Gentleman said that there was some case for the lowering of the duty owing to the falling off in sales.


And the restriction of hours.


The hours have been restricted with very great social advantage to the country. There has been, I am very glad to say, a very considerable reduction in the consumption of liquor as compared with pre-War times, but—and this is the point—it is not a question of whether the public-house hours are less long than they were some years ago; the question, when we are going to consider whether or not these Excise Duties are onerous is this: Are the profits of the liquor trade less than they were? Has the reduction of hours curtailed the profits of the liquor trade?


The right hon. Gentleman ought to deal with brewers and publicans separately.


I was going to link up the two in a moment. It is very difficult to make a distinction between the brewers and the publicans. The point I was making was this. Has the reduction of the hours of sale resulted in a loss of profit to the liquor trade? Most of the houses are tied. They are owned by the brewers, and if the Licence Duties are, high, then the rent is so much less. As a matter of fact, the incidence of these Excise Duties falls upon the owners of the public houses, namely, the brewers. What is the position of the brewers? I gave some figures a week or two ago, when we were discussing the Second Reading of the Finance Bill, showing that since 1914 the profits of the brewing trade have risen by over 100 per cent., from about £10,000,000 a year to over £20,000,000 a year. [An HON. MEMBER: "£24,000,000!"] But that is not the whole story. The £24,000,000 profit last year was made by a turnover which was only about one-half the turnover of 1914, and, therefore, their profits have in a sense risen by 200 per cent.; and this is the depressed industry which is making such a strong appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer! He is giving them that relief of local rates to which constant reference has been made, but he is not satisfied with that. He is not satisfied either with the remission of the Beer Duty which was made five years ago, the effect of which is reflected in the continuously rising profits of the brewing industry since that time. He is not content with these two gifts to the brewers, but now he announces that if he is in a position next year to make a further remission of taxation, the people who will have the first claim upon his consideration will be the liquor trade of the country.


If I had the time now and cared to do so, I could show that the right hon. Gentleman is not quite right in saying that the incidence of these Licence Duties falls almost entirely upon the brewers who are owners of these houses and not on the publicans; and if it comes next year to a proposition from the Government to reduce these licences and it comes to be discussed as a Measure which may have to be divided upon, I hope that either I or some other hon. Member will be able to put forward facts to prove conclusively that that is so. On this occasion, in view of the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his announcement that he cannot accept this Clause this year, but that he may see his way possibly to make the concession next year, I think it would be inappropriate to delay the Committee with a long statement and figures now. I rise, therefore, merely to say that I am in strong sympathy with the new Clause that has been moved, but I do not think it would be appropriate to give any further reasons, after the right hon. Gentleman has himself admitted that there is much justice behind this claim. I rise only to explain that the reason why I put down a subsequent new Clause on the Order Paper dealing with the small bottle—which was on the Order Paper last year and was then rejected—was that if the Clause now before the Committee had been conceded by the right hon. Gentleman, it would be necessary, in justice and in order to carry out the right hon. Gentleman's pledges, that the Clause giving a half-bottle to off-licence holders should also be conceded. In view of the fact that the right hon. Gentleman has not been able to make the concession to the on-licence holder, I do not propose this year, having tested the feeling of the House last year, to move my new Clause. The feeling of the House was tested, and I now know, and the Committee knows, what are the views on this question of the majority of the hon. Members above the Gangway. In view of the position as it stands to-day, I think it would be wasting time to move the same thing again, and, therefore, although I support the present Clause and look forward to some concession next year, I do not propose to move my own.


I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.




I was interested in the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and in his very kindly consideration for the trade whose cause has been presented by the hon. Member for South-East Essex (Mr. Looker). It was further interesting to find his predecessor in office, the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden), making a very keen criticism of the deliverance that has come from the Treasury Bench. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer asked us not to associate the brewers with the retail dealers. I am quite confident that the retail dealers themselves would put in a very strong plea for being taken into consideration with the brewers, because I have a fairly good understanding, from information received, that these same retail dealers get very scanty treatment from those who have the control over them and over their licences. I have had some representations made to me in the days gone past as to the very severe and hard fashion in which these retail dealers are dealt with by their masters in the brewing business, and it is very unfortunate too, from the standpoint of justice, that so much of the denunciation of the trade by those who are particularly identified with that denunciation is directed only to the retail dealers.

