HC Deb 27 April 1888 vol 325 cc764-812

(Mr. Courtney, Mr. William Henry Smith, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Jackson.)

COMMITTEE. [Progress 26th April.]

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 5 (Power to Treasury to prohibit the use of certain substances in exciseable good).


said, he hoped those of the Committee who had Bills in their hands would look at Clause 5, because, unless they followed the words, they would be unable to understand them. The clause was very wide in its scope and meaning, and provided that any substance used in the preparation of exciseable articles might be prohibited on two conditions. First, if obnoxious or detrimental. To that no one could object, but he thought it was a surplusage in the clause, as it was already provided for in the Food Adulteration Act. The second condition was that the Revenue might prohibit any article used in the preparation of exciseable articles which might injure the Revenue. That was a very large power indeed and made the clause exceedingly elastic. He did not say there might not be justification in some such power on the part of the Revenue. The Revenue ought to be an increasing product, and if anything came in and disturbed it, it might be desirable to have elbow room; but this was an absolute prohibition. There was no question, this clause really meant a power with reference to the brewing of beer, and was really aimed at saccharine. It might go further—for instance, noxious or detrimental substances might be substances used in substitution of hops which gave the bitter quality. He had nothing to say to that, but the clause gave means to prohibit many substances that were not noxious. There had been a now substance discovered called saccharine, which was got from a coal-tar derivative called Toluin. Saccharine had 300 times the sweetness of sugar. This substance not only had an intense sweetening property, but it could not be converted into alcohol, and had nothing to do with introducing more or less alcohol into beer. In addition it had what was exceedingly valuable, an antiseptic property—that was in hot weather it prevented beer becoming bad. In the strong beer, such as Burton ale, there was another kind of antiseptic which was inapplicable to light beers, and it was desirable to find an antiseptic for light beers. The researches of scientific men—he might mention Professor Dewar, Professor Tidy, and others in this country and many abroad—gave it very high antiseptic properties. This substance was an exceedingly growing industry, and, amongst other things, it was used for preserving fruits. It was an industry which it was particularly valuable to develop in this country at the present moment, when they had a plentiful supply of the raw products for its manufacture. All the raw materials now went to Germany, this saccharine only being made in Germany. It was very expensive, being now sold at 50s. a-pound, but it could be manufactured in this country readily at 20s., or at most, 30s. per pound. A Company was prepared to start in England with a subscription of £200,000 to carry on the manufacture of saccharine; but when it was known the Revenue were going to pass a prohibitory clause, the Company abandoned their intentions. The reason the Revenue was afraid of it was, he believed, on account of this—the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) would correct him if it was not the case—not only did it sweeten the beer and preserve the beer as an antiseptic, but it had a strange effect upon the palate and made light beers taste like strong beers, and porter taste like stout. Therefore, from this peculiar effect on the palate, more of the light beers might be used until the people found they did not get drunk with it, and believed they were taking strong beers, and this would be a danger, because the stronger beers paid a higher duty. He did not deny that the Revenue might be affected by the use of this product, but his Amendment did not say that the Revenue Department should not have power to tax this addition to the beer, if it was considered desirable. The saccharine could not properly be used in the brewing of the beer, because, being an antiseptic, it would interfere with the action of the other ingredients, so it was added in the priming. With the power of making concessions—and the Revenue did make concessions—this saccharine priming might be used in light beers in certain proportions extremely small to the gallon, because it would sweeten it too much if added except in almost infinitesimal quantities. He did not object to the Excise regulating this new industry relating to beer; but what he did object to was that they should prohibit it, as they would do under the clause, because they had the power to prohibit but not to regulate the use of any article. A prohibition in the eyes of the Excise was a small matter, but prohibition was a very serious matter in relation to a growing industry, and when it stopped an art was a matter very serious indeed. Ho hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would allow the use of the preparation upon terms, and if the right hon. Gentleman could not adopt the words he had used, he hoped some other words might be adopted which would allow them the opportunity of seeing whether the article had the good effects which those who used it said it had. If the words of the clause were retained as at present, see what position they would be in. Foreign brewers used it largely, and were erecting large works for its manufacture in Belgium. It was used all over Germany for brewing purposes, and if they prohibited it in this country and allowed the foreign brewers to use it there with the light beers, they put the brewers in this country at a terrible disadvantage. He was very anxious to persuade the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he should not interfere with the progress of this industry, but should have an opportunity of watching its use, and that if it was found to be weakening the Revenue that he should come to the House and ask for a tax on saccharine priming. To that he was told the brewers would have no objection. If the right hon. Gentleman did not do so, what would follow? This substance was exceedingly difficult of detection, being used in excessive small quantities in a barrel of beer; and there was another substance, as any chemist would tell them, that would absolutely prevent its detection when put into the beer; therefore the result would be that if they did not regulate its use, there was nothing to prevent a publican taking a little pinch of the saccharine in his fingers and putting it into a barrel of light beer, and the Excise would thus be defrauded. If they regulated its use, they could easily restrict its use, because there would only be one manufactory in this country, and all the saccharine coming from abroad would be bought up by this manufactory in order to retain the monoply. The brewers, he was told, were anxious for a fair trial of this product, and that that fair trial should be under the inspection and control of the Excise. If his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer would suggest other words better suggest than those he proposed, which did not prohibit but restricted the use of any substance of this kind, he was sure the brewers would be quite ready to accept them, as they were only anxious to have a fair means of trial and not to have it prohibited, and for this they were willing to be taxed a fair price. He therefore moved his Amendment, formally, in the hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer might be enabled to meet the meaning of the Amendment—namely, to prohibit what was noxious and injurious, and regulate the use of that which was not injurious, but which was of use in brewing, and so not to stop the growth of a great industry.

Amendment proposed, In page 3, line 29, after the word "notice," to insert words "when it is noxious or detrimental, and to regulate its use when it acts in restraint of revenue."—(Sir Lyon Playfair.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


With regard to the concluding observations of my right hon. Friend, my information with respect to the opinions of the brewers is not entirely in accord with that of my right hon. Friend. I have not heard of any anxiety on the part of the brewers whatever to use this new substance, this coal tar product, to which my right hon. Friend has been directing his attention; but, no doubt, if they were at liberty to use it they would do so to a certain extent. I cannot exaggerate the importance of either prohibiting or regulating the use of this extraordinary substance if put in the beer, a substance which has got for its scientific name—benzoyl-sulphonic ionide. [Laughter.] The introduction of the substance would be by no means a matter of laughter, because it is calculated the loss to the Revenue—if this substance was employed in the place of sugar—will be no less than £1,000,000 sterling; therefore I am sure the right hon. Gentleman opposite will admit it is the duty of the Inland Revenue and of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to look most closely to the application of this substance to beer. Though I cannot contend for one moment against what my right hon. Friend says with regard to the scientific merits of this substance. I have to look to the Revenue. I have heard something of its effect on beer, and understand something of its effects, and I have found out that it will not affect the alcohol in the slightest degree, neither making it less strong nor more strong, therefore we can put the idea of its increasing the strength out of our minds; but it will have the effect of producing upon the public the impression the beer is something different to what it really is; it will produce upon the palate the impression a man is taking strong beer instead of taking light beer. That may be in the point of view of temperance very valuable, and if it was not for that point the alcoholic question does not enter one way or the other. The right hon. Gentleman says truly this substance gives no sustenance, but sugar has sustaining qualities. This substance has no preserving or life giving qualities, therefore the result of the discussion to a layman seems to be this, that while it leads to the belief that a man is drinking something that will do him good, practically he will be taking something which is not in the slightest degree sustaining him as sugar does; therefore it is scarcely too strong a word to use to say it is a kind of fraud on the beer drinker. I allow my right hon. Friend wishes to draw a distinction between light and strong beers, and to suggest that it will increase the drinking suggest that it will increase the drink in of light beers, and I think it is for that purpose it is proposed to prohibit the use of this substance, because light beer is less remunerative to the Revenue than strong beer. The main part of the case against the introduction of this substance is this, that in measuring the beer the duty is determined by the gravity of the beer. But this substance adds nothing to the gravity of the beer, and therefore the total amount of duty to be paid when this substance is used will be less than when malt or sugar or the other substances that have been used for the same purpose are used. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman accepts this view of the case, which is not different from his own except that he (Sir Lyon Playfair) draws a different conclusion from it. My right hon. Friend thinks it desirable, for its antiseptic qualities, to continue the use of this substance; but I think if it were a simple question as between sugar and coal tar—and there is no other issue in the matter—my right hon. Friend might prefer to use sugar instead of coal tar. My right hon. Friend has spoken of this as a growing industry, and I understand that so marvellous is the sweetening power that 12 tons will suffice for the whole brewing industry of the country; in fact, it goes so far that a small quantity will suffice to sweeten, and to deceive the palate of almost every beer-drinker in the country. I think there is a patent which preserves all rights in this substance for some eight or 10 years to come, so that there is no general industry which will in any way be generated by the use of this substance in brewing.


There are patents in all industries.


We are asked here to make a gigantic experiment in regard to this industry, the results of which for a certain length of time will be confined to one Company or one body of men. I do not use that as an argument to prejudice the case, except so far that I cannot accept it as that general establishment of trade which my right hon. Friend seems to anticipate. My right hon. Friend appeals to me to allow the use of this substance in brewing.


To restrict the use.


That is to allow the use under certain conditions and regulations. Well, I am bound to say that the Revenue does not see their way to allow the use of this substance in the brewing industry of the country. From the Revenue point of view, it will be attended with the greatest difficulty. It has been suggested that the Company who sell it shall keep a register, showing the quantities they supply to different brewers or Companies, so that there should be a restriction, as in the supply of poisons; but I do not think it will be possible to introduce into the books of the Company a system of that kind.


