HC Deb 11 June 1880 vol 252 cc1761-85

Resolutions [June 10] reported.


said, that the Budget Bill, which would consist of 30 or 40 clauses, chiefly of an executory nature, would probably be in the hands of hon. Members on Wednesday next, and that the second reading would, if possible, be taken on Thursday week. In connection with this matter a mistake had been committed, which, perhaps, it would be well to rectify before they proceeded further. Two of the Budget Resolutions which were agreed to last night were not, it appeared, in exact conformity with his Financial Statement, and he therefore begged to move that those Resolutions be recommitted for amendment.

Motion agreed to.

Resolutions 7 and 10 re-committed.

Resolved, That this House will immediately resolve itself into the Committee of Ways and Means.

(In the Committee.)

Re-committed Resolution 7 read.


begged to move, as an Amendment, with reference to the sums that appeared therein for licences, that the words "Fifty Pounds" be inserted instead of "One Hundred Pounds," and the words "Twenty Pounds" instead of "Twenty-five Pounds."


asked the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer to be good enough to explain the object of these alterations.


said, that the sums of £50 and £100 related to the value of the house, while the words "Twenty Pounds" and "Twenty-five Pounds" had reference to the maximum amount that was to be levied. The effect of the alteration was simply to bring the Resolution in conformity to his statement, that no higher duty than £20 should be levied on any hotel or licensed victualler.


said, he should like the right hon. Gentleman to explain the object with which the alteration from £100 to £50 was made.


said, that the alteration from £100 to £50 had relation to the value of the house. If the hon. Member had the Resolution in his hand, he would see at once in what manner it would apply. At a certain point in the scale the value arrived at was the maximum, so far as hotel keepers were concerned. That point was £50, and not £100, and the maximum tax was £20; whereas if carried beyond the scale of £50, it would be £25. The hon. Gentleman would see at once the effect of those alterations, when he examined the Resolution. In order to get rid of the £25 as the maximum tax, it was necessary to strike out the words "One Hundred Pounds" as the value of the house.

Amendment agreed to.

(7.) Resolved, That on and after the first day of July, one thousand eight hundred and eighty, in lieu of the Duties of Excise now payable, the following Duties of Excise shall be payable upon the Licences hereinafter mentioned (that is to say):

£ s. d
Licence to a Retailer of Cider in England 1 5 0
Licence to a Retailer of Sweets. 1 5 0
Licence to a Retailer in England of Beer to be consumed on the premises 3 10 0
Licence to a Retailer in England of Beer not to be consumed on the premises 1 5 0
Licence (additional) to a Licensed Dealer in Beer in England or Ireland for sale by retail of Beer not to be consumed on the premises 1 5 0
Licence to a Licensed Keeper of a Refreshment House in England or Ireland to retail Wine to be consumed on the premises 3 10 0
Licence to any Person in England or Ireland to retail in a Shop Wine not to be consumed on the premises 2 10 0
Licence to a Retailer of Beer and Wine to be consumed on the premises 4 0 0
Licence to a Retailer of Beer and Wine not to be consumed on the premises 3 0 0
Licence to a Retailer of Spirits— according to the annual value of the premises in respect whereof the Licence is granted:
If under £10 5 0 0
If £10 and under £20. 8 0 0
£20 and under £25. 11 0 0
£25 and under £30. 14 0 0
£30 and under £40. 17 0 0
£40 and under £50. 20 0 0
£50 and under £100. 25 0 0
£ 100 or above. 30 0 0

The holder of the last-mentioned Licence is not to be required to take out any further or other Excise Licence to enable him to sell Beer or Wine by retail.

The grant of the Duties on such Licence is to he subject to the provisions following:

  1. 1. The expression "Retailer of Spirits" does not include a Spirit Grocer in Ireland, as defined by section eighty-one of "The Licensing Act, 1872," nor a Dealer in Spirits selling Spirits in bottles under an additional Licence authorising him in that behalf;
  2. 2. Where, in the case of premises of the value of Fifty Pounds or upwards, it shall be proved to the satisfaction of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue that the premises are structurally adapted for use as an Inn or Hotel for the reception of guests and travellers desirous of dwelling therein, and are mainly so used, the amount of Duty to be paid on the Licence shall not exceed Twenty pounds.

Note.—Unless otherwise specified, the Duties mentioned in this Resolution extend to Licences throughout the United Kingdom.

For the purposes of this Resolution— Cider" includes Perry; Sweets" includes made Wines, Mead, and Metheglin; Beer" includes Cider; "Wines" includes Sweets.

Re-committed Resolution 10 read.


said, that in line 13, he had to move, as a further Amendment, that "2d." be struck out and"2½d. "be inserted. Four lines lower down, be should move that "2s."be inserted instead of "2s. 6d."


said, he did not wish to cast any suspicion upon what was being done; but as they were completely in the dark, and as he was not provided with the Resolutions, he should ask the right hon. Gentleman to explain the effect of those alterations also.


said, it was simply and solely for the purpose of bringing the Resolutions into exact conformity with his statement of the preceding night. It was proposed that from 30 degrees upwards, 2½d. should be added to the wine duty. It was printed at 2d. in the Resolution. He now proposed the 2½d., in order for the Resolution to conform with his statement. In the same manner, in the next Resolution he should move to substitute "2s." for "2s. 6d." on foreign wines, for the sake of conformity to his statement.

