HC Deb 12 April 1869 vol 195 cc585-642

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Duties of Customs chargeable upon the articles under-mentioned, imported into Great Britain and Ireland, shall cease and determine, viz.:—Corn, Grain, Meal, and Flour, and articles of the like character, viz.:—Wheat; Barley; Oats; Rye; Pease; Beans; Maize or Indian Corn; Buck Wheat; Bear or Bigg; Wheat Meal and Flour; Barley Meal; Oat Meal and Greats; Rye Meal and Flour; Pea Meal; Bean Meal; Maize or Indian Corn Meal; Buck Wheat Meal; Meal, not otherwise enumerated or described; Arrow Root; Barley, pearled; Biscuit and Bread; Cassava Powder; Maccaroni; Mandioca Flour; Manna Croup; Potatoe Flour; Powder, viz. Hair; Powder, Perfumed; Powder, not otherwise enumerated or described that will serve the same purpose as Starch; Rice Dust and Meal; Sago; Semolina; Starch; Starch, Gum of, torrified or calcined; Tapioca; Vermicelli."


said, he wished to put a Question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Under what regulations, penalties, and inducements, he wished to know, was the registration of corn imported into this country to be carried out in future? The question was an important one, and in the House generally he noticed a disposition to insist upon more accurate statistics than had yet been furnished.


Sir, I am sorry that I am not able to go into the details of this matter, but I have referred to the Department of Customs, and am informed that statistics can be obtained under the proposed system with almost as much accuracy as under the present, which renders it necessary to look very much to the merchants' accounts. As to the precise manner in which it is to be done, I am sorry to say I cannot inform the hon. Gentleman.


said, the right hon. Gentleman would excuse him for repeating the Question, having been, as the right hon. Gentleman would, of course, remember, somewhat intimately acquainted with the origin of this charge. He hoped, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman would be good enough to make inquiry as to the nature of the proposed regulations, and on a future day to give the information to the House.


Sir, the discussion upon the Budget has been somewhat protracted, and to those who have felt bound to listen to it throughout sufficiently wearisome, no doubt. I will not add to their sufferings at any length. It is exceedingly clever, and if I may judge by the observations made, somewhat unintelligible to most. It is an experimental Budget, and as such, upon the responsibility of the introducers, it must be tested by that best argument—fact. This we cannot arrive at for a year hence; and the necessity for general criticism may also be conveniently postponed until that date. Nevertheless, there may be some points which admit of reasonable doubt, and it may be permitted to us to express this. It seems to me pretty broadly that the right hon. Gentleman having got 2d. out of us for the Abyssinian War, is going at some future time, like an honest man and a good financier, to give us 1d. back. I speak generally when I say this. Of course, as he cannot keep it, he will give the other to somebody else, and my doubt is founded on this. Passing over minor details of hair powder and puppy dogs' tails, the real application of this tax is to the remission on corn. Well, let me remove the right hon. Gentleman's manifest assumption that I am going to contest the propriety of this upon the ground of class interest, at least. Let it be broadly admitted, that under existing circumstances, and in present times, the agricultural classes want no shreds or rags of Protection. They want Free Trade, and they are also determined that this doctrine shall be fairly carried out. I admit that under present prices the claim could not be set up. But if I entertain doubts they are of another class. To them I call the attention of the House. I confess I was insufficiently satisfied with the right hon. Gentleman's argument upon this. He assumed too much and proved too little in this case. He held that without doubt the remission would reach the consumer. Now, is this the case? It may be one of the new lights, but upon no mean authority it has been held not. By Sir Robert Peel, and if I mistake not, by the right hon. Gentleman who now leads the Treasury Bench, it was, I say, held that this small duty could be levied for purposes of revenue, and that it did not in any way affect the price. This may to tyros seem a paradox, but the right hon. Gentleman, as it seemed to me, explained it himself. What did he tell us in another case? Why, that as regarded currants whatever we remitted would, of course, be put on by Greece. Well, the principle is the same, the only difference may be in the condition of the ease. None but doctrinaires expect to find such absolute rule, in practice at least. But, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman tells us that it was curious that Sir Robert Peel should hold such language as this— Sir Robert Peel seems curiously to have thought that a tax of 1s. per quarter on corn, or of 3d. per cwt., as it is now paid by weight instead of by measure, was really no tax at all. For so great a financier the language that he holds upon this matter is very remarkable. In his speech in 1846 he says—'I propose, therefore, that one article of grain, which I believe may be applied to the fattening of cattle, shall henceforth be imported duty-free; I mean maize. I propose that the duty on maize shall be merely nominal.'"—[3 Hansard, cxcv. 386.] He means, I presume, that it was curious that Sir Robert Peel should have differed with himself, and that of course he is right; but we may not all see it in that light. Nor do I think he did justice to the argument of Sir Robert Peel when he speaks thus— That this duty is something more than a mere registration duty is evident, I think, from two considerations. The first consideration is that it is perfectly easy to register the arrival of corn without it; in fact, it is no more difficult to register the arrival of corn without levying a duty of 1s. per quarter upon it than it is to roast a pig without burning down a house. Again it cannot be called a mere registration duty, for you have an enormous number of collateral duties on articles like tapioca, arrowroot, sago, flour, meal, and so on, all kept upon your tariff for the purpose of acting as outworks and bulwarks to protect this particular duty."—[Ibid., 386.] Sir Robert Peel did not say that it was only for purposes of registration; he said that you must have all the staff of officials, and that by these, therefore, the registration could be carried out without additional expenses. But when he tells us that— You may put a duty on these articles for the protection of the Revenue; but why should you do it for mere purposes of registration, which can easily be effected without it? It was clearly the intention of its founder that it should operate only as a register; but it really is, and it has now come to be regarded as, a source of Revenue."—[Ibid., 386, 387.] This much we can admit, and it is, perhaps, upon this very ground that we may entertain doubts whether or not it is wise to remit such a tax. What, however, does the right hon. Gentleman say of this?— And what sort of a source of Revenue is it? It is impossible to imagine any tax which combines more of the qualities that make a tax odious—that is, it is a duty on an article that is produced in England with no countervailing Excise duty upon it; it is there effectual as a protective duty—that is to say, it not merely raises the price of the portion of the article that pays it, but also raises the price of the portion of the article that does not pay it."—[Ibid., 387.] Well, if one-half of this was true, no doubt; but it is mere assertion nevertheless. The right hon. Gentleman did not offer one tittle of proof. Does it raise the price here? this is what we doubt; indeed the right hon. Gentleman almost admits as much. He says— The consumption of wheat in this country is about 22,000,000 quarters annually; the imports are about 8,000,000 quarters, and the home growth about 14,000,000 quarters. I do not mean to say that the price of the whole 14,000,000 quarters grown at home can be sensibly raised by this tax, but I feel no doubt that the price of a considerable portion of it is, and no one can exactly say how much."—[Ibid, 387.] He believes upon ground of belief, he neither supports by statistics or facts. On general principles he claims assent to this. He says— Although in the case of a small duty of this kind we cannot trace its exact incidence or measure the exact amount of the mischief it does, surely there is such a thing as faith in politics as well as in religion."—[Ibid., 388.] Well, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman may have more than most, but when he once more asks us— If we can take nothing on the strength of abstract reasoning, and everything must rest upon statistics, which it is impossible to obtain in such cases, then we may as well burn our books on political economy, and economic science is altogether useless."—[3 Hansard, cxcv. 388.] Before we can accept such wholesale conclusions as this, we must, at least, learn from whom they proceed, and the right hon. Gentleman is neither infallible nor immaculate in this case. It was to the right hon. Gentleman that Mr. Mill addressed these words in my hearing in the House— In my right hon. Friend's mind political economy appears to stand for a set of practical maxims. To him it is not a science, it is not an exposition, not a theory of the manner in which causes produce effects: it is a set of practical rules, and these practical rules are indefeasible. …. So far from being a set of maxims and rules to be applied without regard to times, places, and circumstances, the function of political economy is to enable us to find the rules which ought to govern any state of circumstances with which we have to deal—circumstances which are never the same in any two cases. … Political economy has a great many enemies; but its worst enemies are some of its friends."—[3 Hansard, cxc. 1525.] But, if permitted to doubt whether any advantage to conscience will take place, I equally demur to the right hon. Gentleman's conclusion in another case. He once more assumes that a great entrepôt trade is about to spring up, and what is the nature of his proof? He says that between 1864 and 1868 the corn exported was as follows:—1864, 21,455 quarters; 1865, 10,851 quarters; 1866, 19,648 quarters; 1867, 63,453 quarters; 1868, 83,036 quarters—exported after payment of duty. But, that there were transhipped—1864, 5,164 quarters; 1865, 9,239 quarters; 1866, 49,691 quarters; 1867, 169,467 quarters; 1868, 151,902 quarters; and upon this he argues that the obstacle in question is the duty. Is this so? I think not, for the same thing would apply to bonded goods. Is transhipment preferable to reshipment? Why of course it is. Ask any practical merchant this. Sir, there is one thing he has absolutely failed to point out—what great advantages merchants are to derive from warehoused over bonded goods. Why cannot they be warehoused in bond? They then pay no duty when they are taken out; but Sir, they are transhipped, or sent on without breaking bulk, and there is an obvious reason for this quite independent of the tax. It is a mere delusion—a bait then to the mer- cantile class. But, Sir, let me say this—if it could be proved that by such means any real or solid advantages would accrue to the consumer or the mercantile class, then, depend upon it, the agricultural interest would most willingly forego the slight advantage it can afford to themselves. The real sufferer will be the payer of the income tax. One word more upon this: there is one consequence of this Act to which I call the attention of the House. The right hon. Gentleman has imagined a case. He says— If we want to get at the real evils of the tax, let us imagine ourselves applying to it the same rules as we apply to all other protective taxes, and put a countervailing Excise duty on the home-grown article. Just fancy the exciseman let loose upon the barns and the stores of the farmers and the corn-dealers, collecting a tax of 3d. per cwt. on their corn all over the country. What a sensation it would create!"—[3 Hansard, cxcv. 387] Now, Sir, there is such a countervailing duty in this case, which he has forgot. The Custom House officer does come to our barns and granaries, and to a proportionate effect it does create the sensation the right hon. Gentleman describes, and it is a tax much more onerous than 3s. per cwt. Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to take this off? It is the necessary consequence of this Act. This Budget signs the doom of the malt tax—the right hon. Gentleman may be quite sure of that—and we shall look to that—the Treasury—Bench for support. I shall not go into the question in detail, but I call the attention of the hon. Member for Sussex (Colonel Barttelot) who has charge of the question, to these facts. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade has said that it is his wish that we should have a free breakfast table; I presume that he would not confine this to the higher and middle classes. The labouring classes drink beer, and upon that ground I claim his support. On any other ground I must object to this remission which falls to the foreign producer, and whose substitute is the income tax.


said, he had heard from the best authorities that it was not at all probable that any benefit that might accrue from the repeal of the corn duties would fall to the share of the consumer. It was well known that a large portion of the corn trade from the Black Sea was in the hands of Greek merchants, and the first thing that had happened after the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman to repeal those duties was made public, was to raise the price of corn in the hands of those merchants 1s. a quarter. No doubt in time the price would find its level; but, with regard to the benefit of the consumer, it seemed to him in the highest degree improbable that the abolition of 3d. a cwt., which would be a merely fractional part of the price of a loaf, would ever be of any benefit to the consumer. He feared the benefit would go into the hands of the middlemen—of the miller, or perhaps of the baker. It was indeed even now curious to remark the difference in price between wheat and bread, and to find that in London, at least, no proportion was kept up between the prices of the two articles. He was aware that it would not do to interfere with the trade of the baker; but it was lamentable to think that, while the farmer was selling his wheat at prices that were scarcely remunerative, the price of bread was still kept up by a combination among those who sold it, and the poor did not get the benefit. As to the 1s. duty itself, he did not hold that it was a question of protection. If it acted in any sense in that way it was as a tax upon the importation of foreign barley for malting purposes. There would now be a great increase in the importation of barley, and he hoped they would have the benefit of that in the price of beer. But it was inconsistent in the Chancellor of the Exchequer to remove the last remnant of Protection as between the consumer and producer of corn, while he left untouched that great impost of the malt tax, which was a constant vexation to the farmer both as a consumer and a producer.


