HC Deb 13 June 1823 vol 9 cc975-7

On the order of the day, "that the report of this bill be now received" being read,

Mr. Denison

complained of the clause of the bill which prevented the brewers of table beer from making the medium description of beer without erecting new premises. This enactment he considered most unjust and oppressive. The table-beer brewers were ready to submit to any penalties to guard the revenue from any infringement of the laws. The bill accompanied by this clause was so objectionable, that he should wish to see it put off to another session; when a committee might take into consideration the condition of the beer trade in general. He would move as an amendment, "that the report be received this day three months."

Mr. Maberly

concurred in thinking the bill most unfair upon the brewers of small beer, who only wished to be enabled to retain the business they carried on, without the needless expense of erecting new-premises. The whole state of the trade required investigation. He would next session move to repeal all the duties on beer; which would put the poor who bought their beer from the brewer, on a level with those who brewed their own beer. The duty increased the price of beer to the consumer one penny per pot.

Mr. Monck

said, that the bill gave satisfaction to no one The effect of it was, to lay a new duty on small beer. Table beer, as the law stood, was allowed to be brewed at the rate of six barrels from a quarter of malt; the new beer was to be brewed at the rate of five barrels; and for this increased strength of 20 per cent, an increased duty of 150 per cent was charged. In the trade, restricted as it was, no man would be found to embark. If the chancellor of the Exchequer would allow the strength to be four barrels to a quarter instead of five, something perhaps might be done.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that the restrictions on brewing in the same premises different kinds of beer, paying different duties, were necessary to prevent frauds upon the revenue and the consumer, by mixing them. As to the proposed change from five to four barrels a quarter, it would absolutely ruin the porter brewers; whose beer would be scarcely superior in quality, and who yet would remain charged with 10s. a barrel.

Mr. Bernal

insisted, that the precautions against mixing the two sorts of beer were both futile and vexatious.

Mr. C. Smith,

though not in the habit of opposing the chancellor oft he Exchequer, must vote against the bill.

Mr. Ricardo

thought the bill would be inoperative and it certainly was very unjust; as it, in fact, confiscated the property of the table-beer brewers. As to the idea of preventing weak beer from being put off on the public for strong, the public might be safely left to take care of itself. No harm could be done by passing the bill without the vexatious restrictions; at least for a year, by way of experiment.

Mr. Wodehouse

opposed the bill, and suggested that it should be postponed to the next session when a full inquiry might take place.

Mr. Marryat

wished to know the reason of the arbitrary distance of 200 yards which was required between one brewery and the other? He knew a brewer who had two premises 150 yards distant from each other. The erection of another would cost 10,000l.

Mr. Herries

defended the bill, and thought the restrictions necessary, to secure to the public the full benefit of competition, by bringing a new race of brewers into the market.

The Marquis of Titchfield

opposed the bill as it stood, and considered that it would have no tendency to encourage the brewing of a better sort of beer, as the business would not be undertaken except by those who could incur the expense and risk of new buildings for the purpose.

Mr. Alderman Wood

opposed the bill, and suggested the removal of the beer duty altogether. The new beer would be such trash as no labouring person would drink. It would find no consumers, he hoped, in London, nor any where else.

The House divided: For the amendment, 26. Against it 32. The report was brought up. On the motion, "that the amendments made by the committee be now read a second time," the marquis of Tichfield moved as an amendment, "that the bill bere-committed." The house again divided: For the amendment 26. Against it 36. The report was then agreed to.

List of the Minority.
Bernal, R. Phillips, G.
Bennet, hon. H. G. Phillips, G. jun.
Calcraft, J. Pelham, C.
Coffin, sir I. Rice, T. S.
Hume, J. Ricardo, D.
Houldsworth, T. H. Scarlett, J.
Marryat, J. Smith, C.
Martin, J. Titchfield, marquis of
Mundy, F. Tulk, C. A.
Monck, J. B. Wood, M.
Marjoribanks, S. Wilson, T.
Newman, R. W. Wodehouse, E.
Oxmantown, lord TELLER
Palmer, F. Denison, W. J.