§ Mr. Brogden
brought up the report of the committee of Ways and Means. The first six resolutions were read a first and second time, and agreed to. On the question being put on the resolution for the additional Malt duty.
§ Lord Milton
said, that when the House had been in the committee, he had proposed that the duty should be 1s. 4d. instead of 2s. 6d. In order to record his dissent to the present tax on the Journals, and not with any view to promote a discussion on the subject, he should propose his amendment, to the consideration of the House. In doing this, he was not actuated by any fear of laying increased taxes on the landed interest. The fate war had been carried 1083 on with a view of protecting those gentlemen in the possession of their estates; and now that it had been concluded so fortunately, he did not think that they were the persons who ought to complain of taxes being levied upon their property. His objection to the present tax was, that it did not fall exclusively upon the rich. For these reasons he should move, to leave out the paragraph charging the additional duty of 1s. 2d. per bushel on Malt on the stock in hand.
§ Mr. Brougham
wished to avoid any discussion upon this subject at present, not because he thought that it had been already exhausted, but because there was another discussion appointed for that evening, in which, not merely the whole House, but the whole country was interested. He could not, however, help rising to impress on the House the necessity of discussing every measure in its right place. He could not agree with the noble lord, that the late war was undertaken to protect the landed interest only. Whether that war was justly or unjustly entered into, it afforded as much protection to the poor man as it did to his opulent neighbour. He objected to the tax, because it fell in the first instance and unequally, on the grower, as well as on the consumer. It was not on persons of large estate solely or chiefly that it fell. A person in the barley counties, who had perhaps only 50l. or 100l. a year, were taxed on their whole estates, while a person who had an estate of 50,000l. a year, who had a variety of other resources, did not suffer in the same degree. The counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, and the barley counties in particular, would suffer, and not less the counties of the North of England, where the tax would be more felt by the yeomanry than any which had been imposed for many years.
§ Mr. C. Calvert
stated to the House the extreme hardships which the proposed duty on malt would create to the maltster, nine-tenths of them must be ruined, should the duty be fixed as high as 17s. a quarter. The new tax had a reference to all the stock on hand on the fifth July, which always must constitute a great proportion of the malt made in that year, as the maltsters did not commence malting until late in October. The rate of 9s. might afford them a profit, but ruin would inevitably follow the imposition of duties as high as 17s.. Indeed as the duty now 1084 was, he thought the maltster this year could not obtain more for his malt than he had given for his barley.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
replied, that as government had, upon the repeal of the war malt duty, repaid the maltsters and the trade the amount of duty already paid on the stock absolutely on hand, they would be justly entitled, after the 5th of July, to take the duty on the stock then on hand. He could see nothing inequitable in his arrangement.
§ The question being put, that the said paragraph stand part of the question, the House divided: Ayes 126, Noes 75.