Amendment agreed to.

(10.) Resolved, That, in case Her Majesty shall, by Order in Council, be pleased so to ap- point, the Duties of Customs now chargeable on Wines imported into Great Britain and Ireland shall cease and determine on a day to be named in the said Order, and not later than the fifteenth day of August, one thousand eight hundred and eighty, and that, in lieu and instead of such Duties, there shall he charged on and after the day so named, the Duties following (that is to say):

Imported in Casks— £ s. d
Wine up to a strength of 20 degrees of proof spirit per gallon 0 0 6
Wine exceeding 20 degrees; additional for each degree up to a strength of 35 degrees of proof spirit per gallon 0 0 1
Wine exceeding 35 degrees; additional for each degree up to a strength of 41 degrees of proof spirit per gallon 0 0
Additional for each degree of strength beyond the highest above specified per gallon 0 0 3
The strength in each case to he verified by Sykes' Hydrometer.
Imported in Bottles—
Wine per gallon 0 2 0
Lees of Wine shall he charged with the above-mentioned Rates of Duty according to the ascertained degree of strength.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Resolutions, as amended, be reported upon Monday next."


said, he wished to take that opportunity to ask a question that he had intended to ask last night, and, perhaps, it would be convenient to ask it then. In the Statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer he gave, as a reason for imposing an additional penny on the Income Tax, that they had lost about £1,100,000 consequent upon the change from a Malt Tax to a Beer Duty. It was necessary to make provision for that amount, and he wished to ask, Whether he could now state, or on Monday, how that loss of £1,100,000 was made out? He did not think anyone understood clearly how that sum was arrived at.


said, that was a very fair and proper question, and he thought he could answer it sufficiently from recollection. He need hardly say that the subject had received the most careful and anxious examination, because he had been desirous naturally not to make an unfair statement to the House with reference to the burden which that important change involved, which of itself was sufficient to require additional taxation. The process was conducted with the utmost minuteness that the state of the case admitted. From the Estimate it was known what proportion of the stocks of malt there was in hand, compared with the total consumption in former years and at other times. For instance, they took the year 1856, when the War Malt Duty of the Crimean War was taken off. That case was a firm ground to stand upon as a fiscal relation between the malt drawback and the total consumption of malt. At that time the period was one ending in May, while in this case the period would cease on the 30th September. At the latter time the stock of malt was always at its lowest; consequently, the Estimate before them was formed upon the usual relation between the Malt Duties payable in the October collection and those payable at the period when the duty was taken off at the end of the Crimean War. The best estimate that could be formed of the quantity of malt had been arrived at, allowances made for deficiencies being already calculated in the Estimate. That being so, the items in computation had to be made, and then allowance had to be made between the periods of the 30th of September and May. From the latter the amount of duty which would be received probably on beer between the 30th September and the 1st of April of next year would be calculated. The reckoning of the Board of Inland Revenue was that they must take the month of October as a blank month. They would then find that, in fact, there were only five months during which the Beer Duty would be collected instead of six months. That being so, the Government had to credit themselves with the amount of Beer Duty received, debit themselves with the amount of drawback on the stocks of malt in hand, and likewise with the amount of Malt Duty which would have been receivable; that would show a loss or balance to our debit which they took at £1,100,000. It might exceed that sum, and it might fall short of it; it was not put at the highest figure, and it was considerably more than half-way from the lowest. He had given them the basis of the calculations, and he would not tax the patience of the House with more minute particulars. He had no doubt that the House would be satisfied with what he had stated.


said, he thought they had a right to complain that the Resolutions had not been put down on the Paper in detail. They were asked to pass them almost in the dark. He trusted the House would not be committed by the course adopted.


said, it was understood that, by passing the Resolutions, hon. Members would not be committing themselves to details, and would not be precluded from moving Amendments. But, with regard to the form used, his hon. Friend was, he thought, in error. No Resolutions passed in Committee of the Whole House were reprinted in connection with the stage of Report. Whether they should be or not he could not say; but, in the present instance, the regular course had been pursued.


wished to know whether there would be any opportunity of offering Amendments?


replied, that most certainly that would be the case.


said, he had understood at the outset of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman that it would be an open question whether this country should contribute anything towards the expense of the Afghan War, and that was the reason why the House would be asked to trust the Government with the Surplus. But it appeared to him that the whole of the Surplus was disposed of by the abolition of the Malt Tax. He therefore ventured to ask the right hon. Gentleman from what source that possible contribution to the expenses of the Afghan War would be made, should it be resolved, in the course of the year, to contribute towards those expenses?


