HC Deb 21 June 1843 vol 70 cc180-1
The Chancellor of the Exchequer,

in moving that the Orders of the Day be read, took the opportunity of saying, that on Friday next he would move that the House should resolve itself into a Committee to consider the Excise Acts. It would be in the recollection of the House that during the last Session an act was passed imposing an additional 1s. a gallon on spirits in Ireland. He had recommended that change, in the belief that it would be productive to the revenue, and if it was not, it would produce a diminution of consumption of spirits, and lead to the increase of those habits of temperance which had grown up in Ireland. Those duties involved not merely fiscal but moral considerations, for if there was a low duty the immorality was great, whilst if the duty were high, it gave rise to illicit dis- tillation. He had watched, therefore, with great anxiety, the course of the change made last year, which had been introduced after careful examination, and in the full belief that in the altered state of Ireland, and with the means of prevention at the disposal of the Government, no great increase of distillation would take place. The year's experience had within the last few days been brought to a close, and having looked carefully at the returns, and at the circumstances of the case, he was bound to admit that the shilling duty had led to a progressive increase of the offences against the Excise laws. He felt so much the increase of immorality, that after the year's experience he had satisfied himself lie ought to recommend the House to remove the shilling duty on spirits in Ireland. With this view, lie should on Friday move the committee.