HC Deb 18 May 1837 vol 38 cc865-6
Mr. Gillon

pursuant to notice, called the attention of the House to the legislative policy adopted in reference to internal communication, and especially to the unequal rates of taxation on different modes of travelling. This was a subject of very general interest and importance, and he trusted that due attention would be paid to it by the Legislature. Nothing could be more unjust, more injurious to a large and industrious class, or more inconvenient to the public, than the present unequal rates of taxation imposed on the other modes of conveyance as compared with the conveyance by steam. Steam as a motive power, whether on railways, on rivers, or on the sea, was totally untaxed. What was the case as regarded other modes of conveying passengers to different parts of the country? What was the case with respect to stage-coaches? While the railway-coach was altogether untaxed, the stage coach, travelling on the high roads, was subjected to the payment of an annual license-duty of 5l. The conductor of the railway-coach paid no duty; the driver of the stage-coach had to pay annually a duty of 1l. 5s. Again the mileage duty on passengers by the stage-coach was one farthing per mile on the number of passengers the coach is licensed to carry, while the rail way-coaches only paid a duty of one-eighth of a penny for each passenger actually carried, and the additional advantage offered them of the power to compound, while the stage-coaches were not allowed to compound. The Dalkeith Railway Company, for instance, compounded last year for 200l., while, had the full rate been levied of one-eighth on each passenger, the duty received would have been 800l. The hon. Member concluded by moving, that "a Select Committee be appointed to consider the best mode of putting an end to the present scale of taxation on internal communication."

Mr. Horsman

seconded the motion.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

did not rise for the purpose of throwing any obstacle in the way of the motion; at the same time he should be sorry if it went abroad that the object of the present motion was for the purpose of checking any mode of investing capital.

The Committee appointed.