HC Deb 24 April 1890 vol 343 cc1276-8

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the amount of duty levied per gallon of proof spirit contained in beer and in spirits respectively; the amount per gallon of proof spirits contained in beer, represented by the 3d. per barrel which it is proposed under his Budget scheme to allocate to local pur- poses; and the amount of Spirit and of Beer Duty paid during the last financial year by England, Scotland, and Ireland, respectively?


The figures of the amount of duty levied in England, Scotland, and Ireland, will not help the hon. Member in arriving at the result which he desires to attain, as they represent production and export, not consumption. He is further attempting to institute a comparison which is misleading when he compares the duty charged on spirits and that levied on beer by taking the spirit contained in the latter as a basis for calculation. The modes of levying the duties on beer and spirits are essentially different. The duty on beer, an article of consumption, which, to some extent, is of a nutritious nature, is charged according to the specific gravity of the original wort or extract from which the beer is made, without reference to the quantity of spirits subsequently generated therein; while the duty on spirits, which are pure intoxicants, is charged on the quantity of proof spirit produced by the distillation of a fermented saccharine liquid.

MR. CALDWELL (Glasgow, St. Rollox)

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer the number of gallons of home-made spirits on which duty has been paid "retailed for consumption as beverages" in England, Scotland, and Ireland respectively, for the past financial year; whether he is aware that Scotland consumes close on three times as much home spirits as England in proportion to the population; whether the duty on home spirits is more than double the duty on other alcoholic beverages; and whether of the £1,304,000 to be set aside as grants in aid of local taxation the larger amount per head per population will be payable by Scotland?


The consumption of British spirits was in 1889–90—England, 16,854,000 gallons, equal to 57 per head; Scotland, 6,264,000 gallons, equal to 1.53 per head; Ireland, 4,711,000 gallons. The consumption of this one kind of spirits is therefore in Scotland almost three times that in England; but, of course, the proportionate consumption of foreign spirits in the three parts of the United Kingdom is of a totally different character. The duty on home spirits is, of course, practically the same as that on foreign spirits. It is probable that Scotland will contribute a somewhat larger amount per head of the population to this particular sum.

MR. R. CHAMBERLAIN (Islington, W.)

I should like to ask whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer will consent to issue the continuation of the interesting curve published last year showing the consumption of spirits, beer, and tea for a considerable number of years?


I do not object in the least to produce such a Report.