§ MR. HOOPER (Cork, S.E.)
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, "Whether he is aware that the process of manufacture, as carried on by the Irish roll tobacco manufacturers, necessitates each manufacturer having a stock of at least three to four weeks supply always on hand; and, if so, whether he would make provision whereby such manufacturers would be enabled to continue to keep their employés at work without heavy loss to them? The hon. Gentleman also asked, whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer had anything to add to the information he gave with reference to the cigar manufacturers?
§ MR. J. ROWLANDS(for Mr. BROADHURST) (Nottingham, W.)
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether he can now state what, if any, arrangements he has made with regard to the Duty on tobacco, in order to prevent the threatened and great displacement of labour in the cigar-making trade?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
Yes, Sir; I am aware that the roll tobacco manufacturers must have a stock of three or four weeks' supply on hand, and I have to inform the hon. Gentleman that the month has been given to allow the manufacturers an opportunity to reduce their stocks to the lowest possible limit. This arrangement was made entirely in the interest of the roll manufacturers, and it was never expected that they would entirely cease working; and there is no reason why they should incur any loss by continuing to work, as they need not reduce their prices till 697 their stocks on the 21st of May are exhausted. Having ascertained that the cigar manufacturers stood in a different position from the rest of the trade as regards the disposal of their stocks, and could be treated separately without injustice to its other branches, I have, with a view to avoiding a threatened wholesale discharge of workpeople—while demurring to its necessity—made arrangements by which, under strict precautions against abuse, and under careful supervision, the cigar manufacturers might clear between this and the 21st of May so much tobacco as they would work up in the time, and obtain a rebate of 4d. per lb. upon it at the end of the period.
§ MR. HOOPER
asked, could the Chancellor of the Exchequer see any objection to extending that privilege to the case of Irish roll manufacturers?
§ MR. HOOPER
asked, would the right hon. Gentleman have any objection to receive a deputation on the subject? In face of the information repeatedly given, that the livelihood of so many persons was threatened for a period, would the right hon. Gentleman consider the justice of allowing a rebate of 4d. on all stocks held at the 21st instant?
said, if it was desired, of course he would receive a deputation; but he demurred entirely to the statement that it was necessary for the manufacturers to discharge their workmen during these three weeks. When the duty was raised 4d. per lb. the manufacturers had precisely the same amount of advantage as they now allege to have of disadvantage; and he could not conceive that great firms would discharge workmen who had served them permanently on account of the small loss that might be incurred during the three weeks by taking out the tobacco at a higher duty.