HC Deb 29 March 1831 vol 3 cc1143-4
Mr. Charles Douglas

presented a Petition from persons interested in the Navigation of the Clyde and the Frith of Forth, praying that no tax might be laid on Steam Navigation. The importance of the Steam Navigation established in the Clyde was very great, and the advantages it had produced to the whole of the western coast of Scotland were very conspicuous. There was a capital exceeding 400,000l. embarked in this Navigation, which would be totally ruined if the proposed tax were imposed. He hoped, therefore, to hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer state, that it was not his intention to press a tax so injurious.

Sir M. S. Stewart

supported the prayer of the petition. He was at first inclined to think that a small tax on Steam Navigation might be imposed without injury, but the more he considered the subject, the more he was convinced that its effects would be greatly injurious.

Mr. Hume

said, that a Petition from Glasgow, signed by 10,000 persons, and one from Greenock, also numerously signed, had been intrusted to his care against this tax. He did hope the noble Lord would abandon the proposition. The tax, though insignificant in point of revenue, being calculated at only 75,000l., would be most seriously injurious to Steam Navigation in every part of the country.

Mr. Warburton

objected to the tax as impolitic and unjust.

Mr. S. Wortley

said, that the remission of the Coal-tax might be some compensation for the imposition of the tax on Steam-boats in England, though he by no means admitted that it would be a fair ground for such an imposition. But in Scotland, which had been exempt from the coal duty, and which would not benefit by its repeal, the weight of the proposed tax would be severely felt.

Sir Robert Peel

suggested to the noble Lord, that in future, before he took off any tax, he ought to be prepared with another to supply its place.

Petition to be printed.