§ MR. SEXTON
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can now communicate to the House the information obtained in his further inquiry as to the incidence of the Beer and Spirit Duties, and whether he intends to present a Supplementary Estimate; whether he proposes to transfer this Session, as contemplated by the Land Purchase Bill, the charge of £5,000 for improving the breed of horses and cattle in Ireland from the Irish Local Taxation Account of the Estimates; and whether he intends to legislate this Session to secure to Ireland in the present financial year the Exchequer contribution of £40,000 to which she is entitled?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
With regard to the first question—namely, as to the incidence of the Beer Duty—the inquiries which I have made result in a remarkable agreement with the figures on page 4 of the Return of May 7 last. That Return gave the duty on beer exported from Ireland to England in 1888–9 as £190,000. The actual figures for 1889–90 have now been carefully examined and taken from the bills of entry for the Port of Dublin. The value of the duty paid on beer exported from England to Ireland is, as near as possible, £190,000. With regard to the duty on beer exported from England to Ireland I have learned nothing to show that the figure of £35,000 was under the mark. Here is the difficulty—that there are neither official nor commercial Returns, as the exports from English ports to Irish ports are not entered or tabulated by the Customs. I am still making inquiries, but it seems that the amount of beer sent to Ireland from England is not likely to be larger than, and is possibly inferior to, the amount given in the Return in question. Regarding foreign spirits no record was previously kept of the parts of the United Kingdom where they were consumed, but a system has now been established for following them up similar to that pursued in the case of home spirits. The few weeks during which it has been in operation show no ground for believing that the calculations in the Return of May 7 were incorrect, but the time is too short to afford any really fresh knowledge. So far, then, as my investigation has proceeded there is nothing to change the figures submitted last May, so that there is no question of Supplementary Estimate at present. I do not propose to legislate this Session for the transfer of the charge of £5,000 for improving the breed of horses and cattle in Ireland from the Irish Local Taxation Account to the Estimates. There is no reason for doing so till the Land Purchase Bill is passed. With regard to the last question, legislation will not be necessary to secure to Ireland the contribution of £40,000 referred to by the hon. Member, but he may take it as certain that I will introduce a Supplementary Estimate to secure this sum to Ireland during the present financial year.