HC Deb 31 May 1888 vol 326 c748
MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company are allowed to issue shipping orders and mates' receipts on bills of lading unstamped; whether the Stamp Laws are strictly enforced against Natives in Burmah; why any exemption is accorded to the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company; and, whether he can now reply as to the Return asked for more than two months since, and on which the Secretary of State promised to consult the Government of India—namely, a Return showing the amounts paid during the past three years by the Government of India to the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, showing in what respect, at what rates, under what conditions, and for what services such moneys have been paid?


The Secretary of State has received a telegram from the Government of India to the effect that there is no difference in regard to exemption from Stamp Duties between the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company and other firms or persons, European or Native; but the Chief Commissioner reports that the Company are endeavouring to escape the Stamp Duty by substituting mates' receipts for bills of lading. The matter is under the consideration of the Chief Commissioner and the Law Officers. The Stamp Laws are not in full force in Upper Burmah, but exemptions apply to all parties alike. As regards the General Return, I must point out that it involves the close examination of a war expenditure of two years, and has necessarily taken time. But the Secretary of State has reason to believe that the Return is practically completed, and will shortly be sent home.