HC Deb 14 March 1831 vol 3 cc429-30

On the Motion of Lord Althorp, the House resolved itself into a Committee upon the Customs' Duties' Acts. The noble Lord, in moving a Resolution relative to the duties on raw cotton, observed that the tax of five-eighths of a penny on raw cotton was intended to supply the place of a tax abolished on printed calicoes. He knew the objections to the tax on a raw material, but it really was difficult to find out a substitute. The raw cotton imported was about 240,000,0001bs., of this, 20,000,000 came from the East Indies, leaving 220,000,000 to pay the tax, which would accordingly yield, he believed, 572,900l. To this must be added 50,000l. saved in the collecting, making altogether 622,900l. From this he deducted the present ad valorem duty, amounting to 320,000l. which would leave 302,900l. Although the amount which he anticipated from this source would not altogether replace the loss of duty on printed calicoes, yet, looking at the reduction which had been made, and at the prosperous state of trade at present, he had no doubt that the produce of the revenue would be amply sufficient to meet the exigencies of the State. It was difficult for him to find arguments à priori to prove that a tax was good; but he had only to observe, that the present was but a substitute for a tax which had been taken off./ "He then moved, that it was the opinion of the Committee, that a tax of 5s. 10d. be charged upon every hundred weight of cotton wool, or waste of cotton wool imported from any foreign country.

Mr. Hume

disliked the tax, and recommended the noble Lord to strike off 6,000 men from the army, and then he might dispense with it.

Mr. Warburton

was of the same opinion, and was sure that the Reform Bill would give such general satisfaction that no army would be wanted at home.

Mr. Goulburn

hoped nobody would suppose that this tax would be removed in a year or two, for whoever did, would find himself disappointed.

Mr. George Robinson

expressed his sorrow to see trade hampered by taxes, particularly after so much had been said about free trade. It would be better, at once, to adopt a property-tax, to which the House must, at last, have recourse.

Resolution agreed to—the House resumed.