What I meant was that the Excise should regulate the use of the substance, and, having found in what way it could be used, should come back to the House and ask for a Resolution to tax it.


It was distinctly suggested by those mainly interested in the industry that there should be a list or register kept, and that suggestion was made in order to induce the Revenue Department to comply with their wishes. Such a regulation, I pointed out, would be both wrong in principle, inefficacious in practice, as well as extremely difficult to carry out; and it seems to me, as at present advised, that absolute prohibition of its use is the only method of dealing with the matter. My right hon. Friend argues that it is a matter which is exceedingly difficult to detect, and, therefore, the prohibition would probably fail; but the scientific advisers of the Inland Revenue believe that it is possible to detect the substance. They are of opinion that if they are armed with such a clause as this, they would be able to prevent its use. I do not know whether I am correct or not, but my right hon. Friend will correct me if I am wrong. My right hon. Friend has called attention to the wide scope of the clause. It is certainly true that the words in the clause as it is drawn, "or is calculated to effect prejudicially the interests of the Revenue," give extreme power to the Revenue Department, and would probably cover wider ground than is intended. It has been pointed out by the brewers that it would prevent their using substances other than those which they use now—what I may call other ordinary grains. I would, therefore, be willing to introduce, instead of the words "affect prejudicially the interests of the Revenue," such words as these—"Or being a chemical or artificial extract or product which may be made prejudicially to affect the interests of the Revenue." I do not know how far the alteration will meet the views of my right hon. Friend. At present, I have only power to prohibit, and no power to sanction; but if hereafter new light be thrown upon the subject, I will be prepared to take power to withdraw the prohibition, so as to permit other regulations. I think that, by the introduction of these words, we shall not be departing from the principle which has animated us in proposing the clause. We have been of opinion that no other course was open to us than to prohibit the use of these materials.


Does the prohibition mean that the substance should not be used in beers imported into this country from abroad?


The question of prohibiting substances in imported beer coming from abroad is a very serious one; but if the beer in England does not have the advantage of this new substance it could not be fairly enjoyed by foreign beer.

SIR HENRY ROSCOE (Manchester, S.)

said, that after the remarkable scientific discovery which had been explained by his right hon. Friend the Member for South Leeds (Sir Lyon Playfair), he could not vote without saying a few words. He objected entirely to the way in which the clause had been drawn up, because it mixed up two different things which had no relation to each other, No doubt, matters that were noxious and detrimental should he prohibited; but as the clause was drawn, not only would noxious materials be prohibited, but others which were perfectly harmless; both would be equally prohibited by the clause. He congratulated the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) on the scientific knowledge he displayed; but he thought the right hon. Gentleman had used the word "tar" in a somewhat offensive manner. This was likely to be an important modern discovery, the production of a perfectly white sweet principle, 300 times as sweet as sugar, and it was not right to treat it as the introduction of tar into beer. It was in the interest of the health and welfare of the population to assist in the consumption of light beer, and the introduction of this new material would have that effect. He thought the Authorities at Somerset House had taken up a position which was somewhat doubtful with regard to the detection of this material. He spoke with some degree of knowledge upon the matter, and he believed that, used in small quantities—and it was only in small quantities it was used—its detection, even although prohibited, would be almost impossible, and, if absolutely prohibited, it would be used under the rose. Would it not be much better to place the open use of this material under proper restrictions than to have it used in an underhanded way, as he was afraid would most likely be the case? He wished also to point out that in this clause there was no right of appeal given against the decision of the Somerset House Authorities, although in the case of the Food and Drugs Act there was an appeal from the decision of the magistrates to the Court of Queen's Bench. He did not think that the Somerset House Authorities ought to be the sole and only judges in a matter of this kind. The prohibition of the use of saccharine for this particular purpose was a restraint upon industry which ought not to be entertained, There could be no doubt that the manufacture of these articles from coal tar was largely carried on in Germany, and to impose restrictions upon it might be to restrain what might turn out to be a very important and interesting English industry. He agreed that they ought to prohibit the introduction into beer of anything noxious, but nothing more. No doubt, certain means could be found by which the addition of saccharine could be taxed equitably under the Act of 1880. If this were done, he did not see why the Government could not determine the quantity, and, having ascertained it, place its equivalent on an equality with the quarter of malt. He cordially supported the Motion of his right hon. Friend.

MR. W. E. GLADSTONE (Edinburgh, Mid Lothian)

I will not detain the Committee at any length, I have great sympathy with the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) in this matter. I think the position is one of great difficulty. I should not be surprised that this might come ultimately to be a question where the interests of the Revenue are involved on the one side and the interests of the improvement of trade on the other. I think if that is the case the interests of the Revenue will ultimately have to give way. I am quite sure that this question will have the careful attention of the right hon. Gentleman, and I am bound to say from long experience that I have the utmost confidence in the administration of the Board of Revenue, not only in the individuals who now preside over it, but in the traditions of the Office. I have known them for many years, and I may say that, during the 35 years I have been acquainted with the Department, there has been a desire on the part of the officers to do the utmost which the public interest will permit to facilitate the improvement and development of trade by every possible means. There are two things which I wish to submit to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The first has reference to the serious question of the importation from abroad. If the interests of the Revenue are so seriously involved as to make it the duty of my right hon. Friend at this moment to take prohibitive power against the British brewer, it is also absolutely necessary, to use the phrase of the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill), who addressed the House yesterday, that the principle of simultaneity should be introduced, and that we should have the same legislative powers for the purpose of checking the introduction from abroad of beer in which the material may be used. It would be extremely hard on the brewer at home if he were prevented from doing that which we have no legislative power to prevent his foreign competitor from doing. That is a point upon which I own that either on the present occasion, or on a future stage of the Bill, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer should give us some assurance. The other point upon which I desire a more distinct assurance is this. The right hon. Gentleman has stated that the Inland Revenue, as at present advised, only see their way to prohibition. But the time may come when scientific knowledge may enable us to proceed in a different way. What I would put to the right hon. Gentleman is this—that before he asks the House finally to sanction a measure so harsh as the prohibition of a substance in itself undoubtedly harmless and having important medical recommendations, will he give an assurance, not now, but before this law is enacted and comes into operation, that the Inland Revenue will do their best to ascertain with the scientific knowledge at their command, and under a sense of their own responsibility, to what extent prohibition is available? I think we should only resort to prohibition from a sense that no other alternative is open to us.


said, he thought it was only reasonable that, after having heard a debate on tea and champagne, they should now direct their attention to England's national beverage—beer. The object of the Amendment to the clause would be in effect a gigantic fraud upon beer drunk in England. They were told that, under the Amendment, light beer would pass as strong beer. His objection to the clause itself was that he did not think it went far enough. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to frame it in somewhat more stringent terms on behalf of the beer drinkers. What he should have preferred was that the principle of the Bill of his hon. Friend the Member for the Sudbury Division of Suffolk (Mr. Quilter) should have been introduced in a clause of the present Bill. If that had been done, it would certainly meet with the approval of the working classes. He believed there was a stronger desire than ever that some legislation should be passed carrying out the principle of the Pure Beer Bill. Further, he thought it was of the highest importance in regard to England's national drink that it should be above all suspicion as regarded adulteration. In his own opinion, the time had come for some amendment of the Adulteration Act. If all the adulteration which was now resorted to was to be stopped, let the House legislate in the direction of the Margarine Bill of last Session, which was a step in the right direction, and he thought in regard to beer that a similar step should be taken. With regard to Germany, the legislation of 1861 had had a great effect, and he was informed that the Bavarian Beer under that stringent Act was now the purest in the world. For offences under that Act brewers were actually sent to prison. A very important judgment was lately delivered by Mr. Justice Kay. In the course of that judgment the learned Judge said, among other things— That the case had initiated them into some of the mysteries of beer manufacture. It appeared that instead of beer being made from good and wholesome malt and hops, a process had been invented for concocting a beverage from invert sugar, and this was drunk by unsuspecting persons who believed that they were drinking beer. The defendant in this case was a brewer, and believing that brewers might make invert sugar from sugar cane themselves, he took counsel with the plaintiff, an analytical chemist. This must have been a doubtful advantage to the consumers of the beer, for sulphuric acid and gypsum were employed, the feature of the insertion being the doubling of the sulphuric acid, and then neutralizing by means of gypsum, and this stuff was then sold by some brewers and called beer. No doubt these facts speak for themselves, but it is about high time when the Legislature should say plainly of what ingredients beer should be com- proposed, under very heavy penalty, as a protection to the public. At present a lot of 'secrets' are permissible, which may be construed to mean the introduction of almost anything in the concoction of the popular beverage. Well, he (Sir Edward Birkbeck) thought the remarks of the learned Judge were very much to the point. He was quite sure that the Temperance Party and the hon. Baronet the Member for the Cockermouth Division of Cumberland (Sir Wilfrid Lawson)—whom he was glad to see in his place—would agree to anything that would put a stop to the adulteration of beer. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt), who was not in his place, had spoken in favour of his hon. Friend's Pure Beer Bill, and he could foresee the right hon. Gentleman the present Chancellor of the Exchequer being in difficulties in trying to keep on good terms with the brewing interest. No doubt, the brewing interest was in very high favour at Somerset House, but as far as the working man was concerned he desired to know what his beer was made of, and whether it was made of hops, barley, malt, and water, or any other compound. The motto of the beer-drinking classes would continue to be in the future as it had been in the past—a full pint and a pure pint.

MR. CHILDERS (Edinburgh, S.)

