HC Deb 26 March 1885 vol 296 cc648-9

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If, when framing the Budget Bill, he will take into consideration the inequalities between the Licence Duties payable in Ireland, where the drink is to be consumed off the premises, and, on the other hand, when consumed either on or off the premises, as buyer may prefer; whether he will have any objection to the same scale of Duties payable for full retail licences being applied to licences which only permit sale for consumption off the premises; and, whether it is a fact that the lowest charge for a spirit grocers' licence in Ireland is £9 18s. 5¼d. while in Scotland the cost is £4 4s. the latter including the sale of beer?


I am happy to take into consideration any financial proposal made by the hon. Member, who, I am glad to observe, takes an interest in economy; but with reference to his first two Questions, I must not at present give the faintest hint to the House of what may or may not be contained in the approaching Budget. As to his third Question, it is true that the minimum charge in Ireland for what is known as a grocer's licence is £9 18s. 5¼d., while in Scotland it is £4 4s., the latter including permission to sell beer. There are some differences in the hours of sale in favour of Ireland, and the Scotch minimum is on a house valued at less than £ 10, while the Irish is on a house valued at £25. But the origin of the difference is that the Scotch scale was the outcome of what is known as the Forbes Mackenzie adjustment in 1853, and the Irish scale was settled in 1825, when it was thought fit to interpose a third licence between that of the hotelkeeper and that of the publican. I could not, however, discuss the matter adequately within the limits of an answer to a Question.