said, he would beg to remind the hon. Gentleman who spoke last that there were many districts in England where, except in the large towns, bakers hardly existed, the people baking their own bread; and in that case, at all events, the consumers would get the full benefit. Besides there were many other articles as well as corn on which the duties would be repealed by this Resolution, where the benefit would go entirely to the poor, and it would be received by them as a great boon.


said, he rose, not to make any observation upon the merits of the Resolution under consideration, but to repeat for the benefit of those hon. Members, who were not present when the subject was previously discussed that the Resolution was merely formal, and would not take effect until the administrative Resolutions were agreed to. The House would be in no wise committed by this Resolution to agreement in the plan of the Government. It was unnecessary, he believed, that a Resolution for the repeal of duties should be passed in a Committee of Ways and Means. Where a new scale of duties was to be imposed it was usual to pass a Resolution to repeal the old duties, and then to pass another imposing a new scale of duties; but, as this was a case of absolute abolition, the insertion of a clause in the Bill would have been enough, without a Resolution. They would come by-and-by to Resolutions with which he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not proceed—he referred to the substitution of Excise licenses for the assessed taxes. He thought the right hon. Gentleman would avoid all difficulties if he were to divide his financial scheme into two parts and propose them in separate Bills—the one referring to the change in the manner of collection, the other dealing with the change of the duties. If the right hon. Gentleman did not do that the one part of his scheme might have to wait for the assent of the House to the other.


said, that people out-of-doors were anxious to know at what time the corn duty would be taken off; would it be when the Act had passed into a law, or, as was often the case, when a certain progress had been made in the Bill? There were merchants with cargoes of wheat on their way here, and they wanted to know what they were to do.


said, he had been down in the country, and he found that the opinions generally expressed by the farmers with regard to the repeal of this duty were not unfavourable. They did not believe it would benefit the poor; but they were glad it was to be removed, for it had been constantly thrown in their teeth that they were in the enjoyment of a remnant of Protection. For his own part he was delighted that it was to be abolished. He did not think it had any effect upon wheat, but he must point out to the right hon. Gentleman that it might have considerable effect on barley. No one knew better than the right hon. Gentleman the condition of the barley trade. It was admitted on all hands that English farmers grew the best barley in the world for malting purposes, but they complained that, by the operation of the malt tax, they could not use the second-class barley in the way they desired. On taking off the 1s. duty he believed a great quantity of inferior barley would come in from abroad to compete with the English inferior barley. The next Resolution related to foreign beer. Now, was it fair to allow beer to be brought into this country, which might be made from any articles the producer pleased, while the manufacturers in this country were compelled to use two certain articles? To meet this they must commute the malt tax into a duty on beer. If the right hon. Gentleman would do that it would be regarded as a fair and proper solution of the question.


said, that many of his constituents were interested in this question as large dealers in corn, and they had large stocks on hand. They thought they were entitled to a drawback on those stocks; but, as he saw the feeling of the House was adverse to such a proposition, he would say nothing more on that subject. But they were anxious to know the exact time at which the duty would be remitted, as to many of them the question whether they had or had not to pay the 1s. duty would be a question of profit or loss. If it were impossible now to state the exact day the duty would cease, it would be deemed convenient to have it mentioned that it would be off in six weeks or two months. It was considered by traders that that would enable them to get rid of their present stock on better terms than they could if the Act came into operation at once. He did not attach any value to that, for the effect of the reduction of the duty would be anticipated, but he thought it important that the trade should know when the reduction of the duty would take place.


said, he wished to know whether the remission of the duty on sago included the duty on sago flour?


said, it would. He was now in a condition to answer the Question of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate). Owing to the smallness of the duty and the bulk of the article, in the collection of the revenue on corn the Excise officers took the merchants' account of the weight, and did not weigh the corn themselves, except where they had reason to suspect that an attempt was being made to impose on them. In future the registration would be founded on substantially the same data as that on which the duty is at present calculated; and though we could not expect to find it as exact as it is under the stimulus of a duty, yet, for all practical purposes, it would no doubt give a true account of the imports of com. As to the Question which the hon. Gentleman seemed to feel so much about—namely, the date at which the corn could be admitted duty free—there was a difficulty in fixing a time owing to the peculiar position of the matter. It had been agreed between the First Lord of the Treasury and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Northamptonshire (Mr. Hunt)—representing as he did the views of the other side of the House on arrangements connected with finance—that the Opposition would allow the Resolutions to be taken pro formâ, in order that the Government might be able to bring on the measures upon which that financial scheme depended. He thought that if the right hon. Gentleman refreshed his memory he would recollect that this arrangement applied to all the Resolutions; because it was obvious that, unless the House consented to the change which he pro- posed in the collection of the revenue, which change was the basis of the remissions, the remissions themselves must fall to the ground. He now understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that his ac- quiescence as regarded the taking of the Resolutions pro formâ did not apply to the Resolution having reference to that change; but he believed that if the right hon. Gentleman refreshed his recollection he would find that it applied to all the Resolutions. The right hon. Gentleman had objected to allowing him to go beyond one Resolution on Thursday night, though subsequently he allowed him to take another. But unless the Government were allowed to take pro formâ the Resolution on which the new system of collection was to be founded, they could not very well advance, for the first step to be adopted in order to give effect to their plan was to convert the assessed taxes into Excise licenses. The passing of the Resolutions pro formâ, while facilitating the Government business, would have no binding effect on hon. Gentlemen so as to preclude them hereafter from objecting to the principle of the Government scheme. He would now answer the Question put to him as regarded the date on which the remission of the 1s. duty on corn would be carried into effect. Though the Resolution having reference to that remission had led to very little debate, and would be passed by consent, it would not give the Government authority to remit the duty; but as soon as the House had definitely pledged itself to the remission, which would be, he thought, when the Bill was in Committee, and when they arrived at that part of it, dealing with the duty, the Government would at once take steps to prevent any further collection of the duty. They would not feel justified in taking any other course, because it would not be respectful to the House or fair to the public. When therefore, the House in Committee had agreed to the clause abolishing the duty, the ports would be completely opened for corn.


said, he was sorry that there was any misunderstanding. When consenting to the arrangement to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had alluded, he distinctly said that he did not understand it as applying to the Resolution for converting the assessed taxes into Excise licenses. He said at the time that he hoped the Government would allow that Resolution to remain on the Paper for a few days, in order that hon. Members might have an opportunity of considering it. He understood the Government to say that they were perfectly willing to adopt that course, and there the matter ended. He did not think there would be any difficulty in carrying out that arrangement. To the first Resolution no one objected; to the second he was not prepared to object, and he did not believe anyone else would do so. Then he did not apprehend that any opposition would be offered to the third Resolution, which had reference to the income tax. As to the fourth and fifth Resolutions, which were for the repeal of duties, he understood, from authority, that there was no occasion for them. No doubt, it might be convenient to put such Resolutions on the Paper, in order to afford an opportunity for explanation, but with a view to legislation they were unnecessary. He then came to the sixth Resolution, the only one in dispute. Though, in the main, it was a Resolution for the reduction or the remission of duties, it did, in certain cases, raise duties. For instance, in respect of young male servants, it raised the duty from 10s. to 15s. He thought that was a very questionable measure, and should not be passed as a Resolution without being made known throughout the country. Again, it appeared to him that there might be some objection to taxing carriages by weight, though he was not prepared, at the present moment, to say he would oppose it. He believed the Chancellor of the Exchequer would admit that he had shown an anxiety to facilitate him in getting the opinion of the House on his financial scheme as soon as possible, and he had no wish to throw any obstacles in his way now. As far as he understood the feeling of the House, there would be no objection to the principle of converting the assessed taxes into Excise licenses, but on the proposed alterations in respect of the time of collecting the house and land taxes, there might be some difference of opinion. He thought that the Government might give more time to the consideration of the sixth Resolution, and at the same time avoid delay by making up their mind to embody that Resolution in a separate Bill.


said, he did not think the answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer with regard to the. corn duty would be very satisfactory. As no one would know when it was likely the Bill would be in Committee, the trade would be in a state of perplexity. He thought it would be better to act on the suggestion of his hon. Friend the Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim), and name a day in prospective.


said, he would consider the suggestion of the hon. Member for Dublin (Mr. Pim), and give an answer on the subject to-morrow. He should be very glad indeed to prevent inconvenience to any class. As to what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Northamptonshire (Mr. Hunt), he was afraid they were getting into a vicious circle. He would not go into a wrangle about what was said the other night, because he was sure the right hon. Gentleman did not want to go back from anything he had said. What the Government wanted was to get that scheme carried. To effect that they wanted to get a Bill; and, in order to do this, they wanted to get the Resolutions on which the Bill was founded. Therefore, they proposed that hon. Gentlemen should allow them to take the Resolutions to-night, pro formâ, and, without binding the House to the contents of those Resolutions. Then, the right hon. Gentleman, while he did not object to proceeding with those Resolutions, which might be said to be independent of the financial scheme of the Government, was indisposed to allow those to be taken on which it was mainly founded; but unless he would permit the latter to be agreed to, of what avail was it that he was ready to assent to the passing of the former pro formâ? The scheme could not be split up in that way; and, if the right hon. Gentleman adhered to his present view, it would be; impossible for him to introduce the Bill which he had in his pocket, and which it was desirable should be placed as soon as possible before the House and the country, in order that they might be placed in possession of the proposed changes in legal form. He could not conceive how anyone could be prejudiced by allowing all the Resolutions to be passed on the distinct understanding that the House was not thereby to be understood as definitively pledging itself to any of the proposed alterations.


said, he regretted that he did not seem to have conveyed clearly to the right hon. Gentleman the nature of his objection. He did not mean to oppose any Resolution which would enable the Government to press forward any part of their scheme, except that which related to the transfer of some of the assessed taxes to a system of Excise licenses. He, and those around him, were willing to accede to the adoption of any course which would not oblige them to commit themselves; but he must state that he was disposed to think the imposition of a duty of 15s. on men servants, without distinction of age, was not a good alteration. He rather inclined to the opinion that it would be better to remit the duty altogether on young lads, and to continue the charge of £1 1s. on the full-grown man. Now, let him suppose that, after fuller consideration, he should arrive at the conclusion that he ought to take the sense of the House on that point, and that that portion of the Resolution authorizing the imposition of a uniform rate of 15s. were struck out, the right hon. Gentleman would be compelled to resort to a Committee of Ways and Means, in order to put on the old duty on full-grown men servants, or to sacrifice the revenue derived from that source altogether. Now, that was not, in his opinion, the way in which the matter ought to be left, and while he was anxious to give every facility for proceeding with the Resolutions, he could not see that the course which he suggested was open to the objection that it would tend to produce any undue delay in the passing of the Resolutions as a whole. He understood, he might add, the Chancellor of the Exchequer to assent the other night to his proposal that the Resolutions to which he particularly referred should lay two days on the table.


replied that the Resolutions relating to the transference of assessed taxes to a system of Excise licenses constituted the very key of the financial scheme, and that unless that change were assented to by the House it would be impossible to proceed with the scheme at all. It would be of no avail that the Resolutions embodying certain remissions of taxation were agreed to if the Government were not allowed to carry out that other part of their plan on which their ability to make those remissions depended. The House might reject that part after the remissions had been decided upon, and thus land him in a deficit. Under these circumstances the qualified assent which the right hon. Gentleman had given with respect to the passing of the Resolutions was worthless.


said, he felt bound to acknowledge the conciliatory and courteous spirit in which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hunt) had, on a former evening, responded to the appeal which had been made to him in the interest of the public with respect to the passing of the Resolutions, and he (Mr. Gladstone) hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not mar the real value of the assent which he then gave by adopting the course which he now indicated it to be his intention to pursue. A sum of £600,000 depended on the proposed change of certain assessed taxes into a system of Excise licenses, and his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be unable to go on with his remissions until that alteration was agreed to. After all, the point for which the right hon. Gentleman contended was a small one, and he trusted he would not impede the progress of an important measure by insisting that a material portion of the financial scheme should be inconveniently delayed.


