HC Deb 22 June 1825 vol 13 cc1275-7

The report of this bill being brought up,

Mr. Hume

entreated the chancellor of the Exchequer to listen to his proposal for reducing the duties on newspapers, which he might do without injury to the revenue. The doing away the restriction as to the size of the paper was good; so was the reduction of the stamp on sup- plements to two-pence, provided that they contained nothing but advertisements. What he proposed was, to reduce the stamp to two-pence on all newspapers. The reduction as it stood would do no good to those establishments who most needed it. The duty was increased 1d. in 1814, but the increase in the revenue did not correspond. The increase from 1806 to 1814 in newspaper revenue was 326,000l. In the nine years following, with the addition of 1d. on the stamp, the increase was only 4,000l. whereas it ought, if it had followed the proportion, to have produced 100,000l. Philadelphia was ten times less than Liverpool in commercial consequence; yet six times as many papers circulated at Philadelphia as at Liverpool, and there was seventy times as many advertisements published, the price for insertion being about 6d. the price of the newspaper itself, 1½d. Reduce the duty on advertisements to 1s. and the stamp so that the paper might sell at 3d. and more newspapers would be circulated and more revenue collected. He would guarantee the right hon. gentleman against loss. So anxious was he, that he would almost become personally responsible, if, at the end of a year, any loss should accrue. He entreated the right hon. gentleman to make trial of it for one year, and concluded by moving to leave out the word "supplement," for the purpose of reducing the stamp on all newspapers to 2d.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that if he were about to sell an estate, he should not for a moment object to the hon. member's guarantee; but where half a million of public revenue was at stake, he must excuse him if he looked for some greater security. Besides, the newspapers were satisfied with the benefits they were to derive from the proposed regulation. The hon. member objected, that lessening the duty on supplements would benefit only a few, and was an injustice to the other papers. To this he answered, that he lessened a particular duty upon those who were obliged to pay it, and this surely could be no hardship upon persons not subject to that duty. When he considered the variety of taxes they had dealt with during the session, and the number of reductions which had been made; he could not consent to any further reductions.

The Amendment was negatived, and the original resolutions agreed to.