HC Deb 30 March 1885 vol 296 c966

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether, taking into consideration the serious results arising from the presence of "coopers" or floating grog shops with the North Sea trawling fleets, and the largo amount of inferior tobacco and spirits they are accustomed to barter or sell, he will give permission that the crews of the deep sea fishing fleets in the North Sea should be allowed, through the medium of the five vessels belonging to the "Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen Society," to enjoy the same privileges with regard to duty-free tobacco as Foreign-bound sailors, with the view of putting a stop to dishonest bartering of their employers' property, drunkenness, and the prevention of smuggling?


I have consulted the Board of Customs on the subject of the hon. Member's Question. I am afraid that he hardly appreciates the full extent to which his suggestion would lead us. Although he only mentions tobacco as to be made duty-free, his Question points to a similar privilege for spirits; and the result of the concession would be that through the privilege granted to this Society duty-free spirits and tobacco would be allowed to be purchased by all fishing fleets, first in the North Sea, and in the end everywhere. Having granted it to one we could not refuse it to others. I cannot consent to so serious an inroad on the Revenue, for winch I see no justification. The abuses in the North Sea trawling fleets must be cured, I think, in other ways.