said, he could not understand how the scheme of the Government could be materially affected by the adoption of the course which he proposed. When the House was in Committee of Ways and Means, he might add, was, in his opinion, the proper opportunity for the discussion of such changes as those to which his remarks specially referred, because then it was open to a Member to speak several times in the course of a debate, which he would not be able to do on the Motion for the second reading of a Bill. The right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down said that the point for which he was contending was a small one, but he did not mean to confine any observations which he might make simply to the tax on servants. He was anxious to make some observations on the whole scale of duties as proposed, those relating to carriages, armorial bearings, and the duty to be paid by horse-dealers. He doubted whether the proposed change would not raise that duty on country dealers, ["No, no!"] The taxes on carriages and armorial bearings, and the question whether young servants should be taxed to the amount of 15s. were, in his opinion, matters worthy to be considered in Committee of Ways and Means. He disavowed all intention of interposing in order to embarrass the Government. There would, he believed, be no opposition to the conversion of the assessed taxes into license duties—but the details of that scheme required much consideration, and he could see no reason why the subject should not be embodied in a separate Bill.


said, that in order to secure the discussion of those minor questions the right hon. Gentleman had interposed to prevent the advancement of a measure which was necessary for the purpose of bringing before the House legislation that would deal with an enormous amount of taxation. After all, this was a question not for discussion but for consent, and if the right hon. Gentleman persisted in withholding his consent, there would be no use in prolonging the discussion. For his own part, he could only say that he had done all he could to bring the matter under the consideration of the House.


said, there had no doubt been a considerable misconception, but it had entirely arisen from the erroneous impression made by the right hon. Gentleman himself having at the outset declared that he was only asking for what was a new arrangement pro formâ. He thought the House ought always to hesitate before relinquishing its privilege of entering in a regular manner into a discussion of details of this importance in Committee of Ways and Means. He was of opinion that the points referred to by his right hon. Friend might be regarded with much interest in the country, and the House therefore ought not to forego its right to discuss those points in Committee. His right hon. Friend had declared his willingness to fulfil the engagement he entered into the other night with the view of facilitating the course of the Government business, but then his right hon. Friend had shown that the Chancellor of the Exchequer might have avoided all difficulties if he had chosen to proceed by two Bills instead of one. That, indeed, would be a much easier mode of attaining the end in view, and consequently, it was unfair for the right hon. Gentleman, who had adopted a course likely to produce considerable public inconvenience, to turn round and charge his right hon. Friend with a reluctance to fulfil an engagement which he was quite willing to fulfil, at the present moment. It was also unfair for the right hon. Gentleman to describe the objection entertained by the Opposition to relinquish their privilege of discussing the propriety of items of taxation in Committee of Ways and Means as a refusal to take a course which was merely pro formâ. It would greatly facilitate the course of public business, and the right hon. Gentleman would reap considerable benefit hereafter, if he would adopt the suggestion of my right hon. Friend, and divide the measure into two parts.


said, that the division of the measure into separate Bills was open to objection on various grounds. That, indeed, was the course pursued some years ago; but the subject was then seriously considered, and the present mode of procedure was deliberately adopted by the House. It was not necessary, however, to fall back upon these considerations nor, he might remark, had anybody charged the right hon. Gentleman opposite with the non-fulfilment of an engagement. The practical point was this—The Chancellor of the Exchequer had represented that, in order to enable him to go forward with his proposals, it was necessary that the sum of £3,350,000 should be placed at his disposal by the changes he intended to make in respect to the collection of income tax, house tax, and land tax, and the conversion of the assessed taxes into Excise licences. But without that £3,350,000 the right hon. Gentleman could not get his remissions, and without the sixth Resolution he could not get the whole of the £3,350,000, because he wanted £600,000 which could not be obtained unless that Resolution passed. Under such circumstances, instead of presenting a surplus, the right hon. Gentleman would have to present a deficiency, and consequently to object to his obtaining a part of this sum was tantamount to objecting to his obtaining the whole; so that, in a purely financial point of view, it was not open to his right hon. Friend to divide the Bills, for if he did so the Bill giving him the necessary £600,000 would lie behind the other Bill.


said, he was anxious to help the Government out of the difficulty. He would, therefore, suggest that two Bills should be brought in and referred to the same Committee, so that they might be eventually incorporated into one Bill. He repeated that he had done all he could to facilitate the progress of Public Business. As he stated the other evening, all he wanted was that the country should be allowed a few days to consider the proposals now embodied in the sixth Resolution. The, Resolution was only delivered to hon. Members on Saturday morning. He should now be satisfied if the right hon. Gentleman would postpone the Resolution to Friday, whether the matters were included in one Bill or two. In the meantime, Members would have an opportunity of ascertaining the opinions of their constituents.


said, the only objection to acceding to the right hon. Gentleman's wish was that the Paper for Friday was already full, and he was sure the right hon. Gentleman would not wish the discussion on this subject to be taken at an early hour in the morning. ["Go on."] He had, therefore, no option in the matter. He could not go on without consent, and that consent he could not get.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)


