§ Order for Committee read.
§ House in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clause 7 (Drawback upon Coals to continue to be allowed),
§ MR. AYRTON
complained that, while by a recent treaty the French manufacturer would obtain English coal free from taxation, the Government proposed to burden the London manufacturer with a duty of 13d. per ton on that article. In Dublin, where there was a similar tax, a drawback was allowed. He begged to move the Amendment of which he had given notice, for the allowance of a drawback on all coals used by manufacturers.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
observed that it was a mere repetition of a discussion which had already occupied the attention of the Committee during a whole morning's discussion. He proposed to continue the coal duties to the amount and in the form in which they were now levied. At present there was no drawback allowed to manufacturers in London, and his reason for not acceding to the proposal was that it would materially diminish the produce of those duties, which were estimated at a certain amount, and only sufficient for the purposes to which they were to be applied. It would be remembered that the London manufacturer lived in the vicinity of his markets, and that more than countervailed any disadvantage created by the imposition of the duty.
§ MR. LOCKE
said, the duty of 13d. per ton pressed very severely upon the London manufacturer when he came into competition with the country manufacturer, who paid perhaps not much more than 8s. a ton for his coals. In the present state of competition between trades, this duty was just the last hair which broke the camel's back. He regretted the non-attendance of metropolitan Members to support the interest of their constituents.
§ LORD FERMOY
said, the hon. and learned Member had counted without his host. He (Lord Fermoy) was a metropolitan Member, and was prepared to support the imposition of the tax as an octroi duty, not as an improper duty. Moreover, the manufacturers of London would benefit more than any other class by the improvements which were to be carried out by the application of the coal tax; and he certainly could not consent to benefit them at the expense of the poor consumers of coal.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, the noble Lord has spoken, not in the interests of the poor ratepayers, but of the rich coal consumers of Marylebone. An octroi was a tax placed on articles of consumption, and not on those of prime manufacturing industry. It would be an insult to the understanding of the Committee to discuss questions of political economy which were so well established. But he thought it too bad that, after the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had gained popularity for his Government by asserting one set of doctrines, the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, in order to ingratiate himself with particular interests, should come forward and advocate wholly different principles, which were opposed to the views of a great majority of his supporters. He should be glad to hear from the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer one single intelligible argument in support of the course proposed, for he denied that any had yet been given. He should certainly afford hon. Members an opportunity of recording their inconsistency.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Remaining Clauses agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Bill reported, as amended, to be considered on Monday next.