§ 1. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That, in lieu of the duty of customs now payable on tea, there shall be charged, levied, and paid on and after the 6th day of March, 1900, and until the 1st day of August, 1901, the following duty (that is to say):—Tea, the pound, 6d."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)79
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
It is the established Parliamentary practice, sanctioned by the highest financial authority whose weight is acknowledged in all parts of the House, that on this occasion the Committee should not engage in any full and exhaustive criticism or examination of the proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is absolutely necessary that the Committee should pass certain resolutions for the purpose of saving the revenue and preventing the forestalment and evasion of the law. In the passing of those resolutions we shall, of course, be disposed to give every facility to Her Majesty's Government, but this is done on the distinct understanding that, by so doing, the House of Commons is not in the least degree committed to any part of the policy espoused by the right hon. Gentleman, and that we shall have a better opportunity on future occasions, when the Bill is before us, for expressing our opinions. I remember that, in October, when the right hon. Gentleman stated the manner in which he was going to deal with the expenditure which had been incurred for the war, I said of him that he had made a speech embodying a great deal of sound doctrine. I think the same thing may be said to-night. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has, in many parts of his speech, given expression, with a fervour and sincerity which showed how deeply he was convinced of their truth, to doctrines which, I am sure, no one on this side of the House or on that, who has studied the great principles which govern our finance, will find fault with for a moment. The right hon. Gentleman will, of course, understand that we cannot but look upon him with a certain degree of doubt owing to certain incidents in his financial history. There are some episodes in the last three or four years of which we have not yet been able to bring ourselves to approve. There was last year the occasion when the Government, with a lack of courage which I think did them very little credit, broke in on the established custom of relieving the burden of debt for very inadequate reasons, and, at the same time, broke in also upon that reserve of strength which was provided precisely, so far as it went, for emergencies such as this. Then we also recall the strange dealings of the right hon. Gentleman with the tobacco duty, which he has acknowledged to-night 80 not to have been altogether successful. Of that I would merely say that it never appeared to have realised any advantage to the consumer, or at all events, if I may use the word in this other sense, the consumer has never been able to realise it in the sense of discovering and appreciating that advantage. Then—I will not renew the old controversy—the right hon. Gentleman, having been provided by the fiscal reforms of my right hon. friend the Member for West Monmouthshire with a bulwark of financial strength such as no Finance Minister has ever had the advantage of before, proceeded to fritter away a large part of that strength by a series of doles to particular classes of the community who certainly were not amongst the most necessitous classes, and has given the money not even to the most necessitous within those classes, and in that way, so far as the money goes, amounting to, I think, about £4,000,000 a year, he has weakened his position for an occasion such as this. But this is not the time to go into these matters. We are very glad indeed to recognise that the right hon. Gentleman has to-night dealt not only in a straightforward but in a statesmanlike and discreet way with the difficulty before him, and with a courage that from his natural temperament we were willing to ascribe to and expect from him. The first great question in a case such as this is what part of this great burden shall be dealt with by way of taxation and what part by way of future obligation in the shape of debt. The right hon. Gentleman has described the different nature of the advice which he has received. He has resisted extreme advice in both directions, and it is my impression that he has made an apportionment which is fair and equitable as between those two methods of dealing with the matter. The right hon. Gentleman has very properly put a considerable part of the expenditure—not very far from the same proportion as was proposed in the case of the Crimean War—upon the shoulders of the taxpayers. I, for one, could never believe for a moment—I would never do my countrymen the discredit and dishonour to believe—that they would shirk an obligation of this kind. We have all been proud of the patriotic spirit exhibited within the last few weeks. If that patriotism is anything but the merest smoke and bluster, surely the British people are willing to bear a burden of 81 this kind to support those whom they have so readily sent to sacrifice their comfort, their safety, and sometimes their lives on the battlefield. There may be, of course, to individuals inconvenience and hardship, and even deprivation, but I do not think that anyone in this House has any fear that the taxpayer will not be ready cheerfully to do his duty. As to the details of the proposals, it will, as I have said, be wiser and more convenient to the House that our opinion should be reserved. I, however, may say, in my particular capacity as a Scotch Member, I think that something will be said as to the increase of the spirit duty from a national point of view on the part of both the Irish and the Scotch. There is a strong belief in Scotland and Ireland, apart from all the financial arguments which may be used by experts in the public offices and in this House, that the taxation put upon the general drink of the masses is heavier by a great deal than that which is laid on the general drink of the English community, and I think they would have been glad if they had been spared somewhat in this respect. I merely forecast that as a line of argument likely to be used in the course of the debates. It is quite understood that the House will at future stages give its decision on each of these proposals. What we must satisfy ourselves of is that the proposals are the least burdensome, the least inconvenient, and the most fair and most advantageous to the Exchequer which can be devised. In giving our assistance to the right hon. Gentleman, and in endeavouring to help him in coming to a conclusion, we shall, at all events, be guided by this feeling—that in hardly any quarter of the House is there any disposition, as the Votes in Supply have already shown, to display any grudging spirit in prosecuting the financial proposals of the Government.
MR. T. M. HEALY
I do not think this occasion should be allowed to pass without some expression of opinion from this quarter of the House. We have now reached a period when the Government of the so-called United Kingdom are obliged to bring in a Budget of over £150,000,000. In other words, we have to find in one year an amount equal to one fourth of the National Debt. At the time the disastrous Union was accomplished the total National Debt of Ireland 82 was under £8,000,000, and now we are asked in one single year to bear a proportion of expenditure amounting to over £150,000,000, in addition to the charge of the ordinary standing National Debt. I wonder what the statesmen who made such promises to Ireland at the time of the Union would have thought if they had been told that 100 years hence this appalling and crushing burden would be placed upon us. I should like to say a word in reference to the unhappy position in which Ireland is situated. The right hon. Gentlemen gave a very glowing account of how England and Scotland are advancing by leaps and bounds; he spoke of there being higher wages, greater prosperity, and larger incomes than ever before. The only industry which had not gained in prosperity was that of agriculture. In other words, the country which alone has not progressed is bound to bear with you pari passu this extravagant expenditure. At the time of the Union we had a number of industries; they have since disappeared. Our country was richer to an enormous degree, both in flocks and herds, as well as in population and purse, than she is now; and yet, whereas your taxable capacity has increased a hundredfold while ours has decreased in a similar degree, we have to bear with you a burden equal to your own. The right hon. Gentleman proceeded calmly to treat the two cases—on the one side a living body and on the other a corpse; he proceeded to administer to them the same physic, and to prescribe the same treatment. One would have thought that, as Minister for this Empire, he would have taken note of the difference between the two countries, and have made some difference in the treatment. Throughout his speech there is not a trace of the necessity for dissimilarity of treatment; there is not a trace of any intention on his part to fulfil the pledges given by the statesmen of the Union to grant Ireland exceptional exemptions and abatements suited to her case and position. Does the right hon. Gentleman think himself an Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer, or does he regard himself as a British Chancellor of the Exchequer? So far as the shepherding of the separate interests of Ireland is concerned, I can see no indication. We are told we have the honour and glory of forming a portion of this Empire. I would like to ask how much of this war 83 expenditure has been spent in Ireland. I will take him upon that issue alone. You have spent upon your exceptional war operations something like £50,000,000, in round figures. Of that amount you have spent about five pence in Ireland. England has benefited by the engagement of ships, the casting of cannon, the making of munitions of war, saddlery, and the thousand and one necessary articles for such an undertaking, but only a few horses have been bought in Ireland, and even those would not have been purchased there if you could have got them cheaper or better elsewhere. Perhaps I am wrong in saying that everything else has been bought in England and Scotland. Of course Germany has not been forgotten; Brazil has not been forgotten; you have bought mules in Brazil. America has not been forgotten; you have bought saddlery there. Austria has not been forgotten; you have obtained underclothing in some of the central European States. What do we gain by the war? Nothing, except that a few Orangemen have desecrated Catholic churches in Belfast and broken the heads of Catholic workmen in Portadown. What do we lose by it? When the legless and armless men of the Dublin Fusiliers return, we shall have to put them up in our workhouses and bear the expense on the local taxation. In Drumcondra alone, a little suburb of Dublin, there are forty widows. In one miserable little street in Dublin, Cook Street, there are eight widows as the result of this war. The wearing of black by the people of the poorer classes is distinctly noticeable in the streets of Dublin. I do not say that you have not done your duty in this respect. I believe you have. It is but fair to admit the magnificent manner in which the aristocracy as well as the working classes have gone to the assistance of their country. But, at all events, you will have the gold mines at the finish; you will have the Transvaal at the end. You will have an asset; what shall we have, except graves and dead? That is our position, to which the right hon. Gentleman in bringing in his £150,000,000 Budget, does not even think it worth his while to make any reference. These facts have not even excited a passing remark upon them. Let me refer to the question of tobacco. If anyone reads the history of Ireland, they will find it stated that between Dublin and the 84 county of Cork, for a distance of 150 miles, heaps of tobacco were being burned in the fields, and tobacco growing was once an important branch of the Irish agricultural industry. Ireland can grow tobacco, and she has grown it successfully in the past; and you have now throughout Ireland a revenue and police system which would give you full warning of smuggling, and by which it would be easy to prevent illicit growth and manufacture of tobacco. While the right hon. Gentleman proposes to enhance the tobacco duty, he does not even suggest the relaxation of the restrictions which would enable the tobacco industry to thrive in Ireland. What he has said is from an English point of view, and I do not suppose any Englishman can fairly complain of the Budget. But the position of Ireland is entirely different. It is said that the burden has been put upon all classes; that incomes have been taxed, as well as the tobacco user and the beer consumer. Even the teetotaler, it is claimed, has not been left out, and accordingly the right hon. Gentleman taxes tea. In other words, the right hon. Gentleman taxes the three great articles consumed by the poor, because a man may drink tea who is also a tobacco smoker and a beer or whisky drinker. The right hon. Gentleman has dived into the pockets of the poor in Ireland. It is not enough for Ireland to have to provide brave soldiers, but the poor have to provide their wages as well out of their poverty. I would make a claim that now, at all events, if he is going to increase the tax upon tobacco, he should take this opportunity of relieving the Irish people from the restrictions on growing tobacco. It is the merest matter of arrangement. In the old days when the tobacco industry flourished there was no such thing as the revenue and police system as it exists at the present moment. The Royal Irish Constabulary had not then been established. Smuggling was rife, and it was impossible to collect the duty. You have in every village in Ireland ten policemen, costing the country, with a sergeant, £1,000 a year; you have a schoolmaster and schoolmistress, costing £150 a year; and you also make us pay a large contribution every year for education—and what do we get out of this glorious system? You say you cannot reduce the number of police, but why not turn them to some good account, and make them do some- 85 thing for their wages? At present they are simply engaged in the collection of rents for landlords, and they take part in an occasional eviction, and in the North of Ireland the police are utilised to prevent Orangemen from shooting down the Catholics. Therefore you have in every village the means of providing that if tobacco is grown the tax upon it shall be fairly paid and assessed. When there was a Vice-Chancellor of Ireland we had somebody to look after Irish industries, but no one seems to care for the interests of Ireland now. Much as I respect the right hon. Gentleman, he has a British skin, and he cannot, therefore, have an Irish heart, but he knows a great deal more about our country than he pretends to do. How is it that he never casts upon that country a pitying glance? If we have to pay this extra tobacco duty the restrictions upon the growth of that article ought to be removed in Ireland. According to the English view, when you put a tax on whisky its fiscal nature disappears, and it assumes a position of benevolence. You tax Irish peasants not to carry on wars, but to prevent them getting drunk; you say it is for our own benefit, for fear we should relapse into the position of the savage. When Mr. Gladstone put the increased tax on whisky the result was that he wiped out seventy distilleries in Ireland. You say it does not matter what taxes you impose on whisky, but there is not one of you will examine the state of things in Ireland and look at it from an Irish point of view. You are all chock full of the war in South Africa, or of your policy in China or Madagascar, and there is hardly a subject which you are not full of. The only thing you care about in Ireland is how much revenue you can get out of her, and Ireland is looked upon solely as a taxable commodity. Your conduct towards Ireland is heartless and callous. This tax upon whisky is undoubtedly an additional burden. There was great laughter when the right hon. Gentleman mentioned gallons instead of barrels in the case of the beer tax, and I suppose if he put one shilling a gallon on beer there would be a revolution in Whitechapel. But when the right hon. Gentleman comes to deal with whisky it is not in barrels he measures at all. He puts only one shilling on thirty-six gallons of beer, but there is to be sixpence put upon each gallon of whisky. I say this war has been got up by Mr. Cecil Rhodes, 86 and the extra taxes should have been put on diamonds. I do not see why stockbrokers should not pay an enormous tax as well as barristers and solicitors. Why not make those pay more who make enormous fortunes on the Stock Exchange? You do not propose that because they are all Tories; and they find that nothing is more delightful than to read in the newspapers, when the news of great victories is to hand, that they have been singing "God save the Queen" on the Stock Exchange. I do not think they would be in such a splendid state of jollification if they had to pay a tax of £500 a year. Irishmen have got both to fight your battles and to pay for them out of their miserable incomes. There is before the House the Tithe Rent-charge Bill for Ireland, by which the landlords are to be relieved to the extent of £50,000 a year in order to enable them to pay their war taxes. For my part I do not at all see the objection to the raising of this large sum by way of a loan. Why should the people of the present time bear all the burden? The people who gain by this war should be the people to pay for it. No doubt the English people would cheerfully provide the taxes for the right hon. Gentleman purely out of public spirit and patriotism. The right hon. Gentleman went on to remark that the colonies were providing enormous sums towards this war, and I should like to know how much they were providing. I read the other day the telegram sent by the Colonial Secretary to Australia asking for more men, and he told them that the Imperial Treasury would pay the bill. Those men have to be paid by the unfortunate people of Ireland, and it is untrue to say that the colonies are paying for this war. They are paying these men 5s. per day. If I had not anything to do myself I should have regarded at one time such an offer and a trip to a foreign country as very satisfactory. It is unfair to suggest that Australia is bearing any of these burdens. And why should not our colonies pay? They are very keen on the war. And why should Canada not contribute, for she gets a great deal of kudos out of it? When the Canadians in battle are praised they are put in the newspapers in big letters, but when the Irish troops score at the front this is not done. [Ministerial cries of "Oh, oh!"] Why not make the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands contribute to this splendid 87 Imperial saturnalia of generosity? The only country which is made to pay is the very one which is protected by treaty from paying. With regard to the income tax, as far as England is concerned, it is a fair item, but is it fair in regard to Ireland? It was understood at the time of the Union that the income tax would not be charged. It was never dreamt of, and we did not pay income tax for fifty years after the Union was established. It was put on as a temporary expedient after the time of the Crimean War, and now, in spite of our protest on this financial question and the finding of the Royal Commission that we are paying £3,000,000 a year too much, you propose to increase our income tax by 4d. in the £. I think that imposition might, at least, be left alone as regards Ireland, whose income is very limited, for there are no large businesses in Ireland. Is it fair to tax limited incomes with no chance of extension in the same way as those enormous incomes in this country? I emphatically protest against this system of taxing Ireland for military purposes, while you keep her hampered and deny her her liberties. We do not desire to go abroad to kill Dutchmen, but we desire to leave them alone in the enjoyment of the country which they have acquired. Having denied us Home Rule, that ought to make you keener and more zealous not to pile upon us those burdens which the denial of Home Rule involves. I beg of you, as fair-minded men, to cast aside political prejudice and to look at the impoverished condition of the Irish people. If you will do so you will see that you ought to arrange your fiscal system so as not to place any additional burden upon the people of Ireland.