said, he certainly could not confirm the statement of his hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy. He had not understood from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman that there was any proposal made to provide a portion of the expenses of the Afghan War out of the Surplus of this year. He had understood him to say that at a future time the matter would be considered. It did not appear to him, however, necessary or advisable, at that moment, to enter upon a discussion which would raise a very wide issue and excite the feelings of the people; on the contrary, he thought it would be well to wait until all the circumstances connected with the subject were known to the House before the question was considered whether the British taxpayer should contribute to the expenses of the war in Afghanistan.


said, the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy was justified in saying that he had referred to Indian Finance last night, as constituting a reason why there should be some Surplus in the hands of the Government. He thought it would have been impossible for the Government, in point of reason, to ask the House to raise a large sum of money by taxation, in a state of uncertainty. But it seemed to him that his hon. Friend had not quite correctly stated the actual case with regard to the Surplus. The Surplus provided by his right hon. Friend opposite had entirely disappeared, in consequence of the Supplementary Estimates; and, that being the case, they had proposed changes that would leave in their hands a sum of £400,000, which, however, must be compared, not with the original Surplus, but with something like or less than zero.


said, he had understood the First Lord of the Treasury to say that it depended upon negotiations with France how far the alteration in the Wine Duties would be carried out. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman not to forget that there was, in the ancient borough which he represented, a very considerable industry — namely, the manufacture of cotton fishing nets, on which a duty was now sought to be imposed of 70 francs per 100 kilogrammes, and to press upon the French Government, in the course of the negotiations, the withdrawal of that objectionable impost.


said, that the conduct of the details of the negotiations with foreign countries, with reference to the duties levied by them, was not so properly and strictly a matter for his consideration as it was for that of other Officers of the State. He had no doubt, however, that the subject referred to by the hon. Member would receive attention.

Question put, and agreed to.

House resumed.

Resolutions, as amended, to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again this day.

The other Resolutions read a first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the said Resolutions be now read a second time."


, who had given Notice to move— That, in the opinion of this House, it is unwise and inexpedient to reduce the duties upon alcoholic drinks of foreign manufacture in such a manner as to convey an impression that the reduction is granted as a result of harassing interference with British trade; said, that the proposals of the Prime Minister amounted to this—that the Government were endeavouring to make a bargain. Now, he did not object to bargains on principle, but only demanded that they should be good ones. It was his opinion that since the year 1860 France had benefited from the Commercial Treaty far more than ourselves. She had reduced her duties on some of our manufactures, while we abolished ours upon the whole of hers; and the things we imported were mostly luxuries for the rich, that had cheapened the labour of our working men. After all, both France and Spain appeared to be dissatisfied with the existing arrangement; but, he suspected, this was all nonsense, and only a pretence put forward with a view to obtain still better terms, and because they thought they had to do with a country and a Government that might be squeezed. His view of the Treaty of the year 1860 was that it was not at all in accordance with the principles of Free Trade, but was a bargain of which we had decidedly got the worst. It could not be consistent with mutually advantageous Free Trade that France should tax our manufactures, while we found her a market for luxuries which in no way contributed to our national strength. No one was a more hardened Free-trader than himself; but the Free Trade he supported was a genuine reality, the breaking down of commercial barriers, and not an imposture like our present system. France ought to reduce her duties on our manufactures, and would probably do so if we were firm and insisted on our rights. Spain, he thought, had some cause to complain of us on account of our duties on Spanish wines; but that was a question into which he would not now enter. It was well, however, to bear in mind that we, for our part, had an equally just grievance against Spain, which country, like France, took our raw materials rather than our manufactures. It seemed to him that the proposal with regard to the Wine Duties was not in itself an important arrangement; but if an arrangement were made with Spain by which our merchandize could enter the Spanish ports without being subjected to the high duties that were imposed there, the measure would be an excellent one. He had, however, no expectation that reducing the wine duties would bring about such arrangements. These and similar topics could be discussed when the Resolutions were embodied in a Bill, and he should therefore not now move from the Resolution that stood in his name.


observed, that the effect of our Treaty with France had been to lower the duties on French wines, to the advantage of the French grower and to the evident injury of the Spanish wine trade. The immediate result of the change in the Tariff would be to give to France a practical monopoly of the trade in light wines.


said, he would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that the proposed change might, perhaps, be in one respect disadvantageous. There were some cheap French wines, more particularly those of Burgundy and the South of France, that would not bear exportation, except in bottles, and a 2s. duty per gallon would practically exclude them. The same held good of the wines of Germany. The Rhenish wines required to be bottled at the place of growth. At that moment, he believed, the German Tariff was much more favourable to this country than that either of France or Austria, and we ought not to do anything to prejudice the efforts which a portion of the German people were making to bring back Free Trade. Believing that the proposed duty upon those wines imported in bottle was too high and would be likely to injure our prospects of improved trade with both France and Germany, he would in Committee move an Amendment, that the duty, instead of being fixed at 2s., should not exceed that amount as a maximum on bottled wines.


