HC Deb 22 February 1833 vol 15 cc1100-1
Mr. Goring

presented a petition from the inhabitants of the town of Worthing, for the abolishing of the Inhabited House-duty and Window-taxes. He begged to observe, that he heartily concurred in the prayer of the petition, which was numerously signed by respectable housekeepers. He stated that he sincerely hoped his Majesty's Ministers would repeal those duties which pressed so heavily upon the middle class, and which were levied and collected most inequitably. If his Majesty's Ministers wished to retain the confidence of the country, they must adopt and continue alone such taxes as were founded on just and impartial principles. He had no wish to embarrass his Majesty's Ministers, but he thought they must be prepared to repeal these duties. When he found, that the right hon. Secretary at War had, so long ago as 1822, advocated the immediate repeal of these taxes, and had, in a most eloquent speech, proved these always to have been considered as war taxes, not only by Mr. Fox and Mr. Wyndham, but also by Mr. Pitt, and when he found the right hon. Secretary at War, saying in that speech—'I have before told you to what amount I think we have a right to diminished taxation. If you have no surplus, reduce your expenditure. That there are means of so doing, no one can doubt, but the particular mode need not be shown by me, or by any one; that onus lies upon you. You have no right to your large establishments—it is ridiculous to call them necessary—they cannot be necessary if the people cannot afford to pay for them.'* The hon. Member said, that the distressed people of England called upon the right hon. Secretary to enforce those opinions, and he trusted that his right hon. colleagues * Hansard, (new series) vii. p. 1490. would bend to his powerful eloquence.

Sir Charles Burrell

was satisfied, that the House-tax was very unfairly levied, and was very unequal in its operation. He did not, however, go to the full extent of the prayer of this petition, because he was aware that, at the present moment, all classes were calling for the repeal of taxes which pressed peculiarly upon them; and it was impossible for Government to yield to all those demands. It must rest, therefore, with the Government, to consider what taxes should be taken off. Since he had had the honour of a seat in Parliament, he had known many taxes repealed, which had not benefited the public. That was the case with respect to the repeal of the Leather-tax. The only persons who had profited by the repeal of that tax were the leather-sellers and curriers; whilst the poor, who were told that they would get their shoes cheaper, did not pay one farthing less for them than before. The House should consider the subject dispassionately, and repeal those taxes which pressed most heavily on the best interests of the country.

Petition laid on the Table.