I quite agree with the remarks of the hon. Baronet the Member for East Norfolk (Sir Edward Birkbeck), but I wish to point out one question which has not been brought before the House. Saccharine is not a deleterious substance, and its mixture with beer is perfectly innocuous. It is a substance which can do no harm, but may do some good. I speak with some experience, because within the last few months I have been told by more than one eminent medical man that saccharine which contains in a tablet weighing a quarter of a grain as much sweetening matter as is contained in one or two lumps of sugar, it might be used with perfect safety and security, so far as health was concerned. It is becoming quite customary to use saccharine as a substitute for sugar in tea or coffee. Sugar itself has a deleterious effect in certain respects, in connection with tendencies to gout and other complaints. Saccharine, however, has not that effect. It would, therefore, so far as its wholesome character is concerned, be better to put an exceedingly small quantity of saccharine into beer than I what nine-tenths of the brewers do, a large amount of sugar. There can be no question that this remarkable invention is an advantageous one, and if my right hon. Friend comes here next year as Chancellor of the Exchequer, I think he will be surprised at the speech he was led to made this evening, and be astonished why so innocuous a remedy was not adopted earlier. But I would recommend my right hon. Friend the Member for South Leeds (Sir Lyon Playfair; to accept the modification of the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is not, I think, prudent to force any sudden change on the officers of the Inland Revenue Department, who say that they do not see their way in the matter. I therefore hope my right hon. Friend will accept the Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but with a protest that the Government are unnecessarily suspicious of a perfectly innocuous substance, and I hope that, after experiments have been made, the restrictions will be withdrawn. On the other hand, I believe that the quantity put into a barrel of beer is so small that it is impossible to detect it after it leaves the brewer. I am, therefore, afraid that if this prohibition is maintained, it will act as a distinct premium on the importation of foreign beer.


With regard to the remarks of my hon. Friend behind me the Member for East Norfolk (Sir Edward Birkbeck), I wish to call attention to the fact that the Inland Revenue is a Department for raising the Revenue, but not the proper Department for supervising the reduction of the articles which pay the duty. My hon. Friend has stated that beer, like Cæsar's wife, should be above suspicion, but I would point out that it is not the duty of the Treasury or the Inland Revenue to look to that. They look at the question purely from the point of view of revenue, and all they consider in this and similar matters is the interest of the Revenue. In regard to the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers) I have never contended that saccharine is a noxious article, but I am bound to say that I did not see much weight in the argument as to the difference between sugar and saccharine, for by substituting the latter for the former, a man who looks to beer as a nourishment as well as a drink loses by the exchange. The arguments of my right hon. Friend certainly did not oppress me with much weight, although he gave us the benefit of his own experience. In the case of the bulk of the population who drink beer it is something for them to consider that the beer does not only contain alcohol, but other nourishing ingredients, and that is another reason, although I hope not the chief reason, why they drink beer. The sugar which it contains gives them something which contributes to nourishment which they could not get in any other way. I therefore hope that nothing will be done to encourage the use of saccharine instead of sugar in the face of these facts. Whatever may be said of saccharine from the point of view of my right hon. Friend, I do not think that upon its merits it can compare with sugar as an article of consumption for the people at large. An observation has been made to the effect that the Inland Revenue Department is on very good terms with the brewers. I am glad to say that the brewers are prepared to co-operate with the Board of Inland Revenue in resisting the introduction of saccharine into their breweries, at all events, at present. They have, however, not pushed their opposition to an extreme point. In regard to the important objection which has been raised in reference to beer, I am told by the Inland Revenue Department, that it is possible to detect the presence of saccharine in beer. Beer imported from abroad would be submitted to certain tests, so that there would not be the danger which had been suggested of injuring their own trade by the importation of foreign beer. I do not wish to convey any impression that there would be an absolute non possumus on the part of the Government. The matter will be carefully watched by us, and I shall be prepared to answer any questions later on in regard to any discoveries that may be made.


The right hon. Gentleman is quite aware that the London brewers are anxious to try, and, indeed, have been trying experiments with regard to the use of saccharine. A Memorial has been presented to the Chancellor of the Exchequer from the London brewers asking that experiments may be tried under supervision, and I would ask that that Memorial should be acceded to. I should like to know whether it is intended to be implied in the statements which have been made that experiments will be tried, and that the prohibition may be withdrawn.

MR. QUILTER (Suffolk, S.)

said, he thought that the interesting discussion which had taken place must have awakened strange feelings in the minds of many hon. Members who were not initiated in the mysteries of making beer. It was proposed to add a new ingredient to the list of those which were already used in beer making. Personally he had ceased to be surprised at any compound which was passed off in the name of beer. He rejoiced at the discussion which had taken place, because it must have enlightened the minds of many hon. Members as to the substances which were used by various brewers in regard to beer. He believed that everyone who had had communication with the Inland Revenue Department would heartily re-echo what had been stated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), as to the invariable courtesy and ability displayed by the officials in the discharge of their arduous duties. He must, however, say that he had hoped that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would adhere to the clause, because, although, he thought, it did not go half far enough in its stringency, yet words were now sought to be introduced which would tend to weaken it. He found fault with the Inland Revenue on this account, that under their ægis they permitted substitutes to be advertised daily and weekly for the making of beer, thereby leading the public to believe that if they were not the Department which should have the regulation of substances used in the manufacture of beer, at any rate they were supposed to be. In illustration of that point he would read an advertisement which had reached him that morning. As the clause had only been placed in his hands that day he had not had time to look through a number of interesting communications he had received in reference to the matter, but he hoped on a future occasion to be able to do so. The ad- vertisement to which he referred was couched in the following words:— To brewers, save one-third of your hops by using —'s hop auxiliary, prepared in accordance with the Act of 25th Vict. c. 22, s. 20, approved by the Excise, and stated by the highest authority in the brewing trade to be a true hop substitute. The hop auxiliary has been in use during the past eight years, and has fully established its claim to be placed in the first position of its class. Manufactured by —, a Retired Supervisor of Inland Revenue. He (Mr. Quilter) had also received the following interesting notice:— Ecumin, or foaming powder, for giving, a foaming head to ale and porter. This article puts a rich and lasting flavour to beer and porter. It imparts neither flavour nor smell, and does not impair the brightness of the liquor. Its use is permitted by the Excise, and its cost is but 2d. for each barrel of ale. It also has no tendency to acidity. It occurred to him that this ecumin might be useful on many occasions—for instance, if a dose had been administered to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian and his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General, previous to the debate on the County Court sentence on Tuesday last, it might have removed the tendency to acidity without in any way impairing the brilliancy of the speeches delivered. This question of the adulteration of beer was considered as a serious matter by hundreds of thousands of the working men of the country. Whilst holding the opinion he had expressed, that the clause did not go nearly far enough in the interests of the consumer, he should support it in the belief that it was a step in the right direction.

MR. NORTON (Kent, Tunbridge)

said, he was of opinion that the adulteration of beer was a very serious matter. During the last serious blight in hops, in the year 1882, the price of quassia went up from £5 to £40 a-ton. Other substances went up in a still larger proportion, some of them from 3d. to 4s. 6d. per pound. This was an important fact, but he wished to guard himself against making any general charge against the larger brewers of using improper materials. He regretted that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not seen his way to make the second paragraph of the clause more clear. He should have liked to have heard from the right hon. Gentleman what steps it was proposed the officers of the Board of Inland Revenue intended to take to ascertain the noxious character of the articles referred to.

MR. THEODORE FRY (Darlington)

said, he regretted that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) had taken up the position which he had on this question. He had argued it from two points of view; first, with reference to the effect of the employment of saccharine on the Revenue, and next with reference to its use in the manufacture of beer. In regard to the Revenue, he would point out that a Chancellor of the Exchequer would always be able to find some means of obtaining the resources he required from the hard-earned money of the people. The right hon. Gentleman had remarked that there was no demand on the part of the brewers for the use of saccharine in this country, but that, he might say, was entirely beyond the question, and he would rather look at the question from a broad manufacturing and commercial point of view. It was quite possible that some hon. Members might not have seen saccharine, and no doubt many thought it was a nasty black substance; but it was, on the contrary, as white as snow, and resembled lump sugar ground exceedingly fine, and when an hon. Member spoke of it as tar, it was in order to prejudice it in the minds of the people. It might just as well be said that the beautiful dyes now used in commerce were tar, because they were derived from that substance; but he hoped hon. Members would dismiss from their minds all idea that saccharine was deleterious in dealing with the question before them. If it was injurious, he thought the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to prohibit its use in the manufacture of marmalade and preserves. Saccharine was 300 times as sweet as sugar, but he could not help thinking that the right hon. Gentleman had miscalculated when he said that there would only be 12 tons of it used by all the brewers in the country if it were allowed to be substituted for sugar. He did not personally care much about its use in beer, but the action of the right hon. Gentleman would give great discouragement to the manufacture in this country of an article which was exceedingly useful, and was becoming a very important branch of industry. He believed he was right in saying that a German firm had paid £40,000 for the privilege of manufacturing saccharine in Germany. The question was one which demanded the attention of the House, and he thought they should endeavour, as far as possible, to encourage all manufacturers, especially those of chemical products, in which we were being beaten by the German nation, and, in view of that fact, he could not but regret the course which the right hon. Gentleman had thought fit to adopt in the present case.

MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)

said, he regretted that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not been able to agree to some of the suggestions with regard to revenue which had been proposed. It was, of course, important that the right hon. Gentleman should protect the Revenue of the country, yet it was a bad thing that the discoveries of science should be nipped in the bud by the regulations of the Exchequer. With regard to the £1,000,000 which it was said the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer might lose by allowing the use of saccharine in brewing, all he could say was that the levying of that sum was a small matter in contrast with the importance of stimulating such industries as this. The manufacture of aniline dye had grown from small beginnings into a great industry. The right hon. Gentleman had also objected that the working man ought to have sugar for his money when he purchased beer; but he thought that the working man got very little sugar in his beer, and that it would be much better for him to buy that article in the ordinary way. They ought not to be led away in this matter by a sentimental notion about pure beer, it being a scientific fact that beer made from this subject was just as good and just as pure as that made from sugar and other materials. He hoped that hon. Members on that side of the House would not show themselves to be so far enveloped in the ignorance of the dark ages as to object to the use of this discovery.

MR. C. W. GRAY (Essex, Maldon)

said, he could not see that there was anything in the clauses of this Bill which would prevent hon. Members who took an interest in science from seeing full swing given to it in this country. There were only two points involved in the clause, one being that nothing noxious should be introduced into beer, and the other that by the introduction of any material, scientific or otherwise. the Revenue should not be defrauded. Those points, as everyone must admit, were very important. Now that the Truck Act was in operation, it was not possible for employers to give the same amount of home-brewed beer to workmen as before, and it was, therefore, most desirable that they should be protected from having their beer corrupted by the introduction of anything noxious. Upon that point there could be no difference of opinion. Good beer, such as would enable a man to do a good day's work, was generally brewed from malt and hops, and it seemed to him that science had done very little to improve upon the old system of manufacture. At any rate, ho objected strongly to any of the substituted ingredients escaping taxation; because, as an agriculturist, he knew that an enormous amount was directly, or indirectly, levied upon the barley grown by the farmers. A barrel of beer, to be properly brewed, should be produced from two bushels of barley, worth from 3s. 6d. to 4s. 6d. a-bushel; so that the barley in a barrel of beer was taxed to the extent of 80 per cent of its value, and the farmers were, therefore, entitled to say that no other class of traders ought to be allowed to introduce into beer at any stage—at the brewery or at the public-house—articles of any description which escaped taxation; because that would be giving an advantage which was denied to the farmers. For this reason, he objected to the Amendment before the Committee.

DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)

said, it was a great mistake to speak of the use of saccharine in the manufacture of beer as adulteration, for he understood the term to mean the me of something of a different nature from that which it professed to be. He had no doubt that if this substance were added to beer it would be of advantage not only to the brewer, but to the beer drinker. Anyone who had a knowledge of medical science would be aware that there were many persons who would drink beer if they were not absolutely prevented from doing so by the presence of sugar; and as one instance he had only to allude to the large class of people who suffered from dyspepsia. If that objection were removed, much more beer would be consumed. He did not quite follow the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he spoke of the sustaining and nourishing qualities of beer, and ho would like to know how many persons who drank beer did so for nourishment. As a matter of fact, beer was drunk for that sense of exhilaration which it gave, and which, carried to a certain point, became intoxication. Although a great deal was said about beer doing a man good, there was very little nourishment in it, and, as was perfectly well known to physiologists, alcohol in any form was an immense hindrance to muscular exertion. For these reasons, he thought the argument of the right hon. Gentleman, with regard to nutritive quality of beer, could not be taken into account. He had heard it said, in favour of the use of saccharine, that it possessed great antiseptic qualities, and that being so, its presence would be of advantage in beer. He had much pleasure in supporting the Amendment.

MR. PICTON (Leicester)

said, he should like to ask why the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer could not so modify his regulations on the subject as to give the public the choice of using beer with or without saccharine? He thought the principle of the law with regard to margarine, which was that no one should sell it as butter, might be applied in the present case; and he could not see why they should not make it a rule that all brewers should declare whether or not they used saccharine in the manufacture of their beer. The right hon. Gentleman had said there was no insuperable difficulty in ascertaining the presence of saccharine in beer, and it would therefore be very dangerous for any brewer to make a false declaration on the subject.

MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire, Eifion)

said, that he would like to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for some further explanation on one point. The right hon. Member for South Leeds had stated that the opposition of the Inland Revenue Department arose from the fact that saccharine caused light beer to taste like strong beer, and therefore feared that its introduction would make light beer to supplant strong beer, to the detriment of the Revenue. The Chan- cellor of the Exchequer repudiated this motive; but he had admitted that the use of saccharine would result in an annual loss to the Revenue of £1,000,000. If this loss would not be caused in the manner indicated by the right hon. Member for South Leeds, he wished to know how it would be caused? The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the use of saccharine would be fraud on the beer drinker; but if the statements of the right hon. Member for South Leeds were correct, every friend of temperance could be in favour of his Amendment. The complaint of fraud would amount to nothing more than that a person going into a public-house intending to get drunk would be fraudulently kept sober. A fraud of so pious a character the House might very well join in.


I do not complain that the discussion on this Amendment has been too long. I am glad to have an opportunity of removing from the minds of the hon. Members opposite, a fallacy which has been once more stated, and which I thought I had already cleared up. It has been said that there is a good deal more alcohol in strong beer than in light beer; but, as a matter of fact, there is the same amount in both, and that has been admitted by the right hon. Gentleman who proposed the Amendment (Sir Lyon Playfair). The question of temperance, therefore, does not enter at all. The one kind of beer is only strong in the sense that it has more sustaining power, and not in the sense that a person can more easily get drunk on it than on light beer. The hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Picton) has suggested that the brewers should be compelled to state that they do not use the substances ordinarily, but most erroneously supposed to compose beer. If such a declaration on the part of the brewers were necessary, and if the Government were pressed by the House and were supported by hon Gentlemen opposite, I do not know that they would oppose the proposal. It has been suggested, however, that it is not the duty of the Government to proceed in that direction. Of course, brewers might declare whether they brewed with saccharine or not; but then the custom would have to be extended to other manufacturers. An hon. Member had spoken of its being in the power of the Inland Revenue Department to deal with any noxious substance, and not with saccharine only. Of course, it would have to be proved that an article is noxious, and if it were so, it would be in the power of the Department to deal with it under the clause now before the Committee. With regard to experiments, I am prepared to admit that experiments ought to be made to the fullest extent. [An hon. MEMBER: Where?] In the laboratory; but we could not allow any individual selected by the brewers to make experiments for the purpose of saying how far we should permit the use of this ingredient in the manufacture of beer; but, short of that, facilities might be afforded for scientific experiment, and within those lines I shall be very glad of the co-operation of my right hon. Friend opposite.


said, he was anxious to explain the difference between the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his own Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman practically prohibited the use of an article of a now and important industry before it had been tried, and before it was shown that its use would be detrimental to the Revenue. His own Amendment gave power to the Excise to regulate the use of that article; and if they could not find the means of regulating it, they could prohibit it under the latter part of the clause. Our trade difficulties were so great that he desired to see a new industry carried on in this country, which was being carried on in other countries. He repeated that the question before the Committee was as between regulation and prohibition.


The words proposed by my right hon. Friend only gives power of regulation; and if this should prove to be insufficient, there would be no power of prohibition. We say that we are not sufficiently advanced to state whether we should allow the brewers to use saccharine. Under the clause of my right hon. Friend, the brewers could use the article to-morrow; but until we have made out our regulations, we believe that it could not come into use in all breweries without great loss to the Revenue. I propose prohibition, in the first place, because it is necessary at once to stop the enormous loss which would otherwise ensue, and to have experiments made, in the second place, to see whether we should afterwards allow the article to be used. There is no idea of crushing a new industry; all that is desired is to proceed in a different manner, and by different stages, from that which is proposed by my right hon. Friend.


said, for his part, and on the part of the brewers of London, they would be quite contented to be allowed to make experiments to show whether they could use saccharine without restraining the Revenue. But the right hon. Gentleman wanted experiments made in the Excise laboratory; and everyone knew that such experiments were not worth a half-penny to those engaged in a great industry. To be useful, experiments must be made in the industry itself; but, of course, under proper supervision. He should have to take a Division on his Amendment; but was willing temporarily to withdraw it to make way for the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer in line 35.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On the Motion of Mr. CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, the following Amendment made:—In page 3, line 35, to leave out the words "or is calculated," in order to insert the words "chemical or other product."

Amendment again proposed, In page 3, line 29, after the word "notice," to insert the words "when it is noxious or detrimental and to regulate its use when it acts in restraint of revenue."—(Sir Lyon Playfair.

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

MR. ILLINGWORTH (Bradford, W.)

said, the suggestion of his right hon. Friend was only to go to the same length as the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had gone last year in the case of the attempted growth of tobacco. It was clear that where science introduced a new element into trade or manufacture, that the people of the country would insist upon the Revenue Department placing no obstacles in the way of its use. It was notorious that many industries had been driven abroad to the disadvantage of the country, and they must take care that this did not occur again; and his right hon. Friend was determined to go to a Division in support of that principle.


We are so near in our views that I regret my right hon. Friend should think it necessary to take a Division. What we wish is to have power to prohibit; and if the experiments were purely scientific, I should be very glad to accept them. It is the wish of the Government that no particular brewer should have power to make the experiments. I think my right hon. Friend will see that I have met him very nearly indeed; and I trust, therefore, he will not insist upon a Division, which, under the circumstances, I think would be misleading.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 122; Noes 229: Majority 107.—(Div. List, No. 83.)

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 7 and 8 agreed to.

Clause 9 (Repeal of duties upon hawkers' licences).

MR. C. W. GRAY (Essex, Maldon)

said, he should move the Amendment, standing in his name, to the clause, because he did not think it fair to the shopkeepers in towns who paid rates and taxes, if hawkers were allowed to go quite free from all charges. He knew that there were many respectable men engaged in this occupation, and he had no wish that they should be punished. He did not propose that any new tax should be imposed upon them; but that instead of the Licence Duty for hawkers being abolished, he would move that it be reduced to £2.

