HC Deb 10 March 1818 vol 37 cc952-3
Mr. Calcraft

said, he was happy that he should not have to trouble the House on the subject on which he had given notice of a motion, as a committee would be conceded to him on the Salt Duties He had had a communication on that subject with the chancellor of the exchequer, and a committee of 21 members would be appointed. Had the nomination of the committee rested wholly with him, it might, perhaps have been somewhat differently composed; still, however, he was by no means dissatisfied. He should, therefore, move, "That a Select Committee be appointed, to take into consideration the laws relating to the Salt Duties, and the means of remedying the inconveniences arising therefrom."

Mr. Curwen,

in seconding the motion, congratulated the House on the course adopted by the right hon. gentleman. He believed that the most material benefit would be derived from the labours of the committee, both with respect to the revenue and to the public morals. A revision of the salt duty laws Was the greatest boon that could be bestowed on the people. He believed he should be able to prove, that, between two and three millions a year might be saved by a modification or commutation of the duties.

Mr. Egerton

was extremely glad that a committee had been granted to inquire into this subject. The greatest benefit would be produced by it. The county which he had the honour to represent, suffered much from the existing system. The mischief was great, in an agricultural point of view, but it was still greater, as far as the morals of the country were concerned, which were materially injured, in consequence of the temptation to smuggling, induced by these high duties.

Mr. Davenport

was very happy that some relief was about to be afforded from one of the most oppressive taxes ever imposed on the country.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that the subject, in every point of view, was worthy of the most serious consideration. He hoped those who would be appointed to investigate it, would recollect that those duties afforded a very large revenue; and, if they were withdrawn, that it would be necessary to adopt some other mode of raising a sum equivalent to that given up.

Mr. Calcraft

said, he never could have proposed to affect so large a proportion of the revenue as a million and a half, which the duties on salt produced, without the idea of finding some substitute. In the present circumstances of the country, it was quite necessary that some substitute should be found, before so much of the revenue could be withdrawn.

A committee was then appointed.