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)
I only rise to-night to add my tribute of admiration for the speech the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has addressed to the Committee—a speech, if I may be permitted to say so, distinguished by soundness of financial principles and still more valuable on account of the political courage with which those principles were expressed. It is not the first time I have congratulated the right hon. Gentleman on his financial ability, and I have had also to congratulate him on his financial good fortune in times of peace. He has had the advantage of extremely prosperous times; he has spoken of the 88 great prosperity of the country, and we all join in rejoicing and hope it may be as lasting as it is great. I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on his courage, but I think he is rather in the position in which Solon found himself when he said—I did not always give the best laws, but the best laws the people would bear.When the right hon. Gentleman referred to history and the courage of our ancestors in respect to taxation, I thought the boldness he had shown was hardly equal to the example. I will not go further back than the Crimean War, but in relation to that war when the question arose of distribution of cost between borrowing and taxation—I have a note here I took from Sir Stafford Northcote's book on financial policy—at the time the accounts were made up, the cost of the war was calculated at £76,400,000. Well, that was a two years war, and we have run up nearly that bill in less than six months, and how much more it will prove of course no man can tell. But, in dealing with that war a generation, I may say two generations ago, out of the £76,000,000, £40,000,000 was raised by additional taxation, or more than half, and £32,000,000 was added to the Debt of the country. These amounts do not make up the total, but at the conclusion of peace the balance was made up by increases in the productiveness of taxes, so that at the end of the war when accounts were made up £40,000,000 had been raised by additional taxation and £32,000,000 only was added to the Debt. I adhere so completely to the principles which the right hon. Gentleman has stated that I do not wish to be captious in my criticisms, but there is one very interesting question upon which I should be extremely glad to have some further information from the right hon. Gentleman. I observed a passage in his speech which was received with considerable approbation, not only from this side of the House, but from the opposite side also; and it was that the Transvaal ultimately was to pay for the cost of the war. I should very much like to know how he expects to get the money? We know that we are waging this war partly in order that Johannesburg should be a self-governing and self-taxing community. I presume after this war has been brought to a successful issue Johannesburg in 89 some form or other will tax itself. But then we have the prospect that these millionaires—Mr. Beit, Mr. Rhodes, and others—will have the taxation of the Transvaal at their own disposal. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER dissented.] Ah! that is exactly what I want to hear. That is the point on which I should like some fuller explanation from the right hon. Gentleman. They will say, "We are fighting for liberty, for self-government; you are never going to oppress the people of Johannesburg by centralised taxation dictated from England? We are a free and independent community, who are to tax ourselves." We know the political and economical creed and the principles of patriotism which are professed by the ruling spirits and the governing classes of the future Johannesburg. To them the British flag is not emancipation, it is not freedom; no, it is a "commercial asset." But I should like to know the principles of finance of the persons who regard the British flag as a commercial asset, and it would interest the country very much to be informed how we are going to get at the money in the reformed Transvaal. We had one of these financial statements the other day, I think from Mr. Robinson; and he calculated that the result of the war would be to increase the value of the ore from 6s. or 8s. to 10s. a ton, and that the war would work out to an advantage of between £3,000,000 and £4,000,000. These are the golden prospects he held out to his shareholders. That sum would be extremely useful to the taxpayers of this country. I do not ask the right hon. Gentleman to reveal his secrets to-night; but when we are taxing the people of this country, and adding many millions to the National Debt with the vague and misty expectation that those gentlemen who are going to put millions into their pockets as the result of the war, will contribute their proper proportion to that expenditure that is a point on which, I think, the taxpayers of the country would like to be informed. I confess that I do not expect much from the munificence or generosity of these gentlemen. Is the Transvaal hereafter going to be a free, independent community to tax itself? In these circumstances I do not think you would get the money. But if it is going to be, as some people desire it to be, a Crown colony, how are you going to get 90 the money then? You will, I suppose, have a council or some other body with power to tax that community. You generally pay the Crown colony the compliment of allowing it to elect part of that council. But there are colonies where it is necessary always to keep in your hands a majority of nominated members. Just conceive the future of this emancipated Johannesburg with a majority of nominated members taxing according to the views of Downing Street, and not of Johannesburg! That is one view. Before we impose all these burdens, whether by borrowing or by taxation, we should take some security for getting a charge on these funds which would relieve the taxpayers of Great Britain. I hope, therefore, either now or at some future stage of these financial discussions, we shall have some security by some sort of arrangement. I do not think it would be impossible, and if secured there will be very great satisfaction in the country generally. I entirely support the general principles of finance as stated by the right hon. Gentleman. Of course, we reserve to ourselves the right on a future occasion to discuss the details and the application of these principles.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
I think the right hon. Gentleman is premature in requiring the Chancellor of the Exchequer to impose a charge upon the Transvaal at this moment. We have not captured the Transvaal yet, neither have we any authority there. When we have it will be time enough—
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
If you want apples you go to an orchard, and if you want gold you cannot go to a better place than to a gold mine. I, of course, anticipate that there will be the greatest readiness on the part of the millionaires, who have incurred a debt to this country by being released from the grinding tyranny of the Transvaal, to contribute to the expenses of the war. They were subjected to a financial tyranny, which, perhaps, is the tyranny of all others which millionaires would be most anxious to be relieved of. I have no doubt that means will be found, if we do get to Pretoria, to levy a contribution on the millionaires referred to by the 91 right hon. Gentleman. I observe that the Chancellor of the Exchequer displays a great want of imagination in his Budgets—especially in this Budget. He has kept to the old ground, and has invented nothing new. Last year I suggested to the right hon. Gentleman a tax on diamonds. We import 4½ millions worth of diamonds every year from one of the places which should be most grateful to us for being rescued from the rule of the Boers. That release has been effected through Her Majesty's Government, and I think it is well worth the consideration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether instead of taxing tobacco 300 per cent. and tea 60 per cent., and making the general average of the duty on four or five articles 100 per cent., he should not tax diamonds at something like 100 per cent. also. That would give him £4,500,000, in addition to which there could be a licence for sale and, indeed, a licence for wear. The officials of the Treasury, to whose ability—especially the ability of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—the Prime Minister testified in another place, should have no difficulty whatever in getting an adequate tax out of diamonds. The only general remark I desire to make is that, although the Chancellor of the Exchequer and every other financier have constantly denounced our fiscal system as being extremely unsound, the right hon. Gentleman has at this moment of extremity adopted and intensified all the unsoundness of that system. Complaint has been made by the First Lord of the Admiralty, by the First Lord of the Treasury, and by the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself that the objects of taxation in articles of consumption are much too few, but the right hon. Gentleman has kept them as few as they were, and has largely increased the duty upon them. I think this is very unfortunate. It has also been pointed out again and again that the exemptions and abatements in connection with direct taxation are very much abused, and are more than they ought to be. The right hon. Gentleman has kept on all the abatements, while increasing the income tax by 50 per cent. The First Lord of the Treasury has pointed out that although the total income of this country is 1,500 millions, only 700 millions are assessed, but instead of getting income tax either from the 1,500 millions or the 700 millions, it is taken only from incomes 92 which are over £160 a year. But even as it is the exemptions and abatements are such that instead of getting 40 millions the Chancellor of the Exchequer only gets 25 millions. These abatements and exemptions ought not to be given, because if an abatement is given to one man another man has to be taxed for it. If there is to be any such thing at all it ought to be by annual grant of this House, which would be considered every year, and renewed or not renewed as the case might be. Then the right hon. Gentleman extends abatements to a man with £700 a year. He is not a poor man; he is well able to maintain his station in life without any outside assistance, and he ought to pay his small and infinitesimal share of the income tax as well as anyone else. I quite understand that a man with £100 a year should get a special exemption, but if a man with £1,000 a year is now required to pay 1s. income tax the man with £700 a year ought to be required to pay it also. If not, the latter is paying less than his share and the former more, and every addition to the income tax intensifies the inequality. The right hon. Gentleman objects to diamonds. Will he take furs or feathers or musical instruments? I have made out an interesting list which shows that we import lace to the value of 1½millions, embroidery one million, artificial flowers £600,000, feathers 1¼ millions, musical instruments, including, I suppose, the instruments brought over by the German bands, £1,100,000, and diamonds 4¼ millions. These give a total of £11,000,000, which altogether escape taxation. If a customs duty were put on them on the same scale as on spirits, tea, tobacco, and wine, they would realise £11,000,000 of revenue. I regret that the right hon. Gentleman has completely abandoned the principles of the First Lord of the Treasury and himself, and has given the go-by to what he told us a few years ago was a pressing necessity, namely, to find further sources of taxation. I have presented him with half a dozen sources, and I hope he will consider them. The right hon. Gentleman, of course, has had an enormously increased expenditure to meet. I have made a calculation whereby I find that if he had been able to adhere to the precedent of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for 93 West Monmouthshire, and not have allowed the expenditure to exceed the Estimates, the country would have saved £100,000,000. It has fallen to his unhappy lot since 1896 to have added the sum of not less than £100,000,000 to taxation. I do not say it is his fault; but he has colleagues. As to the very large decrease in expenditure as compared with the Estimates, I do hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not plume himself on that fact. A surplus of £5,000,000 over the Estimates is only a mistake of £5,000,000. So long as that is understood, and credit is not taken for it, I will pass away from it. What I wish to point out is that £2,000,000 out of that £5,000,000 come from the death duties. It is entirely due to the right hon. Gentleman opposite that it has become absolutely impossible to calculate the returns from the death duties. The result is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has never made a mistake of less than a million, and this year he has made a mistake of two millions.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
What does that matter? The effect is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been given a million or two to divert from ordinary courses. He has always used his surpluses for his own purposes. Previous to the Finance Act of 1894 no duties were calculated with more certainty than the death duties, but after the extraordinary graduations introduced by that Act it is now impossible to estimate them with precision. The death duties amounted to 17½ millions this year, but if the old system had remained they would have amounted to 15 millions, and be on a much sounder foundation and be capable of being accurately estimated. Therefore I do not think that the increase in the death duties is entirely a matter for approval. They are now more uncertain than they were formerly. With reference to the loan which the right hon. Gentleman proposes, whether it should be terminable in ten years or whether it should be added to the permanent debt depends on the purpose to which it is to be put. I do not know what he may have in his mind, but evidently we are to give him carte blanche. I suspect he is going to offer 94 some inducements to the people in the Savings Bank to take some of it. I do not know, but I presume we shall all be asked to take shares in it. I think, however, that the purpose to which this loan is to be put is of the most permanent character. If we fail in the South African campaign, we will not only lose South Africa, but we will certainly, or probably, lose India; we shall imperil the whole of the Empire, and bring these islands themselves into increased danger. On the other hand, if we succeed, we will avoid all that risk, and we will endow posterity with an increased Empire on a more solid foundation. If that be so, posterity should bear its share. If it be that we are about to do a permanent work in South Africa, not for South Africa alone, but also for the Empire and for these islands, surely it is not right to expect us to pay in ten years a loan contracted in order to give a permanent benefit to posterity. I think that the argument for making the loan a permanent addition to the debt from that point of view is very strong. If, on the other hand, instead of improving the position of the Empire we make it worse, then we ought to pay. But assuming, as I do, that we are certain to achieve great benefits for posterity, posterity should pay its share. This is a very severe Budget. The taxpayer will severely feel it, not only the income-tax payer, but also the consumer of dutiable commodities. As to income-tax, I entirely fail to see why a man with an income of over £700 a year has to pay the entire tax, whereas a man with an income under that amount gets an exemption. It is unfortunate that this large addition should be made to the income tax without making any attempt to remove the inequalities caused by the abatements and exemptions which apply to it. My objection to the Budget is not one of principle, so much as that it leaves the imperfections of our fiscal system where they are, and intensifies them to a very considerable extent. With regard to the loan, I am not at all clear that instead of being a loan for a temporary period it ought not to be permanently added to the Debt.