differed from the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken (Mr. B. Samuelson), and believed that nothing could be more politic than the imposition of a duty of 2s, on wines imported in bottle; for the real reason why the cheap wines of Southern France, Italy, and other countries could not be imported in bulk was want of care on the part of those who manufactured them. Nothing illustrated his position better than the increased and increasing importation of Hungarian and Austrian wines, which were now largely and, he believed, very profitably imported in bulk, though a few years ago they came to England in bottle. The hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Mac Iver), in what he had said upon the subject, did not seem to understand the relations brought about by diplomatic action between country and country through Commercial Treaties. Most persons who had studied the subject were convinced that nothing had more conduced to the establishment of friendly relations between France and England than the Commercial Treaty negotiated by his distinguished Friend the late Mr. Cobden. Commercial Treaties had been also concluded with other countries, and the system had established a network of international relations which it was very difficult for re-action to break through. He earnestly hoped that the efforts which the Government were making in regard to our commercial relations with France would be successful, and that the same would be the case so far as Spain was concerned. It could not be conceived that in a day all nations would come to see the benefits of Free Trade. A certain set of circumstances rendered it possible, 34 years ago, that Free Trade should be established in this country. Such circumstances had not yet occurred in other countries; but in those countries large bodies of men were growing up who were convinced that the interest of nations were best developed by the adoption of Free Trade.


said, he rose for the purpose merely of putting a Question to the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He believed it would be encouraging to know when the French permission was likely to be given, and when the Commission was likely to sit, and where?


said, the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Mae Iver) closed his remarks by saying he was "a hardened Free-trader;" but they had often heard speeches from the hon. Member on commercial subjects before, and certainly those speeches had led some of them to regard him rather as a crystallized or mummified Protectionist than an ardent or hardened Free - trader. He would not follow the hon. Member in his general argument on the subject of Commercial Treaties, because he thought that if that argument were raised at all it had better be brought forward on the second reading of the Bill. The hon. Member spoke against making anything like concessions to Spain, which he attacked for inflicting heavy duties on our trade. The constituents of the hon. Member would hardly be obliged to him for his defence of their interests that day, for he (Sir Charles W. Dilke) would remind him that one of the results of the action of the Government in that respect would be to greatly benefit the trade of Birkenhead. The Government hoped that the carrying out of the proposals before the House would greatly develop the trade of this country with Spain, and he had no doubt that the shipping interest would receive from the development a very great advance of prosperity. The hon. Gentleman spoke also of the heavy duties imposed by the Government of France on English goods. But the object of Her Majesty's Government was to get the Government of France to reduce those duties, and that, he believed, would be the result of the negotiations that were about to take place between the two countries. In reply to the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Middleton), he had to say that he had reason to believe that those negotiations might begin about the middle of July, and, if so, he saw no reason why they should not be completed in the course of a month. He did not know whether the French Government would wish that the negotiations should be conducted in London; but it was the opinion of Her Majesty's Government that they would be best conducted here, and, in all probability, here it was where they would occur. The hon. Member for Birkenhead spoke against the reduction of the Wine Duties; but the Associated Chambers of Commerce, and others representing the trade of this country, had, week after week, urged her Majesty's Government to reduce the Wine Duties in order to promote the trade of the country. Whether the Chambers of Commerce or the hon. Gentleman were right, he would leave it to the House to decide. The hon. Member had stated that the Premier said the previous evening that Free Trade principles must be greatly qualified. He (Sir Charles W. Dilke) had listened very attentively to the speech, and he was sure his right hon. Friend never said anything of the kind; therefore, the hon. Gentleman must have misunderstood the Premier's remarks. The hon. Member for Roscommon (Mr. O'Kelly) said that we ought not to lower the duties on French wines to the disadvantage of the Spanish wine trade. But the proposals of the Government must be looked at as a whole. They had reason to believe that those proposals would be beneficial not only to the wine trade but to the trade of this country as a whole, and that the Spanish Government accepted them with great pleasure as likely to be beneficial to the trade of Spain. The hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. B. Samuelson) said that a duty of 2s. was too high on wine in bottle; but the hon. Member for South-wark (Mr. Thorold Rogers) thought the duty a very fair one, The hon. Member, however, was not quite right in saying that the lighter kinds of Rhenish wines suffered from being brought into this country in casks. He (Sir Charles W. Dilke) believed that the 2s. duty was a very fair one. A 2s. 6d. per gallon duty upon all bottled wines had been frequently proposed by Committees of that House, and in the House itself, by one of the highest authorites on the subject-—namely, the hon. Member for Downpatrick (Mr. Mulholland). The Government had not proposed so high a duty, but had adopted a very happy medium, one which would be found to work well. He wished to take that opportunity of replying to a Question put a few days ago by the hon. and learned Member for Bridport (Mr. Warton). He would ask the hon. and learned Member to accept his assurance that the matter would be dealt with as far as it was in the power of the Government to deal with it. The general wish of the Government was not to abridge, but to increase, the area of British trade; and, although they did not wish to avoid criticism on particular points, their wish would be that these proposals should be considered not so much in detail but as a whole.