I submit that in this connection with which we are dealing to-day the retail dealer is only, as it were, the tax gatherer; he is collecting for the public Treasury. I, for myself, dissent entirely from the Government or any Government or political party agreeing with the imposition of taxation upon such a basis, and I feel strongly, from the point of view of justice, that these men, in more than one particular aspect, are dealt with most unfairly. We are not dealing with this particular question to-day. We are being asked to consider the question as to how they are losing their livelihood.

I would ask the hon. Member who put forward that argument with apparent sincerity: Does he really think that those engaged in that business can succeed in it without taking away the living of other people? As a matter of fact, if it were not for the circumscribed policy of the Government, and if all parties supported the abolition of licences, you would have free competition. You would have that which hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side, and hon. Gentlemen on this side for that matter, put forward, namely, the liberty of the subject. I ask: Why should not any of us have the liberty to enter into this business as a legitimate business? We have not the liberty to do so. The Government are going to assist a monopoly. The brewers get on remarkably well. They have particular advantages compared with their fellows who are engaged in other businesses. They are given special facilities for engaging in this business. If it were not for this, we should have free competition. As far as the retail business is concerned, the present industrial conditions are so depressed that things will be more difficult for the retail dealer.

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer has brought out the strength of the case. Here we have the brewers amassing these millions while our legitimate industries are paralysed. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has proposed in another Measure that the particular businesses securing these millions are going to have relief of taxation, and he is being backed by the hon. Gentleman, who has moved this Clause apparently in sympathy with the retail trader, who is not going to get the benefit of this relief of taxation. This proves once again, not only the anomaly of the present state of affairs, but the appalling scandal of the whole business. Really a tragedy lies behind the whole concern. We are only dealing with the financial aspect as far as taxation is concerned. The real question is whether or not it would be advisable to stop getting taxation from this business and to throw our whole strength into an attempt to cut out this thing. We could get all the taxation that is needed by cutting out this particular taxation entirely. By so doing, we should be giving a lift to our industries in a way which could not be achieved under the present scheme which has been put forward by the Government. It is the giving of assistance to a concern which is busy cheating the men, women and children of their daily bread. I do not say that the heart of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is with him in what he is doing, but his political conscience is with him. He, as well as every thinking Member in this House, knows as far as the moral idea is concerned, that nothing appeals more directly to the inner conscience of a man, however clever he may be, than the impulse to follow the path of rectitude. To cut out this business entirely would prove to be one of the biggest lifts that our country could receive in every phase of its life and from every point of view.


I did not want to intrude on the time of the Committee, but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden), not for the first time, has made what I venture to think the Committee will agree are misstatements regarding the trade of the brewers. I had the fortune, by inheritance, to become possessed of a certain share in a brewery, and having some experience of the management of such a business, I would like, if the Committee will bear with me, to answer one or two of the points made by the right hon. Gentleman. He, first of all, referred to the policy adopted by the Conservative party in 1923 when they reduced the price of beer to the consumer by 1d. a pint. He called that the handing over of £20,000,000 to the brewers. But the Committee will recollect that that was nothing of the sort. The Government found £20,000,000 to enable the price of beer to be reduced, and the brewers put their hands into their own pockets for another £5,000,000. To reduce the price of beer by 1d. a pint at that time cost £25,000,000. The Government found £20,000,000 and the brewers £5,000,000.

Naturally, the Government were under the impression when they made that bargain that the consumption of beer would be increased. The consumption has slightly increased, not so much as the Government of the day then thought, but it has increased, as witness the larger sums which the Excise now levy for duty. In the last year they obtained from the trade the sum of £79,000,000. The right hon. Gentleman, I am quite sure inadvertently, stated to the Committee a short time ago that the brewers had not kept the compact which they made with the Government of the day. That compact was that in addition to finding the £5,000,000 they would at least maintain the gravity of the beer. The right hon. Gentleman could easily have found out if he had examined the records of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise that not only has the gravity of the beer been maintained as it was in 1923, but it has year by year gone up. Instead of being 10.42, it is now over 10.43, and as every degree of gravity costs the brewer 1s. 6d., the Committee will see that the arrangements made by them in 1923 have cost them a very considerable sum of money. I am quite sure the right hon. Gentleman, with his sense of fairness, when he comes to examine the statements that I have made, as he can easily do for himself, will absolve the brewers from any charge of not playing fair in the arrangements which they made.

