HC Deb 27 May 1830 vol 24 cc1146-8
Sir John Newport

, in rising to move for some Returns relative to the Duties on Soap and Candles, observed, that, under the present state of the law, as the manufacturer of these articles in England was allowed a drawback on exporting them, he was able to undersell the manufacturer in Ireland, after paying the expenses of sending the articles thither, at the rate of twenty per cent. There was one curious and important circumstance connected with this subject, to which he wished particularly to call the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and it was this:—The duty on the Soap and Candles manufactured was not payable for two months, while the drawback was paid immediately on exportation. The consequence was, that the Soap manufacturers could make their commodity and send it over to Ireland three or four times over, between the payment of the drawback and their being called on to pay the duty. The further consequence was, that the commodity that was sold here for 25s. was sold there for 19s. The manufacturers were thus actually trading, not on their own capital, but on the public revenue. The right hon. Baronet observed, that formerly a similar trade was carried on with glass. He objected strongly to the continuance of such duties and drawbacks, as tending to encourage fraud. The least scrupulous availed themselves of these loop-holes, and acquired property at the expense of the honest. They evaded the duties, the Revenue suffered, and the fair trader was injured. The right hon. Baronet concluded, by moving for "An Account of the Revenue received on Soap and Candles for each of the five years, ending with the 1st of January last, specifying the rate of the duty in each year, and the amount of the drawback, together with the quantity exported to foreign countries—including Ireland—stating the ports from which they were exported, and also the time between the payment of the Duty, and the re-payment of the Drawback."

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, he meant to offer no opposition to the Motion, and he expressed his cordial concurrence in the principle laid down by the right hon. Baronet. He had long felt the evil of having different duties in the different countries, and he should be glad to see a general scale of duties adapted to all parts of the country. We might then get oft' drawbacks, and certainly we might get rid of many frauds. Since he had been in office he had endeavoured to equalize the duties, and had carried this object into effect with very beneficial consequences as to glass. He hoped that he should be able to do something of the same kind with other duties.

Mr. Hume

hoped, that the right hon. Gentleman would carry into effect his views as to Soap and Candles, and at the same time reduce the duty on them. The quantity of smuggling, at present carried on in these articles, as he should be able to prove when the motion of the hon. member for Hull came before the House, was enormous. The duties at present amounted to 4½d. out of every 6d. for which the Soap sold, and it was too bad that the people of this country should have to pay 4½d. to the Crown before they could get a pound of Soap.

Motion agreed to.