HC Deb 05 September 1831 vol 6 cc1134-6
Mr. Hume

presented Petitions from Stockport, in Cheshire, and from several individuals, re- tailers of beer, praying to be put under the same regulations with the licensed victuallers. He thought, that the establishment of these houses had been a great boon to the poor, by enabling them to procure good beer without the bad society of a gin-shop.

Sir John Newport

agreed with the petitioners, and thought all retailers of beer and licensed victuallers should be subject to the same regulations. Whatever tended to induce the lower orders to drink beer instead of spirits, ought to be encouraged. He did hope, therefore, there was no intention to discourage these beer-shops by severe regulations.

Sir Richard Vyvyan

said, that the complaint of the Magistrates was, that the beer-shops were not under the same regulations as the public-houses. He was anxious that additional power, with regard to the regulation of those beer-shops, should be given to the Magistrates.

Mr. Wilks

observed, that no person could open a beer-shop without entering into a bond for the preservation of the peace, and such houses were at all times accessible to the police, in the same manner as the houses of licensed victuallers. He could not see what further was required. Of the 25,000 persons who had taken out licenses under the Act, 13,000 brewed their own beer, and were also licensed brewers. This was a sufficient proof, that the majority of the beer retailers were persons, of capital and respectability. He hoped, therefore, there was no intention of crushing such parties.

Mr. John Weyland

said, that the beer-shops in remote and country districts, should be put under very different regulations from those to-which beer-houses in towns were subjected. In towns they were a great benefit, in the country a great evil. Respectable persons, who had elevated themselves from the lower ranks of life, had told him, that they feared great injury would accrue from the establishment of these houses.

Mr. Hume

thought, that the evil was, that those beer-shops had been subjected to any regulations. For his part, he could not see why the sale of beer should be put under stricter regulations than those which applied to the sale of tea and sugar. He hoped his Majesty's Government would, before the end of the present session, bring in a bill to permit beer-shops to keep open as long as gin-shops.

Mr. Daniel

Whittle Harvey said, the best course would be, to enable the poor man to brew his beer at home. He recommended the abolition of the malt-tax, and the substitution of a property-tax in its stead. There appeared at present a desire to assist the peasant, but as long as the excise penalties were so severe as to prevent even brewing utensils being lent, no amelioration could be effected.

Mr. Estcourt

said, the hon. member for Middlesex had remarked, that beer ought to be sold like tea and sugar, but there was this obvious difference between them, one was an intoxicating beverage, the other not. His hon. friend had also been wrong when he said, gin-shops did the most mischief. They had none of these in the country.

Mr. Hunt

said, there were public-houses in the country in which people drank gin, although in them malt-liquor was also sold.

Petitions to lie on the Table.