said, there was one point in the proposals of the Government which would require future consideration when there should be a fuller discussion on the subject. He would not go into the question whether that policy was right; but on the assumption, which he did not say was necessarily the true one, that this was a policy of endeavouring by manipulation of the Wine Duties to obtain certain advantages for British commerce, we stood in this position. The case was simple as regarded France. It was assumed, with regard to the case of France, that what she desired was that we should impose a lower rate of duty upon wines of a small degree of strength. They could quite understand that, in the negotiations which would shortly take place between this country and France, that proposal would be regarded as an equivalent for certain concessions which we should have to ask from France. That was intelligible enough. In the case of other countries, however, the scale would have to be manipulated so as to favour several countries which were independent of each other, such as Spain and Portugal and other countries producing strong wines—countries which at present complained that they were unfavourably treated as compared with France. It was intelligible if only one country was in that position; negotiations might then go on with France without considering that country. But it was not so; and he wished to point out we should be obliged to make the change general and not with reference to French wines only, but must extend it to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Austria, and other countries which produced strong wines, from whom, probably, they might get no advantage at all. He desired to know how that matter was to be dealt with, and if it was to be made a matter of bargain and reciprocity, and not one of dealing with other countries on the simple principle of making them contribute to the advantage of this country?


said, that the propositions of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had received the approbation of the House, and it might be taken that the Malt Duty was abolished and that a duty on beer had been imposed in its stead. He would like to call the attention of the House to the question of the manufacture of beer. It appeared that it was not intended to impose any restrictions of a minute kind so as to interfere with the manufacture of beer. The brewers were to be permitted to use any substance they thought proper. But he thought that means should be taken to insure that the liquor which was delivered by the brewer to the publican was of a pure and wholesome character. There was now a great desire to obtain pure water; he thought it a matter of almost equal importance that the mass of the people should be supplied with a pure, wholesome, and cheap beverage like beer, as it was well known that adulterated beer often created thirst instead of allaying it, so that the more one drank the more thirsty one became. He was aware that Governments as a rule declined to have anything to do with looking after the manufacture of articles, and that in the present instance the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer looked upon the question as a money question. But he (Mr. Alderman Lawrence) thought the other question ought also to be regarded. The duty was to be levied upon a certain number of gallons of beer. It was to be taken on what were called the "fermentation squares," and not upon the beer as it left the brewer's premises. He thought the Government ought to see that there was some correspondence between the number of gallons taxed to a certain strength and the number which left the brewery. If the duty was to be levied during the period of fermentation, there would be no check against the quantity of beer being doubled before it was sent out to the public. There were several large manufactories in London engaged entirely in the manufacture of ingredients for the use of brewers, and although he did not say these ingredients were deleterious or injurious, yet he did not consider them equal to malt and hops, and he thought some means should be taken to insure that the beer which was taxed was not subsequently diluted or interfered with in any way, for he knew that the working man was unable to protect himself, and was entitled to have a pure article supplied to him Fears were once expressed, when the duty was taken off paper, that the supply of paper might fail for the want of rags; but now paper was made without rags, and he was afraid it would be found possible hereafter to make beer without malt and hops. In Vienna, where the process of making beer was widely different from that employed in this country, careful means were taken by the Government to insure that the beer which had been taxed should not be tampered with before it reached the consumer. He thought the subject was one eminently deserving the attention of the Government, whose duty it was to look after the interests of the people in matters relating to health as well as in other respects. Then he thought the publicans were entitled to some relief in respect of the proposed addition to their licences, as the brewers had been relieved to the extent they had with regard to their present licences. While brewers under the proposed Resolutions were to be relieved from paying any licence duty whatever, except a nominal one of £1 per annum, regardless of the extent of the business or the rateable value of the brewery, those who sold beer had additional difficulties thrown in their way. Great brewers, with all their enormous wealth, were to be exonerated from Excise burthens, while the poor publican was to be mulcted heavily for no reason whatever. If it were necessary to increase the retail licence to sell beer or spirits, that augmentation should not be made when they were about making a change in the duties on wine and beer. The exemption of hotels from the augmented licence he considered both unfortunate and unfair. He could see no difference between a tavern, public-house, and hotel. He held that distinctions of this kind ought not to be made, and that the sums to be paid for licences ought not to be raised to the enormous amount which the right hon. Gentleman contemplated. But, if they must be raised, let there be no such distinctions as those to which he had alluded. He altogether condemned the heavy taxation of the publicans, which he supposed was to be accounted for only because they were regarded as sinners.


