§ MR. WATT (Glasgow, Camlachie)
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the duty charged upon British spirits is now 10s. 6d. per gallon, while the rate on West Indian Rum is 10s. 10d, per gallon, and whether the difference was originally made on account of the British distiller being interfered with by the Excise Laws; whether West India distillers are also subject to Colonial Excise Laws; and whether, if the two industries are on the same footing, ho will consider the advisability of equalising the rate, having regard to the additional disadvantages at which West Indian rum is placed, consequent upon unrecoverable loss or damage in transit, costs of freight, insurance, &c?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER, (Mr. GOSCHEN, St.) George's, Hanover Square
The facts are as stated in the first paragraph. It is believed that Colonial distillers are subject to certain Excise restrictions, but not of such stringency as those imposed upon British distillers. The surtax on rum was formerly only 2d. a gallon; but in 1881 the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian proposed an adjustment of the surtax on Foreign and Colonial spirits 1265 and fixed it at the uniform rate of 4d. on all imported spirits. Since that date circumstances have not arisen to justify any modification of the tax.