Amendment proposed, in page 4, line 19, to leave out the words from "shall" to the end of the line, and insert the words "be reduced to two pounds."—(Mr. C. W. Gray.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."


I am willing to accept the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman; and I am inclined to view the alteration favourably, because the charge which he has referred to was decided upon in connection with the Wheel Tax. I have received many representations from hon. Members on both sides of the House against the total abolition of the duty, and I therefore hope hon. Members will agree to the proposal of the hon. Gentleman.

MR. F. S. POWELL (Wigan)

said, he had on the first introduction of the measure expressed his objection to the change proposed in the Bill; and he believed that the Amendment of the hon. Member (Mr. Gray) would fully meet the views of those who had full knowledge of this question.


said, that as he had the occasion to call attention to the point when the proposal was first made, he wished now to remark that the only blot on the Budget had, in his view, been removed.

Question put, and negatived.

Question, "That the words proposed be there inserted," put, and agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 10 and 11 agreed to.

Clause 12 (Charge of duties on foreign shares, certificates, and bonds, &c., transferable by delivery).

MR. MONTAGU (Tower Hamlets, Whitechapel)

said, that from the wording of line one would infer that the stamp was imposed on foreign shares, certificates, and bonds on their first delivery in the United Kingdom. If that were so, the stamp would have to be applied upon delivery through the Post Office. The result would be that firms would hold the bonds abroad until an actual sale was effected. Such bonds were frequently sent to this country as security for advances, or as cover for bills of exchange drawn against them, and if the bonds as well as the bills had to be stamped, such transactions would be done elsewhere. There was another point which was not quite clear. It frequently occurred that small bonds were needed for exportation. Would it be the case that if large bonds were exchanged for small bonds in the hands of investors, the bonds delivered and received would also have to be stamped? He could hardly think that was the intention. He presumed the intention was that when a sale was effected between people resident in this country, the 1s. stamp must be applied. It might happen that many who left their securities at their bankers would want an advance upon them. He presumed that the transaction would not necessitate a stamp. In any case, he thought the stamp would be largely evaded, especially at the end of the term for which the stamp was available. He could hardly believe that the revenue of £200,000 would be forthcoming, as expected by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because such a yield would necessitate securities to the value of £400,000,000 being transferred annually. If they deducted the bonds already fully stamped, and also the bonds that would be held over and not delivered, he did not think the yield would be anything like as large as the Chancellor of the Exchequer anticipated. He did not find fault with the principle of the tax—that was, no doubt, quite just; but still the imposition would induce speculation in the way of time bargains, because those now willing and accustomed to take up their stock when purchased, would be induced to buy on delivery, so that when they had a re-sale the stamp, so far as they were concerned, would be avoided. He regretted that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not had recourse to a small ad valorem duty on contracts, rather than to this tax, which would be so frequently evaded.

MR. J. W. BARCLAY (Forfarshire)

said, he quite agreed with the justice and principle of the tax, but desired to know how the right hon. Gentleman proposed to enforce its collection? At the present time, shares in foreign railways, for instance, passed from hand to hand without any stamp at all. In that case, the stamp would come upon the buyer; but the buyer would naturally be quite willing to take the certificates without a stamp at all on them, or after the period of the stamp had expired, and add a stamp only when he thought proper to do so, if at all. He thought it would be very unfortunate to impose a tax which would only be paid by those who were scrupulously honest. It seemed to him that this was a tax which could very easily be evaded by the certificates passing from hand to hand as at present.

MR. BARING (London)

said, that before the Chancellor of the Exchequer answered the points raised by hon. Gentlemen opposite, he should like to call attention to what had seemed to him to be a mistake in the Bill as drawn. But, first of all, he would say on behalf of a body of whom he knew something, that he did not think ill enough of the stockbrokers of the City of London to believe that for the sake of saving the sum of 1s. per cent, they would be guilty of deliberate fraud. What he wanted to call attention to was that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his Budget Speech, spoke of putting an annual tax of 1s. per cent on the certificates described in the clause. He (Mr. Baring) found that, as the clause was drawn, the tax was in future years to be at the rate of 1s. per cent per annum; but that for the remainder of this year 1s. per cent would be charged. That would be at the rate of 2s. per cent per annum. He had thought that was a mistake of the draftsmen, but his right hon. Friend told him it was not—that he meant it. He did not think that was worthy of the right hon. Gentleman. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer was content to take 1s. per cent per annum in future years, he ought to be content to take for the six months of this year 6d. per cent.


in answer to the question put to him by the hon. Member for the Whitechapel Division of the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Montagu) said, he had to say that what was meant was the first delivery of bonds and certificates—the first legal delivery, which he believed was the proper phrase—that was the delivery from one person to another, and not the delivery through the Post Office of letters containing these securities. Supposing these securities arrived in London, they need not be stamped until they passed from hand to hand. But so soon as they did that they must be stamped, and it was not a full delivery unless they were stamped. He, therefore, presumed that if they were deposited as security they would certainly have to be stamped. They might be deposited as security many times in the year; but they would only bear an annual tax. One payment would clear the documents for the year. He had taken a great deal of pains with this tax. He had consulted many persons as to the best mode of imposing it. Many suggestions had been made, but all broke down in comparison with this, which was not a perfect system, but which he believed, on the whole, would prove to be a good working system. No doubt it could be evaded. No doubt, to a very limited extent, it would be evaded; and he was sorry to say that in that respect it would be in the same position as nearly all Stamp Laws. There was scarcely a Stamp Law which could not be evaded. There was this subsection in the Bill— Every person who delivers or transfers, or is concerned as broker or agent in delivering or transferring, any instrument chargeable with duty under this section, and not being duty stamped, shall forfeit the sum of twenty pounds." The Committee would see that this was a purely personal penalty. He entirely agreed with what fell from his hon. Friend (Mr. Baring)—namely, that the brokers and agents of the City of London were not men who would attempt, in the face of this distinct declaration, to defraud the Revenue. There would be isolated evasion here and there; but in the great bulk of cases the tax would be paid. He had seen a great many persons in connection with the tax, and they thought that, on the whole, it would work well. This was to be au annual tax. His hon. Friend (Mr. Baring) was quite right in describing this as an annual tax; but the question was how should the stamp be worked? The easiest way was to put the calendar year clearly on the stamp. This year the stamp would bear in large figures 1888, and next year 1889, so that it could be easily seen to what year the stamps belonged. He was sorry there had been a misunderstanding between himself and his hon. Friend. Certainly, in his Budget Speech, he did not go into detail with regard to the fraction of the time. The tax might have been made to run to the end of the financial year; but it had been thought more convenient that it should run from the 1st of January in each year. The difference was not very great; and the stamps for this year would be at once prepared. The tax was really so extremely light compared with the taxes on transfers of almost every other kind of securities—his hon. Friend knew that if he transferred any railway stock he world have to pay 10s. for one transfer—that the payment of 1s. per cent for the six months which remained of this year was a tax which these securities might well bear. He had put the tax at the very lowest figure which was compatible with the equity of the case. He was anxious not to in- terfere with business, but, at the same time, to secure for the Revenue a source of Stamp Duty which he thought had been generally approved.


asked, if he was right in understanding the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say that if an importer in England had stock sent to him for an advance it need not be stamped; but that if it was delivered Stamp Duty must be paid?


said, that the principle was clear. If stock passed from hand to hand it must pay; it was not available for passing from hand to hand without a stamp. The hon. Member might import for his own use these foreign stocks, and keep them for five years, and it would not be necessary to put a stamp on them, because there would be no delivery. But so soon as he dealt with them they must be stamped.

MR. SYDNEY GEDGE (Stockport)

said, he thought the clause would operate harshly upon persons borrowing from their bankers. If a person went to his bankers for a temporary loan, he must pay 1s.per cent on the nominal value of the bonds deposited; although, as a rule, he would not borrow more than two-thirds of the nominal value of the bonds. This was a tax upon the poor borrower. Hitherto the duty on mortgages had been levied on the amount borrowed, not on the real or nominal value of the security.

MR. BRISTOWE (Lambeth, Norwood)

thanked the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the confidence he had placed in the members of the Stock Exchange, of whom he (Mr. Bristowe) happened to be one. Speaking with some considerable amount of experience, he did not anticipate any of the difficulties which had been mentioned by various speakers. It was no new principle on the Stock Exchange to have stamps. It had not been the practice of stockbrokers to evade stamps, and he did not think they would try to evade them now. He assured the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the confidence he had reposed in the Stock Exchange would not be misplaced.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 13 (Duties on transfers of marketable bonds, &c., not transferable by delivery).

MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire, Eifion)

proposed to insert, after security, in line 35, "and not being a mortgage or charge on freehold or leasehold hereditaments."

Amendment proposed, In page 6, line 35, after the word "security," to insert the words "and not being a mortgage or charge on freehold or leasehold hereditaments."—(Mr. Bryn Roberts.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


said, it was certainly not intended to bring in any mortgages or charges which the hon. Gentleman had in his mind, neither did he think the words of the clause implied that they would be brought in.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 14 (Duty on contract notes).