Sir, with regard to the observations of the hon. Member who has just sat down (Mr. Alderman Lawrence), I should beg him not to describe the augmentation of the licence duties which we have proposed as enormous. It does not deserve that epithet at any point to which the new rates would apply. With regard, for example, to the smaller class of publicans, the augmentation is very slight indeed. As to those of a somewhat higher class, the augmentation is more considerable; but the amount of increased revenue which we expect to gain from these sources is of itself a sign that nothing in the sense of enormous or radical change is contemplated. The intention of the new law will be to give what may be described as a perfectly free choice of materials for manufacture; but, in laying down that principle, I do not wish to interfere with the discretion of Parliament or with the mode in which it may think fit to use that discretion in regard to what is called adulteration—that is to say, to the use of deleterious materials. That is a seperate question altogether, and one upon which legislation now proposed has no bearing at all. I am particularly anxious to refer to the observations—for they are not without importance—of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite (Sir Stafford Northcote) as to the Wine Duties. I perfectly admit the truth of all that he said in regard to that matter; but I greatly doubt whether we shall gain much light or advantage from a detailed discussion on the subject in the House. I think that, from the nature of that subject, the choice before the House is either not to prosecute the scheme at all or to leave in the hands of the Government the discretion for which they ask. It is quite clear that we must draw a distinction between the weaker and the stronger wines, between the lower and the higher portions of the scale; and, so far, I think, there will be a provision in the Bill to make it clear that we have the power to draw that distinction if we think it expedient. With regard to the question as to whether we can draw a distinction between the different countries interested in the higher wines, that is a difficult matter; and I do not know that anything can be done except to leave us to make the best we can of it. The two countries that are really most important in this matter are Portugal and Spain; and I can only say that I see no reason to believe that we may not be able to make arrangements more or less satisfactory with them. If we can draw in other countries whose interest may be of a minor character, so much the better; but I cannot say we shall certainly be able to adjust the whole matter in detail, as well as in its general outline, in the best possible way; because there is a conflict between the prosecution of Treaty-making principles, if I may so call them, to their furthest development, and a faithful adherence to our own principles, which do not draw any distinction between articles of the same character when proceeding from different countries. That is the general reply I would make. Of course, it has no relation whatever to any criticisms which may be made on the nature of the scale itself. The question whether we have taxed lower and higher wines in the best manner is a perfectly different matter, and is perfectly open for discussion; but with regard to the matters of negotiation to which I have referred, I greatly doubt whether we can make any progress with them beyond what we have already done. I think it may be permitted to the Government to treat them in the best mode we can, on the principles which I hope the House will sanction.


said, in all the arguments he had heard, he had not heard a mention of the weak point of the question. He considered the weakest point was the amount of duty which was charged on wine. The duty was levied on the amount of alcohol which was contained in the wine. On the foreign wines there was 6d. duty charged, but on the home-made wines 2s. was charged. It would be perfectly right if it was carried with an equal hand, and charged on the same amount at home and abroad; but the fact was, while they allowed 20 degrees foreign wine to come in at 6d., they charged 2s. for the same quantity of alcohol made at home. He did not think that such an unfair charge as this should be made upon manufacturers of alcohol in England, Ireland, and Scotland, and, altogether, he regarded this matter as a weak point in connection with the financial proposals of the Government. He wished to know upon what ground that anomaly was to be explained, or if it was the intention of the right hon. Gentleman to put the home manufacturer upon the same footing as the foreign manufacturer? The hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. B. Samuelson) had found fault with the proposal to tax so highly the higher or heavier wines. He (Mr. O'Sullivan) quite approved of that part of the right hon. Gentleman's scheme, and thought that was the redeeming portion of the Resolution and the very best one. Was it fair or reasonable that a luxury like champagne should be admitted into this country at 1s. a-gallon? He thought there was not sufficient duty put on foreign bottled wines. The result of what had been done previously was to turn the whole bottled trade of the country into foreigners' hands; but he believed that the doubling of the duty might bring some of the trade which had been taken away back to England. It certainly was the best portion of the Resolution before the House. With regard to the question of licences, did not the right hon. Gentleman think it right, when dealing with the question, to consider the number of the population? Was it fair that in a country village in any part of the Three Kingdoms, where there were not perhaps 3,000 people, that a man should be charged the same as if he were carrying on his trade in London, Manchester, Liverpool, or any other large town? Unless there was some regulation made with regard to population, he thought the scale would be a most unfair and unjust one. He therefore hoped that when the licensing Resolutions were put, some intention of acting on the question he had just referred to would be expressed by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer.


said, he had no wish to prolong the debate at that stage; but he wished to give notice of what he intended to do upon the subject. Last night, the Prime Minister remarked that an act of justice was done to Scotland; but that was of a very infinitesimal amount, and the Prime Minister failed to allude to the great injustice he was inflicting both upon Scotland and Ireland in the matter of continuing the charge upon their alcohol at the same scale as before. That injustice was a grave one, and he held, that the article to be taxed being alcohol, it ought to be taxed at an even rate per gallon without reference to the part of the country whence it came or where it was to be consumed. Under the proposal the difference was so great, that the beer drinkers would have their alcohol, diluted with water and hops, at a nominal sum; and in Scotland and Ireland, where the alcohol was only diluted with water, and sometimes not even with much of that, the drinker had to pay at the rate of 10s. per gallon of proof spirit, which was somewhere about five times as much as the beer-drinker had to pay. He expressed a hope that the House would make such a change in the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman as would do away at least in part with that injustice. Of course, he did not expect to get the House to do away with the difference altogether; for doing that would require so large a tax to be put upon beer that it would be hopeless to think of carrying any proposal of that kind. Still, he thought something should be done in that direction; and consequently, in order to test the question, he proposed to move a small addition to the tax proposed on beer by the Prime Minister. He had no expectation of getting justice by moving a reduction of the tax on alcohol, and therefore he proposed to get at it by levelling up; and he should therefore propose to raise the tax one halfpenny a-gallon upon beer. The addition of that charge would be, he believed, as far as the right hon. Gentleman was concerned, a step in the right direction; it would be giving the Government a much larger amount of revenue, and would be a more equitable arrangement. Of course, it would not remove the whole injustice they were suffering under; but he hoped that the Scotch and Irish Members would assent to the proposal, and he believed the love of justice amongst the English Members would lead many of them to support it.