He has also stated that these licence duties would be paid by the brewers. That, again, is not so. The licence duties are in the main paid by the tenant, with, I admit, a certain assistance from the brewers. There is a case pending now before the House of Lords in which the retail trade is seeking to make the brewers pay the whole of these increased licence duties. The judgment of the Court below and of the Court of Appeal has been that these increased licence duties were to be paid by the new tenants of licensed houses. That, I think, if I may say so, disposes of yet another point made by the right hon. Gentleman. As I said, I do not wish to take up the time of the Committee, but I did feel that it was due to the trade, with which I am proud to be connected, that I should call attention to the mis-statements of the right hon. Gentleman. I am very much obliged to the Committee for giving me an opportunity of making an explanation.


My hon. and philanthropic Friend who has just addressed the Committee tried to make us believe that the brewers are public benefactors. Nobody will accuse me of any prejudice in this matter. The one thing I like better than a glass of beer is a pint, and in that respect I am not going to claim to be a pussyfooter or an advocate of things which ought not to be. I would like to point out to the hon. Gentleman who has just addressed us that the brewers are not living on their losses, but that they are doing very well out of the conditions that have lately been created through circumstances which neither we nor they can control. Their profits are greater to-day than ever they have been in modern times. The tenant who in the future will have to face the responsibility, if the High Court decide against him, as probably they have done, the new tenant who comes in, is going to be fleeced. He is going to be fleeced twice. I have heard something about the brewer and distiller and gravity. The gravity of it all is the cheek of it all. The people who are selling the commodity are not in business for the good of customers but for the good of their own banking account. Why not be honest about it, the same as everybody else? If a man cannot make a house pay, he has to go through the mill. A house becomes redundant, and what is the consequence? Compensation. Compensation for whom? 75 per cent. of it for the brewer, and the other man is lucky if he gets anything to go out with, although he may have put his life's savings down in order to get into it. The hon. Gentleman knows that is true. He knows that the brewer always has the main hold upon the whole situation as far as the liquor trade is concerned.


I ask the hon. Member to come to the point at which he will tell us whether these arguments are in favour of the reduction of the duty or the increase of it.


The argument is in favour of the customer having some look in.


This Clause does not deal with whether the customers have a look in.


No, he has to look out. I am in favour of any proposal that will give the ordinary public an advantage The consumers, after all, ought to be considered in these matters. We have heard to-night of the brewer and the distiller and the publican. We have not heard a word about the man who drinks a glass of beer or a glass of whisky. He does not get a look in at all. I am suggesting that this relief is going to be given to the brewer. It will be a splendid election cry. Every brewer will give his assistance and every tied-house will be a committee room for the Tory party, and the old proposition will go round, "Save the working man's glass of beer." As a matter of fact, they want to drown him in beer at the next election if it means saving their own position. I am one who drinks a glass of beer. [Interruption.] Yes, and I am not ashamed of it. This will continue as long as I have the means to pay for it, and when I ask some of my friends to buy me one it will be time for them to shout about it. We want to see the time come when the workers will have some control over this matter. We do not desire to see the brewers enriched at the expense of the people, but to see the whole of the country controlling the industry, which ought never to be taken out of the hands of the people.


