§ MR. CAUSTON (Southwark, W.)
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1416 Whether the Birmingham Anti-Wheel Tax Association have accepted the conditions communicated to them on July 27, at his request, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain), and how far the concessions named vary from those made some months since in response to deputations which waited upon him in reference to the subject, and in reply to Questions put to him by hon. Members in the House, and which are contained in the Bill as printed?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
Yes, Sir; I understand that the Birmingham Anti-Wheel Tax Association have expressed themselves satisfied with the concessions which I have been able to make; and I should be glad to receive a similar expression of satisfaction from the Associations under the command of the hon. Member. Of the three concessions in question, in the case of one only can there be said to be any variation from my previous declarations on the subject. [Ironical Opposition cheers.] I presume that if a concession can be made for which I did not see my way before, there is no reason for an ironical cheer. The point was as to excluding movable gear in ascertaining the weight of vehicles. On this point I said, in answer to a Question in this House on the 13th of April last, that I thought it must be dealt with administratively; but I have since seen my way to frame a provision which will, I think, be unobjectionable if inserted in the Bill. The second concession, about the number of horses, is not in conflict with the provisions of the Bill, or with anything I have said to deputations or in this House. It is a mere consequence of the concession I announced some time ago to meet the equity of the ease with respect to two-wheeled vehicles. The third concession, about the term of hiring, is an alteration from the provisions of the Bill; but, so far as I am aware, the point had not been brought before me previously. It is a question between the letters and hirers of vehicles; and I think the latter had made out their claim to the alteration they have sought.
§ MR. OSBORNE MORGAN (Denbighshire, E.)
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I am well aware that it is inconvenient that a tax, though it is a local and not an Imperial tax, should be proposed without being put forward and settled. But the representations I have received, both from the friends and the opponents of the measure, have convinced me that the general desire is that it should not be taken except in a very full House; and as I know hon. Members are anxious to get away, I have decided to defer it to the Autumn Sitting.
§ MR. CAUSTON
asked, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer had read the letter of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham on the subject; and, whether, under the circumstances, taking into consideration the reply he had just made, he did not consider that the Birmingham Committee had been rather rash in passing a Resolution of approval?