§ On the Order of the Day for going into Committee of Ways and Means,
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that in moving the postponement of the Committee till Wednesday, he would take the liberty of making a short statement to the House in reference to a Bill which stood in his name with respect to the duties on spirits. The House would probably be aware that, as that Bill now stood, it was proposed to extend the drawback on malt spirits to England and Ireland as well as to Scotland. The present state of the law with respect to the drawback on malt spirits had given rise to considerable dissatisfaction, and had been the subject of examination by several Committees of that House. He would not trouble the House with the result of these investigations, and he was conscious that, though the Bill he intended to introduce would be an improvement upon the existing law, it would not finally and satisfactorily settle the question. He had considered a plan for permitting the distillation of spirits from malt in bond, the effect of which would be that, instead of the duty being paid in the first instance, no duty would be charged on malt, and spirits would be distilled without any previous imposition of duty upon the premises of the distiller. In order to adjust the plan properly it would be necessary to make a small addition to the existing duty, there being by the present arrangement an allowance of 2d. for the duty on malt used in all species of distillation. If the House should be pleased to give their consent to the Bill on the table, he should be disposed in the course of the present Session to introduce a Bill embodying the change to which he had adverted, so as to enable the alteration of the law to take effect some time during the year. Ho believed this explanation would be satisfactory to gentlemen connected with the trade, who were at present watching the Bill now before the House, and would relieve their apprehensions with regard to any measures that might be proposed by Government.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
said, that on the part of the Irish Members and Irish distillers, he considered the statement of the right hon. Gentleman was most satisfactory.
§ MR. ALEXANDER HASTIE
said, he had heard the proposition of the Chancellor of the Exchequer with very great satisfaction, and was certain that it would meet with the approval of the Scotch distillers. 227 He believed it would prove beneficial to the revenue, and stop illicit distillation. He hoped the promised Bill would be introduced in time to pass both Houses during the present Session.
§ MR. HANKEY
said, it was his intention of asking to-morrow if the right hon. Gentleman proposed to make a similar concession in favour of sugar.
§ Motion agreed to.