§ Order for Third Reading, read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a third time."
MR. R. WEBSTER (St. Pancras)
I do not rise to oppose the Third Reading of this Bill, but on looking through the Bill I perceive that it confirms the system of levying modified coal dues in the town of Margate, until the year 1920. The Corporation of Margate have apparently no new fangled method of raising money to propose for carrying out the town improvements, but prefer to rely upon the old system of raising money by means of the coal dues. I find that in the United Kingdom there are no less than 200 other towns and ports which also impose these 1841 coal dues, and I maintain that it is an extremely bad system of taxation to resort to. It is a tax which falls upon the consumer, the producer, and the middleman, and is only borne to a very modified extent by the inhabitants of a town generally. It is acceptable to owners of property who know that their land is not taxed, and to occupiers who do not have to pay an increased rent in consequence, and therefore it is a tax which is acceptable to the inhabitants generally. I know that I am precluded by the Rules of this House from referring to another part of the United Kingdom, but I may say that while by this Bill the town of Margate will crystallize the system of imposing coal dues until the year 19.20, this great metropolis has never yet been afforded the privilege of discussing in any form or shape whether in London the coal and wine dues are to be renewed. I know, Sir, that if I were to go further you would rule me out of order. Therefore all I will say is that if the town of Margate is to have the privilege of levying these dues, the inhabitants of London are fairly entitled to equal treatment.
Question, "That the Bill be now read a third time," put, and agreed to.
Bill road the third time, and passed.