I want to put a question to the Financial Secretary, in view of the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not in his place. During the discussion on the last new Clause, the Financial Secretary was very careful to point out that he could not accept the new Clause, and as an argument he quoted from the Colwyn Committee, who recommended that if there was any surplus in any Budget that surplus ought to be used, first, in taking off the Food Duties. The Financial Secretary appealed to us, I suppose, from the point of view that we consider that the taking off of the Food Duties is of first importance, and he is right in that assumption; but when we come to the present new Clause, the Chancellor of the Exchequer makes a statement that next year, should there be any surplus, he will take into consideration the reduction of the Licence Duties. Is that to have precedence over the reduction of the Food Duties? As the Chancellor of the Exchequer is now in his place, I should like to ask him whether it is his intention next year, if he has a surplus in the Budget, to give the reduction of Licence Duties precedence over everything else, even including the Food Duties?


I rise with a view to obtaining an explanation in regard to this new Clause, not only from Members of the Conservative party but from Members of the Liberal party. Yesterday, we had an interesting instance of the Liberal party putting in a special plea for hop gardens, and now we have one Liberal Member, the hon. Member for North Southwark (Mr. Strauss) in favour of the licence holders being relieved of their burdens. We have had to listen frequently, in this House and out of it, to the Liberal complaints about our unsatisfactory attitude upon the general question of drink, and now I see the name of the hon. Member for North Southwark backing this new Clause. In these circumstances we have some right to claim an explanation from the hon. Member of the attitude which he has taken in backing this new Clause, or to ask that he should retrace the step that he has taken. Although we have discussed the matter at some length, I trust that we shall receive some explanation from the hon. Member.


The reason why my name appears in support of this new Clause is that I feel that the Licence Duties are far too high, in view of the fact that houses that used to be open for 17 or 19 hours are now only open for eight or nine hours. On the ground of mere justice the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to take that fact into consideration, and I was glad to hear that he will deal with this point in a friendly and sympathetic way as soon as the finances of the country permit. I was under the impression that taxation was imposed for the purpose of revenue and for no other purpose, but when we hear that owing to high taxation the Chancellor of the Exchequer is £5,000,000 worse off with regard to Beer Duties, it clearly proves that it is undesirable to impose too high a tax on an article which the hon. Member for Silvertown (Mr. J. Jones) appreciates so much. It means that the State suffers and the consumer suffers by our making the taxation far too high, and the revenue is reduced. There are other reasons why the revenue has fallen, in the case of beer. The hon. Member for Silvertown said that the brewers were making enormous profits. That is a matter in his own hands. There are many people who produce large quantities of home-brewed beer. All that the hon. Member has to do is to go to a grocer and buy a packet of malt and hops and he will be able to produce 2½ gallons of beer for the price of two pints of beer. I would remind the Chancellor of the Exchequer that this home-brewed beer is free of taxation.

The other day, the Prime Minister was very sympathetic in regard to the cider industry. The constituency which the Prime Minister represents produces a large quantity of apples. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer represented a hop-growing district or a barley-growing district he might be very sympathetic in those directions. The result is that the duty on cider has been abolished, and a larger quantity of cider is consumed than before the duty was abolished. I do not know whether the increase in the consumption of cider has promoted temperance; certainly I have tasted cider which is stronger than beer. It is very unfair that an article of common consumption, like beer, should be too highly taxed, and I am very glad to hear that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will deal with the matter in a sympathetic way when occasion permits.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

I hope that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will stand firm in this matter. He has my sympathy. He was attacked by hon. Members of the Liberal party yesterday because he was exempting the breweries from rates, like other places. He is attacked for being too lenient to the brewers, one day, and now he is attacked because he keeps on these duties. I hope that he will not listen to the seductive pleading of hon. Members, and I hope that the Liberal party will support him, including the new Member for Carmarthen (Lieut.-Colonel Jones), who must not judge the attitude of his party by the speech of the hon. Member for North Southwark, otherwise he may be wondering why he was returned for a great temperance stronghold like Carmarthen. I rise to support the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I congratulate him on the fact that if he has not been able to convert the party with which he works now to his well-known temperance views, at any rate he has brought about a great increase in temperance, by means of taxation. There can be no doubt that much of the falling off in drunkenness is owing to the artificial rise in the price of intoxicating liquors. We are getting the money and we are promoting temperance, and I look forward to the day when the Chancellor of the Exchequer will have to look to a new source of revenue, because the people will have lost the habit of drinking intoxicating liquors.

Question, "That the Clause be read a Second time," put, and negatived.