said, he had endeavoured to give the right hon. Gentleman every facility consistent with the privileges of the House; but, as representatives of the taxpayers, they had a right to have these matters freely discussed in the usual mode in Committee of Ways and Means. There were some other parts of the financial scheme on which he had intended to make some remarks on the Resolution granting 6d. in the pound for income tax being brought forward. As the right hon. Gentleman now proposed to report Progress, he supposed that it behaved him (Mr. Hunt) to make his remarks on the present occasion. He was anxious that the different considerations which, in his opinion, ought to be submitted to the Committee should be brought before it at an early period, in order that there might be time for a full discussion, and that Members might have ample opportunity of considering the issues raised. The discussion on the subject at the present time would, therefore, rather assist the right hon. Gentleman than otherwise. Now, he wished, first of all, to go into the statement of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the revenue and surplus he anticipated, and the mode in which it was proposed to deal with the surplus. The right hon. Gentleman had estimated his Revenue at £72,855,000, and stated the other night that he assumed the income tax was to be at 6d., by which means he showed a very large surplus. But it was a question whether the income tax ought to be assumed at 6d. for the purpose of such a calculation. Before any Votes were taken for the Abyssinian War the income tax stood at 4d. On the first occasion when a Vote was taken in respect of the Abyssinian War an extra 1d. was put on the income tax. Now, it would be remembered that in his statement last year he (Mr. Hunt) made a distinction between a tax that was ne- cessary for ordinary purposes and a tax required for special purposes such as the Abyssinian War, and on that occasion 2d. was added to the income tax for the purpose of defraying the war charge. The right hon. Gentleman said that the Revenue of next year would amount to £72,855,000, but in reply to that he (Mr. Hunt) had asserted the other evening that the right hon. Gentleman ought to take off about £3,000,000 from that in respect of the sum which represented the war tax. That £3,000,000 must be divided into two parts. The estimated Revenue of the right hon. Gentleman contained within it the arrears of the war tax of last year. Last year he (Mr. Hunt) estimated that the whole of the tax would not be collected within the year, but that about £1,100,000 would remain to be collected in the current year. But when the right hon. Gentleman stated the other night that there was a deficit on his (Mr. Hunt's) estimate for income tax, the right hon. Gentleman did not inform the House, as he would probably have done if the Estimate had been his own, that there had been no loss of revenue but merely a postponement of collection. The right hon. Gentleman did not think fit to make that explanation, but the Third Lord of the Treasury admitted that, although there was a deficit, no loss to the Revenue would accrue. He believed that in the Revenue which the right hon. Gentleman now estimated, about £1,250,000 would be due to the arrears of the war tax. It was necessary, then, to deduct from the right hon. Gentleman's estimate of Revenue the 2d. of income tax which would fall due within the year. He took that at £1,780,000. That would leave a Revenue of £71,075,000, still containing the arrears of that 2d. of income tax to which he had alluded. Taking the expenditure at £68,223,000, the surplus remaining would be £2,852,000. The right hon. Gentleman stated, the other night, that he expected to gain by the conversion of the assessed taxes into a license tax, and by the alteration of the period of collection, £3,350,000. That would give him a surplus of £6,202,000. The right hon. Gentleman said the Abyssinian liabilities were £4,600,000, and when that sum was deducted from the corrected surplus, after taking away the war 2d. of income tax, the real surplus he would have to deal with, after his gains by the proposed changes, would be £1,602,000. Then the right hon. Gentleman proposed to make remissions, independent of the income tax, to the extent of £2,050,000; so that even with the fifth Id. of income tax he would have a deficit of £448,000. He made those explanations in order that it might be understood by the Committee and the public that the right hon. Gentleman had not taken off 1d. of the income tax. What the right hon. Gentleman virtually did was to put on 1d. of income tax. By his scheme—and he gave him every credit for its ingenuity as far as related to the income tax, the land tax, and the house duty—he proposed to gain £3,350,000. But at whose expense were those gains to be made? What taxes did he operate upon in order to get them? Why, upon the direct taxes; and so far as the inconvenience occasioned to the tax-payers went, it was an inconvenience to the very persons on whom the right hon. Gentleman sought to impose 1d. of income tax. Therefore, the payers of direct taxation might well question the propriety of that 1d. being imposed to enable the right hon. Gentleman to make what would no doubt be very popular in the country—namely, the different remissions which he proposed. Let it not be supposed that that 1d. was necessary to meet the liabilities for Abyssinia; the right hon. Gentleman's clever scheme would do that without recourse to that extra 1d., and still leave them a considerable surplus. So that, in point of fact, that extra 1d. was put on, not to pay off the Abyssinian claim, but to enable him to make remissions of taxation. He had stated the other night that he thought it quite possible the right hon. Gentleman might be making remissions and showing himself very generous at the expense of posterity, and he still believed there was some ground for that apprehension. He would take the Revenue for the year 1870–1. It was not usual to take Estimates beyond one year, but where they were making large remissions of taxation it was justifiable to look a little to the future. He would take the Revenue of 1870–1, then, exactly on the basis of the right hon. Gentleman's calculations for the present year, taking off the extra 2d. of income tax and leaving that impost at 4d., and reckoning the other taxes as being the same as now, and also taking the expenditure at the same amount. According to that calculation the Revenue of 1870–1 would be £70,075,000, and the expenditure £68,223,000, leaving a balance of £1,852,000, from which had to be deducted £1,200,000 as the arrears of income tax which they would get in this year's Revenue. Taking the remission on fire insurance at £730,000, on corn at £900,000, on locomotion and assessed taxes at £420,000, these items taken together made remissions to the extent of £2,050,000. Now, the surplus they would have next year would not suffice for those remissions by the amount of about £400,000, unless they took into account the arrears of assessed taxes that the right hon. Gentleman would collect in the year 1870–1, and which he took at about £700,000. But the question was this—would they be able to collect those? The right hon. Gentleman the other night spoke of certain halcyon days during which, or for nine months, no assessed taxes would be levied. ["No!"] That was what the right hon. Gentleman said the other night, and he was also so reported in the newspapers. [Mr. LOWE was understood to say he had spoken, not of assessed taxes not being "levied," but of their not being "incurred."] But who were to enjoy those "halcyon days?" Only those persons who had no articles on which the duties were levied before the 5th of April of this year, and who afterwards began to keep them. Such persons would escape altogether for those nine months; but there would be no halcyonic been at all conferred on those who next year would not only have to pay the new license duties, but also the duties in respect of the articles kept by them before the 5th of April, 1869. When the alteration was made in regard to the dog duty—the first experiment in the conversion of assessed taxes into license duties—the assessed tax on dogs was reduced in the last year of the assessment by the amount of the Excise duty. The Excise duty was 5s. in that case, and the tax having being reduced from 12s. to 7s. no complaint was made that people had to pay in one year taxes for two years. From the expression used by the right hon. Gentleman the other night he had thought the owners of articles now liable to assessed taxes were going to get something of a boon; but from the right hon. Gentleman's correction, and from the Papers before them, it seemed they were to have no been whatever, but would be subject to a very considerable inconvenience. If the spirit of the arrangement carried out in respect to the dog tax were observed in this case, the persons who paid the new license duties on the 1st of January should be allowed to deduct the amount of those license duties, or a part of it, from the payment of the second moiety of the assessed taxes duo from them on the 5th of April following for the year 1868–9. With regard to the balances of the Exchequer, the hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Crawford) the other night said it was important to consider what the effect of the right hon. Gentleman's propositions would be upon those balances, and he also added that the right hon. Gentleman's secret had been well kept. From that latter remark he gathered that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had devised that plan without any communication whatever with the Governor or the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. [Mr. CRAWFORD: Hear, hear '] He confessed that he was rather surprised that the secret had been kept from his hon. Friend who sat behind the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because he knew it had been the practice for Chancellors of the Exchequer to consult confidentially those great authorities on a point on which they were so competent, whatever might be their politics, to give their advice, which he was sure would be given in the frankest manner and without the least risk of any breach of confidence. He repeated, therefore, his surprise that that part of the scheme—changing the period when some of the taxes would be paid into the Exchequer account at the Bank—had been kept entirely secret from those authorities. That was a matter as to which the right hon. Gentleman ought to offer some explanation when next he addressed the House, because the question of the Exchequer balances must be regarded as very important in two financial points of view. And first, as respected the power which the Government had over the money necessary for the service of the country, by the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman (taking the figures of 1868 as their guide), £2,600,000 or thereabouts, would not be paid into the Bank in October for income tax which was customary so to be paid. Then, he believed, that on the Income Tax account about £4,000,000 would be paid into the Bank in January, more than was usually so paid in. Next, with regard to the land and assessed taxes, he believed that about £1,500,000 would not be paid into the Exchequer account at the Bank, at the usual period in October, and the corresponding period in April, but that £3,000,000 more than was customary would be paid into that account in January. If that were so—and he did not pledge himself to particulars, but had given the figures as far as he could ascertain them—there would be in October £4,000,000 less paid into the Bank than usual, and in the following January about £7,000,000 more than usual would be paid in. Now, that would be important in two points of view. In the first place, because the Exchequer would not be fed from the usual sources of supply in the first period, the Government might between October and January be brought into a position of considerable embarrassment, in order to obtain the supplies for that part of the year. But when January came, there would be a larger sum than would be necessary, either to re-pay the advances that might have been required, or for the immediate purpose of paying the charge on the Consolidated Fund, or for the Supply services. Well, if that were so, he would really ask for information from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because the right hon. Gentleman might have made some arrangements which would neutralize any possible inconvenience on this head; and if he had, the Committee of Ways and Means would give a fitting opportunity for affording the necessary explanations. If the case were as he had put it, the Government might require large advances from the Bank, in order to carry on the services of the country up to January, and for those advances it would have to pay interest; and then they might afterwards have deposited at the Bank a very large sum beyond what would be required for the immediate service of the country, and for which they would get no interest. If that were so, it would, in his opinion, require consideration, whether the deposits in the Bank in January should not bear interest, in order to meet the large charge which would be occasioned by the advances which the Bank had made previously to January. Then there was another point which did not affect the Government directly, but did very materially concern the public out-of-doors and the discount trade—and that was, if the Government caused a great disturbance of the market, and a great transfer, from one quarter to another, at an unusual period of the year, of the possession of money. Instead of a large amount of money coming into the Bank and being available for general purposes—either for the purposes of the Government, or the supply of the market—the Bank would be minus in supplies from October to January; and then, at the beginning of the year, a large sum would be coming in from different sources—among others, from sources which were now in the habit of feeding the discount market; and, thus, they would put into the hands of the Bank the whole control, if it liked to use it, of the discount market. That was a matter to which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to have alluded when he introduced his scheme. The right hon. Gentleman had alluded to the working of his scheme, as far as it related to the resources of the Government, and to their having money in the public accounts at the Bank for the purpose of carrying on the public service, but he did not refer to it so far as it might affect the general money market. As far as he had been able to consider the matter, in the very short interval that had been afforded them, it appeared to him that the course proposed by the right hon. Gentleman might create an extraordinary fluctuation in the rate of discount; because, if the Bank, which had now tolerably equally throughout the year the command of the Government resources, were starved of its supply during one-half the year, and then had got a better supply than usual at another period, it could enforce its own terms on the market; and that was putting the Bank of England in a position which the House should consider whether it ought to allow it to occupy. These were matters worth an evening's discussion; and, as the right hon. Gentleman had not seen his way to proceeding with his Resolutions that night, he should very much like to hear the opinions of persons of authority, as to the probable effect of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's scheme on the money market and the Bank of England. He regretted that there had been lost to the House at the last election many gentlemen who would have been able to speak with authority on this subject. There were Mr. Kirkman Hodgson, Mr. Thomson; Hankey, and Mr. Hubbard, who always took part in debates of that nature, and were capable of guiding the House. These were very delicate questions, when they were engaged in discussing the transfer of such large sums from one period of the year to another, and no doubt the change must considerably affect the money market. He was glad however the General Election had spared a Gentleman of great authority whom he saw opposite, his hon. Friend the Member for the City (Mr. Crawford), because he occupied a very responsible position with respect to the Bank, and to-morrow his position would be still more responsible. He hoped, therefore, his hon. Friend would not content himself with the few observations he had made the other night, but would give his opinion more fully with respect to the proposed changes. There were, he had no doubt, other hon. Gentlemen who had lately come into the House, who were good authorities on this subject. He should like that some of these hon. Members, with whose business capabilities their Friends were acquainted, would give their opinions, and he had no doubt they would command the confidence of the House. There was another point which he would mention, and that was the effect of these alterations upon the individual tax-payer. That was a matter which would, perhaps, excite more general interest out-of-doors than the point of view from which he had just looked at the propositions of the right hon. Gentleman. The other evening, when the right hon. Gentleman announced his scheme, there was not entire unanimity in the House with respect to the periods when the payments of the different taxes would in future have to be made. But any doubts on that head had been cleared up by a Paper which had been laid on the table by the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury. From that Paper it appeared that in January, 1870, the income tax on Schedules A, B, and I) for the financial year 1869–70 would be payable. On the same day payment might also be required of the land tax and the house duty for that year. On the same day payment would have to be made for license duty for articles kept in the year commencing on the 1st of January, while on the 5th of April following the second moiety of the assessed taxes would be payable. He had referred to the last subject before, but, with respect to those payments of income tax, land tax, house duty and license duty for the whole year being all concentrated upon the month of January, or that quarter, he should not be at all surprised if they were to have strong remonstrances from the tax-payers against allowing all these taxes to fall for payment within that time. He would reserve his opinion upon that matter now, as he had done the other night, because it was impossible to say until the question was more fully discussed how far the arrangement would affect the pockets of the tax-payers. With regard to the income tax persons were sometimes not familiar with the different classes of taxation which came under the different letters; but, on referring to the sixteenth page of the last Report issued by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, they would find it explained, and would see that the tax collected under the classes denominated C and E was very unimportant in comparison with the full amount, and that it was the Schedules A, B, and D which brought in far the greater part of the sum received. In 1868, for instance, Schedules A, B, and D brought in considerably over £5,000,000, the total produce of the tax being £6,840,000. Then the land tax brought in a little over £1,000,000, and the house duty a little over £1,000,000 also, and these were the very taxes which, according to the scheme now proposed, would be reduced to £1,500,000. He confessed he did did not understand the other day the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman, but the Paper which had been laid before the House had entirely cleared up the matter. As he understood it, then, two quarters of the income tax were to be paid in January, or, in other words, the payment of the first two quarters would be postponed from October to January. That would be in favour of the taxpayer; but the third quarter would be payable in January and the fourth quarter would be accelerated and brought back to January also. Well, people questioned whether the advantage to the tax-payer from the payment of the first two quarters being postponed, would not be outweighed by the last quarter's tax being accelerated and made payable in January. Even supposing the general scheme were adopted, it was questionable whether it would be wise in the interests of the tax-payer to make all his payments on account of direct taxation fall in January. If, too, the Chancellor of the Exchequer could see his way to alter this, his doing so would remedy another defect in his proposal, it would prevent the Exchequer being almost empty at one time and full to repletion at another.


said, none lamented more than he the absence from the House of those Gentlemen mentioned by the right hon. Member for North Northamptonshire (Mr. Hunt); but, with regard to his Friend Mr. Hodgson, he was bound to remind the right hon. Gentleman that it was owing to his own friends that Mr. Hodgson was not among them. With reference to the right hon. Gentleman's remarks, which were deserving of much consideration, he had not yet had the opportunity of inquiring particularly into the sources whence the public payments were made to the Bank from one quarter to another; indeed it was not the duty of a banker to inquire as to whence his customers derived their income; his business was rather to receive the money, and have it ready for his customers when called upon. He agreed with his right hon. Friend that it was inexpedient to adopt a system which might result in large sums falling due at one particular period of the year; and there was some reason for his apprehensions that the Government would find itself short of money towards the end of the year, but he should bear in mind that, at that period of the year although the Bank would not hold the money for the Government, the public would hold it for themselves. The questions arising out of the abundance of money at the Bank in the first quarter of the year would have to be settled between the Government and the Bank authorities; and, speaking for the Bank, he was sure any proposal the Government might make would be fairly considered. Without following the right hon. Gentleman into the region of prophecy, he believed he was not very far wrong in the estimate he had made. As far as the scheme of the Chancellor of the Exchequer depended upon the anticipation in January next of future collections, he for one was prepared to consent to it, and the opinions he had heard expressed in the City, together with the opinions of the Press, including the weekly Press, led him to believe that the scheme was generally approved by the public.


said, he had heard it frequently stated out-of-doors that they had this year a rich man's Budget and not a poor man's; and certainly there was ground for this remark. He would rather it had been otherwise as far as the assessed taxes are concerned. A person of consideration at present paid upon his armorial bearings £2 12s. 9d.; in future, presuming the Chancellor of the Exchequer's scheme adopted, he would pay £2 2s. If he kept six servants, he paid £6 6s.; in future, he would pay £4 10s. If three of those servants wore hair powder, he paid on that account £3 10s. 6d.; in future, he would pay nothing. For his four stablemen he paid £4 4s.; in future he would pay £3. For his gardener he paid £1 1s., and for his two under-gardeners £1 1s.; he would in future pay £2 5s. for the three. For his two gamekeepers he paid £2 2s.; in future he would pay £1 10s. For his two under-gamekeepers he paid £1 1s.; he would pay £1 10s. Altogether he paid at present £21 18s. 3d., whereas in future he would pay only £14 17s.; or, in other words, he would gain by the Budget proposals 35 per cent. A neighbour of this more wealthy resident—say, the doctor—who now paid for the lion rampant on his forks 13s. 2d., would have to pay £1 1s.; if he happened to employ a boy he would have to pay 15s.; his only gain would be paying 15s. instead of £1 1s. for his gardener. Altogether he would pay £2 11s., instead of £1 14s. 2d.; or, in other words, be a loser by the Budget to the extent of 30 per cent. He would be glad to see the words page, under-gardener, and stable-boy struck out of the list, as there was much difficulty in saying when a lad ceased to be a labourer and became a gardener; moreover, the tax would prevent many a person taking a boy into his employment when kindness would otherwise induce him to do so.


said, that, notwithstanding the Chancellor of the Exche- quer's explanation, considerable doubt existed as to the effect the proposed changes would have. As he understood, it was proposed to take at once the last payment of the income tax for 1868–9; and, so far as he could learn from those he had spoken to upon the subject, at least half-a-year's tax would be governed by that proposal, half-a-year having been paid in most instances within the last few days. Then, as he understood, it was proposed in January next to take the entire of the tax for 1869–70; so that a year-and-a-half's income tax would be gathered in during the year ending the 31st March next. He understood also that the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to alter the period at which the return to the income tax was to be made, and that it was to be from January to January, instead of from April to April. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: I have made no such proposal.] He was glad to find that he was misinformed upon that point, but he wished for information on the other matter.