MR. POMFRET (Kent, Ashford),

in moving the omission of the 3rd subsection, said, it was not so much a question of the amount of the charge as upon whom the tax would fall. At present the charge fell upon the broker who made the contract for the sale or purchase. He challenged the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or any Member of the Committee, to point out any class of persons engaged in any profession or mercantile occupation who earned the amount which brokers on the Stock Exchange did, with so very little trouble and cost, and in so short a space of time. He was not aware whether the right hon. Gentleman proposed to increase this Stamp Duty, in the hope that it might check, to a certain extent, time bargains on the Stock Exchange, but it would have that effect. He had no means of ascertaining, and he doubted whether the right hon. Gentleman could inform the Committee, what was the yield at present of the Stamp Duty. He suggested that if the Chancellor of the Exchequer wished to ascertain what the amount was, he should adopt an embossed stamp, similar to that on bank cheques. As he had said, the stockbrokers had a very profitable business, and they were the persons upon whom this increased charge should fall. The brokers paid the present Stamp Duty, and, seeing that all transactions in shares and bonds were to pay increased taxation, he thought the increased charge should not fall on the purchaser or the seller.

Amendment proposed, in page 7 to leave out Sub-section (3).—(Mr. Pomfret.)

Question proposed, "That Sub-section (3) stand part of the Clause."


said, it was not intended by the Bill that any particular class of persons should be singled out for taxation. It seemed to him, however, that the matter was one fairly open for discussion. He was obliged to the hon. Member (Mr. Pomfret) for the suggestion he had made as to the use of an embossed stamp.

DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

said, he would point out that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was really exempting a particular class, instead of leaving the matter to arrange itself. As a matter of fact, the right hon. Gentleman was not only exempting a particular class, but he was making them a present of a penny on every contract note, in as much as at present the broker paid the penny Stamp Duty. It struck him the right hon. Gentleman would do well to leave the matter to be adjusted between the stockbrokers and their clients.

MR. SYDNEY GEDGE (Stockport)

said, he thought a slight alteration of the words would meet the views of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and of the Mover of the Amendment as well. The object desired would be attained if they left out the words "is to," and inserted "may be."


said, he could not accept the hon. Gentleman's suggestion, because it was most in accordance with the freedom of trade to leave contract open between brokers and their clients. He desired to point out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he was taking a tax off the class who were best able to bear it.

MR. DIXON-HARTLAND (Middlesex, Uxbridge)

said, he hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would consent to the omission of the sub-section. Stockbrokers got their money for a very small amount of work, and, therefore, this matter ought to be left for them- selves and their clients to settle who should pay the duty.


said, he would accept the proposal of the hon. Member for Stockport (Mr. Gedge).


said, there was a great principle involved in this matter, and if he could find any hon. Member to go into the Lobby with him, he would certainly divide.

MR. HENRY H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)

said, that in refusing the concession of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Pomfret) was actually doing the very thing against which he objected; he wanted the House to decide who was to bear this charge. The Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed to leave the matter open between the parties.


said, that if they wished to leave the matter open, the best way to proceed was to omit the subsection. A stockbroker sent many telegrams; they did not say that the telegrams might be charged to the buyer or seller, but they left the people to do as they liked. The members of the Stock Exchange were perfectly well able to take care of themselves, and, if they thought proper, they would not be long in making a rule that this duty should be charged against the buyer.

MR. BRISTOWE (Lambeth, Norwood)

said, that judging from his experience, if the word "may" were introduced, it would settle the whole question. Members of the Stock Exchange and their clients were perfectly well able to arrange the matter.

MR. J. W. BARCLAY (Forfarshire)

Perhaps the Secretary to the Treasury will tell us whether there is any provision in the existing law as to who shall pay the 1d. stamp?




said, he did not see why the same principle should not be observed in regard to the increased duty.


said, he thought it was the general feeling of the Committee that the matter should be left with the contracting parties. That would be effected by the words "may be;" but it would also be effected precisely to the same degree by the omission of the subsection. In deference to what he considered to be the view of the majority of the Committee, he would withdraw the sub-section. Of course, it would be understood that by that withdrawal it was not meant that either party was to bear the charge, but that the matter was to be arranged between the stockbrokers and their clients.

Question put, and negatived.

Sub-section struck out.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 15 agreed to.

Clause 16 (Provisions as to the stamping of instruments).

MR. HENRY H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)

said, he begged to move the omission of Sub section (a)—namely, The instrument, unless it is written upon duly stamped material, or is first executed at any place out of the United Kingdom, shall bear a date not later than the day on which it is first executed. That was rather a technical question; but as he spoke on behalf of an important body in the country, who had practical management of these things, it was necessary he should trespass on the attention of the Committee for a minute or two. He cordially sympathized with the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his endeavours to put a stop to the practice which the Inland Revenue Authorities believed was spreading, or at all events existed, of legal instruments not being duly stamped. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was fully justified in taking precautions to ensure that when the law had imposed a stamp, that stamp should be paid; but the provision of this subsection was rather novel. Legal transactions or documents had never been subject to such a provision before, and, as a matter of fact, it could not practically be carried out. Take a sample transaction between two people. One man bought a piece of land, and another sold it, and the deed would be dated on the day that it was signed. As was well known in the case of mortgages on land and various other instruments, a large number of persons was called upon to execute a legal document, and the deed possibly did not possess its full validity until the last person had signed it. A gentleman or trustee proposed to raise a mortgage on an estate. Various persons had to give their consent to the execution of the deed; possibly five or six individuals, some of them living abroad and some at home, might have to sign the deed before the transactions were complete, and not until the matter was complete and the money paid over was the deed dated. His experience was that the dating of a deed was the last thing done in connection with a deed. People did not advance the money until the deed was complete; and, on the other hand, no one wanted to be liable for the payment of interest until he had the money in respect to which the interest accrued. There was another transaction with which he hoped all hon. Gentlemen would be fully familiar, and that was a marriage settlement. Very many signatures were often required to a marriage settlement, and the date of the deed was not inserted until the smallest possible number of hours before the marriage, for very obvious reasons. There was no motive in dating a deed onward. No one would run the risk of putting a future date to a deed, because there was a possibility of a party to the deed not being alive when he had to sign. The Incorporated Law Society, which consisted of the most eminent solicitors in London and the Provinces, considered that the date of the document should be the date of delivery; that was the date on and from which the document was intended to take effect. Of course, the Chancellor of the Exchequer might suggest some mode of altering the sub-section; but he (Mr. Henry H. Fowler) saw no possible mode of retaining the sub-section and really carrying on the legal business of the country in the ordinary way. While he was as anxious to promote the interest of the Revenue as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he bogged the right hon. Gentleman to consent to the omission of this sub-section.

Amendment proposed, in page 7, to leave out Sub-section (a).—(Mr. Henry H. Fowler.)

Question proposed, "That Sub-section (a) stands part of the Clause."


said, he quite agreed that the matter was one which required to be carefully considered, and he might tell the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Fowler) at once that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was quite prepared to allow the sub-section to be taken out; but then it would be neces- sary to make certain Amendments to Sub-section (b). No one would deny that in years gone by there had been a practice of not stamping deeds. As the law at present stood the penalty was a very small one, and a deed was only stamped if it was required to be produced in evidence. The right hon. Gentleman would remember that there were certain documents which must be on stamped paper, and, therefore, the idea of requiring every instrument to be written on stamped paper was not new. With regard to any special case, the case, for instance, of a deed which could not be got back in the time allowed by the Bill, the alternative was that the instrument should be put on stamped paper. Of course, they must take care that it was no longer possible for people to keep a large number of instruments back, so that they should not be stamped. While he agreed with the view taken by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and would not insist upon Sub-section (a), they must so remodel Sub-section (b) as to meet the difficulty. Perhaps he would be allowed to indicate his reasons for advising the Committee to assent to the omission of Sub-section (a). He suggested that, after the omission of Subsection (a), Sub-section (b) should be amended, so as to read— An instrument, unless it is written on duly stamped material, shall be duly stamped with an ad valorem duty before the expiration of 21 days after it is first executed. He ventured to suggest to the Committee and to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the 14 days might be extended to 21 days; 30 days, which was the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Henry H. Fowler) was too long. He considered that if "the date thereof" was put in, it would lead to the possibility of a large number of documents escaping the Stamp Duty. People would sign an undated paper, and then the instruments would not be stamped. Practically speaking, to allow an unexecuted paper to remain undated, would be to afford a loophole by which a large number of persons would evade the duty. He quite understood that the hon. Member for Stockport (Mr. Ledge), who had great experience in these matters, and his right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Henry H. Fowler), might be able to show the Committee that there might be special cases, as, for instance, the one mentioned, in which a deed might, in order to be signed by one of the parties, have to be sent out to a Colony. But these special cases, which could not be frequent, would be amply and sufficiently met by the regulation that if the document became inoperative the Stamp Duty would be returned. He therefore submitted that the insertion of the words "the date thereof" would inevitably allow a large number of persons who wished to evade the duty to evade it. The law should be stringent, so as to effectually ensure the stamping of instruments, leaving special cases to be dealt with by special regulations. In assenting, on behalf of the Government, to the omission of Subsection (a), he wished it to be understood that he, or the Chancellor of the Exchequer, would move the Amendment ho had indicated in Sub-section (b).

