§ MR. MURPHY (Dublin, St. Patrick's)
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether inquiries have been made, through the Inland Revenue Department, which have confirmed the statements that many work people in Ireland have been thrown out of employment owing to the change in the Tobacco Duty; and, whether he will re-consider his decision as to granting a drawback, or making some arrangement whereby manufacturers may re-employ their hands without suffering serious loss?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
I have made inquiries not only as to the discharge of workpeople in Ireland, but also as to the amount of tobacco which has been taken out of bond. The allegation is that the manufacturers must wait till the 21st of May, when the reduced duty comes in, and that they must discharge their workpeople in the meantime. Now, it is a curious fact that the quantity of tobacco cleared for consumption in Dublin from the date of the Budget to the 6th instant was more than 10 per cent greater than during the corresponding period of last year. I am at a loss, therefore), to understand why, more to- 1811 bacco having been taken out for working up, hands should have been discharged. I have heard that there has been a certain discharge of workpeople; but do not know what proportion it bears to the whole number employed. In Dublin I hear that 381 were discharged; in Belfast 11, and none by the great firms. I do not admit that manufacturers will necessarily "suffer serious loss." I have seen a Circular from one of the largest firms saying that they should not reduce the price to their customers for some weeks, thus clearly showing that it is possible to recoup themselves for the loss from the higher duty.