said, he wished to call attention to what appeared to be the consequence of a Paper delivered to Members that morning as to the periods at which the taxes were to be paid. The land tax was included among them; and he wished to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Prime Minister whether they had well considered certain facts. In many parts of England, including the county he had the honour to represent (Oxfordshire), the land tax was 2s. in the pound, and when you come to add an halt-year's tax that brought the amount of the land tax up to 3s. in the pound. Add 9d. in the pound for income tax—that was to say 3d. and 6d., and that made 3s. 9d. in the pound. When the assessed taxes were added it would be found there was not much left out of 4s. in the pound to be paid on the first three months of the year. In the county in which he lived the land tax was as high as in any part of England; and it certainly would be a great inconvenience to many landowners to have to pay 20 per cent upon their income in three months of the year, especially the quarter in which the Christmas bills had to be provided for and paid out of the accumulations of the year. If 20 per cent of income were to be absorbed by taxes in that three months, the Christmas bills would have a very ugly chance, and at all events would have to be postponed. The arrangement, whether it was or was not a good one in other respects, would bring great inconvenience upon some classes of people.


said, he desired to be informed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in what way the Budget Re-solutions would affect tax-payers in Scotland, where for some time taxes had been collected in January with satisfactory results to the Exchequer and to the taxpayers themselves. What they particularly wished to know was whether they would have in January next to pay two years' taxes instead of one?


said, he could not help thinking that to have a surplus at one period and a want of money at another must be in some way inconvenient to the country at large. He had always supposed that it was a good rule that the Government should get money at the time it was wanted, and that it should be obtained in the way that was most convenient and least onerous to the taxpayer; but it seemed to him that the plan of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was contrary to these principles. It was not to be supposed that every year, as in this year, owing to the Abyssinian War debt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer would want the taxes of the country twelve months in advance; and if he did not, why should the House let him have them? There was no advantage in depositing money with the Chancellor of the Exchequer before it was absolutely needed. The payments of the Government were spread over the year, and why should not the payments to the Exchequer in like manner be spread over the year, except for the special reason assigned just now? It seemed to him that the principle of the gradual payment of taxes was a sound one; and it was not only unsound but it was injurious to pay money into the Treasury in the way that was least convenient and most onerous. The payment for twelve months at once fell upon special classes; the fund holder would pay twice a year; and why was an exception to be made in his case when landlord and tenant paid at once? He doubted very much whether taxpayers would find it more convenient to pay a year's taxes at the beginning of the year. If he had had to pay £100 at the end of the year, and he was called upon to pay at the beginning of the year, that £100 did not fructify in his pocket, and he lost all the interest and profit he could have made out of it during the year. In this way the tax-payer was made to pay more than it was intended he should pay, and more than he ought to pay; he was made to sacrifice the interest upon his money and the profit he might have made out of its use. It seemed to him that the system which the right hon. Gentleman proposed was fraught with very disagreeable consequences and some danger. The right hon. Gentleman said that it was very convenient that the Government should be provided with money in case of a war breaking out, but he confessed he should be sorry that every Government should always have the means of making war; and he did not see why payments should not be made into the Treasury in proportion to the regularly estimated wants of the Government, and why they should be made in anticipation of the wants of the country. The right hon. Gentleman under-estimated the inconvenience which his plan would occasion to the commercial community by the financial changes and fluctuations it involved, and he also under-estimated the- hardships and inconvenience that would be inflicted upon the taxpayers of the country, excepting the fund holders. He (Mr. Baring) trusted the question would be seriously considered by the Government and the House. As to the question of the income tax, there was always a reluctance on the part of Chancellors of the Exchequer to take anything off that tax. The right hon. Gentleman said it was just to reduce it because it was put on for the Abyssinian War, and the war was now over; but he only reduced it by 1d., whereas 2d. had been put on for the war. Surely, if it was just to take off 1d., it was just to take off 2d. We went on, however, drifting into an entire reliance for our national resources upon direct taxation. The removal of the 1s. duty upon corn, which swept away £900,000 of Revenue, might take away a sentimental grievance; but 1s. a quarter was only a nominal duty, and its removal would not have any practical effect upon either producer or consumer. The duty was one that pressed upon nobody and injured nobody; but, if necessity arose, it could not be replaced, and we must fall back upon the income tax. If the £900,000 had been taken off tea and sugar, there might have been a sensible benefit to consumers. If the income tax were taken off when not needed, there was an excuse for putting it on again in case of emergency; but to put it on for an emergency and not take it off afterwards was a financial policy which might lead to serious consequences; it would affect industry, and instead of giving the labourer a cheap breakfast, it might lead to his having no breakfast at all. He would urge upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Prime Minister the desirability of adopting some arrangement which might remove anxiety in the City, and by which the payments to the Revenue might be better regulated.


said, he desired to call attention to the wording of the sixth Resolution, which, he believed, contained one of those ambiguities which so frequently led to the evasion of the payment of taxes. By this clause payment was provided "for every male servant employed, either wholly or partially," in the performance of certain duties therein enumerated. Many persons entertained the idea that this referred only to such servants as were employed by the year, though he presumed it referred equally to those employed for a shorter period also. Gentlemen frequently placed an extra hand in their stables during some of the winter months, or for some period of the year employed additional men in watching their preserves, and the men so employed were for the most part agricultural labourers, in respect of whom no taxes were paid. He would suggest either that licenses should be granted for a shorter period than a year, by which means he believed a gain instead of a loss would accrue to the revenue, or that the word "persons" should be substituted for "servants." The result, he believed, would be to obtain the payment of the taxes under this Resolution from those who at present evaded it, or considered themselves to be not liable to it.


said, he agreed with his hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Baring), but thought enough had not been said as to the danger and inconvenience which must, under the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman, arise from the heavy payments which would be made at one period of the year, and the absence of such payments at others. Of course, in the weekly accounts of the Bank of England, the public would see at certain times a large addition to the item of deposits, and whether those deposits remained in the Bank or were employed to feed the discount market, the result would naturally be to lower the rate of interest, cause considerable disturbance in the money market, and occasionally to foster undue speculation. When the rate of interest was unduly depressed speculation, as everyone knew, was the result. At another time of the year these funds would be rapidly diminished again, and that might cause a panic, for panics had been caused simply by an abnormal abstraction of money from the Bank at one of those periods of the year in which there was an ordinary drain. In such matters as these the public-were very unreasoning, and it was extremely likely that if there were any disturbance in the commercial or political world generally at such a moment the abstraction of money in this way would cause a panic. We could not be too cautious in these matters; and, though the Bank of England would no doubt acquiesce in any arrangement which might be thought necessary to obviate this inconvenience, he thought it would be better if the Committee, before assenting to these Resolutions, were made acquainted with the plan that might be proposed, for the purpose of avoiding what was at once a source of inconvenience and danger.


said, he agreed in the opinion that considerable danger might arise from the payment of very large sums into the Exchequer at one time, and the total absence of such payments at others. His calculation of what would be paid in the January quarter was somewhat different from that which had been estimated by the right hon. Gentleman. He believed that £8,100,000 would be paid in on account of these particular taxes, instead of £4,000,000. which would be the amount under ordinary circumstances. The result would be that the Government must either have a large sum of money continually lying idle, or they would at particular times of the year be compelled to borrow very largely. It was obvious that a great loss to the Government and a great loss to the nation would accrue if large sums of money were allowed to lie idle; and, on the other hand, if the Government were known, as they must be from the Bank Returns, to be large borrowers, the public would think it much against their interest, especially if the money market should be in a sensitive condition. Hon. Gentlemen, he was afraid, scarcely appreciated the delicate nature of the money market, or were fully alive to the fact that the abstraction of £1,000,000 had frequently caused the Bank rate to rise 1 per cent. The abstraction of £1,000,000 of bullion had before now gone far to create a panic in Lombard Street, and he perfectly remembered an occasion when the abstraction of £1,000,000 from Scotland had seriously affected the money market. The Chancellor of the Exchequer might, perhaps, say that such a result was inevitable, as it was a necessary part of his scheme. Appreciating that scheme as he did very highly, he still thought with the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Hunt) that the Committee ought to know something more in detail before they sanctioned the arrangements proposed. No question in the whole of the Budget was, in his opinion, so important. The Bank Returns in the three years after the commercial crisis showed that there were only £7,250,000 of notes unemployed, and of that amount £4,000,000 consisted of reserves of bankers. That state of things was not satisfactory, and anything that threatened to create an oscillation in so sensitive a money market must be attended with danger.


said, he had had the advantage of seeing some of his constituents and others in the country since the Chancellor of the Exchequer had made his financial statement, and his attention had been called to the hardship which would result from the compulsory payment of such large sums of money in the course of six months. His constituents had urged that in October they would have to pay half-a-year's assessed taxes, in January a whole year's assessed taxes and in come tax, and in the April following they would have to pay a second moiety of the assessed taxes now due. Thus, in the course of six months the public would have to pay two years' taxes. He believed the hardship resulting from this had scarcely been realized. He would suggest as a means of alleviating the hardship, and also of bringing money quickly into the Exchequer, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should allow a discount of 10 per cent to those who would be willing to pay within three months, say by the 1st of July, the one year's assessed taxes due this April, and half of which would, under ordinary circumstances, be payable in October and the other in April next. If he would do this, and forego for one year more the remission of the 1s. duty on corn, the right hon. Gentleman might reduce the income tax to 4d., as it was before the Abyssinian War. As to the corn duty there were many people, himself included, who were even ignorant that such a duty existed; and he was sure that it was a tax which nobody felt, and the remission of which would not benefit the consumer, though it might benefit the dealer and the miller.


said, he had nothing to say against the Budget generally, but he wished the Chancellor of the Exchequer to correct a small oversight in the Resolution affecting fire insitrances. Insurance offices in Scotland had requested him to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to this matter. In England the fire insurance duty expired on the 25th June, but in Scotland all fire insurances were made to expire on the 15th of May. If the Resolution passed in its present shape the consequence would be that every fire insurance office in Scotland would be put to a disadvantage as compared with the offices in England. He therefore asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consent to this alteration—that the duty on fire insurances in Scotland cease on the 15th of May. The difference as far as the revenue was concerned would be very trifling; but the convenience which that alteration would produce to parties concerned would be very great. In the fourth Resolution, relating to assessed taxes, a difference had been made, but that was against Scotland; for, while the old rates of taxation continued in England only up to the 5th of April, they were continued in Scotland to the 25th of May, or seven weeks longer.


said, that the consequences of the earlier collection of taxes upon the money market had, he thought, been much exaggerated, and it would be extremely undesirable that it should go forth to the world that so trifling a change as was then contemplated was ever likely to produce a monetary panic. No doubt it was right that the payments and receipts of the Government should be so arranged as to avoid, if possible, anything like disturbance in the circulation of capital by the inexpedient transfer to London of deposits employed by the country banks in accommodating their local customers; and the suggestion of the hon. Gentleman the Governor of the Bank of England (Mr. Crawford) that arrangements should be entered into with this view between the Bank and the Government was a very fair one. It was impolitic to exaggerate the effect on the money market of the plan proposed, which was a mere matter of account; and, as to the Budget generally, he believed that it had been received with general assent throughout the country, and that the more people thought of it the more they would like it. He had heard that part of it which proposed to take off the taxes on public conveyances spoken of with much satisfaction, as also the doing away with the licenses for selling tea.


said, he was gratified at the reduction of the duty on public vehicles, but he hoped that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would re-consider his proposition to do away with the distinction between the duty on six, and seven-day cabs. It was not fair that the cabmaster whose cab plied for hire on six days in the week should pay as much duty as the man who sent his cab into the streets every day.


said, he thought the Chancellor of the Exchequer had brought forward an admirable Budget; but he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would pay attention to what had been said as to the danger of a disturbance in the money market in consequence bf the unusual payments which would at a particular period be made into the Bank of England. He considered that the 1st of February would be a better time for the collection of the taxes than the time fixed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. January was a time in which people were generally straitened for money, and he would suggest that to lessen the pressure on the tax-payer payment of the £8,000,000 should be so divided that one-half should come in on February 1, and the other half on August 1. The assessed taxes and house duty might be paid at the one period, and the property and income tax at the other.