MR. SYDNEY GEDGE (Stockport)

asked how, in the case of the suggested alteration, the Authorities would find out when the deed was executed? In his opinion, there was very little evasion of the Stamp Duty with regard to the transfer of land or real property. Evasion might exist with reference to stocks, but the risk in the case of real property would be far too great. He suggested, in order that the tax should not be evaded, that the penalty should be raised to £25 or £30. There were now in England two registration counties, Middlesex and Yorkshire; and when there was a system of general registration, no deed would be admitted which was not already stamped. In the case of personal property, he suggested that a short clause should be inserted preventing a settlement of personal property from having effect, unless registered within a certain number of months. That would prevent evasions of the Succession Duty, and the stamp difficulty would be solved at once. If these instruments were presented at Somerset House, and examined, it would result not only in checking the evasion of the Stamp Duty, but would bring in a large return to the Revenue on Succession Duty. He hoped to introduce clauses with that object when the Committee reached the consideration of the Succession Duty clauses.


said, he quite agreed with a great deal of what his hon, and learned Friend the Attorney General said, and he was prepared to accept an alteration of Sub-section (b) very much on the lines the hon. and learned Gentleman indicated. There were two points, however, he would call the Attorney General's attention to. He had suggested 30 days, the Incorporated Law Society had suggested two months, which was the present time, and the Attorney General suggested 21 days. He (Mr. Henry II. Fowler) thought that 21 days was hardly long enough for a deed that had to circulate, and especially as they were going to make it compulsory. If they altered the period to "30 days after the date thereof," then they could appoint another period in line 4. He wished. to meet the case of a deed executed by the contracting parties in England and then sent abroad. The time would run in the case of a deed sent abroad, if it was first executed abroad. If the Government would consent to this proposal, he would not contest the point any further with them. He sympathized with them in their endeavour to bring about compulsion in the case of these deeds.


said, he was able to say from personal experience that the Stamp Duty had been largely evaded, and that the raising of the penalty would not answer the purpose, even if it were raised to £50. Take the case of a £300 or £400 stamp. It might be worth the parties' while not to pay it, and the interest on the money in a few years would amount to as much as the penalty. It was not well to impose large penalties, as they could not always enforce them. He thought that if the deed was first stamped within 30 days after execution, instead of 21 days, it would be soon enough. The ordinary conditions of the law were that the stamps were to be used, and that the regulation so laid down was not to be evaded. Of course, exceptional cases—namely, those where the stamps were evaded—arose under the present law. There might be a difficulty in proving evasion; but, as a rule, the honourable Profession to which the right hon. Gentleman belonged would observe the condition. With reference to leaving out the words "or is first executed," he was afraid the Government could not assent to that proposal. The matter had been carefully considered, and the Government had come to the conclusion that it was necessary to adhere to the first execution of the deed, wherever it took place. Striking out those words would not be sufficient; but even if it would, he could not consent to the omission. It seemed to him that exceptional cases, such as those referred to, could be met by using stamped paper. He ventured to say that Subsection (a) could be struck out, on the understanding that they put in 30 days instead of 21, or, rather, instead of 14.

MR. WHITLEY (Liverpool, Everton)

said, that the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be very difficult to carry out. He was sure the right hon. Gentleman did not know the practice in reference to conveyancing. It was a very common practice, when a conveyance had to be signed by many parties, to engross the deed in the first instance on unstamped paper, and get it stamped afterwards, when signed by all the requisite parties. In cases like this it was very hard to require the deed to be stamped first, as some of the parties might refuse to sign, and it might never be completed; and it was very difficult afterwards to recover the money from the stamp authorities. He wished to propose what he believed would be an Amendment, which would carry out all the Chancellor of the Exchequer wished. He thought they should enact that the deed should. be operative when it was signed by all the parties to give it validity. That would, at the same time, meet the objection of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Henry H. Fowler), and also carry out the views of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Attorney General. He hoped that when the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed his-Amendment, he would adopt the suggestion that he (Mr. Whitley) now placed before him.


said, he understood from his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General that it was sometimes a question of law, and a very doubtful question of law, as to how many persons and what persons would give the deed validity. There was considerable difficulty in the matter; and the reason they were adopting the short period of 11 days, instead of the longer one, was that they did not wish to allow it to slip out of the memory of the parties concerned that the deeds bad to be stamped. They desired that the stamp should be put on while the matter was still fresh in their memories. The deed might be sent abroad, and the imposition of a stamp might be deferred until it had gone abroad, and they might lose the advantage contained in the present proposal, that while the matter was fresh in the minds of everybody the deed should be stamped. A deed might be partly operative with the signatures of some of the parties, and not all. He understood that a good deal of the neglect at present to impose these stamps on documents was due to negligence, a long period of time being allowed to elapse, and not through wilful evasion. He did not think they could accept the suggestion of his hon. Friend.


said, that with regard to what had fallen from the hon. Member for Stockport (Mr. Sydney Gedge), he had no hesitation in expressing the opinion that they required specific words to render a deed invalid. He did not speak on this question without authority. There had been Statutes passed, declaring that unless certain deeds were stamped at the time of execution they should be invalid. But he did not think it could be argued that the simple absence of a stamp should always render a deed invalid.

MR. DIXON-HARTLAND (Middlesex, Uxbridge)

said, that when a deed had to be executed there was sometimes eight or ten parties to it. For instance, a customer came to a bank and mortgaged a property, and when he wanted it released the whole of the parties had to sign the document. Some of them might be in America and some in South Africa, so that it would be impossible to say when the signatures of all would be obtained. He was sure of this—that unless they could get some date fixed, and if it was to be an open question when the deed was first executed, it would make the borrowing of money and the transfer of securities a very difficult thing, and instead of increasing the facility of the transfer of land it would add another difficulty in the matter.

Question put, and negatived; subsection struck out.

On the Motion of Mr. CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, the following Amendment made:—In Sub-section (b), page 8, line 1, after "instrument," insert the words, "unless it is written upon doubtful stamp material."

Amendment proposed, in page 8, line 2, leave out "fourteen," and insert "thirty."—(Mr. Henry H. Fowler.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'fourteen' stand part of the Clause."

MR. KIMBER (Wandsworth)

said, he begged to submit that all experience on this point had shown that the existing period of two months was not a bit too long, in case of a deed of any importance. As to the Revenue being defrauded by the time allowed being 60 instead of 30 days, he imagined that in a case in which a deed were allowed 30 days for being stamped and it were stamped, if 60 days were allowed in the same case, it would be stamped just the same. And if in the one case it should not be stamped, he imagined it would not be stamped in the other. He was one of those who thought that this clause was hardly required; and he confirmed the opinion expressed by the hon. Member for Stockport (Mr. Gedge). He had never known a case in which the Revenue had suffered by a deed being left in blank as regarded its date in order that it might afterwards be filled in. There was no greater solicitude exercised by a solicitor than in this matter of seeing that the time did not expire in which deeds ought to be stamped. If a deed were left blank, he was at a loss to see how the Revenue would be defrauded. If the blank were filled in afterwards the stamp was paid to the Government, and he could not see where the fraud would be, unless the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer laid it down that he wished to get revenue by not only the stamps, but penalties. paid if a certain period were exceeded. The time was only wanted in order to enable all the parties to put their signatures to the deed, and if the 60 days should be exceeded by circumstances over which no one could have any control, it seemed reasonable that a deed should be allowed to be stamped without penalty. He was at a loss to see why there was anything unreasonable in leaving a deed undated until it was completely executed.

Question put, and negatived.

Question, "That the word 'thirty' be there inserted," put, and agreed to.

Amendment proposed, in page 8, lines 2 and 3, leave out the words "the date thereof," and insert the words "it is first executed."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)

Question put, "That the words 'the date thereof' stand part of the Clause;" and the great majority of Members declared for the Noes, and only one or two voices for the Ayes, whereon the Chairman declared that the Noes had it; but his decision being challenged, Mr. Courtney directed the Division Clerks to attend at the Table to take the names in conformity with the new Rule relating to Divisions frivolously or vexatiously claimed. The Chairman having again put the Question, and no further opposition appearing, the Chairman declared the Amendment agreed to.

Amendment proposed, In page 8, line 21, after "produced" insert "Provided that if the instrument has been prepared for signature or execution by a solicitor or writer to the signet, such solicitor or writer to the signet, and not the person executing the same, shall forfeit the personalty of ten pounds imposed by this section."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

An hon. MEMBER said, he intended to move to leave out the words rendering a solicitor liable to a penalty.


That would not be sufficient. The hon. Member would have to move an Amendment in another form, as to strike out those words would simply make nonsense of the clause.


said, that with regard to the objection taken by the hon. Member behind him, the point had been considered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Government, and he had communicated with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton on the subject. They agreed that there must be some security that the stamp would be used; but they thought that where the deed was prepared by a solicitor or writer to the signet such person should forfeit the penalty. The other increased Stamp Duty only had to be paid when the deed was stamped after the proper time.


said, that a deed could be prepared in some cases by filling up a form. Was that being prepared by a solicitor?

MR. QUILTER (Suffolk, S.)

asked, if an instrument were prepared on a form and insufficiently stamped, would the stock or sharebroker be liable to a penalty for the accidental omission?


said, the stock or sharebroker would not be liable, but the officer who executed the instrument. The effect of this provision would be that the person executing the deed would see that it was properly stamped. But they had thought it hard in the case of lady—in the case of a marriage settlement for instance—to call upon the person executing the deed to bear the penalty; and, therefore, it would be made the duty of the solicitor and not the contracting party to see that the settlement was duly affixed.


said, that in the case he mentioned it might be that a deed was signed by a lady or someone not versed in the law, in which case the signature might be witnessed by a servant or a friend, and it seemed to him that it would be very hard that such people should be made liable to a penalty of £10, if the person making the instrument, not being properly instructed, should happen to make a mistake.


said, that relief was given in the Bill in case of these penalties. It was not laid down that the penalty should be enforced in all these cases, but there were words dealing with the innocent omissions.


said, that was all he asked for.