§ MR. HALDANE (Haddingtonshire)
I wish humbly to join with the right hon. Gentlemen and hon. Gentlemen who have congratulated the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a thoroughly straight- 95 forward, courageous, and sound Budget. He has had at least as much applause from this side of the House as he has had from his own side. Whatever may be the supposed divisions in the Liberal Opposition, we shall all unite in praising the Chancellor of the Exchequer. There are one or two points in connection with the Budget on which I would wish to say something. I am wholly unable to agree with my hon. friend opposite in his proposition that the loan to be raised should be a permanent addition to the debt. I do not take up that ground on the footing that the benefits from this war will be merely temporary. No doubt the war will very much strengthen our position at the Cape, and if the objects of the war are realised it will confer a permanent benefit on the Empire, but I feel very much that we ought to be reducing, not increasing, the National Debt. The National Debt constitutes our war chest, and is the one way by which we can put the Empire into a position of permanent defence. That brings me to the question of the way in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to treat the Sinking Fund. I entirely agree that it would be absurd to pay off with one hand when we are borrowing with the other. The ground which the Chancellor of the Exchequer took last year for the suspension of the Sinking Fund was that it was wasteful to go on redeeming Consols at a large premium. But they are not at a great premium now, and it is probable they will go down further, because the Chancellor of the Exchequer is about to put thirty-five millions of comparatively short securities on the market, with the result that holders of Consols will sell in order to buy the new securities. In that state of things I should have thought that of all times when the purchase of Consols was convenient and useful for the purposes of the Sinking Fund this was the very best opportunity. It is not a case of redeeming them at 111, but at 101, or maybe, less. I am certain the Chancellor of the Exchequer considered this very carefully, and no doubt he thinks that in the main he is taking the best course, but I should like to be satisfied that it would not have been a better course to have borrowed more largely on these new short securities, the shortness of which is likely to keep them from going to a premium, and purchased Consols at their present low 96 rate. One thing I was very glad to hear, and that is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer intends to take the issue of those new securities into his own hands. We have too much experience of loans issued by the nation getting into the hands of contractors, who speedily realise the premiums which should belong to the nation. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has shown great wisdom in taking the rather unusual course of keeping the issue in his own hands, and I hope he will be rewarded by securing for the nation a full premium. The real interest in this Budget will arise when we know the period within which this loan is to be redeemed. I infer it is to be redeemed within ten years; I hope a good deal within ten years. Of course, the Chancellor of the Exchequer says it would be premature to announce the determination of the Government in regard to the period of the redemption before the conclusion of the war; but if he takes that course he will have added another feature to the courageous and straightforward policy which characterises this Budget. There will be a permanent advantage in this. It is right that posterity should pay something, but I look upon the policy of reducing the National Debt as the true source of our material strength in the future. I hope, therefore, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in addition to taking the step of laying a large part of the cost of war on taxation, will still further reassure the Committee by announcing his determination to pay off the new loan within a comparatively short time. I am not in the position to weigh the matter with the expert knowledge he has, but it seems to me he has come to a sound decision in issuing the new loan in the form of short securities which will not go to a large premium; and it will put his successor in a position of much greater strength than if a different course had been taken. On the whole hon. Members ought to congratulate themselves in the course the Government have adopted; and the country is under a debt of gratitude to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the straightforward and courageous way in which he has faced the financial emergency.
§ *SIR FREDERICK DIXON-HARTLAND (Middlesex, Uxbridge)
I have listened with great interest to the clear 97 statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I must express my admiration for the firmness of his finance. I think the way in which the country will take his Budget proposals will depend a good deal on their knowledge of what will be the full result of the issue of the short loans. There is no doubt that the feeling of the country is very strongly in favour of the Transvaal being made to pay, after the war is brought to a successful conclusion, for what it has cost this country. If the country has that assurance, it will produce a great effect. When the Transvaal was taken over by this country in 1877, there was half a crown in the Treasury. When it was handed back, the income was £200,000; while the last return of the Transvaal Government showed a Budget of nearly five millions of money. It has been stated by many Uitlanders, who know very well what they are saying, that they paid no less than 89 per cent. of the taxes of the Transvaal; but suppose they only paid 80 per cent., that would have amounted to four millions a year paid by the Uitlanders. We know what was done with that money. Mr. Kruger and his oligarchy devoted what they did not take for themselves to the purchase of guns, ammunition, and all warlike stores, to be used against this country. Now, when we have freed the Transvaal from the Boer tyranny, that money will be free for more legitimate purposes. We have heard that it is our intention to bring this war to a definite conclusion, we don't care at what cost; and therefore I do think that the country has a right to know that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in taking these short loans, intends that they shall be redeemed from the resources of the Transvaal. If we take a loan of fifty millions and put it into a sinking fund for fifty years at 3½ per cent., the amount that would have to be paid by the Transvaal would be £1,045,000 a year. I was talking the other day to one of the African millionaires, and he said to me—We shall be only too happy if you tax us for a short number of years, to enable the cost of the war to be liquidated. We should be only too glad to pay for the feeling of security and justice which we should enjoy under the British Government, but which we never felt under President Kruger and his oligarchy. We never knew what would happen to us; what would be commandeered, or what new monopolies for dynamite and what railway scandals would be perpetrated by the Hol- 98 landers. We are willing to pay if we only get justice, and know where we are.I think it will be found when we have conquered that country, and when we make our reforms, that we have a perfect right to place taxes upon it for a certain time, sufficient to pay the cost of the war—a cost which ought certainly not to be paid by the people of this country. We pay enough in the lives we have lost. That cannot be repaired; but there is no reason why the money should go into the pockets of the millionaires. That point is one which I think will very much strengthen the feeling of the country in regard to the Budget.
§ *MR. HOLLAND (Yorkshire, W.R., Rotherham)
I would be very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he would kindly give to the House a little more explanation in regard to the stamps which it is his intention to impose on contracts other than those entered into on the Stock Exchange. Does he propose to levy these contract stamps also on contracts entered into on the Corn Exchange, the Iron Exchange, the Coal Exchange, or the Cotton Exchange?
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
No; only brokers' contract notes of the same description as brokers' contract notes on the Stock Exchange.
§ *MR. HOLLAND
If the stamp duties are not to be levied on trade contracts, I have nothing more to say on that point. I trust that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not receding from the firm and sound principle which he announced last autumn, that the gold mines of the Transvaal should pay a fair share of the cost of the campaign.* I was rather afraid, from his observation that there would be very heavy charges to be paid for compensation in Natal and the Cape, and that they would have the effect of increasing the burdens on the mines, that he was modifying his opinion, and that he did not now consider that the mines could pay the large contributions at first expected for*See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxxvii, p. 515–16.99 the cost of the war. I trust, however, that the owners of these mines will not escape from any fair obligations which can clearly be shown to be their due, because undoubtedly the value of their properties will be largely enhanced as the result of a successful campaign. I cannot agree with the hon. Member for King's Lynn in his regret that there should be abatements and exemptions in the income-tax in regard to certain incomes. I understand the hon. Member is against the principle of the graduation of the income tax; but, for my part, I am heartily in favour of it, so far as it can be carried out, and indeed I would do what I could to extend the principle further. I should have been glad if the Chancellor of the Exchequer could have seen his way to exempt incomes of £700 and under from the increased taxation. Nor can I share the regret expressed by the hon. Member for Louth that Irishmen are, as he said, to be taxed so much more than Englishmen on their national drink. The hon. Member protested that for every gallon of whisky an Irishman drank he would be called upon to pay 6d. extra, whereas an Englishman would have to drink eighteen gallons of beer to pay the same sum. But I presume that an Irishman does not always drink his whisky neat, and if he dilutes it with sufficient water the duty on the whisky would not work out at a very much heavier ratio of taxation in proportion to the amount of liquid imbibed than in the case of the Englishman's beer. I think that in view of the very serious deficit of thirty-seven millions, the Chancellor of the Exchequer must now regret that a year ago he did anything to tamper with the Sinking Fund, for if he had not so tampered with it, he would have found that his present financial position would have been stronger than it is.
§ *MR. HENDERSON (Staffordshire, W.)
I wish to give expression to the feeling of satisfaction with which I listened to the statement of the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as to the mode in which he proposes to raise the large sum he requires. The course he intends to take in the issue of terminable bonds is a wise one, and must commend itself to every business mind. It will be not only economical but sound finance. If issued in the form of Consols, in times of pressure the necessity for the redemption of the debt now in- 100 curred might be overlooked, but the redemption of these securities must be provided for, because of the fact of the date of their redemption being stamped on the face of them. One remark of the right hon. Gentleman gave me a great deal of pleasure, namely, that he did not propose to adopt the common course of issuing these securities—whatever form they may ultimately assume—by tender, but to issue them at a fixed price to the general public, so that both the small and large investor may be able to acquire them on the same terms. If that is done I feel sure that the response will be very large indeed. For these reasons I beg to assure the right hon. Gentleman that, so far as I know, the commercial community will hail with acclamation the proposals he has brought before the House this evening.
§ MR. BROADHURST (Leicester)
I am glad to know that to-night the Chancellor of the Exchequer recognises the errors of his ways in his Budgets of the past two years. If the right hon. Gentleman happens to remember—which I cannot hope that he did in the case of so humble an individual as myself—[Sir MICHAEL HICKS BEACH: I do.]—then I feel highly honoured—I pointed out at the time that there would be no benefit from the reduction in the tobacco duty to the half-ounce man; that unless the Chancellor took £2,000,000 off, instead of £1,000,000, the amount would, be so lost in the transfer of business that the poor man would get no benefit from it whatever. I was quite prepared for the Chancellor of the Exchequer reimposing that duty, though I do not agree with it. On the whole the Budget comes up to what was generally expected by those who take an interest in taxation. But I do wish that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with the many great abilities which we all admit he possesses in financial matters, would consider the readjustment of the tobacco, duty. The man who at present pays 4s. a pound for his tobacco will have to pay this increased tax of 4d. in the pound just the same as the man who pays 10s. a pound. The Chancellor of the Exchequer will see how very unjustly the burden of that taxation falls on different classes. The man who pays 10s. a pound for his tobacco could very well afford to pay the extra 4d. of duty, or, indeed, an extra 1s.; it would not hurt him, because he must be a man of substance and large 101 income; but it is an unjust allotment of taxation to compel the poor labouring man with only 12s. a week wages to pay the same increase in taxation on his cheap tobacco—which has become almost a necessary of life—as the rich man on his 10s. a pound tobacco. In the case of the income tax the present Chancellor of the Exchequer has done some good service in further scaling that burden. Now, why should he not scale the burden in the case of tobacco? I think I have made my case clear to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I hope that if he cannot do it in this Budget he will give us a promise that he will examine into the matter. It will be remembered that on a previous Budget I voted for a further reduction of the tea duty. Now, that tax is to be increased 50 per cent., and the poor labouring community, both in the towns and rural districts, will pay as much per pound for their common tea as the rich man pays for tea carefully selected and specially picked for his consumption. Although the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not drink tea, he must know that there is an enormous difference between the pleasure obtained in drinking common tea and in drinking the best tea. Now, why should the agricultural labourer on twelve shillings a week pay exactly the same sum to the revenue per pound for his common tea as the man who has an income of £1,000 a year, and can well afford to pay a large price for his high-class tea? It is monstrous, because in many cases tea is the only drink, especially of our peasants and agricultural labourers. I was delighted to hear the appeal which the hon. Baronet the Member for the Uxbridge Division made to his own party and to the Government to see that, while the country intended to continue this war to a successful issue, we should not have to bear the cost of it, not only in the slaughter of our fellow countrymen, but in gold in addition. That is an appeal which will reach the hearts of all classes, whether they are in favour of the war or against it. I was pleased to hear that declaration, because it gives me the opportunity of appealing to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to see that the poor people are not taxed to the same extent as the rich for their tea and tobacco, which are now distinct necessaries of their existence. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had a melancholy duty to perform to-night in announcing the large cost 102 of the war, and the necessity of providing for it in these times of marvellous increase of revenue. He discharged that duty with marked success, and with satisfaction to those who sit opposite him, although I noticed a marked silence prevailing on many benches behind him. I regret the cause of this vastly increased expenditure; but our house, so to speak, is on fire, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer must have the necessary materials to put the fire out, which we hope he will be able to do as soon as possible, and return to the ways of his youth. In the meantime, I do appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to give us some hope that he will entertain the subject I have put before him.