said, that two of his alter-native suggestions had been adopted in the Budget—the repeal of the fire insurance duty and the abolition of that last rag of Protection—the 1s. duty on corn. He feared, however, that the benefit to the poorer classes had been greatly exaggerated. Not half of the £900,000 revenue for corn was paid for wheat and flour, and statistics showed that since Free Trade the average price of wheat had not been reduced more than 11, or at all events not more than 12 per cent, and bread not to half that amount, but the value of wheat in foreign countries had advanced fully 20 per cent. When he, as an agriculturist, considered the Budget, he must say that whilst they caught it in several ways they got no benefit from it whatever. As to the assessed taxes, farmers generally employed a boy in the village as groom; they now paid 10s. 6d. tax on this account, and j would in future pay 15s. Their horses had been hitherto taxed at a loss rate than others, but now the farmer, the parson, and the doctor were to pay the same as other people; and, as to four-wheeled carriages drawn by one horse, he could not understand why there should be an extra 2s. added to the £2 tax now paid, while a carriage with its pair was reduced from £3 10s. to two guineas, Whilst the farmers had themselves received no remission of taxation they were glad that other interests would receive the benefits which were contemplated by the right hon. Gentleman. The farmers would have to pay two years' taxes in twelve months, and in January, 1870, soon after they had settled their rent and paid their tradesmen's bills, they would be called on to pay their landlord's property and land tax, and the money would remain out of their pockets for six months or more. Great credit was taken for the fact that 600,000 dogs had been brought under the operation of the new Excise license; but it should be borne in mind that half the dogs in the country were exempt from taxation under the old system. This being so, they must not expect that there would be a very great increase from the transfer of these other taxes from the parish officer to the Excise for collection. It was of very great interest to merchants in his county to know when the remission of the duty upon corn would take place, and he would suggest—as no drawback would be allowed—that the abolition should take place at the termination of the present financial quarter.


said, he agreed that there might be great inconvenience to commerce in consequence of the usual amount of revenue not going into the coffers of the Bank of England in October, and he hoped that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would give his attention to the matter. It should be borne in mind that the autumn was a time when there was very often tightness in the money market, owing to the increased volume of business transactions, and to the fact that at the end of the year many persons were anxious to make their balances at their bankers as large as they possibly could. At the present time our money market was in a some-what delicate position, owing to the Bank of England reserve, and the Government balances being much lower than they ought to be. Allusion had been made to the assistance that the Bank might render to the right hon. Gentleman; but he himself had not that entire faith in the management of the Bank that some other people had, and believed that it would have enough to do to protect its own position without assisting the Government. Many in the City regarded the point to which he had referred with very great anxiety, and he entreated the Chancellor of the Exchequer to take it seriously into consideration. As to the abolition of the duty on wheat, he found that there was a very general impression that the poor man would get nothing from that reduction, but that the advantage would be shared between the importers, the miller, and others engaged in the trade; and he must say that he concurred in this impression. He could not concur in the remark that the farmers would derive no benefit from the Budget, for he thought that they would get considerable benefit from the taking off the 1s. duty on maize. The duty on this article was something like 3 per cent, and therefore it was an important remission. It was of great pecuniary interest to many persons to know when the abolition of the duty would take place, and he believed that the practice had hitherto been that as soon as a Resolution authorizing the introduction of a Bill for the reduction of a duty was reported to the House, the reduction took effect from that moment. There was this peculiarity about the present Budget that probably three or four weeks would elapse before it was formally sanctioned; and this period would be one of real hardship to those who had large stocks of grain on hand. He would suggest, that if the House confirmed the details of the Budget, those who paid the 1s. duty should be repaid as rebate the whole amount collected from them from the present date.


said, he thought that much of the inconvenience which, it had been alleged, attached to the admirable Budget of the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be obviated by the adoption, in respect of some of the assessed taxes, of a system of half-yearly licenses, so that there would be two collections in the course of the year. This would enable the trader to select the article that would suit his purposes during the first half and the second half of the year. As to the income tax, it might be paid by two instalments in April and October.


said, the Budget was universally accepted out-of-doors as an excellent one, and the right hon. Gentleman was much complimented on his ability in framing it; and he was therefore astonished that, in that House, one Member after another rose and found something wrong in the Budget, starting grievances which had never before been heard of. With respect to the alleged inconvenience to the money market that might arise from the payment of a large amount of taxes at one time, why, what was the whole amount of the taxes that would be paid at the time indicated—£2,000,000 or £3,000,000—compared to the money transactions in the ordinary course of business? In the Clearing House in one week the transactions amounted to something like £60,000,000, £70,000,000, and £80,000,000. Then, as to the proposed extension of the time for the remission of the corn duty of 1s. per quarter, it really was scarcely worthy of consideration. The public would not pay much attention to the matter one way or another, while they would derive great advantage from the corresponding remission of the duty on arrowroot, sago, and other articles of that kind. He therefore hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would persevere with his scheme, the objections to which were, in his opinion, mere creatures of the imagination.


said, he must congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the success of his Budget. At the opening of his speech he regarded it with despondency, but out of darkness there came light, and he must now call the right hon. Gentleman the Professor Anderson of finance. He trusted, however, the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not harshly interfere with those who were engaged in the corn trade. He held in his hand a telegram from one of his own constituents, who was a very large importer, and who represented that unless there was a rebate of duty he would be a very considerable loser. He thought the case worthy of consideration, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer could afford to deal liberally and fairly.


said, he wished to direct attention to the sixth Resolution. There were several small charges made which had never been made before, and it was desirable that these should be pointed out at once, that they might know exactly what the Chancellor of the Exchequer meant by them. With regard to servants, he presumed it was not intended to bring under charge those who were only occasionally employed; and as to carriages, waggons and carts had never been charged, only carriages with springs being chargeable. Then, again, "every horse" was charged; were they to conclude that there were to be no exceptions whatever? What number and what classes of horses were to be brought into charge? Many horses worn out for riding or draught were kept for breeding. It would be convenient to know whether all horses were to be charged or not.


, whose observations were inaudible, was understood to refer to the case of the cab-owners of Dublin.


said, he thought that there ought to be some difference made in the tax charged upon precarious incomes and that upon incomes derived from realized property. The plan of the Chancellor for assessing income when first propounded had quite a magical appearance; but, on going into the matter, he found they would have to pay fifteen months' income tax, instead of twelve months', and not only so, but they would have to pay twelve months of it in advance. This would take away a large amount of money from tax-payers, and seriously disturb the ordinary money resources of trade. It would be much better to collect the taxes in the usual way.


