HC Deb 05 May 1887 vol 314 cc953-4
DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether his attention has been called to the exceptional position of the roll tobacco trade in Scotland, and the fact that, owing to the length of time required for the manufacture of Scotch roll tobacco, a large number of operatives have been dismissed, in anticipation of the reduction in duty on the 21st instant; and, whether, to prevent the loss and hardship thereby caused, he will consider the propriety of granting, in the case of the Scotch roll tobacco trade, a similar concession to that granted to the cigar manufacturers?


My attention has been called to the position of the roll tobacco trade in Scotland; but I understand that there is a great difference in the position of different manufacturers, even in Scotland, in the sense of the hon. Member's Question. While representations have come to me from some parts of Scotland, I have had none from others; and I must repeat what I have said before in this House—that the month for the reduction of duty was specially arranged in the interest of the roll tobacco manufacturers. There are, I am aware, some special cases where there is more difficulty than in others, owing to the longer period over which the manufacture extends; but in these cases there are also special circumstance which, in my judgment, render it easier for the manufacturers to recoup their less. I regret that any operatives should have been temporarily dismissed, owing to the reluctance of the manufacturers to incur a loss for two or three weeks by taking out at the higher duty the small amount of additional tobacco necessary for their work during a week or two, a loss a part of which, at all events, I should think they could have recouped; but I do not see my way to make a change which, while giving relief to some, would be regarded as a breach of faith by others. I did not make the concession to the cigar manufacturers till I had ascertained at a, deputation, in which gentlemen from various parts of the country, I think including Scotland, wore present, that the case of the cigar manufacturers could be distinguished from that of the rest of the tobacco trade, and was not on all fours with it.


asked, whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not aware that the loss incurred by roll tobacco manufacturers in Scotland would be infinitely heavier than the loss incurred by cigar manufacturers?


said, he had endeavoured to ascertain from the deputation that had waited upon him whether the case of the cigar manufacturers was on all fours with other cases, and there appeared to be a unanimous view that there was a difference.

MR. HOOPER (Cork, S. E.)

asked, whether on the deputation the whole of the tobacco manufacturers in Ireland were represented?


said, that he did not know that there was on the deputation a gentleman from Ireland; but there was a gentleman from Scotland. He was extremely sorry that inconvenience should be caused to a small portion of the trade by a been which he thought the whole of the trade recognized as satisfactory in itself; but he was afraid that in all cases of a change of duty there was some inconvenience felt in some quarters. Having given full weight to the representations made to him by the deputation, he was afraid he must close the door upon any further concession.