§ *SIR ALBERT ROLLIT (Islington, S.)
thought the House and the country were indebted to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, not only for the proposals he had made, but also for the able speech in which they were explained. A permanent feature of all modern budgets was the death duties, which he had actively supported, although when they were first introduced by the right hon. Member for West Monmouthshire there was a great deal of feeling expressed against them by the party with which he was associated. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had propounded the principle, which underlay the death duties, that the richest should pay most, and that was a principle which on this occasion might have been carried much further by a graduated system of income tax, which would meet some of the objections which had been raised from Ireland. Limited exemptions and graduation were introduced by Sir Stafford Northcote, and the latter might, on the Chancellor's principle, well be carried much further. The only objection which he, as a business man, took to those proposals was that the right hon. Gentleman sought to impose a shilling stamp on brokers' produce contract notes. He could not see why the intervention of a broker should necessarily involve a stamp. On behalf of trade and commerce he would point out that all restrictions on and impediments to trade, however necessary for financial purposes, and however trifling from a pecuniary point of view, were nevertheless evils. This was a tax on industry, and would have a tendency to hamper trade transactions, and should there- 103 fore be reconsidered. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire raised an artificial objection with regard to the payment of an indemnity for the war by the Transvaal. He contended that it was not for the people of this country as a whole to bear the burden of the war, but that those who caused it or profited by its results should pay the most, whether they were Boers or millionaires.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
also complained of the imposition of a shilling stamp on produce contracts, and pointed out that contract stamps in other trades were very different to contract stamps on the Stock Exchange. The people who went to the Stock Exchange were either gamblers or persons who had money to invest. In the former case they should be made to pay and in the latter they could easily afford to. But with regard to the produce markets he contended that the charge of a shilling on small contracts for £5 worth of produce would be very unfair.
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
A contract for £5 worth would only require a penny stamp. For anything less than £100 the charge is only a penny.
§ MR. LOUGH
went on to call attention to the conduct of affairs at the custom houses with regard to the clearance of dutiable articles during the time that had elapsed since the announcement that the Budget would be introduced that night. He pointed out that care had been taken to prevent traders keeping back their clearances, by the fact of the new duties being levied up to August next. The rule no doubt was good, but it applied equally to the other side, and that ought to have been observed by the Treasury, which had not, apparently, acted quite fairly in the matter. At the London Custom House that day men had waited from eleven o'clock in the morning with the object of making clearances at the lower scale of duty, and then at half-past 104 three in the afternoon had been hustled out by twenty policemen without having had an opportunity of effecting any clearances.
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I do not wish to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but no greater facilities were given to-day for clearances than the usual facilities. What happened on Saturday and to-day was that a number of dealers who trade in tobacco and other dutiable commodities, by no means confined to those on which I propose to impose extra taxation, insisted on going to the custom houses in London and all over the country in order to clear goods at the existing rate of duty. The effect of that is that these gentlemen clear goods at the existing rate, and then when the duty is raised to-night they will immediately charge the extra duty to their customers. Thus they "do" their customers and "do" the Revenue, and I am not going to be a party to that operation.
§ MR. LOUGH
said his point was that the notice which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had given as to the promulgation of the increased duty might also have been given as to the introduction of the Budget. He asked the right hon. Gentleman whether the change in the income tax would affect the payments in the year ending the 31st inst.
§ MR. LOUGH
The hon. Member for North Louth had complained about the income tax. The change which the Budget proposals make in the taxation of Ireland was certainly most startling. The addition to the income tax would affect Ireland to the extent of £350,000, the increase of 50 per cent. in the tea duty to the extent of £326,000, the increase of one-eighth in the tobacco duty to the extent of £150,000, and the increase of one-eighteenth in the duties 105 on beer and spirits to the extent of £200,000, making a total increase in the taxation of that country of £1,026,000.
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
The income tax in Ireland is differently assessed from the income tax in Great Britain.
§ *MR. JOHN WILSON (Falkirk Burghs)
urged that it was neither just nor expedient nor necessary that any part of the cost of the war in South Africa should be placed upon the taxpayers of this country. We had cheerfully given our blood and treasure, and had contributed to the various funds which had been started in connection with the war; but it was not necessary that we should do more. The experience of the Franco-German war should be followed, and the Republics made to bear the expense of the war. They had declared war against this country, had invaded our territory and annexed part of it, and ought therefore to stand the consequences. As a practical mine-owner who knew the country, he declared that the Transvaal alone was able to pay the whole cost of the war, even if it were £80,000,000 or £100,000,000. It had been often said by members of the Opposition that this war was a capitalists' war, that it was got up for their benefit and at their instigation. Let that no longer be possible to be said, and let the burden of the cost of the war be put upon the mines—the gold mines principally of the Transvaal, which at present produced one-fourth of the whole output of gold in the world and under a just, and honest, and capable Government instead of a corrupt and dishonest and incapable one like that of President Kruger, would ultimately produce twice more, so that even bearing the burden of the cost of the war, the country would thrive and more fortunes be made than before. He hoped that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, though not present, would be made aware of what he had said.
§ *MR. LOWLES (Shoreditch, Haggerston)
I think the working class constituency which I represent will welcome this Budget as a perfectly reasonable and fair one. They are perfectly willing to pay their fair share of the cost of the war, 106 which they regard as just and righteous, but I hope we shall before this debate closes have an assurance from the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he regards the £35,000,000 as merely a suspense account, and that he really intends that the two countries with which we are in conflict should ultimately pay the cost of the war. I speak with a personal knowledge of the resources of these two countries, and it is not too much to say that at the present moment—
Attention drawn to the fact that there were not forty Members present (Dr. Tanner, Cork County, Mid). House counted, and forty Members being found present,
§ *MR. LOWLES
(continuing): The public lands in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State are worth tens of millions of pounds, and would alone readily provide all the expenses of the war. With regard to contract notes, the tendency in the sales of produce at the present time, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer will see if he looks to the catalogues of Mark Lane and Mincing Lane, is to offer goods in very small lots. He said his proposal was to put a duty of 1s. on contract notes, and while it is true that the right hon. Gentleman has modified that to a 1d. in transactions under £100, I am not quite sure whether, if you consider the multitude of transactions and the smallness of many of them, it will be worth collecting £150,000 a year.
§ MR. SOUTTAR (Dumfriesshire)
I have no desire to obstruct the passing of the resolutions, nor do I think of objecting to the nature of the resolutions themselves. We must all feel that the Budget is an honourable one, and that the right hon. Gentleman has, as far as possible, carried out the best financial principles in connection with it. It is, however, a matter of regret that the duty on tea, at any rate, should have been increased. We have been accustomed to hear Chancellors of the Exchequer state how desirable it would be to have a free breakfast table, and to cease from taxing the necessaries of life. It may not appear to some that tea is a necessary of life, but I have seen enough of the lives of the exceedingly poor especially to know that to them tea is indeed a necessary of existence. There are many places where the poor people take tea morning, noon, and night, and we should, therefore, have the strange 107 anomaly of these exceedingly poor people paying a larger proportion of the tax than the very wealthy; £1,750,000 will come out of the purse of the poor, so that the washerwoman will be paying more than the millionaire in this matter. I am glad the Budget has been spread over many classes. If people are anxious for this war—and I fear a great majority of the population are—they should bear their fair share of the expenditure, and be made to feel the responsibility of going to war by having to pay for it. I trust that something eventually will be done on the lines suggested by the hon. Gentleman opposite—that the money should eventually be raised from the Transvaal Government. I have nothing to say about that at present; I think it would be better to conquer the Transvaal Government before we discuss that sort of thing. But in saying that, let it be clearly understood that the real meaning is not so much to raise the money from the Transvaal Government as to raise it from the mines. I think our mining friends have shown their hands just a little bit too soon. Quite recently it has been clearly laid before us that they expect to profit by this war to the extent of many millions annually. I could have desired that the men who are about to profit should have had a greater share of the fighting, but since that has not been I hope that those who made the quarrels will be made to pay the cost.
§ *MR. LAWRENCE (Liverpool, Abercromby)
I would take issue with the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken. I am a tea-drinker myself, and never drink spirits from year's end to year's end, but I am sure that those who, like myself, are tea-drinkers quite recognise the propriety of tea bearing some measure of this expenditure. It is quite certain that a very large number of the community, like myself, no longer either smoke or drink spirits, and therefore it is quite legitimate that such worthy and excellent people should bear their share of the burdens of this great war. The hon. Gentleman somewhat criticised the action of the mining interest in the Transvaal, and went on to say that they had not done their part of the fighting. As a matter of fact, the Uitlander corps in Natal have done everything that men could do to show of what stuff they are made. They have borne the burden and the heat of the 108 great battles in Natal, and I do not think it lies in the mouth of any Member of this House to say that the mining interests of the Transvaal have not taken their share in the fighting.
§ MR. SOUTTAR
I should be very sorry to be misunderstood. I did not refer to those humble Uitlanders who have taken part in the war, but to the mining speculators and capitalists.
§ *MR. LAWRENCE
As a matter of fact, it is not everybody who can do the fighting. According to their age and period in life these people have done what they could, and certain other gentlemen interested in mining have openly told us that they can bear a considerable share of this cost. I am quite certain they do not desire to shirk their share of the burden any more than those who are younger than themselves have shown any desire to shirk their share of the fighting. But I rose principally to press upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer that when he is putting an increased duty on spirits he ought in justice to the colony of the West Indies to have regard to the old and burning question of the surtax on rum. There is nothing new about this question, but it is a matter which presses very heavily upon the people in the West Indies. In these days when we have already felt how our difficulties in South Africa have been aggravated by the neglect in the past of the mother country towards her colonies in that part of the world, it becomes us here at home while we have time to consider the interests of the West Indies, because they are far separated from us and are only a small community. I should like to remind the Committee how the case stands. I am quite certain that if only the facts were more fully known to the Committee and to the people of England, they would see the propriety of the course which I and many before me have over and over again recommended. The fact is that at present rum proceeding from the West Indies has a special tax upon it, together, I should say, with foreign imported spirits, of four pence per gallon. This is put on as a surtax and as a duty to countervail the excise here on the manufacture of British spirits. That is to say, in order that British spirits may have an equal chance of competing, all spirits coming from the colonies and foreign countries are handicapped and 109 countervailed with a duty equivalent to four pence per gallon. That may be perfectly fair with regard to foreign spirits, but when I remind the Committee that in the West Indian colonies rum is produced under exactly the same regulations as to excise and exactly the same local regulations as British spirits are here, it will be seen that it is obviously a gross injustice to our colonies beyond the seas that they should have to pay an extra tax of fourpence when competing in the local markets here. When the Committee remembers that the legislatures of the West Indies are actually under the thumb of Downing Street, and that all the regulations are subject to the fiat of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies, it will be seen that it is all the more unfair to the West Indies that their local produce should be taxed with this fourpence on the plea that they themselves are not liable to similar excise duties as are British spirits at home. The contraryis the case. They are subject locally to exactly the same excise regulations, equivalent in stringency and amount, as are British spirits here. But yet, directly they come here to compete in the open market, they are taxed fourpence per gallon. The injustice of this is shown more clearly when I inform the Committee that whereas British spirits used for purposes of methylation pay no duty, West Indian ram, which can be used equally for methylating purposes, is subject to this fourpence per gallon, and, in consequence, is practically ruled out of the market for methylation. Then, again, owing to this fourpence, it is very much handicapped for purposes of blending. The Committee will therefore perceive that our fellow-countrymen and fellow-subjects in the West Indies are unduly handicapped in this matter of the fourpence. The feeling in those parts is such that I really cannot exaggerate it, but I will just quote a resolution passed by a conference held at Barbados in 1898. The conference was of delegates from all the islands of the West Indies—This meeting would strongly urge upon the Imperial Government the injustice of the surtax imposed upon colonial ruin, and the abolition of 4d. per gallon. By this means a large quantity of rum would be used for blending.If this was merely a local feeling, though I should still say it was most properly a subject for consideration, I should not, perhaps, so persistently urge the matter in 110 this House—although I think on its merits the people in the West Indies have clearly the best of the case—but the West Indian Commissioners who were sent out a few years ago to examine into the question also said that it was a very great hardship, and that this levy seemed to be unsound in principle, and they strongly advocated the abolition of the surtax. It is frequently very difficult on ordinary occasions to get a reduction of such a duty, but when, as on this occasion, we have a proposal—and, no doubt, generally, a very wise proposal—that there should be an increase of the duty on spirits, I think that the West Indies have every reason now after an interval, again to urge their rightful claim on the people of the mother country that they should have equal opportunities of selling in the British market their home-made spirits. They to not ask for any preferential treatment; they simply say that, inasmuch as they have local excise similar to our own in Great Britain, this fourpence, which is admittedly put on to countervail the local disadvantage of the excise, should be done away with. This matter has been raised over and over again for the last twenty years, but, as a matter of fact, because the people of the West Indies at present are few in number they are thought to be of no consideration. But, according to my humble view, the time may come when the islands of the West Indies will be very much appreciated, owing to the opening of the Panama and Nicaragua Canal, and then their interests will come home to the people of this country. It is all very well for the mother country to wake up at last and find she has neglected her colonies, as we have lately done in South Africa; but it is better that the colonies should be taught to cherish the mother country. They should not be taught to think that because their people are few and they are far away fro the mother country their interests are therefore of no concern. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has on previous occasions said that this is a small matter, and the West Indian Commissioners, I believe, say that if the injustice were removed it would not actually save the sugar industry. But I am prepared to say from my own personal experience that in Jamaica, where the estates are small, and where the profits on an ordinary estate cannot be reckoned at much more than £500 or 111 £600 a year, this fourpence certainly reduced the income of the farmer of sugar by £175 or £200 a year. Even in other islands where rum is not so much a consideration as in Jamaica, where thirty-five gallons of rum are made from every ton of sugar, it will be seen that the difference is very appreciable. While people on the Front Bench, who are accustomed to large incomes, talk about this as being a small consideration, those who know what the small profits of farmers are can see that an amount of £100 a year to the profits on a farm is a very appreciable addition. Therefore I speak with some feeling, because I know how loyal these men of the West Indies are, and how they feel the burning injustice with which their interests have been overlooked for many a long year. I speak with some warmth, because what I say I say with knowledge. I therefore hope that when I venture to put down, as I believe I can, a motion for some modification of the proposal as to the sixpence per gallon on spirits, in favour of it being, say, twopence in the case of rum imported from the West Indies, the right hon. Gentleman will give it his kindly and considerate attention.
