§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
I do not know, Sir, whether it is regular or not; but whilst I am in possession of the House, and this being the last evening on which I should have an opportunity before the departure of the next mail for America, I am anxious to take this opportunity of announcing the intentions of Her Majesty's Government with regard to the alterations about to be made in the import duties on timber. We propose, Sir, to make, ultimately, a reduction in the differential duties upon upon foreign timber, so that the duty shall remain, after the reduction has been effected at 15s. instead of the present amount. On hewn timber the duty is at present 25s. We propose to reduce it to 15s. But with the view of insuring to the consumer as much benefit as possible from the proposed reduction, we shall effect it in the manner I am about to explain. With regard to timber from the Baltic—in consequence of the very great demand for it, we do not propose that the reduction shall be immediate. We propose that it shall commence on the 5th April, 1847, considering that period as one most suitable. We propose that on the 5th April, 1847, the duty shall be reduced 5s., and on the 5th April, 1848, we propose to reduce it by another 5s. Sawn timber we propose to reduce by 6s. on the 5th April, 1847, and by 6s. on the 5th April, 1848. With respect to the small timber, such as 441 laths, spars, and other sorts, we propose to make a proportionate reduction; but whether or not the reduction, having regard to the interest of the consumer, should be immediate, is a subject for consideration. Whether it should be effected without anymore gradual reduction, we should wish to reserve for further opinions, as it may be a question whether the reduction might not be absolutely made on the 5th April, 1847, In the course of the evening the full details will be laid on the Table of the House; but I thought it necessary to make these few observations at the present opportunity.
§ SIR R. PEEL
The duties will remain the same until the 5th April, 1847. From that date there will be a reduction in hewn timber of 5s., and in sawn timber of 6s.; and from the 5th April, 1848, there will be a further reduction of 5s. and 6s. respectively.