HC Deb 31 May 1881 vol 261 cc1781-3

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether it not the fact that great dissatisfaction has been expressed at the manner in which the claims of drawback of Malt Duty were met by the Inland Revenue Department; whether it has not been admitted by one of the heads of that Department that injustice has been done to traders by the method adopted in making the allowance; whether it is not the fact that in some cases the drawback was allowed to persons holding stocks of malt on the quantity shown by their books, and not by measuring or gauging, as provided by the Act; and, whether he will authorise a Copy of the Correspondence on the subject, which has taken place between the Department and the persons aggrieved, to be printed and placed before Parliament?


, who was indistinctly heard, said that he would endeavour to answer the Question of his hon. Friend as briefly as he could. Great dissatisfaction had been expressed by gentlemen whose opinion was of great weight; but it was a mistake to suppose that general dissatisfaction had been felt at the manner in which the Excise officers performed their difficult duties. He did not think that the proportion of those who were dissatisfied was more than 1 to 100. In saying that he intended no disrespect to those who were dissatisfied, but only desired to do justice to the Department. With regard to the supposed admission on the part of the Department, he found, unfortunately, that Mr. Ellis was out of health, and he had not been able to consult him on the subject. But the question would be examined hereafter. With regard to the third Question, there was only this foundation in fact—that some of the stocks of the great traders were taken in a particular manner, having regard to the fact that the malt was stored in large bins which it was difficult to test by penetrating to the bottom of the bins. The measurements were brought in and then the stocks were entered in the books. Thus the books were collateral and complementary evidence. He was afraid his hon. Friend would not be satisfied with the succinct answer which he was obliged to give. As to the production of the Correspondence which had taken place between the Department and the persons aggrieved, rather than lay it on the Table at the present moment he would suggest that, when the extreme pressure of Parliamentary Business had a little subsided, he would endeavour to make arrange- ments with the hen. Member, who took great interest in the question, for a personal discussion on the nature of the rules adopted in these cases.