§ *MAJOR JAMESON (Clare, W.)
pointed out that in the Budget there was not a word about putting a tax upon the unearned increment of land. As a typical instance the great distilleries of which he was at the head might be taken. They stood upon sixteen acres of land in one place and upon eight acres in another, but while the industry carried on in those distilleries, employing a large number of people, was to be more heavily taxed, not one penny of taxation was proposed to be put upon the ground rents of the landlord. Distilling was one of the few industries left to the people of Ireland, and why should it be taxed in this way while the unearned increment of those who "neither toil nor spin" was allow to go scot free? There was another matter in regard to spirits to which he would like to call attention. According to the Treasury returns, something like 1,600,000 gallons of spirits were annually imported from Denmark, Sweden, and Germany. Those spirits were made from the very refuse of corn, wood, and, it was even said, leather. Those 1,600,000 gallons were supposed to be made into methylated spirits, but only 8,000 gallons were devoted to that purpose. What became of the rest? Did anybody ever hear of a man selling Danish 112 or Swedish spirits, or German whisky? Would the Government deny the fraud? The right hon. Gentleman should get a little expert knowledge of what he was taxing. By all means give the West Indies a chance, but also let it not be forgotten that the heart's blood was being drained from the people of Ireland. Why was not an embargo put upon these imported spirits from Germany, Sweden, and Denmark, instead of this fraud being actually connived at by the Government? They had this great question of the unearned increment of land which was not taxed in any way because hon. Members opposite had all their interests in land, while those who had no land were made to bear the brunt of these wars. The proposals now made had been sprung upon the House, and he would like the Government to have taken more time, and to have thought out some way of raising their money without injuring the Irish people and their trade. It was no use the Government going on increasing taxation on Irish industries without increasing the duties on spirits from Germany, Denmark and Sweden. How long were those foreign whiskies going to be sold in this country as Irish whisky; and yet not one penny extra was to be put upon foreign spirits. He did ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to relieve Ireland of a portion of this burden by putting a large tax on foreign spirits and seeing that a different coloured permit was used for foreign spirits. He thought if the right hon. Gentleman went into the matter he would acknowledge that Ireland had been badly treated, and he looked for his kindly consideration of this question.
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
I shall not attempt to follow the hon. Member who has just sat down in his remarks about foreign spirits. If it is true that they are sold in this country as Irish and Scotch whisky, I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be able to stop that practice. Perhaps the hon. Member opposite will excuse me if I say the large firms to which he alludes do not look as if they were ground down very much by the Saxon. The question of the taxation of land is an old one which I will not discuss upon the present occasion. As regards the Budget itself, I must say that I am glad the Government have had the boldness to put forward a Budget in which all classes are called upon 113 to pay a reasonable and fair share towards the cost of the present war. I am sure that this heavy expenditure has been incurred in a war which is certainly popular, and which is believed to be just by the great bulk of the people, and I am certain that the people themselves are willing and anxious to make an effort to pay the bill. I do not believe in a patriotism which simply shouts and waves flags, and which objects to pay when the bill comes in. I am sure that there has never been such a feeling throughout the country concerning the justice of the war, and the great mass of the people, although they do not like to pay extra taxes, are quite prepared to make any reasonable sacrifice. The only thing I would suggest, if there is any change to be made, is that the duty on spirits should have been 1s. per gallon instead of 6d. Though many of us drink a certain amount of spirits, when you come to think of our enormous alcohol bill—amounting to something like £180,000,000 or £190,000,000 per annum—it does look like a fair subject for taxation. I am not talking of it from a moral standpoint, but if that large sum can be spent in drink in periods of prosperity, it does not look as though we should be overtaxing it by increasing the tax on spirits to 1s. per gallon. I am glad that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has included tea, because I think those persons who do not drink spirits or smoke tobacco, but who drink tea, will be willing and glad to pay a share towards the cost of the war. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire referred to the Transvaal, and he seemed to think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should have stated how much that country was going to pay towards the cost of the war. I agree with the hon. Member for King's Lynn that it will be time enough to go into that question when we have got to Pretoria. I should like to say that, in my judgment, it would be right and proper that the Transvaal should pay a substantial part of the cost of this war; but I do not think it can be said that this is a war simply for the Transvaal, for it is not only the Transvaal but the whole of South Africa that is concerned. I go further, and say that it is a war which concerns the very existence of the great Empire to which we belong. It would be unfair in every sense to require the Transvaal to pay the whole cost, but it 114 would be reasonable, when peace is made, that the Transvaal should be required to pay something. I believe that the great mass of the capitalists of that colony will be willing to pay a fair share provided they can only secure a stable, fair, and just government. I am convinced that the revenue from the Transvaal will be sufficient to pay over and over again the interest on a large loan, and I do not see any reason why that should not be done. It was my good fortune to be in the Transvaal when the war broke out, and I do say most emphatically that a great number of the Uitlanders have done excellent work in the war. I saw the Imperial Light Horse, who have taken such a prominent part in the defence of Ladysmith. A great many of those men came down from Johannesburg with me, and they enrolled themselves, and have been fighting for us against the Transvaal up to the present time. Mr. Davis and Mr. Sampson are two of them, and both are officers who have been seriously wounded in this war. Concerning the loan which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has given rather mysterious hints about, I hope he will take this opportunity of making use of this loan as an experiment for enabling persons to obtain smaller sums, for this has been a very popular system in France and other places. We have done a great deal by opening Consols in small sums, and this has been most advantageous in the development of thrift and financial arrangements amongst the poorer classes, and I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be able to see his way to divert some of the funds which now go in other directions to encouraging deposits of very small sums. It will require some care, but I think something may be done, and the result will be that he will get the money practically at par and without many of the disadvantages of forming a large and permanent loan. I also agree with the right hon. Gentleman in having it a short loan. One of the mistakes we made in our National Debt has been the making it a permanent debt, for it would have been quite as easy and practicable for it to have been made a terminable debt extending over a considerable period of years. The difference is almost infinitesimal, and in future it would be better to make these loans of a terminable nature. The Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes this year to suspend the operation of the Sinking Fund. He made considerable 115 alterations in this fund last year, and I was one of those who strongly objected to it. I opposed it then, and I always shall do under those circumstances. I think it was a mistake to do it last year, and I think so still. But this year the circumstances are quite different, and this seems to be a reasonable and proper time for suspending the operation of the Sinking Fund. It seems to me to be one of the great objects of this Sinking Fund that it produces elasticity, and I quite approve of the step which has been taken this year. The only other point that I wish to refer to is the question of the death duties. Although I objected to some of the details of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire's scheme when he brought it in in the year 1894, I have always approved of the system of these death duties. It seems reasonable in every way that these enormous fortunes should contribute a larger proportion than they have hitherto done to the taxation of the country, and I cannot conceive of a stronger case than the one instanced to-day of a man living all his life on a small sum and leaving millions behind him, I think it is only right that a large portion of that money should come to the State. This system has been so beneficial to the State that it seems to me that at the present moment we might be more merciful in making remissions in certain cases. In the year 1894 I moved an Amendment to the effect that those persons who were killed in the service of the Crown and belonging either to the Army or the Navy should have their estates exempt from the death duties if they were of small amount. Inasmuch as the Chancellor of the Exchequer has derived £17,500,000 from these death duties, I hope he will be able on this occasion—looking to the interests of those of our fellow subjects who have been killed in this war—to consider favourably the granting of some relief to those estates the owners of which have been killed in the prime of life. I am sure the loss to the revenue would be very slight, and it is very hard indeed for the widow of an officer who leaves £2,000 or £3,000 behind him if she is called upon to pay these heavy death duties. I hope he will consider favourably an Amendment which I shall put down in order to bring about a change in this respect. Taking the Budget scheme as a whole, I think we 116 may fairly say it meets the wants of the time. It takes a considerable part of the cost of the war out of present taxation, which is right and proper. I myself do not object to it being taken out of the present or coming year, because I feel quite sure that the public are willing to do what is necessary at the present moment, and I am sure that it is always wise when we have to incur large expenditure to face it boldly, because when we look into the facts there is no question that this nation, whatever our faults may be, is the lightest taxed nation in the world. I think we should be prepared to pay the whole cost of this war during the life of the present generation. I am glad to see that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has spread the taxation over all classes of the community, so that every class will bear its fair proportion of the cost of this war.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
There is a great deal I admire in the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, although he did not seem to be a strong enthusiast in favour of the war. I admire his observations in regard to the monstrous and preposterous proposals that appeared in The Times this morning, that we should expend permanently £20,000,000 per annum upon the Army and Navy. If we were to do that what would become of old age pensions and all other social reforms? All our money would go in military expenditure. The right hon. Gentleman laid down certain principles about the mode in which the money for the war should be obtained, and said he wished the war mainly to be carried on upon a cash basis. I cheered those sentiments, but I am bound to say that I did not find that the right hon. Gentleman, when he came to the details, entirely carried out his own excellent principles. He told us that at the commencement of the great French War we borrowed I forget how many millions of money, and afterwards raised a very large amount of the money by taxation.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
The amount was £391,000,000 which was raised, and one-third of the amount of the cost of that war was raised by taxation. In the Crimean War the right hon. Gentleman 117 gave us figures and said it had cost us £67,000,000, and of this sum £32,000,000 had been raised by taxation. That is almost one half. Then he told us that this war, counting the expenditure which he anticipates will be the minimum for the present year, will cost £60,000,000. He has been impressing upon us what was done in the cases of the French War and the Crimean War, but is he now going to raise one half? Instead of proposing to raise this one half he proposes to raise £14,000,000, and that is not one half, in fact, it is not one quarter. Why did he not stand to those principles which he so much admired in Mr. Pitt? I think he will admit that there is as light difference between his principles and his practice. He laid down another sound principle, that everybody should pay proportionately towards the cost of this war, and he made a difference between the income tax on the rich and indirect taxes which are supposed to weigh more heavily upon the poor. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned tea. Tea costs roundly 1s. per pound with the duty. The right hon. gentleman increases the duty on tea by twopence; in other words, he increases the cost of tea to the poor by one sixth. Then he went on to tax beer and spirits, and said he was going to levy 1s. upon a barrel of beer. Now, what does a barrel of beer cost? It costs 36s.; that is to say, he only increases the tax on beer by one thirty-sixth. Whisky costs about £1 a gallon with the duty, and he adds 6d. to that, which only increases the tax upon it by one fortieth. So that the poor tea drinker is obliged to pay one sixth more on his beverage, the beer drinker one thirty-sixth more, and the spirit drinker one fortieth more. I want to know why this distinction is made between the person who drinks tea and the person who drinks beer or spirits. Why does not the right hon. Gentleman stand to his grand principle that every person is to be taxed proportionately for this war? I hope, for my part, there will be a division against this increase in the tax on tea. I am opposed to it myself, and I stand to that fine old principle "a free breakfast table." [Ministerial laughter.] We have actually now got to this point, that absolutely the soundest principle of Liberalism is laughed and jeered at. Reading an article in The Times, I saw this principle referred to as absolute clap-trap. That is the difference between us, for Gentlemen 118 opposite think it is clap-trap, while we think it is a sound principle, but we will leave the country to judge between us. I have always voted for a reduction of the duty on tea, and I have always urged that there should be no duty on tea at all. There is a wide difference between drinkers of beer and spirits and the drinkers of tea. Beer and spirits are certainly luxuries, for nobody is obliged to drink them, but practically almost every person is obliged to drink tea or coffee. Tea is essentially the beverage of the very poor, and it is the beverage of every honest old woman in the country. Tea is a domestic institution which exists in almost every family throughout the country. Even taking the poorest people in our workhouses, tea is what the old women want, and there is very often a dispute among the guardians whether they should have more or less of it. If you add this twopence there will be a large number of highly respectable poor persons who will have to go without this very essential beverage, and I really think the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have done well to have left it alone. We have always protested against any duty on tea, and we ought to protest against it if we remain true to that grand old principle "the free breakfast table." The Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes to raise £6,000,000 by the income tax. I almost regret that when the right hon. Gentleman dwelt so long upon the exemptions to the income tax he did not seize the opportunity of making that tax more fair to those who have to pay it. I should have thought that he would have made the tax larger upon incomes derived from investments and less upon incomes derived from trades and professions. This would have been an exceedingly good opportunity to do so. The income tax ought to be paid upon the spending income, and until you make this distinction between income from investments and income from trades and professions the injustice will remain. I notice that hon. Members opposite have not been very enthusiastic over this Budget, and there was a sad silence amongst them when they heard that these poor old women were to be taxed on their tea. Coming events cast their shadows before, and everyone has united in telling the Chancellor of the Exchequer that they cordially agree with him in thinking that the Transvaal millionaires ought to pay a very great deal 119 of money towards this war. The hon. Gentleman who preceded me told us that they were prepared to pay willingly and cheerfully. They may have virtues of which I am ignorant, but certainly if they wish to pay increased taxation they have more virtues than ordinary human beings.
