§ The House having gone into a Committee of Ways and Means,
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, he supposed he had sufficiently explained in his notice of yesterday the object of his present motion, which was to provide a substitute for the duties in the Distillation Bill, that lately failed in the other House. He had to propose that a duty should be imposed on spirits distilled from grain, equal to the duty proposed to be imposed on spirits distilled from sugar. It appeared that spirits distilled from grain were in greater favour with the people of this country than those distilled from sugar. He meant, then, to propose that a duty of 4½d. per gallon should be laid on corn wash, which would yield probably a sum not less than 400,000l. To protect our home spirits, he should also move, that an additional sum be imposed on imported spirits from abroad, with the exception of rum, which would still, however, leave the duty on rum higher than that on other spirits. There was still a more difficult question to be settled, and that was the countervailing duties on spirits between Great Britain and Ireland. The great difficulty was between Scotland and Ireland; for the counter- 1177 vailing duty between Great Britain and Ireland did not apply altogether to Scotland, which differed materially from England, and differed with itself in the Highlands and Low Country, so that what would be a proper countervailing duty in one district could not be so in another. The duty of 4½d. per gallon of wash or spirits in England, amounting to 1s. 11¾d. on the gallon of spirits, might be balanced by a countervailing duty of 1s. 11¾d. on spirits from Ireland; but the difference of manufacture in Scotland rendering a smaller duty necessary, and in the Highlands of Scotland still smaller, the duty of 1s. 11¾d. from Ireland to England would be more than a countervailing duty on spirits imported into Scotland. He did not know well how to meet the difficulty respecting Scotland, which had now so decided an advantage over Ireland, but so far from having any thing like the indisposition to attend to the concerns of the latter coun- 1178 try, with which he had been charged, he was willing to attend to every suggestion from both sides of the House, and to adopt whatever should be most agreeable to their wishes.
Upon the subject of the countervailing duties, some conversation, took place, in which sir John Newport, Mr. Hutchinson, Mr. Foster, and Mr. Western, severally stated their sentiments.
§ Sir John Newport
thought that, in order to do away the difficulties that occurred as to drawbacks, there ought to be a Bill to make every person, who claimed drawbacks, shew that he paid as much duty as the drawbacks claimed amounted to.
suggested, that there should be a Bill to enable the Scotch distillers to warehouse spirits in the same way as in Ireland.
The several Resolutions were agreed to, and the Report was ordered to be received on Monday.