HC Deb 05 May 1890 vol 344 cc138-9
MR. SUMMERS (Huddersfield)

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider the propriety of dividing the Local Taxation (Customs and Excise) Duties Bill into two Bills, and of dealing with the Licensing Question in a separate measure?


No, Sir; we cannot undertake to consider this recommendation. It strikes me it would be bad policy to do so.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board if the Government intend by implication to reverse the recent decision of the English Courts in "Sharp v. Wakefield" that refusal to renew a licence was in the discretion of the magistrates; and, if not, why is it proposed to provide that the renewal of new licences granted after the passing of the Local Taxation Bill shall be "at the free and unqualified discretion of the Licensing Authority."


We have no intention whatever, by implication or otherwise, to attempt to reverse the decision referred to. The words "at the free and unqualified discretion of the Licensing Authority" were inserted in the Bill not for the purpose of in any way expressing a judgment upon the question raised in the case cited or of asking the House to do so, but simply to make it clear that no rights whatever should attach in the case of new licences.

In reply to a further question by Mr. T. M. HEALY


said: I do not wish to discuss the exact bearing of the decision. All I can say is that Her Majesty's Government have no intention to put any words in the Bill which can in any way prejudge the question as to the right to the renewal of licences. The question will be raised when the House goes into Committee on the Bill, and if it can be shown that there is anything in the Bill implying more than I have stated we should have no objection to its being amended.

MR. ROWNTREE (Scarborough)

I beg also to ask the right hon. Gentleman on what basis the Probate Duty is assessed on public house licences?


The value of a licence is included in the value of the "goodwill"(on which Probate Duty is paid). The goodwill is generally included in the valuation of the lease, and the value of a licensed house is greater than that of another house of similar dimensions used for a trade where a licence is not required. *MR. H. H. FOWLER: Is the duty levied on the property of the brewer-owner, or of the tenant occupier?


It is levied on the property of the man who dies. It is levied solely on such interest as the deceased possessed in the licence.


Will the right hon. Gentleman give information as to the terms on which the goodwill is valued?


I will consult the Inland Revenue on the subject. I think that the House is entitled to full information on the point.


I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the Government will furnish the House with particulars of the amounts received by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue in the last financial year in the various counties and boroughs in respect of on-licences in such counties and boroughs?


It would be impossible to furnish the information for which the hon. Member asks for some weeks.


Will the right hon. Gentleman put off the Bill till the information is in possession of the House?


Certainly not, because that would be to run the risk of postponing the measure indefinitely. Of course, there is a considerable amount of general information at the disposal of hon. Members.