§ MR. BARTLEY
What I said was that they would cheerfully pay for a free, proper, and pure government.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
What is a pure government? I am afraid if I attempt to discuss the abstract question of what a pure government is that I will be called to order. I will only say that I would be perfectly happy to vote for any proposal that these millionaires should pay any amount of money for the benefits they have derived from the war. I saw, in the report of the Goldfields Company's meeting, that they anticipated making by the war two and a half millions per annum. If that is so, there must be plenty of money, and I hope we shall shear them as closely as we possibly can, whether they like it or not. I have only risen to express my admiration for a great deal of the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and in doing so I ventured to make these slight criticisms on the manner in which he has carried out his own excellent principles.
§ SIR J. A. WILLOX (Liverpool, Everton)
I desire to say, without discussing general principles, that I think the experience of the Chancellor of the Exchequer must be that tinkering with the tobacco duty is a dangerous and mischievous policy. For nearly sixty years the tobacco duty remained fixed at 3s. 3d. per pound, and during that period there was a gradual and steady development of the trade which yielded constantly increasing revenue to the Exchequer. The first break in that long period was made by Sir Stafford Northcote, when he raised the duty by 4d. The result was most injurious. He checked the progress and development of the trade, and the trade did not yield the revenue expected by the Exchequer. Since then there has been a tendency not only to alter the duty, but to take charge of the processes of manufacture. These experiments have not been at all successful. First of all moisture was limited to 35 per cent., and afterwards to 30 per cent., 120 and now there is another change of duty. I think, perhaps, there is no stronger evidence of the purely theoretical and experimental character of these changes than in the last two Budgets of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In 1898 the Chancellor of the Exchequer anticipated that there would be a great increase in the consumption of tobacco, and he predicted that there would be an improvement in the quality of the tobacco sold to the public, and also a reduction in the price. Last year, after having a year's experience, he said:I do urge the Committee to give the experiment a fair trial in the interest of the revenue. I do assure them of my complete conviction that if they will do they will reap from it a golden harvest in the future by increased consumption."*Now, as a matter of fact, these confident hopes have been entirely disappointed. There has been no increase of a substantial character in the consumption, or at any rate no increase sufficient to compensate for a reduction in the duty, and I think all experience tends to show that it would be much better for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to have continued a uniform system of fixed duty without disturbing the trade, or in any way attempting to regulate or control it. With reference to the system now promulgated, of adding fourpence to the duty, I think it is unfortunate. The figure will be entirely indivisible among the masses of the people who are large consumers of tobacco. As a rule the working man buys his tobacco by the ounce or the half ounce, and we know that fourpence on sixteen ounces will enable neither the manufacturer nor the retailer to divide it up into ounces or half ounces. An hon. Gentleman suggests that a farthing per ounce would be the exact equivalent of fourpence per pound, but all experience shows that farthings are not in practice current coins of the realm, and it will therefore be impossible to divide the sum. There is one respect, at all events, in which the trade ought to regard the present arrangement with satisfaction. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has not again attempted to alter the modes and regulations of manufacturers. Two years ago there was a change in the limit of moisture, and the trade is just now beginning to settle down*See The Parliamentary Debates [Fourth Series], Vol. lxix., p. 1021.121 to the new condition of things after having been engaged on a very difficult and complex problem, and it ought to be grateful that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, although he has changed the duty, has not attempted to aggravate that change by interfering with the process of manufacture. I think those who calculate that this change in duty will be a direct benefit to the working man will be grievously disappointed. It is more than probable that while the Chancellor of the Exchequer has increased the duty by an amount which in theory is equal only to a farthing per ounce, in practice the consumer may be required to pay an extra halfpenny per ounce. This is not, I think, the desire of the manufacturers, but at the same time it is difficult to see how a retailer will be able to practically divide the amount among small buyers. I hope that the experience of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer and of his predecessors will be taken as a caution against unduly interfering with the trade. We know from a very long experience that with a fixed duty there had been progress in the development of business, and that changeable and capricious innovations have not proved beneficial to the public, but have proved detrimental to the revenue and inconvenient to the manufacturer. At the same time, I am bound to say that the change now proposed is as equitable as could have been devised, seeing that it is desired to impose on all classes of the community a proportion of the increased taxation. It seems to me that those who use tobacco are fair subjects for taxation, and whether the amount is 4d. or more, they at any rate will not object to it. My criticism is that the amount of the change is such that it is not divisible among the great mass of consumers, and that either the consumer will have to pay an increased amount or the manufacturer will be unduly taxed in his production.
§ MR. KEARLEY (Devonport)
As regards the complaint of the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, it would be well for the Committee to remember what happened when the remission of the tobacco duty took place. The hon. Member complains that the present amount will not be divisible, and that the consumer or else the manufacturer will have to pay. Let us consider what has happened during the last few years. The tobacco manufacturers absolutely appro- 122 priated in the most barefaced manner 75 per cent. of the remission which was kindly handed over to them as a free gift by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The consumers had no advantage whatever, and of all the increases in duty in this Budget there is none which I am more pleased to see than the increase in the tobacco duty. The position will now be that the consumer will be no worse off, and the manufacturer will have to pay. The manufacturer has appropriated the remission for the last two years, and it was the coolest and most deliberate appropriation I have ever heard of. Within a week of the Budget statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer two years ago all these great manufacturers of tobacco met together. I think the hon. Gentleman was present at that meeting—
§ MR. KEARLEY
Some member of the firm with which the hon. Member is connected was present. Three meetings were held almost simultaneously, and the point which the hon. Gentleman takes now that it was impossible to give the concession to the public because it could not be divided was taken, and the manufacturers agreed to keep it themselves. The hon. Member for Northampton complained about the increase on tea, and he held up the boon of a free breakfast table. A free breakfast table is a very nice thing when remissions are being distributed, but it would be impossible to urge a free breakfast table when such a large amount of taxation is required for the purposes of the war. I should like to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on his courage in distributing the whole of this taxation over all classes of the community. That is one of the most cheerful features of this Budget. From my experience I would say that there will be no objection whatever to the tea duty. [Several HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!] I exclude Ireland because I am not in a position to speak regarding it, but there will be no ill feeling at all in this country, and everyone will gladly pay. You cannot have war without paying taxation, and I think the distribution is a very fair one; if only one class were taxed they would be certain to be grumbling. I would also congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on having wisely kept to well-tried revenue producers, not diving to the right or to the left for items 123 on which to levy taxation. He has very wisely kept to those revenue producers which are certain to realise expectations, and as regards which with existing machinery the cost of collection will not be increased. Of course, putting on or taking off duty sometimes upsets a trade, but we have to put up with that. To impose new duties, however, such as on sugar, would create a very strong feeling. The right hon. Gentleman was very wise, I think, and I must congratulate him on adhering to the regular revenue producers. The position as between direct and indirect taxation has been almost one of equality, the direct taxation being 48 per cent. and the indirect 52 percent. of revenue collected. Now the balance will be altered and indirect taxation will in future realise five and a half millions, whereas direct taxation will realise six and a half millions, which is not, however, a very serious difference. The only criticism I have to make refers to the stamps on produce, brokers' contracts. I anticipate that the right hon. Gentleman will not realise £150,000 on produce brokers' contracts. A stockbroker's contract must pass with each transaction; it is the basis of the whole thing; but there is no obligation on either side with reference to a produce brokers' contract; it is merely a matter of courtesy between broker and dealer, and the effect of the change will be that no contracts will be passed, and consequently the estimate will not be realised. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will realise the difference between a stockbroker's contract and a produce-broker's contract. The former must pass and is indispensable, but the latter is purely optional. It is the custom, I admit, but I think contracts will not in future pass if they have to be stamped. That is an item which the right hon. Gentleman would be almost wise in striking out. I think it will not realise £20,000, and that the right hon. Gentleman's expectations will be disappointed. My views with reference to indirect taxation have changed materially since labour has been so well employed and wages have risen throughout the country generally. The working classes now expect to contribute something. Taking the whole Budget proposals in their entirety, I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer has hit a very happy medium, and that everyone will be satisfied. As to the 124 South African question, there is a general feeling in the country that South Africa ought to contribute something to the expenses of the war. It is somewhat premature to suggest as to how it should be levied—one must catch his hare before he can cook it. I do not think, however, that the matter will be overlooked, and if the South African contribution takes the form of a considerable sum annually, it ought to be sufficient to pay the interest on the money borrowed for the war. I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on his Budget, which I think will meet with approval throughout the length and breadth of the land.
§ *MR. McCRAE (Edinburgh, E.)
I desire to enter my humble protest against one or two of the proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I have also one or two suggestions to make. I am new to the proceedings of the House and new to its Ministers, but after reading an article in the Morning Post this morning, where the Chancellor of the Exchequer was described as a man of flexile policy, I thought there was some chance of my suggestions being considered. I must confess, however, that the Budget of the right hon. Gentleman is one that does not indicate he bears the character which that paper gave him. I think many of his proposals are proposals worthy of a Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer. When the right hon. Gentleman made a financial statement in October he laid down the lines of his future financial policy with regard to the war, and he indicated that those lines would not be affected either by the extent or duration of the war. He said—I have in what I have said formed perhaps an unduly favourable anticipation of the end of this war. It may be so, but even if my anticipations should not be realised, even if we should meet with reverses, and if the war has to be prolonged, and if the sum voted on Friday should be but a part of what we shall have to pay, then we shall appeal to the patriotism of the people next April, and we shall rely that those who have supported us so loyally in the prosecution of this war will not fail us when the proper time comes to pay the bill.I wish to analyse the present proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the light of that declaration, and I wish to ask whether he is relying sufficiently on the patriotism of the people. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer must have approached his Budget to- 125 night under the shadow of a great crime—that financial Jameson raid which the right hon. Gentleman made on the Sinking Fund last year, which, unlike its prototype was unfortunately successful, and by which he immediately annexed £2,000,000 for the contributions to the Sinking Fund, for the reduction of the National Debt. I rather think the right hon. Gentleman must regret the action he then took.
§ *MR. McCRAE
Then I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman is acting on the apostolic principle that he is sinning that grace may much more abound. In the position we are now faced with, I cannot understand the right hon. Gentleman saying that he does not look back with regret on the course he then took. The right Gentleman himself described the Sinking Fund as a reserve in time of emergency. Surely when he reduced that reserve he was doing something which handicapped him in producing his Budget. He ought to feel that he would be all the better if he had that £2,000,000 now. I also think that he aggravated his offence by anticipating the revenues which are to fall in. He anticipated the terminal annuities which were to fall in in 1902, and also the Chancery annuities which were to fall in in 1904.
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I did not anticipate the Chancery annuities; but the hon. Member is quite right as regards the other annuities.
