§ MR. WATT (Glasgow, Camlachie)
I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can state the amount of revenue obtained during the six months of the current year on sparkling wines, the value of which, does not exceed 30s. per dozen, under the Customs (Wine Duty) Act, 1888; whether the costs of collection have been increased owing to a differential rating; whether the trade are now opposed to an ad valorem duty; and whether he is prepared to consider the desirability of applying the surtax, as in the case of other duties, to a specific quantity, instead of an ad valorem duty?
§ * MR. GOSCHEN
With regard to the first question, I hope hon. Members will forgive me if I continue to resist pressure to extract from me a premature revelation of Budget statistics. A slight, though scarcely appreciable, expense is attached to the collection of a differential duty. A portion of the trade, doubtless, dislikes an ad valorem duty, but I have to consider the interests, not only of the wine-seller, but also of the wine-consumer. As regards the last question, I am not prepared to make a charge which would bear heavily on cheaper wines. The present arrangement was made expressly for the purpose of not preventing the import of these cheaper sparkling wines, which it was especially desired not to discourage.