HC Deb 28 May 1883 vol 279 cc958-9

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, before acceding to any suggestion for the renewal of the Coal and Wine dues, he will consult the opinion of the inhabitants of the Metropolis who have no direct representation in any authority now dealing with these funds, and who are unwilling to sanction the re-grant to authorities not under their own control of taxes producing several hundred thousand pounds sterling per annum?


asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether Her Majesty's Government, before giving an answer to the application for an extension of the London Coal and Wine Duties, will take into consideration the claims for exclusion from future taxation of the manufacturers and consumers of coal in the towns and places in the "outer area" of the Metropolis, who though taxed are not represented in the application of the tax; and, whether he will receive a deputation from those important interests?


asked the First Lord of the Treasury, If he is aware that, when the Coal and Wine Duties were prolonged in 1867 for the purpose of providing moneys for improvements in the Metropolis, a compromise was agreed to by those residing outside the area of the Metropolitan Board of Works, yet liable to the Coal and Wine Duties, by which the Duties were extended one year in order to free the bridges of Staines, Hampton, and Kew, and thus in some way compensate the outer circle of coal and wine consumers for the payment of taxes from which they otherwise derive no direct benefit; and, if he will take into his consideration that any attempt to overthrow the compromise and understanding thus arrived at must result in imposing heavy taxation upon communities who are neither represented by the authority taxing them, nor benefited by the taxation imposed?


Sir, my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Treasury has asked me to answer these Questions. We lately received a deputation from the Metropolitan Board and the Corporation of the City of London on the subject of the renewal of the Coal and Wine Duties when they expire in 1889. Some points were raised by the deputation into which we shall have to inquire; but I may say, in general terms, that the suggestion appears to us to be altogether premature, and that if the Coal and Wine Duties should be renewed—as to which we have grave doubts—even in a restricted form, such renewal could only follow a decision by Parliament to allow the construction by the local authority of the Metropolis of some very costly communication between the districts North and South of the Thames, below London Bridge, such as has lately been under discussion. Until then, we do not think that the extension of the Coal and Wine Dues could be even considered. The question of the area within which these dues should be leviable would have to be seriously considered at the same time; and full opportunity will be given to those interested to make known their views.