§ Viscount Ebrington
said, he wished to put a question to the right hon. the Vice-President of the Board of Trade with respect to the proposed duty on hops in the new tariff. Was it intended to leave the duties on coculus indicus and other ingredients used in the adulteration of beer at a lower rate than the duty on hops? Was the duty on bops to remain at a prohibitory figure? He wished to know from the right hon. Gen- 309 tleman whether the tariff, with regard to hops, was still open to consideration, and whether the duty upon hops would be lowered?
§ Mr. Gladstone
replied, that the duties on quassia, coculus indicus, and other articles used in adulterating beer, had been considered altogether independently of the duties on hops, and as prohibitory duties. A very small amount of revenue had been collected from the old duties, and the advice which had been furnished by the Board of Customs to the Board of Trade, was quite sufficient to carry conviction to the mind of any man that those duties were ineffective for their object. The next step to be taken then, was to lay upon them the highest duties that could be collected; and upon that principle the present rates had been printed in the list, and though they might appear low as compared to the former duties, yet they were as high as the Government could venture to fix them without running the risk of defeating the very object they had in view—namely, at 60 or 70 per cent upon the value of the article. The subject of the duty on hops was passed over, because it was considered in the light of a prohibitory duty, as was the duty on malt; that was to say, a prohibitory duty on hops was considered as standing in the same position as a prohibitory duty on malt. The old duty having been printed in the list, the Government were anxious to give all parties concerned an opportunity of considering the subject, and of making known their views with reference to it. He might, therefore, say in answer to the noble Lord, that the question was still open to consideration, and under consideration whether or not the duty should be allowed to remain provisionally the same as before.
§ Subject at an end.