I will now, Sir, reply to the questions which have been asked of me, begging hon. Members to excuse me if I should happen to omit any. And first, with regard to Scotland, the hon. Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) wishes to know what is to be done for Scotland in regard to insurances. I cannot definitely answer the question to-night; but the case will be taken into consideration, and I will see that no injustice is done to Scotland. I can give him that assurance. Then the hon. Member for the Ayr Burghs (Mr. Craufurd) asks whether Scotland is included in the Paper delivered to-day. Yes, it is included. Scotland is already in that position which some hon. Gentleman seem to regard with so much terror. In Scotland, the land tax, the house tax, the assessed taxes, the income and property tax are all levied in the month of January; and the object is, as far as possible, to bring this country to the state in which Scotland is at present. I turn to the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Baring), who brought a charge against me which certainly I did not expect. He says the tendency of every Chancellor of the Exchequer is to rest everything on direct taxes, and especially on the income tax; but, considering that I repeal assessed taxes and the duties on locomotion, which are direct taxes, and take off 1d. of the income tax, when everybody anticipated that 1d. would be put on, I cannot see why he should bring such an accusation against me. Then he lays down a rule, which he says has been grossly violated, that is that it is the duty of the Government to impose taxes at the time most convenient to the people, and that we ought to take the money when we want it, and not sooner. Now, if we were to act on that rule, we should, have a public officer who would have to make out a list of the wants of the Government every day, and send messengers to people as to the time when it would be most convenient for them to pay the taxes, taking the rich first, because they would be best able to pay, and the poor afterwards. No doubt it would be very pleasant for some people that their taxes should be collected every day, or twice a day; but he was afraid that if such a course were pursued they would be ruined by the cost of collection. Hon. Members must take this remark as an answer to many questions that had been raised. The object is to have a system of licenses and to have it simple. We must make up our minds to be content to charge some a little more and some less for the general great benefit of collecting the taxes in this manner. The same answer I must give to the proposal to take different times of the year to collect the taxes. You must have a different collection, and that would lead to an immense extra expense. The principle I propose is to draw the whole of the taxes within this financial year; and if the House cannot make up its mind to this sacrifice it cannot have the remissions of the Budget. But then it is said that it is a financial evil and mischief to have the whole of the taxes paid in to the fourth quarter of the financial year. It is an evil and a mischief, and I particularly called attention to the matter. In fact, the House will do me the justice to admit that there has hardly been any observation made tonight which I did not anticipate in bringing in the Budget. It is a mischief, and I wish we could have had the benefits at a less price; but we cannot, and the question is whether the House is willing to pay the price. But hon. Gentlemen tell me. that by paying a large sum into the Exchequer in one quarter of the year, and less in another, we shall have panics, that we shall derange commerce and frighten the money market. I can only say, with all respect to the money market, that it must take care of itself. If you wish to obtain an object the plan is to fix your eyes steadily upon it, to adopt the necessary means to attain it, and to put aside minor consequences and considerations. If, on the contrary, you wish to fail, you will try to do two things at once—to carry your object and conciliate this interest and the other. My object is at once to carry my Budget and to introduce economy in the collection of the public revenue, so as to make the payment of the taxes contemporaneous with the time in which they are incurred, and this object can alone be effected by collecting them at the beginning of the financial year. And this being so, and being the matter with which the Government, as a Government, are principally concerned, I prefer this to studying the convenience of the money market, especially as the money market is composed of men of great ability, whose wits are sharpened to a preternatural keenness by giving their attention to one subject, and who are perfectly able to foresee events and to guard against them, particularly events which come in regular course. When a great and unexpected calamity overtakes the money market, no doubt, it causes great havoc and devastation, but it would be inexcusable if the money market were taken by surprise by the collection of the funds of the Government in January when they knew that this is a part of a regular and organized system of finance. If gentlemen cannot foresee what is coming after such full notice it will be clear that they mistook their vocation when they went into the money market. The hon. Member for Huntingdon scarcely does himself and his friends justice, but, taking these charges at the very worst, I would ask, is it worth while to incur additional expense, or forego the collection of debts that are justly due to the State, to save gentlemen in the City the trouble of calculating whether money will be dearer or cheaper at a particular part of the year? I have been asked to consider whether the inconvenience cannot be in some measure alleviated, and I have considered the subject. I am sanguine that we shall find means of alleviating any inconvenience and suffering in many different ways. I can hardly go into the matter in detail when the event is so long off; but, with regard to the inconvenience that will arise from the new mode of levying the taxes, I am sanguine enough to think that when the system is once sanctioned by the House means will be found of working it. If we find ourselves without money in October we can borrow it, and if we are likely to have a large quantity of money in hand in January, February, and March we can then re-pay it. [Mr. HUNT: But can you lend it?] I am not aware that it is the business of the Government, which is the largest debtor in the country, to lend money. But if we had money to lend I should much prefer not to take it from the people. There are, however, two or three circumstances which would diminish this difficulty and prevent any great disparity. One is that we should borrow from the Bank. Another is that we should borrow from ourselves as bankers for the very large sums that are in our control. We could so arrange matters with the Commissioners of the National Debt, who have the management of the savings banks, that, instead of investing the money in their hands in October, they should lend it to the Government till January, and that we should then pay them back. Or, in case of utter desperation, we could borrow from the public itself by means of Exchequer Bills at short dates. There is a difficulty and an obstacle in the way, no doubt, but if anyone thinks he could draw £3,350,000 out of the pockets of mankind without some difficulty and inconvenience he is very much mistaken. I am afraid of misrepresenting what the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hunt) said, because, as I understand it, it does not appear to me to stand the test of logic or reason. He seemed to think that he had a sort of claim upon that part of the revenue which he imposed himself, and that I had no right to take credit for the £2,000,000 of income tax because he imposed it, and not I. But when I made that estimate it was necessary to begin with something. In point of fact, there was really no income tax at all, because it had died out; but I imagined that the House, which had given the right hon. Gentleman an income tax, would renew it, and I took that as the basis of my calculations. The right hon. Gentleman had proposed an income tax of 6d. to pay for the Abyssinian War, and as I found a very large sum owing for that war, I assumed that the House would continue it, and without reference to what I was going to do, I took that for the basis of the calculation I laid before the House. I had to lay before the House, in the first instance, the revenue as it was bequeathed to me by the right hon. Gentleman, and then the expenditure and the deficit as it stood. When I had done that I had to consider what Ways and Means I could find. I did find certain Ways and Means which on the basis of 6d. in the pound on the income tax would yield £3,350,000. I added that to the surplus, and out of that I found that I could pay off the Abyssinian debt and reduce certain taxes, among which was 1d. of the income tax itself. I should like to say a few words on the subject of the Paper which I laid upon the table this morning. I have said that it is impossible to raise £3,350,000 without inflicting suffering on some one; but I do think it is surprising to see how little suffering we do, after all, inflict. Firstly, with regard to the income tax, it has been shown that there is a clear gain to the public of the interest on one quarter on the transaction, although £1,500,000 is brought into the financial year without any extra burden. On the income tax it has been shown that the tax-payer will gain the forbearance of two quarters at the cost of one quarter in respect of which his payment was to be called for sooner than at present, while in the mere matter of payment the tax-payer lost nothing by the advance he was asked to make, and the Exchequer gained £1,500,000. It might be said that this sum will only be obtained by invading the resources of future years. But what is the fact? It is true that 1870 takes the £1,500,000, out of 1871; but then 1871 will in like manner take it out of 1872, and so each year will take the money from its successor, and this process may go on to the end of time, although how it will be settled when the world comes to an end I am at a loss to know. It comes into the account just as if the Emperor of China had sent it to us. The same process is repeated in the case of the land and the house tax. The great point to be considered is that the money is obtained without increasing any man's burdens. You give the tax-payer the forbearance of three months, and you ask him to anticipate another three months, the difference to the public being that you get £950,000 drawn from the resources of next year into this financial year. But next year will draw in like manner upon its successor. That is a startling and large result. As regards the assessed taxes there will be, not an injustice, but a pressure upon particular members of the community, the extent, of which I will shortly explain. In 1869 there will be two collections of assessed taxes, one in April and the other in October; and the way to see the mischief, whatever it is, that is done to the payers of assessed taxes is to compare what would have been paid under the old plan, if it had continued, with what they will have to pay in the present year under the new system, and then strike a balance. This year the amount would be exactly the same under the old plan and under the new. Next year, under the old plan, £600,000 would have been payable in April and £600,000 in October, making £1,200,000 in all. Under the new plan they will pay £600,000 in April; but instead of paying anything in October they will pay the beginning of the following year in the month of January, a sum which, when all collected, will amount to £1,000,000, being the Excise duties substituted for the assessed taxes. Therefore in the next year these persons will pay to the public, over and above what they would pay under the existing system, the sum of £400,000. In speaking of the different months, I should warn the House that I speak of the time when the taxes become due—for the collection will extend over two or three months from that time—and accordingly there will not be the plethora that is expected. In the year 1871, then, there will be no more assessed taxes at all; but there will be this £1,000,000 license duty to pay, whilst the assessed taxes, if continued to be collected, would have amounted to £1,200,000. in that year accordingly the payers of the duty will get back £200,000 of the £400,000 which they are called on to pay in the present year; and in the year 1872 they will get back a further £200,000; so that by the end of 1872 they will, have got back the whole of this £400,000, and the account will be closed. It conies to this—that the whole mischief which we do is to take from the payer of assessed taxes—the wealthier part of the community, and well able to bear the impost—an amount of £400,000, which we pay back to them in a year or a year-and-a-half, meanwhile relieving the public to the extent of taking off 1d. from the income tax, the whole of the tire insurance duty, and redwing the taxes upon locomotion. I think it is worth while to put up with a little inconvenience for such a result as that. I hope the Committee have been able to follow these figures, which I have submitted to persons much better able than myself to judge of their accuracy, and which will be found, I believe, to con- vey a perfectly fair statement of the case. Nothing is lost, as I have shown, upon the income tax, but something is gained; nothing whatever is lost upon the land tax or inhabited house duty; £400,000 is taken from the payers of assessed taxes, which will be re-paid within a very short time. Then there will be a permanent reduction of £200,000 a year. I need not trouble the Committee with any more arguments upon this head, but will proceed to state the arrangements which we propose to make. Since this debate commenced we have had the opportunity of considering the various suggestions of hon. Members which were brought prominently under our consideration. I am really most anxious to do everything in my power that may convenience the trade of this country; and with regard to the corn duties, I therefore propose to adopt a suggestion which will, I think, remove any reasonable objection. The Committee are aware that the Resolutions put before them are merely submitted pro formâ, and could not be made the basis of any action by the Government; they do not bind any person outside these walls. But the House will meet after the Whitsuntide vacation on the 31st of May. We hope by that time that the House will have been able to dispose of the corn duty, and we propose, supposing the change to have taken place, that the duty on corn shall stand abolished, as far as revenue goes, on the 1st of June. I am very sorry we cannot put it earlier than that; but I cannot see how, with the business there is, we can name any earlier date, for I could not constitutionally or properly act upon Resolutions submitted pro formâ and taken by consent. With regard to the Resolutions proposed tonight, we have also had the opportunity of considering the suggestions of the right hon. Gentleman opposite; and I proceed to state the result of our deliberations. We understand that there will be no objection upon the other side to our taking all the Resolutions tonight, with the exception of the sixth, to which the right hon. Gentleman objects; and then to our bringing in the Bill as soon as possible, printing in italics the parts relating to taxation, so that these will appear in the Bill, but will not form any part of it. We can then proceed to a second reading of the Bill, but must obtain, if we can, before going into Committee, a Resolution of the House to sanction these alterations of taxation. Of course if we do not obtain this Resolution, the whole thing falls to the ground; if we do obtain it, we shall still be in time. I will not answer any criticisms upon the Resolutions, because these have always to be drawn in a dialect peculiar to themselves. The thing the House should look to is the Bill; for the Resolutions are always larger than the Bill, and hence may be too wide in many respects. It is the wording of the Bill by which the taxpayers will be bound—and they will have in this instance, I am sorry to say, from circumstances which are unavoidable, an unusually long period during which they will be able to scan the clauses and pass any criticisms upon them which they think proper.


I rise chiefly for the purpose of expressing my satisfaction with the course proposed by the right hon. Gentleman, as I understand from his statement that the House will now have a full opportunity to consider the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the assessed taxes before coming to any vote upon the subject. The only object my right hon. Friend the Member for North Northamptonshire (Mr. Hunt) had in view was that some such promise should be elicited from the right hon. Gentleman opposite. My right hon. Friend was anxious that I should explain that it was not his wish, nor the wish of any of us on this side of the House, to impede the Government business. All we desired was that sufficient time should be given for the consideration of a measure which will be of considerable interest and importance to a large number of persons. It really does seem desirable that the country should have time to think the matter over, and that an opportunity should be given to the Members of this House to discuss the question before they are asked to give an irrevocable decision upon it. The hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Alderman Lusk) gave us just now a lecture upon our proceedings to-night, which I do not think the House of Commons altogether deserves. The hon. Member appears to think that because in Finsbury, or wherever else he has been during the last two or three days, he hears nothing but a unanimous chorus of approval of the Government measure, the House of Commons is wasting time in venturing to discuss it; and he expresses himself as being perfectly astonished that anything should be said or any question raised upon any of the details of the proposal. If, however, we are sent here for any purpose whatever, it is that we may examine into matters of this kind. The questions which have been raised to-night, although not perhaps fatal to the Government proposal, deserve attention and discussion, and the House of Commons may devote some consideration to them, without being guilty of wasting time, or laying itself open to the rebuke it has just received at the hands of the hon. Member for Finsbury. My right hon. Friend pointed out to the Committee that the changes proposed to be effected would introduce a new principle into the mode of collecting the Revenue, and he observed that the result of those changes might prove inconvenient to the taxpayer, to the Exchequer, and to the trade and commerce of the country. Whether the allegations or the suggestions of my right hon. Friend are well or ill-founded, they are, at all events, of great importance. They deserve consideration and discussion on the part of those who are qualified to give an opinion upon the subject; and they also demand an answer on the part of the Government, who must, of course, have taken all these points into consideration, before making provisions of such grave interest to the country. Speaking generally, the right hon. Gentleman proposes that, instead of paying the great bulk of our taxation either quarterly or half-yearly, we shall pay it once in the year. It has been objected that such an arrangement will be inconvenient to taxpayers; and what is the answer to that objection which has been given by the right hon. Gentleman? The right hon. Gentleman does not deny, that to a certain extent, the arrangement may prove inconvenient to the tax-payers; but then he says—"You cannot have the advantages of the Budget without enduring some of these inconveniences." That might be a sufficiently good answer were it not that the Budget is for a single year, while the inconveniences resulting from the proposed changes will be permanent. The right hon. Gentleman met the reply by saying that the proposed changes would be good in themselves. It may turn out that such is the case, but still there is ample reason why the nature and probable effect of the proposed changes should be fully discussed. My right hon. Friend went on further to argue that the changes, if effected, would result in inconvenience to the Exchequer, because all the money would be received in a lump at one period of the year, instead of being received by instalments. The result would be that the Exchequer would at one period of the year be empty, and at another it would be full. When the Exchequer is empty, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will have to borrow money in order to provide for the requirements of the public service, and that inconvenience will not be able to be met by lending the public money when the Exchequer is full. the point is this—if a man get his revenue monthly or quarterly, or at any other short intervals, he will always have money to meet his expenditure; but if he only receives it at very long intervals he will have to go to his banker and borrow money, for which he will have to pay interest. If he overdraw his account, he will have to pay interest for the amount overdrawn; but that would be of comparatively little importance if when he has funds his banker would allow him interest. Those, however, are not the terms on which the Government keeps its account with the Bank. The Bank allows the Government no interest for the funds which it deposits; but when the Government overdraws it has to pay interest on the sum overdrawn. It is perfectly obvious, then, that when the Government makes a change of this kind, which will leave the Exchequer bare at certain periods of the year, and will thereby increase the time during which it will have to pay interest at its bankers, if the Government is to get no benefit for the very large amount it may deposit at one particular period, the operation must so far have its disadvantages. There was another point adverted to by my right hon. Friend, but to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave no answer. An answer was given by the Governor of the Bank which I think showed him to be better entitled to the title of "the Professor Anderson of finance" than is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, though the title has been given to the right hon. Gentleman by one of the supporters of the Government (Mr. Maguire) I do not think there is in the Budget anything of that art of which Professor Anderson is a master. It appears to me that the operation proposed to be performed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer is simply to call in this year money which otherwise he would not receive till next year, and to use the funds thus obtained for the purpose of remission of taxation. The Governor of the Bank stated that there will be no difficulty in the matter, but he did not explain the arrangement by which the Bank and the Government intend to get over the difficulty. I should like to have this explained to us. Perhaps there are means of getting over the difficulty. No doubt the Government considered the point, and the Governor of the Bank may be able to show us what those means are; but as yet we have not had them explained to us, except so far as the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the Government can borrow from the Bank. This brings me to the third point. The time at which the Government will want to borrow of the Bank will be the very time at which the Bank will be short, in consequence of its not having received the taxes hitherto paid in October. It has been suggested that this may cause a disarrangement of the money market; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer meet s the objection by saying—"The money market must take care of itself." That, to me, is a novel doctrine. It may be sound, but it is new, and I hope those connected with the money market and the commerce of the country will take it seriously to heart and consider it before they make up their minds as to this new arrangement. I think it is not the business of the Government to make all its arrangements with a view to the support of the money market; but when the Government is making serious changes in the system of collecting the Revenue it is rather unreasonable of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to tell us that we are not to consider what effect those changes may have on the money market. We know that the money market in this country is a very artificial affair; we know that the whole system of banking and credit in this country is affected by its fluctuations; and we ought to consider what the effect of the proposed changes might be, not in causing a panic so much as in aggravating such a disaster. I should like therefore to have a better assurance than any we have hitherto received that draining the Bank of those large Government deposits on which it is accustomed to rely in autumn will not have a prejudicial effect on an establishment so largely engaged in supporting the credit of the country. I think disappointment was felt that this subject, one of so much importance, was not made a subject of discussion between the Government and the authorities of the Bank, and that disappointment was not removed when the Governor of the Bank got up, and, while not disguising that he looked on the difficulty as one of some gravity, said he had no doubt means would be found to meet it. Matters were not made much better for the Government when another financial authority, the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Alderman Salomons), called upon us not to exaggerate the difficulty, and when the hon. Member for Hull (Mr. Norwood) and other hon. Gentlemen used language which conveyed to us that, in their opinion, also, there is ground for uneasiness. I hope that between the present time and that at which we may further discuss the question, we shall have some information on the points to which I have adverted.


