§ MR. H. B. SHERIDAN
said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether he has received any information as to the great dissatisfaction prevailing in Dudley in consequence of the mode in which the Income Tax has been levied for some time past; whether it has been reported to him that the system of surcharging manufacturers and others pursued in Dudley is gradually shutting up the great establishments of the town; whether it is true that the works known as the Constitution Hill Works, conducted by persons of the highest respectability, at which between 300 and 400 men were employed, have been closed within the last few days in consequence of the Local Commissioners insisting upon what was termed a vexatious system of surcharging; and whether there will be any objection to produce the correspondence which has taken place in reference to this case, and the various other complaints which have from time to time been made by persons in Dudley to the Local Commissioners and the Com- 177 missioners of Inland Revenue, and between the Local Commissioners and the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, together with copies of any Memorials or Petitions presented to the Treasury or the Inland Revenue from the people of Dudley on the same subject?
§ MR. HUNT
replied, that in December last a meeting was called by public requisition at Dudley on the subject referred to in the Question. The hon. Gentleman himself left at the Treasury a copy of the Resolutions passed at that meeting, and they were immediately sent to Somerset House, in consequence of which the Surveyor of Taxes, the chief officer of that department, was directed to proceed to Dudley without delay, and to institute an inquiry into the subject. The inquiry, notice of which was given to the Mayor of Dudley, accordingly took place, but the Report of the Surveyor General did not at all confirm the statements contained in the Resolutions. If the hon. Gentleman chose to move for the correspondence which had taken place on the subject, there would be no objection to lay it upon the table of the House. With regard to the second Question it had not been reported to him that the system of surcharging manufacturers and others pursued in Dudley was gradually shutting up the great establishments in that town. As to the third Question—whether it was true that the works known as the Constitution Hill Works, conducted by persons of the highest respectability, at which between 300 and 400 men were employed, had been closed within the last few days, in consequence of the Local Commissioners insisting upon what was termed a vexatious system of surcharging, he had no opportunity of knowing the truth of the allegation. He had ascertained, however, that the owners of the works in question, were surcharged to the amount of £900, and called upon to pay an additional tax of £15 a year. The works were subsequently closed; but whether that was in consequence of the additional tax of £15 being levied he was unable to say. With regard to the correspondence between persons in Dudley and the Local Commissioners, he might remark that the Treasury had no control over that correspondence, nor any power to call for its production.
§ MR. H. B. SHERIDAN
I beg leave to give notice that on an early day I will move for a copy of the Correspondence with the Local Commissioners.