§ *MR. McCRAE
The right hon. Gentleman gave these as his reasons why the contribution to the Sinking Fund should be reduced by two millions; but I was very much surprised to-night to find that the same sums were mentioned as an excuse for not making provision for the re-payment of the amount which the right hon. Gentleman is going to borrow. Now, I think that is a departure from the principles of sound finance, and if you make a departure from any principle, sooner or later it will bring its own punishment; and in none sooner than in the region of finance. I think the right hon. Gentleman has met to-night with a certain part of that punishment. I am astonished that the right hon. Gentleman does not realise that when he was gaily drawing his bills on posterity, he little 126 thought before the financial year was closed he would require to draw this larger Bill for sixty millions. Now, what is the nature of the proposals which the right hon. Gentleman has submitted to-day? I think he is on sound lines when he says that all classes ought to bear a share of this war expenditure; but I do think that the allocation of that expenditure might have been somewhat different. The addition of 2d. per lb. on tea is a proposal to which, I think, those who sit on this side of the House, if they are true to the principles they have always professed, should give their most strenuous opposition. I would suggest that the right hon. Gentleman, instead of putting 2d. per lb. on tea, might have met his views with regard to taxing fairly the different sections of the community by taxing the classes through the income tax, and the masses through the liquor duties and tobacco. If the right hon. Gentleman had proposed an additional shilling per gallon on spirits and an extra 2d. on tobacco that would have given him £1,550,000 against £1,800,000 which he will get from the duty on tea. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will consider that it would be an act of justice to abolish the tea duty altogether. I quite concede that the present time, when we are levying new and increased taxes, is not the time to propose a reduction in any duty; but I do say that that would be only an act of justice, and one with which some future Chancellor of the Exchequer must deal. I think the House is entitled to some more information in regard to the proposal to raise thirty-five millions by way of loan. I remember in the autumn session the right hon. Member for West Monmouth declared that no proposal had ever been made to raise money without making some provision for its redemption. I was astonished that the Chancellor of the Exchequer made no such provision to-night. The right hon. Gentleman is depending, no doubt, on getting some of the money from the Transvaal. Still, I think it hardly fair to borrow thirty-five millions without making any provision at all for its liquidation, more especially when the Sinking Fund is to be suspended to the extent of four millions this year. I would also submit that the increase of our ordinary expenditure is so alarming that the Chancellor of the Exchequer might have taken a still bolder course than he has proposed to the 127 House. In his Budget statement last year he stated that the increase in ordinary expenditure had been nineteen millions in four years, and that if this rate of increase is to continue Parliament and the country must make up their minds not only to a large increase in the existing taxes, but also to the discovery of new and productive sources of revenue. These were weighty utterances, and I should have hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would have come a little nearer to new proposals which some Chancellor of the Exchequer must deal with. The right hon. Gentleman has a new source of revenue lying ready to his hand; and if it is not tapped by him it will be by some future Chancellor of the Exchequer. It has already been indicated that town lands ought to be taxed. [Laughter.] I know that some hon. Members look upon that as a visionary proposal; but all proposals are visionary until they take shape and form; and while this country is slow to consider new methods of taxation I think the House will find that the country is in advance of the opinions of politicians on this matter, and that the people are ready, and will press, for a more equitable distribution of taxation. This is a matter with which Parliament will be forced to deal. We have allowed one class in the country to shift their obligations on to the shoulders of others. It was done by Sir Robert Peel in the case of the Corn Laws, and it was done by the Agricultural Rating Act. Here let me say there is another source from which the right hon. Gentleman might draw, because when a discussion took place in this House on the taxation of town lands, the First Lord of the Admiralty said that the Agricultural Rating Bill was only going to last for five years. I hope it will not be renewed. There again, therefore, the Chancellor of the Exchequer might look for a source of revenue. This question is one of enormous possibilities, of which it is almost impossible to foresee the end. We know that the land tax is levied on an old valuation of 1698, and that it is 4s. in the £ on that valuation; but if you were to put the tax on the true valuation of the land it would bring in about forty millions per annum. Now, there is a source of revenue which I am sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer will feel deeply indebted to Members on this side of the House for bringing before 128 him. A tax of 2s. in the £ on the true value of land will bring in an annual revenue of twenty millions. This is not the time to discuss the question of the taxation of land values—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"]—but I put that before the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I say that any gentleman who occupies the position which the right hon. Gentleman does, is in duty bound to look to all the available sources of revenue, especially when the country is met with a large demand on its taxable capacity. I had hoped that the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman would have been more suited to the temper of the nation, and that we should have had a bolder scheme of taxation adapted to the nation's need, and worthy of this great Empire.
§ MR. COHEN (Islington, E.)
I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the courageous and statesmanlike Budget which he has submitted to us this afternoon, and I entirely approve of what I consider his sound decision in asking the House to place their confidence in him, and to give him entire liberty in regard to the placing of the loan he proposes to raise. I believe the House and the country will approve of his desire to attract small investors to become fund-holders of the State. We would all be glad if small investors were to become more of fund-holders and less of depositors. I wish to say a word on behalf of a class for whom we have not heard a word to-day; I mean the income tax payers. I do not wish to reduce the demand which the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to make on the millionaires and the rich income tax payers. That is a class of the community which neither deserves, nor, I believe, asks for any sympathy. But there is no class of the community which in times of peace has to pay to the State a thirtieth of its income, and in times of war a twentieth of its income, like the income tax payers. I do not say that 1s. in the £ is a large income tax in this unhappy war period. I entirely approve of the distribution which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made of the taxes he desires to impose. In my opinion he has distributed them equitably on all classes of the community, and by all classes of the community will these taxes be cheerfully and contentedly paid. But I do hope that when my right 129 hon. friend occupies the position he now adorns in more happy—I cannot say more prosperous—times he will remember that he has now added 4d. in the £ to that tax.
§ *MR. MADDISON (Sheffield, Brightside)
I wish to refer to the speech of the hon. Member for Devonport, who spoke with an assurance which I personally envied as to the opinion of the working classes in regard to this war, and the payment of the costs of this war. I do not deny his right to do so, but I think that his estimate of their zeal and enthusiasm to bear the burdens of this war is slightly exaggerated. To him everything seems the best in the best of all possible worlds. Speaking for himself, I think he was quite right to do so. I should probably do the same under similar circumstances. Still, the hon. Member, who had described the anxiety of the working classes to be taxed for the war, at once assured the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he had made one serious mistake in increasing the stamp duty on produce contracts. He said he felt sure, speaking from his own experience as a business man, that that source of revenue would nearly fail, because it was not absolutely necessary to make these contracts, and therefore he said, "You may be sure these business men will not pay the stamp duty." Now, I think that is an exalted form of patriotism that we all can appreciate. With all respect to the hon. Member, as the representative of commercial men—who, it seems, will dodge the duty on produce contracts for the love of their country—I regard him as better qualified to speak for them than to voice in a very general and confident manner the opinion of the working classes of the country. I am a little agitated about the peculiar things we get on this side of the House occasionally. But that is not all. The hon. Member, with the same confidence, expressed his delight that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had depended upon the regular revenue producer. There is financial reform for you! There is the old rut if you like! Let the broad back of labour and industry bear the regular burden of the revenue! Good sound Tory economics on the wrong side of the House! But is not this talk about bearing the equality of the burden of this war a little fallacious? I am not going to say for the moment whether the 130 benefits received from this war will be equal over all classes; but look for a moment as to whether the burden of taxation is equal under ordinary conditions. If it is taken for granted, as the hon. Member does, that the present system of taxation is so very fair and equal, then by no means allow the burden on the regular producer of revenue to be relieved. But I submit that times like these might be used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer for striking out on some new and permanent lines by which you might readjust the burden of taxation. I am no authority on finance, I need not say; but there are illustrious predecessors in the office—I say it sincerely—so worthily held by the right hon. Gentleman who have taken times of stress for proposing reforms which have lasted through the years of peace. There is not a man in this House who heard the able statement of the right hon. Gentleman with greater pleasure than I did. I also had read some of the fantastic proposals to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. But there are hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House who have remedies of their own which would interfere with the trade and industry of the country, and I therefore was very pleased that the right hon. Gentleman had not been led in his Budget proposals into these dangerous byeways. This question of equality of burden must be looked at a little closer. We have had for five years the great advantage of a Tory Government with a powerful majority. ["Hear, hear!" from the Government benches.] That is right; you would not be there if you did not agree with that. But I want to appeal to someone else besides hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. We have had five years of Tory Government with a great majority. Well, how many taxes have been remitted? We have been told over and over again that these have been five years of almost unexampled prosperity. [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!] Exactly; our great trade has grown up by leaps and bounds; the condition of affairs has been good. Well, if we are not going to get a re-adjustment of taxation under these circumstances, when shall we get it? [An HON. MEMBER: There is no taxation.] Sir, I am in the House of Commons, and not in a debating society in a public-house. I say we have had five years of unexampled prosperity, and, with the one exception of the miserable failure in the 131 case of the tobacco duty, not a single penny has been remitted in taxation. If we are not going to get remission of taxation and re-adjustment of burdens in times of prosperity, when are we going to got them? This is a very serious matter, but it is not half the case. Not only has there been no remission of taxation or a lightening of the burdens on the bent back of a single labourer in this London of yours, with his wages of £1 per week, but in order that the Government might convince the working man absolutely and completely that they had befooled him with their promises, they are actually giving doles to the richer classes of the community. A large part of these doles are going to the landowners, and the Tory Government have actually relieved taxation in the very places where they ought to have increased it. After all, this is a fitting conclusion to a Government like this. They began with promises to the working classes, and have ended with burdensome taxation on them. When I listened to the right hon. Gentleman's statement there was one consoling feature in it, on which we, on this side of the House, can congratulate ourselves. He admitted that the right hon. Member for West Monmouth by his great Finance Act had tapped a source of revenue that would never have been tapped by the hon. Gentleman opposite, and that there was this year an increase of £2,250,000 in the death duties. I venture to say that when people talk about laying the burden of taxation equally, let them get the revenue returns and see what proportion of the people do not come under the death duties at all. The great masses of the people have not a hundred pounds to leave when they die. These are the real Uitlanders. They have no land and no property, and although they love their country, it is not for what the country does for them. They have to be somewhere, and they are here. Yes; and it is that class which has ultimately to bear the burden of taxation. The capitalist can easily adapt himself to almost any situation; but the workman, and especially the poor workman not protected by his union, for whom I am particularly speaking, has out of his misery to bear the equal burden of a war which will not benefit him or his children one penny, and from which you will not get satisfaction or national honour. This is a capitalists' war; let them pay 132 for it, and then there might be equality of burden with equality of benefit. The hon. Member for North Islington said that with stable and just government in the Transvaal it might bear some of the cost of this War. Mr. Hays Hammond, a great authority, used precisely the same words. But what did he say would happen? The wages of the Kaffirs were to be reduced by half, and in a short time the wages of white labour would be reduced also. My class cannot own gold mines, they can only work in them, and that is the result. Now the hon. Member for Islington is going to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to remit half or the whole of the death duties in the cases of the officers who have died in South Africa. The chivalry of our officer's has been worthy of their traditions, but is not this an index of the spirit of the times when hon. Members become enthusiastic about the widows of officers, but how about the widow of the Reservist, who may never have received more than a guinea in his life? You dragged him away to fight a war which he knew nothing about, and you give his widow a more pittance. I am astonished that the hon. Member could make such a suggestion without coupling with it that some substantial assistance should be given to those who, of all the sufferers by this war, have to bear the heaviest burden. The taxation of this country is unequal and presses hardest where it can be the least easily borne, and when hon. Gentlemen talk of direct and indirect taxation they must compare taxation with the amount of income a man receives. A shilling to a dock labourer in London is more to him than many pounds to some Gentlemen in this House. The Transvaal committed the crime of making gold mines pay, but you not only make the poor of this country pay in bone and sinew but in money as well. It used to be a Liberal tradition that in taxation you should differentiate between necessities and luxuries, and in this respect I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer might have avoided what I must respectfully call a blot on his Budget. Tea is a necessity of the poor, and not alone of the poor, but their children. No man would like to see a child drink beer or whisky, but all are glad to see them drink tea, and by imposing a further tax upon tea the right hon. Gentleman has laid a great burden on the multitude of the children of the poor, who have to suffer silently, 133 having no voice in this House. If there is a division upon the proposed extra duty on tea, I shall vote against it.
§ MR. J. W. WILSON (Worcestershire, N.)
