§ Mr. Divett
presented Petitions from Licensed Victuallers in different parts of the country, complaining that the measure of relief proposed for them by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as regarded the reduction to a certain extent of the Spirit Licence Duty imposed last Session, would be delusive and totally inoperative. 1398 He would certainly next Session bring the subject before Parliament, and would propose a reduction of the licence duty to what it was at an early period of the present century.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
was well aware that his hon. Friend would not charge him with knowingly proposing a delusive measure of relief. He calculated that the relief he proposed to give would amount to a reduction of one-third of the entire duty. Now, when the smallness of the surplus in his hands this year was considered, he thought the petitioners had no right to complain when half of the surplus at his disposal was appropriated to their relief. He had been attacked out of doors for giving them even this relief, and the Government had been charged with giving encouragement to the building of gin palaces. Now, the fact was, that the relief afforded would be confined principally to the small dealers in beer, with whom that article was the staple of their trade, and with whom the sale of spirits was merely subsidiary to that trade. It was to that class that he wished to give relief. The other class he did not think entitled to it. If he should be in office at the commencement of the next Session, he would lay on the Table a return of the amount of relief afforded, and he was sure that in accordance with his anticipation it would reach 40,000l. or 50,000l.
§ Petition to lie on the Table.