§ MR. PICTON (Leicester)
asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, If it is true, as stated in a letter from Cairo to The Times of Wednesday, that—A poor man cannot bring his cow or buffalo into the town without paying 20 francs each time for the transit;whether there is any truth in the assertion made in the same letter, that, in consequence of the heavy octroi— 534Whole loads of cabbages, &c, are actually often thrown away, because: the tax on their admission is more than the cultivator could hope to gain on the sale;and, whether there is any reason to believe, as alleged, that—The land, which ought to he one of the most fertile in the world, is made comparatively barren by these; oppressive exactions, which, added to a heavy Land Tax, become actually crushing?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE (Sir JAMES FERGUSSON) (Manchester, N. E.)
The Octroi Duty in Egyptian towns is heavy, and a Bill was lately introduced into the Legislative Council to modify it in favour of the country people; but the Council did not pass it. Her Majesty's Government have no reason to believe, as alleged in the Question of the hon. Member, that the land is going out of cultivation on account of these and other burdens; on the contrary, though the Land Tax is still heavy, cultivation is extending itself, the indebtedness of the peasantry has diminished, and their material condition has improved.