said, the whole of this clause was very hard. It was very hard on the parties who might be ladies, and it was just as hard on the solicitor who might happen to have prepared the document, that he should become liable, though in some cases it might be proper to make him so, in order to exonerate other parties. Take a case. A solicitor prepared a form of lease which was to be used on a large building estate, and handed it to an agent for use as the houses were let. The solicitor originally prepared the form, but did not himself prepare the instrument. It therefore might be held that he had prepared all the leases which were granted, although he had not been consulted in each particular case. He would then be held liable, under a penalty of £10, to see that the instrument was properly stamped. It might be that the contracting landowner in this case was a lady who had entrusted the matter to her surveyor. Obviously, it would be unfair to make the solicitor liable, and it would be equally unfair to make the lady liable; but it was fairer that she should be liable than the solicitor. Let them take another case of common occurrence—mortgages and deeds of settlement. In these cases, the solicitor who prepared the document was not the man whose client had to pay for the stamp. He had recently acted for trustees who lent £100,000 on a mortgage, which he prepared. It was intended for the trustees to sell their stocks until the mortgage deed was ready for delivery to them, executed by all parties and stamped. When he had prepared and engrossed the mortgage, the deed went out of his hands to the mortgagors and solicitors. He could not tell when it was first executed, and all his control over it was gone. Therefore, in order to be safe, he must have provided the money himself, £125, and have run the risk of losing it, if the deed were lost or the mortgage went off. As ultimately the mortgagor had to pay for the stamp, it was he or his solicitor who ought to be liable, if anybody was. In the case of a marriage settlement, where a pretty penniless girl was engaged to a wealthy man, he had to pay all the costs of the settlement, but he would not pay in advance. In such a case, was the lady, who might be unable, or her solicitor, to be compelled to find the stamp? The marriage might not come off. They had frequently known the ardour of a lover's affection to cool before the execution of the deed. Why, then, should the lady's solicitor, because he had prepared the deed, be liable to a penalty because someone else did not stamp it? He hoped the House would reject the whole clause, for which there was no necessity. Where was the evidence, beyond the more statement of hon. Gentlemen, that the Stamp Duty was often evaded? Why the House should introduce the new principle of making parties liable to a penalty for non-compliance with the duty of affixing the stamp and of making the solicitor liable he failed to see, as no cause had been shown for it. He had seldom, if ever, known any evasion of the law in these cases, although he had been in practice for over 30 years.


said, that perhaps he might be allowed to offer one word in answer to the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Member must not assume that in this matter the Government were acting upon mere hearsay. They knew, from actual documents that had come under the notice of the Inland. Revenue Authorities, that a considerable number of deeds were not stamped, and the provision they were now proposing was recommended by numerous solicitors whom they had consulted. The hon. Gentleman behind him (Mr. Gedge) asked them to strike the clause out altogether; but it would be impossible to do that, for it would leave no penalty at all, and they would be in exactly the same provision in regard to this matter as they occupied at present. It was suggested to them that there might be cases of hardship where there might be ladies who would act through their solicitors, and, therefore, these words had been inserted. The Government had done what they could to meet one class of grievance; and although there might be other individual grievances, they could not be expected to go out of their way to meet them all, and they certainly could not abandon the whole clause.


said, he would point out, in answer to the argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman, that that was the first time in which any penalty of the kind has been thrown upon the members of his Profession. There had been no time for the Incorporated Law Society to consider the matter, and he was sure the whole Profession would be averse to it, and he did not think that it would do the Tory Party any good at the next Election.

Question put, and agreed to.

On the Motion of Mr. HENRY H. FOWLER, the following Amendments made:—In page 8, line 26, leave out "fourteen," and insert "thirty;" and in line 27, leave out "two," and insert "six."

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 17 (Conditions and agreements as to Stamp Duty void).

On the Motion of Mr. HENRY H. FOWLER, the following Amendment made:—In page 8, line 31, after the word "instrument," insert the words "executed after the passing of this Act."

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 18 agreed to.

Clause 19 (Duty on succession to real property chargeable as annuity. How to be paid).


said, he begged to move the Amendment standing in his name to the clause. He had been asked to do so by an eminent member of his own Profession, a gentleman in extensive practice; and, as he was himself in favour of it, he had no hesitation in asking the Chancellor of the Exchequer to agree to it.


Hear, hear!

Amendment proposed, In page 10, after Sub-section (3), insert the following Sub-section:—" (4.) A successor entitled to his succession upon the death of a person dying before the first day of July, one thousand eight hundred and eighty-eight, shall have the option given by this section if no instalment of duty has become due from him, or if only one such instalment has become due from him, and has been paid before the first day of July, one thousand eight hundred and eighty-eight."—(Mr. Sydney Gedge.)

Question, "That that Sub-section be there inserted," put, and agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining Clauses agreed to.

New Clauses—

Page 7, after Clause 13, insert the following Clauses:— (As to Stamp Duty on mortgages of stock, &c.) "(1.) The Stamp Duty now payable upon a mortgage of any stock or marketable security is hereby repealed. (2.) Every instrument under hand only (not being a promissory note or bill of exchange) given upon the occasion of the deposit of any share warrant or stock certificate to bearer, or Foreign or Colonial share certificate, or any security for money transferable by delivery by way of security for any loan, shall be deemed to be an agreement, and shall be charged with the duty of six pence accordingly. (3.) Every instrument under hand only (not being a promissory note or bill of exchange) making redeemable or qualifying a duly stamped transfer, intended as a security, of any registered stock or marketable security, shall be deemed to be an agreement, and shall be charged with the duty of six pence accordingly. (4.) A release or discharge of any such instrument shall not be chargeable with any ad valorem duty. (5.) Any deed operating as a mortgage of any stock or marketable security shall be chargeable, in respect of such operation, with the ad valorem duty chargeable upon a mortgage under 'The Stamp Act, 1870.' (As to Stamp Duty on equitable mortgages.) (1.) The ad valorem duty chargeable upon a mortgage under 'The Stamp Act, 1870,' shall cease to be payable upon an equitable mortgage effected by an agreement or memorandum relating to the deposit of any title deeds or instruments constituting or being evidence of the title to any property whatever (other than stock or marketable security), and in lieu of such duty every such agreement or memorandum shall be charged with the duty of one shilling for every hundred pounds, and any fractional part of one hundred pounds, of the amount secured by the equitable mortgage. (2.) Where the total amount which may be at any time secured by any equitable mortgage is unascertained or unlimited in the first instance, and the ad valorem Stamp Duty impressed on the agreement or memorandum in conformity with this section is available under section one hundred and seven of 'The Stamp Act, 1870,' for such an amount only as such duty extends to cover, such agreement or memorandum shall be deemed to be a new and separate agreement or memorandum, bearing date on the day on which any advance or loan is made in excess of the amount covered by the duty impressed thereon.

Page 8, after Clause 16, insert the following Clause:— (Provision as to the Stamp Duty on assignments of policies of life assurance.) (1.) No assignment of a policy of life assurance shall confer on the assignee therein named, his executors, administrators, or assigns, any right to sue for the moneys assured or secured thereby, or to give a valid discharge for the same, or any part thereof, unless such assignment is duly stamped, and no payment shall be made to any person claiming under any such assignment unless the same is duly stamped. (2.) If any payment shall be made in contravention of this section, the Stamp Duty not paid upon the assignment, together with the penalty payable on stamping the same, shall be a debt, due to Her Majesty from the Company or person by whom such payment is made, and shall be recoverable as such accordingly,"—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer,)

brought up, read a first and second time, and added to the Bill.

MR. SLAGG (Burnley)

said, he begged to move to insert the following Clause after Clause 3—: (Silver and gold plate.) That, on and after the passing of this Act, or at such other date subsequent thereto, as Her Majesty may fix, by an order made with the advice of Her Privy Council, the Excise Duty now payable on plate of silver and gold made or wrought in Great Britain, or in Ireland, shall cease and determine; and that the Duty of Customs now payable under the Customs Tariff Act on imports of plate of silver gilt or ungilt, and on plates of gold, shall also, on the same date, cease to be charged, and all drawbacks now payable on plate of silver or gold on being exported from Great Britain or Ireland shall cease to be paid. He regretted exceedingly that he was obliged to bring in the clause at a moment so unfavourable for its due consideration.


I would ask the hon. Member to be good enough to bring in this Amendment on Report. He would find that a much better opportunity.


said, he should be glad to do so, if an opportunity would be afforded him.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire, Eifion)

said, he also begged to move to insert after Clause 22, as a new Clause, that— Any person appealing against an assessment of Income Tax or Inhabited House Duty shall be entitled to appear by solicitor. A person appealing against an assessment might require the services of a specialist, as he might find it impossible to put his case without assistance. Then, again, a large number of persons in Wales did not know English, or had not sufficient command of that language to be able to conduct a case against an experienced surveyor of taxes, who knew all the points of law.

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square) (interrupting)

said, he should not be able to assent to the Amendment; but if the hon. Gentleman wished to discuss it, he would ask him to bring it up on Report.


said, this was a very important matter, and there were some points he wished to put at that stage. He was afraid that the public suffered very largely from the practice indulged in by all Chancellors of the Exchequer, and all ex-Chancellors of the Exchequer, of insisting that Revenue must be got at all cost. The case of his hon. Friend was a very important one, particularly where the difficulty as to language came in. He was bound to say, from facts which had come to his knowledge, that there were crowds of people who submitted to gross imposition on the part of income Tax Commissioners and surveyors, because they feared being out-faced by official strength being brought against them. What difficulty could there be in accepting an Amendment of this kind, seeing that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had on his side such qualified and experienced men as surveyors? What objection could there be to allow a person appealing against an assessment to be represented by a solicitor? It appeared to him (Mr. Illingworth) that it was only a matter of justice. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman on behalf of hundreds of thousands of people who had grievances on that score. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer might not be able to deal with the matter just now; but he hoped the subject would be taken into consideration.

It being ten minutes to Seven o'clock, the Chairman left the Chair to report Progress.

The House suspended its Sitting at Seven of the clock.

The House resumed its Sitting at Nine of the Clock.

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