said, by way of explanation, he wished to disclaim any intention of speaking authoritatively for the Bank. He could not, on the spur of the moment, undertake to say what the Bank would concur in doing, or what it would recommend to be done. The directors of the Bank awaited events, and, when the time came, they were the humble servants of the Government. All he could say for the authorities of the Bank was that when the time arrived they would give the Government the best advice in their power.


said, the right hon. Baronet (Sir Stafford North-cote) who had just resumed his seat, seemed to have great fears that the evils arising from the irregularities of the funds in hand held by the Government would be such as to be almost intolerable, and the difficulty he saw was this, that at one time of the year the Government would have to borrow, and at another time to lend. He could easily see how the borrowing could be managed by short dated Exchequer Bills, but the lending, how were they to get over that, because the Bank of England would not allow any interest? He (Sir Francis Crossley) said that was just the opposite difficulty to that in which com- martial men found themselves placed; but, at any rate, nothing would be easier than for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to surmount this difficulty, by so arranging his finances that he would at all times rather have to borrow than to lend. But what he (Sir Francis Crossley) understood to be the great object of the Government was to make a great reform in cutting down the expense of collecting the Revenue, and he had been very often struck with the enormous per centage the Revenue cost the country collecting, especially the income tax. And the main point for the Government to turn its attention to was to cut down the expenditure. If the First Lord of the Admiralty and the Secretary for War had not done this since they came into Office, the Committee would not have now been engaged in discussing such a Budget as they now had before them, and what was the result? Why, in the first place, the Budget had dealt with a duty that for years had been occupying the attention of the Chambers of Commerce throughout the country, and the question with them was, whether to ask for its entire repeal or its reduction; but they were so fearful that it could not be afforded that they hardly ventured to ask for its total repeal, and yet it was not only one of the worst of taxes, because it was a tax on prudence and foresight, but it was also most unjust, because it was not equally levied. All agricultural produce and farm buildings were free from this tax, whilst all manufacturing produce and buildings had to pay this enormous duty. He himself happened to farm about 1,200 acres of his own land in Suffolk, and he found both his wool and corn could be stored away there duty free; but immediately that same wool and corn was removed to Yorkshire it had to pay this heavy insurance duty, against the risks of fire. Therefore, by the abolition of this tax, the Government had not only relieved the country from a very impolitic tax, but they had also abolished a most unjust inequality. The hon. Member then called attention to the immense advantage this abolition of the taxes on locomotion would be, and stated that one of the most painful duties he had ever had to perform as a magistrate was to place a heavy fine—which, if not paid, was imprisonment—on a man who had allowed a few country people to ride in his cart, when going to or from the market, because he had ventured to make a charge for the same; the fine was not only exceedingly oppressive, but the magistrate had no power to reduce it. All that is now to be abolished, and perfect free trade is to be substituted for it. Any man who could hardly afford to keep a little conveyance, may now be able to do so, because he can make something by using it to convey passengers from railway stations, or could make other excursions when there was a demand for them, and thus it would be a positive advantage not to himself only, but to those who hired the same from him. Then, again, look at the immense advantage it was to the poor cabmen in London and their proprietors, who have been taxed 1s. per day for every cab, whilst London was the most expensive place in the country to live in, and, on the other hand, he was tied down to charge only 6d. per mile, which was less than in any other town; and now there was to be no tax, except what every man would have to pay—namely, 15s. a year for a two-wheel or hansom, and 42s. for a four-wheel. Then, again, let them look at the repeal of the duty on corn. The hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Baring) said that its repeal was going to be heavily felt by the revenue, but that the advantage to the consumer would be so small as scarcely to be felt at all. If the hon. Gentleman was to judge of the consumer by himself he was perfectly right, he would scarcely feel it at all; but the hon. Gentleman must allow him (Sir Francis Crossley) to remind him that there were many poor men in this country who had to eat much more bread and far less of what no doubt the hon. Member much preferred, but which was out of the reach of the poor, and this tax on the first necessary of life, he (Sir Francis Crossley) was glad to find was to be abolished for ever. He did not mean to say that its effect would be to lower the price by 1s. per quarter of all the corn grown in this country and all that was imported as well, but he did mean to say it would cheapen it, and would put it at the actual value without any artificial addition whatever. That was a been which would be welcomed by every poor man in the country. One hon. Gentleman who had spoken said this was a rich man's and not a poor man's Budget, but he thought he had said enough to show that the Budget was not only a poor man's Budget, but was in reality founded on justice to all.


said, he looked upon the dangers which had been conjured up by the right hon. Baronet the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote) as likely to arise from the periodical pressure which he imagined would occur in the money market, from the financial proposals of the Government being adopted, as perfectly groundless. Great advantages would, in his (Mr. Alderman W. Lawrence's) opinion, be conferred upon the public by those proposals, although they would, no doubt, have to pay for those advantages to a certain extent. He wished to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer—he might add, not only for his own information, but also for that of the Scotch Members—why the Scotch farmer, who was generally regarded as being a man possessed of greater capital than the English farmer, was allowed a remission of 25 per cent on his income tax as compared with the latter? Every one was prepared to make some financial distinctions between Ireland and the other parts of the United Kingdom, but he knew of no reason whatever for such exemptions in favour of Scotland.


said, the difference—so far as the Resolutions before the House were concerned—between the charge on the English, and that on the Scotch and Irish farmers, was taken from the Bills of 1853, and he believed it arose in the case of the Scotch from a difference in the mode of valuation, certainly of the rent, and he believed also of the rates and taxes. In reply to the remarks of the right hon. Baronet the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote) as to the plethora of money which was likely to fill the Exchequer at certain times, while, in the right hon. Baronet's opinion, there would be an undue absence of it at others, he would simply observe that the reply of the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not been properly appreciated. But those subjects would be most conveniently discussed on a future occasion, when they would all have had an opportunity of thinking over them, and of consulting one with another, and when they would be prepared with practical suggestions. With regard to the question of the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Bonham- Carter), who desired to know whether the exemptions on horses engaged in agriculture and the other exemptions which had hitherto obtained would still be preserved, it was not usual to place these exemptions in the Resolutions placed before the Committee, but they would be found in the Bill, which would be discussed in Committee, and in the House.


said, he wished to call the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the case of a constituent of his, a job-master of Piccadilly, who was in the habit of paying £70 a year post horse duty, for which amount he was entitled to keep thirty horses and an unlimited number of carriages, but who found, having carefully considered the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, that he would in future, so far as he could judge, be called upon to pay £15 15s. for his thirty horses, for forty carriages at £2 2s. a-piece, £84; and for twenty servants to drive them, £15; making, in all, £114 15s., or nearly double the sum which he now paid. He was very anxious to know whether that was really the intention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer?


said, that if the hon. Member for the City of London (Mr. Alderman Lawrence) would bring forward a Resolution for equalizing the income tax paid by farmers in Scotland and England, the Scotch Members would support it, provided only that it should extend to Ireland also. In Scotland, it should be remembered, a new survey was made every year, and the tax was laid on all other classes without a farthing abatement; whereas in Ireland he believed every one, and not farmers alone, was allowed an abatement of 20 per cent before the tax was imposed. If hon. Members wished to know why the distinction was made between England and Scotland as respects farmers, he thought he could gratify their curiosity. At one period, the Scotch landowners were very powerful in that House, and they were shrewd enough to perceive that it was for their interest to make taxation press on the Scotch farmers as lightly as possible in order to benefit themselves.


said, there would be no exemption in the ease referred to by the hon. and learned Member for Marylebone (Mr. T. Chambers). A man would have to pay for every horse and every carriage he possessed; and he could see no injustice in compelling a rich man, who possessed thirty horses, to pay for the whole number.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Resolution withdrawn.

(1.) Resolved, That, on and after the 1st day of June next, the Duties of Customs chargeable upon the articles under-mentioned, imported into Great Britain and Ireland, shall cease and determine, viz.:—

[Then the articles are set forth as above.]

(2.) Resolved, That, in lieu of the Duties of Customs now chargeable on Beer and Ale, as denominated in the Tariff, on Importation into Great Britain or Ireland, the following Duties shall be charged, viz.:

Beer and Ale, viz.: £ s. d.
Mum, the barrel of 36 gallons 1 1 0
Spruce, the barrel of 36 gallons 1 1 0
Of other sorts, viz.:
Beer, the words of which were before fermentation of a specific gravity not exceeding One Thousand and Sixty-five Degrees, the barrel of 36 gallons 0 8 0
Exceeding One Thousand and Sixty-five Degrees, and not exceeding One Thousand and Ninety Degrees, the barrel of 36 gallons 0 11 0
Exceeding One Thousand and Ninety Degrees, the barrel of 36 gallons 0 16 0

(3.) Resolved, That, towards raising the Supply granted to Her Majesty, there shall be charged, collected, and paid for one year, commencing on the 6th day of April 1869, for and in respect of all Property, Profits, and Gains mentioned or described as chargeable in the Act passed in the 16th and 17th years of Her Majesty's reign, chapter 34, for granting to Her Majesty Duties on Profits arising from Property, Professions, Trades, and Offices, the following Rates and Duties (that is to say): For every Twenty shillings of the annual value or amount of all such Property, Profits, and Gains (except those chargeable under Schedule (B) of the said Act), the Rate or Duty of Six pence. And for and in respect of the occupation of Lands, Tenements, Hereditaments, and Heritages chargeable under Schedule (B) of the said Act, for every Twenty shillings of the annual value thereof, In England, the Rate or Duty of Three pence, and In Scotland and Ireland respectively, the Rate or Duty of Two pence farthing. Subject to the provisions contained in Section 3 of the Act 26th Victoria, chapter 22, for the exemption of Persons whose whole Income from every source is under £100 a-year, and relief of those whose Income is under £200 a-year.

(4.) Resolved, That the Duties of Assessed Taxes now payable in Great Britain shall cease to be assessed in respect of Male Servants, Carriages, Horses, Mares or Geldings, Mules, Hair Powder, and Armorial Bearings employed, kept, used, or worn respectively after the 5th day of April 1869 in England, and after the 24th day of May 1869 in Scotland, and on Persons using or exercising the Trade and Business of a Horse-dealer after such days respectively.

(5.) Resolved, That, on the 1st day of January 1870, the following Duties of Excise shall cease to be payable (that is to say): Upon Licences to let Horses for Hire in Great Britain. Upon Licences to let to Hire Horses for the purpose of travelling Post by the mile, or from Stage to Stage in Ireland. Upon Licences to keep, use, and let to Hire Hackney Carriages within the limits of the Metropolitan Police District and the City of London, and also the "Weekly Duties payable in respect of such Hackney Carriages. Upon Licences to keep, use, and employ Stage Carriages in Great Britain, and also the Mileage Duty payable in respect of such Stage Carriages.

(6.) Resolved, That, on the 25th day of June 1869, the Stamp Duty, at the rate of One shilling and Six pence per centum per annum, now payable in respect of Insurances against Loss or Damage by Fire only, shall cease to be payable.

(7.) Resolved, That, from the 5th day of July 1869, the Duties of Excise now payable upon Licences to be taken out by Persons trading in or selling Coffee, Tea, Cocoa Nuts, Chocolate, or Pepper, shall cease to be payable.

House resumed.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.

Committee to sit again upon Wednesday.

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