HC Deb 13 April 1842 vol 62 cc369-70
Sir. H.Douglas

wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President of the Board of Trade, whether there was any objection or any difficulty in obtaining the information required in the notice of motion which he had given on the 12th instant, for a return of foreign wood entered for home consumption in the year ending the 5th day of January, 1842, classifying each article according to the existing tariff, stating quantities, rates of duty, and amounts of duty received thereon, respectively; also the mode by which each article classed by tale has been computed into loads, so as to arrive at an average rate of 41s. per load; and he wished also to ask whether all descriptions of wood were included in the calculation, so as to materially affect the average.

Mr. Gladstone

said, in answer to the question of the hon. Member, it was right to say that there was no objection whatever on the part of the Government to the production of a return of the description asked for, unless he might call an objection the fact of its being impracticable. It was not in the power of the revenue department, which took cognizance of timber imported from abroad during the last year only with reference to certain lengths and dimensions, so to take the measure of it as to compute with accuracy the cubical contents of timber so imported. He believed that what was stated by his right hon. Friend was, that the actual average duty levied on woods of all kinds was between 41s. and 42s. a load; but that was a computation necessarily unofficial, and rested on the statement of persons connected with the trade. There was, however, very little doubt of the fact, that the average of wood from the Baltic, so far as it was calculated cubically, paid somewhere about 42s. per load. As to the latter part of the question, he had no doubt that inferior descriptions of wood were included in that average, and the effect of that was to lower the average by a sum of about 3s. When the proposition was made by his right hon. Friend, it was first proposed to tax timber and deals in two classes, and, as he stated in his speech, lath wood was to be rated at 20s. per load; but it was found that with respect to certain classes of wood it would be impracticable, except with the greatest inconvenience, to take the duty in the way proposed; and, therefore, in revising the tariff, the smaller classes of wood had been placed by themselves under a different heading of duty, which would be found to be considerably lower than that proposed by his right hon. Friend, whilst in deals and sawn woods in general the duty had been raised from 35s. to 38s.

Subject at an end.