§ MR. ROYDEN (Liverpool, W., Toxteth)
asked the President of the Board 1376 of Trade, Whether the increase on light dues charged by the English Government on and after June 1, which amounts to about 16½ per cent on the rate hitherto charged, has been authorized by an Order in Council; and, why such a tax has been placed upon the British shipping industry at a time when it is so greatly depressed?
§ THE PRESIDENT (Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH) (Bristol, W.)
On April 12 I informed a deputation from the Associated Chambers of Commerce that, in view of the practical insolvency of the Mercantile Marine Fund, it would probably be necessary to re-impose for the current year half of that portion of the light dues which was taken off in 1884. The Press gave the fullest publicity to that statement at the time; and I had reason to believe that the shipping interests were satisfied that it was a disagreeable necessity that this should be done, as I received no communications to a contrary effect. Consequently, an Order in Council was issued re-imposing that amount of light dues from June 1.