considered that it was ill-advised of the Government to fetter their hands before entering into negotiations with Spain and Portugal by a preconceived plan adopted from the French. The duty of 2s. a-gallon on wine in bottle must, he might add, have reference entirely to one wine—champagne —for every other kind of wine could, he believed, be imported in wood. As to beer, he quite sympathized with those who, like the hon. Member for the City of London (Mr. Alderman Lawrence), expressed a hope that the result of the financial proposals of the Government would be to supply the working classes with a purer article.


, while thanking the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government for his proposals, thought the question whether beer was to be made out of any sort of raw material was one of considerable importance, for two reasons—first, that the repeal of the Malt Tax would not be of so much benefit to the farmers, who had always anticipated that they would be able after the repeal to sell their second-class barley for fair prices, or use it themselves for brewing light beer; at the present time, unless they had superfine barley, the brewers would not buy it for malting, and there was, practically, nothing between first and third class prices for barley; and secondly, so far as he could judge, it was not the quantity of it which a man might drink, so much as what he might term the beastliness of the stuff which was frequently sold as beer in beershops, which made those who drank it ill afterwards. The question was one, therefore, in which the poorer classes were greatly interested, and he fully agreed with those hon. Members who had urged the necessity of a strictly pure article being supplied for their use.


said, he understood, in the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that one of the advantages likely to arise from the reduction of the duties upon French light wines would be that they would be more largely used by the poorer classes in this country. He said that it was, therefore, only fair to say that the introduction of light wines into this country would tend to the moral well-being of the people, especially of the working classes. He (Mr. Daly) could not see how so small a reduction as 6d. per gallon—or on 64 glasses of wine—would have the effect intended, looking at the climate and surroundings of the working classes of this country. He could hardly believe that the Chancellor of the Exchequer could be serious, when he expressed his opinion that the proposed reduction in the Wine Duties would bring about so satisfactory a result, especially when it was remembered that the reduction on the price of wines would not amount to more than 1d. in 5d. or 6d. He, for one, did not believe that any such comparative reduction in the Wine Duties would induce the working people of these Kingdoms to adopt the light wines of France as their usual beverage. If that was the only ground for negotiations that were being held with the French Government, he was afraid that it would not be very potent in obtaining satisfactory or great concessions from the French Government. Unless a greater boon than this were offered to France, he, for one, was afraid that she would not give the Government of this country much in return. The hon. Member for London (Mr. Alderman Lawrence) had raised the question as to the possible manufacture of beer from deleterious compounds. Now, he (Mr. Daly) had paid some little attention to this matter, and he had found in the City which he had the honour to represent that the public could be protected under the Adulteration of Food Act, which would give power to put down the manufacture of beer from deleterious ingredients and compounds. There were other portions of the proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer which were open to objection; but, not wishing to detain the House further, he would simply again put it to the right hon. Gentleman whether he thought that a reduction of 6d. duty on 64 glasses would be such a boon as to lead to an increased consumption of wine among the working classes?


agreed in opinion with the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson), that the duties charged on whisky were extravagantly high as compared with the duties on beer. In last Parliament, he (Mr. M'Laren) spoke on this subject, and showed that the proportion was 5½d to 1. During this debate it was argued as being 5 to 1. He was willing to accept this latter difference as correct, and, even then, the disparity was enormous. But was this the way and time to correct it? He thought not. This was a great financial arrangement, which, from its indirect operation, would benefit the whole Kingdom, and it did no harm to Scotland or Ireland in any form. It should, therefore, be allowed to pass, seeing that it imposed no new burden on them. If the hon. Member for Glasgow would carry his proposal to increase the duty on beer, by ½d. per gallon, this would be equal to 1s. 6d. per barrel, or 25 per cent of increase; and, as the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister stated last night, the Malt Duty now produced £8,000,000, and the Beer Duty would produce a little more, the practical effect of the proposal would be to provide an additional revenue of £2,000,000 a-year, which was not wanted for any known purpose. He (Mr. M'Laren), therefore, felt bound to support the proposals of the Government as a whole, not considering the present time opportune for raising the question. But one thing was clear, that when this measure should be passed, and a further amount of taxation was required, it would not be difficult to carry an addition to the duty on each barrel of beer; while it would be utterly hopeless to attempt to carry an additional duty on malt, supposing the present measure not to be passed. It had been urged from the other side, as regarded the duty on licences, that a differential duty should be fixed in favour of villages and small towns. It appeared to him that the operation of the scheme would effect this, the duty depending as it did on the rents of the premises, which were much less in villages and small towns than large towns, and, therefore, there was no hardship. A house that would let for £5 or £10 in villages would, for even a smaller amount of accommodation, let for £15 or £20 in large towns, and there was thus already a direct relief in favour of these publicans, for the licensed duty would be smaller in proportion.


