HC Deb 10 July 1851 vol 118 cc435-6

Order for Third Reading read.


said, he did not wish to offer any further obstruction to the Bill, but he could not permit it to pass without making another protest against it, as one of the most impolitic measures that had ever been introduced by a Minister. The whole principle of the Bill appeared to him to be incorrect. Viewed as a compensation to the revenue for the loss of the window tax, it was still a burthen. It was only a partial compensation, and at the same time it would prevent them from having recourse to a valuable source of revenue. He was not at all prepared for any discussion on the Bill that night, but he felt bound to express most distinctly his disapprobation of the measure. He was certain that but very few months would elapse before the House and the country would repent having given it their sanction. It was quite open to the Government to have dealt with the window duties so as not to cause any material diminution in the revenue; and he quite agreed with the sentiment expressed by the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) upon the subject. That was a politic and statesmanlike sentiment, and expressed the true principles which ought to regulate our policy. He (Mr. Disraeli) felt quite certain that the compensation to the revenue ought to have been a complete one; and that in the present state of the finances they ought not to have acceded to any remission of taxes that should have involved a material sacrifice of the revenue. It was quite open to them to have reconstructed the window duties, and to have afforded to the builders of ships all the relief that they were entitled to expect, without any material sacrifice of revenue, like that which this Bill so unnecessarily threw away. It was quite clear that in the next Session they must meet a considerable deficiency in the revenue. They would have to find a substitute for that deficiency, and the course of policy which had been indicated was a return to direct taxation to a considerable extent. Now really he could not believe that the House would be prepared next year to have recourse to a measure founded upon a system which was only applicable to an exigency. He really could not believe that next year they would recur to extensive measures of direct taxation, which were to be framed on those principles upon which existing measures were framed—measures which were justifiable, in consequence of the emergency which called them forth, and which were confessedly adopted for temporary purposes. They would next year have to go into the whole discussion of the principles upon which direct taxation was founded, and they would have to encounter this most difficult question under the pressure of the necessary addition to our taxation, caused by this impolitic diminution of our sources of revenue. He begged to enter once more his firm and most conscientious protest against the measure, in which he felt certain that before next year the majority of the House and of the country would concur.


would not enter into the question raised by the hon. Gentleman, which had been fully discussed on a former occasion, for it was quite certain that the principles upon which the Government had acted were considered by all economists to be most reconcileable with sound policy; but he would congratulate the House on having at length got rid of the window duty, which had interfered so much with the comfort and happiness of the people.

Bill read 3°, and passed.