, inasmuch as he felt sure the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary was anxious to proceed with the Belief of Distress (Ireland) Act (1880) Amendment Bill, did not wish to intrude at any length. He merely wished to say that the invitation of the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) would certainly be accepted so far as he was concerned. He thought Irish Members had made a mistake in not approaching the unequal incidence of the taxation in England and in Ireland with a definite intention. In the late Parliament, the hon. Members for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry) and Youghal (Sir Joseph M'Kenna) occasionally directed attention in their usual able way to this unequal incidence. In his (Mr. Parnell's) opinion, those hon. Gentlemen committed a mistake in that they brought forward abstract Motions, for experience showed that it took a very long time for abstract Motions to ripen a question sufficiently for decision. How often did the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. P. A. Taylor) take up the subject of flogging in this way; and it was not until the case was taken up in a more practical way by the examination of details of Government Bills, and by serving Amendments to those Bills, that the question was solved successfully. If Irish Members would follow that example, and, joined by the Scotch Members, would press their grievances in the form of Amendments to the Budget Bill in its various stages, then they would probably receive more attention from the responsible Minister of the Crown than those grave grievances received when advanced under the form of an abstract Motion. It had been proved over and over again that foreign alcohol was taxed at the rate of 6d. only for 20 degrees of strength, while native alcohol paid 2s. for the same strength. It was sometimes said this was done to induce the working man to drink claret in preference to stronger drinks; but he did not believe that. The object really was to obtain from France more favourable terms for the admission of our manufactured articles. This was a course that worked a special injustice. In Ireland there were no important manufactures, and so it amounted to this, that rich, prosperous England was benefited at the expense of impoverished Ireland. It worked in this way, although the relative wealth of Ireland, as represented by her income tax-paying population, in proportion to that of England, was as 1 to 27, Ireland paid in contributions to the Imperial Exchequer a proportion of 1 in 8. This was manifestly unjust, and it was no answer to say that the article of whisky was taxed the same in all parts of the United Kingdom, for it was not fair to throw the incidence of taxation on a particular article which was produced in two small portions of the United Kingdom and not in the larger portions of the United Kingdom. According to the duties levied at present, the rich Englishman who drank his champagne paid only 2d. a bottle in the shape of duty, while the poor Scotchman or Irishman-—not that the latter were in the position to do so now-a-days—who drank whisky paid duty at the rate of 2d. per glass instead of the bottle.


said, he would be happy to support the Motion of the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) when it came before the House at the proper time. His recol- lection of the Spirit Duties extended over a long period. He recollected when the duty was made progressive; but, as well as his memory served, when the change was made, its advocates never argued the question as one of revenue. The support of the progressive rise was advocated from the temperance view, and that seemed to have weight, for it resulted in the increase of the duty, and now the exorbitant charge on Irish spirits. A great deal had been said about the changes in the Wine Duties, as if they affected only those who sent the wines here from abroad. But there was another point of view. A great community like this could not take a merely selfish view, and no one could deny that some benefits had followed the reduction. Those who sat on Mr. Forster's Committee on Wines, who had paid much attention to the evidence, would know how wines could be produced in some parts of Portugal and in the South of France at extraordinarily low prices; but they could never be sent here, because of the extremely high duty. He agreed with the hon. Member for Glasgow, that no one would deny the advantage that some members of the community derived from wine. There were other advantages of an international character, and on that point he wished to state that, although to his regret, Ireland was not a manufacturing country, there were large masses of the Irish population engaged in industrial operations in England, especially in towns like Glasgow, Manchester, and Liverpool. He had heard hon. Gentlemen in that House boast of the strong Irish power in England and Scotland, employed in industrial occupations there. He, therefore, viewed with favour the proposals of the Prime Minister, which, by encouraging an interchange of commodities between manufacturers in England and the wine growers of foreign countries, was benefiting the Irish populations who were employed in manufacturing industries in England.


said, that he thought the case of bottled wines had not been sufficiently considered, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would still be able to see his way to make some alteration in favour of the cheaper kind of bottled wines.


said, his fellow-country-men in England were mostly engaged in subordinate occupations. Their employers would benefit by the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman; but the advantage to the working classes was a purely illusory one. They would get no higher wages on account of the Budget. The hon. Baronet (Sir Patrick O'Brien) took so much interest in the welfare of the Irish working classes in Great Britain that, notlong since, he questioned their right to have any interest in the political affairs of the country that gave them birth.


One word of explanation. I never in my life said anything—[Cries of "Order, order!" "Chair, chair!"]—I wish simply to say a word in explanation. I never in my life said one word derogatory to the working classes of England, but I did to two or three adventurers that came over to Ireland.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolutions agreed to.

Bill, upon Resolutions 1, 2, 3,4,5, 6, 8, and 9, ordered to be brought in by Mr. PLAYFAIR, Mr. CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, and Lord FREDERICK CAVENDISH.