desired to congratulate the Chancellor of the Exchequer on his Budget and the manner in which he had explained it to the House. The right hon. Gentleman had brought home the fact that war could not be made without taxation, and he had distributed that taxation in a very far way. One of the best checks to the patriotism of the nation was that a war should be directly connected with the taxation of the country; but that fact had been almost forgotten by the present generation. In this particular case the nation as a whole was ready, if not willing, to respond to the call made upon it, and on that account it was exceedingly satisfactory to find that the right hon. Gentleman had seen his way to raise a great portion of the cost of this war by direct taxation, though no doubt in that direction he might have gone a great deal further. Speaking of the conduct of the colonies in regard to the war, the hon. Gentleman hoped that it would not be long before some Chancellor of the Exchequer, if not the right hon. Gentleman then occupying the position, would see his way to recognise the loyalty and patriotism of the colonies in some substantial manner, and suggested that colonial loans should be constituted trustees securities.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
My contribution to the debate shall be of the briefest possible character, chiefly because it seems to me that very few words are necessary to make clearly understood by the House the attitude the Irish Members take on this question. I listened with considerable interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Devonport, and, like the hon. Member who has spoken from this side of the House, I was rather amused at the confident way in which he spoke of the desire of the working classes to bear this additional taxation. Of course I have no right and no desire to speak in the name of the working classes of this country. I may be allowed, however, to say this: If I were an Englishman or an English Member who approved of this war I would give a hearty support to the Budget of the right hon. Gentleman. I do not believe, for myself, that the working classes of this country, speaking of them as a whole, do approve of this war. I may be entirely 134 wrong in that; it is only an expression of opinion, but it is some consolation to me, holding that opinion, to hear speeches like that delivered by the right hon. Gentleman near me, who, as far as I can make out, has more right and title to speak in the name of the working classes of this country than the hon. Member for Devonport. The position of Ireland in this matter is perfectly plain. We are asked to vote additional taxation in order to carry on a war which the overwhelming majority of the Irish people regard as immoral and unjust. And the position of Irish Members in this House would be ridiculous if on an occasion of this kind they, by every means in their power, did not protest against a Budget of this kind. That is the first position we take. We object to this additional load of taxation, because we are against the war, and on that broad ground we are bound by voice and vote to oppose this Budget. But, Sir, we take another ground of opposition altogether. The hon. Member who has spoken just now near me ridiculed the idea that the burden of taxation fell equally upon all classes in this country. If that be true of England, it is still more true of Ireland. What is the fact? Of the total taxation of Great Britain, only 48 per cent., as I recollect the figures, is indirect taxation, but in Ireland the proportion of indirect taxation is 78 per cent. Therefore, whenever you increase, as you propose by this Budget, the taxation in the way you now propose, you hit the poorer classes in Ireland to a larger extent than you hit the poorer classes in England. Some few years ago a Royal Commission in this country, composed of the most eminent economists and statisticians of the day, gave a verdict on the question of the taxation of Ireland to the effect that Ireland was overtaxed to the extent of nearly £3,000,000 a year. At that time the taxation of Ireland was only seven and a half millions. During the years that have passed, the taxation has steadily increased. This session during the debate on the Address an Amendment was moved raising this question, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his reply founded himself upon figures which showed that the total taxation of Ireland was something over £8,000,000 a year. This Budget proposes to increase the load of taxation in Ireland to over £9,000,000 a year, and it is no answer to us to say that the taxation of Great 135 Britain is at the same time proportionately increased, if it were true; because while during these years the prosperity of Great Britain has increased by leaps and bounds, admittedly the prosperity of Ireland and the population of Ireland have declined. No Englishman could have listened without a thrill of pride to the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to the enormous strides in industrial activity and prosperity made by this country during the last few years. By increasing the taxation on spirits you are perpetuating and increasing the injustice which originally was put upon Ireland in 1853 by the legislation of Mr. Gladstone. At that time, when Ireland was suffering from the effects of the famine, which had destroyed her prosperity and thinned her population, this legislation, at one fell swoop, doubled the taxation. From that day to this it has gone on from bad to worse; and to-day by putting this additional tax on Irish spirits you are perpetuating and increasing this injustice. The same thing applies to tea and to the increase in the tobacco duty. I think myself that the fairest way of providing the cost of this war, from an English point of view, is by the income tax, but what is the position in Ireland? It was first applied to Ireland in 1853 by Mr. Gladstone, who expressly stated that it was only to apply to Ireland for seven years, and that during those seven years she would get compensation for the imposition of the tax by the consolidated annuities. The consolidated annuities amounted to an annual payment by Ireland of £250,000 a year, and the first year the income tax was applied to Ireland she had to pay half a million. The income tax has never been taken off Ireland since, although something like 30 millions of money has been raised to pay that tax in the country, and yet there is now a proposal to increase it. It is true that the amount of increased income tax raised in Ireland by these proposals is only some £300,000 or £400,000 a year, which in itself is a proof of the poverty of the country, and the fact that this has been one of those sources of income which has gone on diminishing year after year is another proof of the declining prosperity of the country. For all these reasons, it is impossible for the Irish Members to take any other attitude than that of irreconcilable hostility to this Budget. I do not think it possible that 136 any occasion could arise in this House which could mark in a more clear and definite way the position of Irish Members and the position which Ireland occupies in this country than that there are eighty-three or eighty-four Irish Members, out of a total of 100, separating themselves formally from the policy of the Empire, and from the policy of the Government of the Empire. The attitude of Ireland on occasions of this kind ought to teach a lesson to the Unionist politicians. I know their argument is that because we take this isolated position, therefore we ought not to be given these rights of self-government which exist in the colonies; but surely a more reasonable lesson for them to draw from this attitude which exists—I am not here to say I am glad it exists, I merely point to it—is to say that the policy which put an end to that state of disaffection and isolation in the colonies ought to be applied to Ireland, so as to bring an end to that state of affairs in that country. Our position is perfectly plain. I do not desire to prolong the debate. It is useless beating the air in this manner. We know that we are face to face with a majority of 150 on that side of the House, eked out by I don't know how many on this. We know we are in a small minority; we are a voice crying in the wilderness, and all we can do is to make that voice heard, make our protest, and make our position perfectly plain. There is nothing to be gained by simply prolonging the debate an hour or or two or three, and I content myself with the few words I have said, hoping that we may be able, at any rate, in the division lobby on each of those resolutions to explain and make clear to the country how completely Ireland is isolated away from the general sentiments with regard to this war, and how completely we de-desire to perpetuate the protest on the question of the over-taxation of Ireland. I beg to move this Amendment to the resolution, "To leave out the words 6d. and insert 4d."
If the hon. Member moves that Amendment now, it will preclude the Chancellor of the Exchequer from replying to the points raised in the course of the debate.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
said he had no desire to do such a thing. He would, therefore, withdraw the Amendment, and move it at another time.
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for withdrawing the Amendment. There are very few points on which I think I need trouble the Committee. In the first place, I thank the Committee generally for the manner in which my proposals have been received. Of course, I anticipated criticism in some quarters, and particularly that from the quarter for which the hon. Member for Waterford speaks there might be objection to certain of my proposals. But I am glad to find that there has been a general consensus of opinion that the principles upon which I have acted have been sound, and that apart from details, on which we never enter on the first evening of the Budget discussion, there is, generally speaking, approval of my scheme of new taxation. I will not attempt to enter upon the very large question to which the closing remarks of the hon. Member for Waterford referred. The attitude of Ireland towards the rest of the United Kingdom is unquestionably a very important and a very difficult subject, and it raises issues which have very often occupied the attention of Parliament, and very possibly will occupy it again. But I do not think it is quite appropriate to an ordinary debate upon the introduction of the Budget. The hon. Member objects to my proposals of taxation, first on the ground that he and his friends are against the war. That is, of course, a very fair ground of objection to any taxation which is avowedly intended for the purpose of carrying on the war; but at the same time the hon. Member will excuse me if I do not enter at length into his arguments, because there is obviously an irreconcilable difference of opinion between us on the subject. Then he went on to say, as a further objection to my proposals, that they were unequal to Ireland because of the great increase of the prosperity of England and the great decrease in the prosperity of Ireland. There will be another opportunity, I understand, upon which we can argue that question; but it has never been proved, at any rate to my satisfaction, that there is such a thing as a decrease of prosperity in Ireland.
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
Ah, yes; but I believe the prosperity of Ireland has largely increased in recent years, and 138 when the proper time comes I think I shall be able to show some facts, and possibly some statistics, in proof of that assertion. I do not quite see why, for instance, such thriving industries as exist in Belfast and its neighbourhood, or as exist in Guinness's Brewery and in Jameson's Distillery in Dublin, should be exempted from the same income tax which is levied in England. That seems to me to be a point raised by the hon. Member for which there is no logical argument whatever. I admit that, as a whole, Ireland is not represented by industries of this kind. As a whole, Ireland is an agricultural country, but there are large parts of England, and there are larger parts of Scotland, which are purely agricultural also, and I know parts of Scotland and the Western Islands myself which, I believe, are infinitely poorer than any part of Ireland. Really this question is one between the industrial, so to speak, part of the country and the agricultural part of the country, much more than between Ireland and England and Ireland and Scotland, or anything of that kind. However, I think the hon. Member will excuse me if I do not enter further into this matter to-night. I have noted two points affecting Ireland which have been mentioned in the course of the debate this evening into which I will very gladly inquire. The hon. Member for North Louth asked me whether I would, in increasing the duty on tobacco, consider the removal of any restriction which would prevent the growing of tobacco in Ireland. There is nothing I should be more glad to do than to encourage the growth of tobacco in Ireland, and I can promise the hon. Member that if this matter is brought before me, as I hope it will be brought before me, by the Irish Board of Agriculture, I will most readily have that matter thoroughly examined, and if anything can be done, and I daresay possibly something may be done, consistently with proper regard to the revenue from tobacco, to remove any restriction which would prevent the growing of tobacco in Ireland, I shall very gladly try to deal with the matter. The hon. Member for West Clare, who is interested in an important industry in Dublin, complained bitterly, as I understand, of the unfair competition of foreign spirits with Irish spirits. I am no lover of foreign spirits at all. I believe that, as a rule, they are comparatively bad, and I am glad to think that last year there was 139 a considerable decrease in their importation into this country. But this year the importation has largely increased again. The hon. Member complains that they come into unfair competition by fraudulent misrepresentation with spirits distilled in the United Kingdom. If the hon. Member will be good enough to have the details of his complaint placed before me, I will undertake to inquire into it and see whether anything can be done. The hon. Member for Leicester dealt with the duties on tobacco and tea, and pressed me for some relaxation of the duty on the cheaper kinds of tobacco and tea, and some increase of the duty upon the dearer kinds of tobacco and tea. That would be practically, I suspect, a return to the old system of ad valorem duties. I am afraid the system of ad valorem duties with regard to articles of this kind has been tried thoroughly, and has been found impracticable and unworkable. There are distinctions, of course, in the duty on different kinds of tobacco, but whether it be possible to alter the tariff so as to extend those distinctions or to regulate the matter in any way which shall, without causing the old evils to arise again, give effect to the hon. Member's wish that the duty on tobacco, which certainly is extremely heavy on the cheaper kinds, shall to some extent vary with the value of the article, is a matter on which I am very doubtful. I do not at all expect that it will be possible to do anything in this Budget, because it will require very great consideration and consultation with the trade. But I think the present system may be capable of some alteration, and I shall be glad, at any rate, to see if anything can be done. With tea, I think it would be more difficult. I am speaking in the presence of hon. Members who understand the tea trade much better than I do, but I very much doubt whether it would be possible to introduce anything like ad valorem duties with regard to tea. I know there is a great difference in the value of the dearer and cheaper kinds of tea, but, as I said, I am afraid such a system has been thoroughly tried before and found wanting, and it would not do to return to it. The hon. Member for East Edinburgh, who has evidently given much study to financial subjects, asked me whether I regretted the reduction of the fixed debt charge by £2,000,000 last year. No, Sir, I am entirely 140 unrepentant. Suppose I had not carried that reduction, two millions more would have been expended in the reduction of the National Debt. But, as a matter of fact, the two millions were expended in paying the expenses of the war. When we are but war it is pretty well time to cease paying off old debts, and so, for the same reasons as those for which I now propose of temporary suspension of the Sinking Fund for the year, I am bound to say I am glad that this two millions went towards the expenses of the war. The hon. Member for the Abercromby Division of Liverpool criticises not very favourably my proposals with regard to tobacco. I do not gather that my hon. friend suggested that I could have made any other proposals than those which I have made. My hon. friend, I think, said he was well acquainted with the tobacco trade, and that, although the alteration I propose is considerable, yet it is not divisible among the consumers, although I should have thought 4d. per lb. is divisible among small fractions of a lb. I do not know whether my hon. friend is in the House, but if he is I should like to know whether he wishes me to consider the question of adding 6d. instead of 4d. to tobacco. If I receive any representations on the subject from those interested in the industry, and if it can be shown to me that the change would be better, not only in the interest of the trade, but in the interest of the consumer, of course I should be quite ready to adopt the alteration. As it is, I think I must agree with the remark that the change, as it had to be made, is equitable. A good many Members on both sides of the House in the course of the debate have referred to the future imposition of the cost of the war on the Transvaal. Well, Sir, I have already stated, in October last, my view on the subject as plainly as I think it could be stated in the existing state of affairs. Our troops are not in the Transvaal. We hope for an early and successful conclusion of the war, and the Committee may be quite certain that, when the war is brought to that conclusion, we shall not forgot—and least of all I shall not forget—anything that has been said as to the relief of the taxpayers of this country, as I think they ought to be relieved of at least a considerable portion of the cost of the war. [An HON. MEMBER: The whole of it.] Well, if possible, the whole of it. I think I 141 cannot add anything at this moment to what I have said on that subject. I think it would be quite premature to do what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth has suggested, and to state the kind of security we should take for the mode in which the payment should be made. All that will have to be settled when the proper time comes, and I can only say now that it shall not escape our attention. I think now I have alluded to the principal points which seem to me to require attention, and I have only to express the hope that the Committee will be good enough to do what is invariably done on these occasions, on the first night of the Budget—namely, to pass the resolutions in regard to the indirect taxation of dutiable subjects which will come into force to-morrow morning, and I shall be happy to arrange for the resumption of the debate, which could probably be best done by putting down the income tax resolution.
§ *SIR M. HICKS BEACH
There are always considerable arrears in the quarter between 1st April and 1st July, and this £1,900,000 will be the arrears of the additional 4d. for 1900–1901. The taxation be-
§ longs really to 1900–1901. I don't know whether I might also ask the Committee to pass the resolution this evening with regard to the loan. If there is no objection to that it would be more convenient, because it would enable me to make the necessary arrangements in a matter that should not be long delayed. I am in the hands of the Committee.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
If my hon. friend (Mr. J. Redmond) proposes to move a reduction from sixpence to fourpence with regard to the tea duty, I shall not be able to support the Amendment. Under these circumstances I propose, Sir, that after the Amendment of my hon. friend has been negatived you should put the substantive resolution. In that case I should not vote with my hon. friend, but I should subsequently vote upon the resolution itself.
To leave out the words 'six pence,' and insert the words 'four pence.'"—(Mr. John Redmond.)
§ Question put, "That the words 'six pence' stand part of the Question."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 209; Noes, 60. (Division List No. 52.)143
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Galloway William Johnson|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Gedge, Sydney|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (C. of Lond|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Giles, Charles Tyrrell|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cook, Fred Lucas (Lambeth)||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J.(Manch'r)||Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd)||Goldsworthy, Major-General|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward|
|Barry, Rt Hn A H Smith-(Hunts||Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Cotton-Jodrell, Col. Edw. T.D.||Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J.(St. Geo's.|
|Beach, Rt Hn. Sir M. H.(Bristol||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. W. W. B.(Hants)||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Curzon, Viscount||Graham, Henry Robert|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Dalkeith, Earl of||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Bethell, Commander||Denny, Colonel||Green, Walford D.(Wedn'sb'ry|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)|
|Bonsor, Henry Cosmo Orme||Doughty, George||Gretton, John|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Dunn, Sir William||Gull, Sir Cameron|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Evershed, Sydney||Haldane, Richard Burdon|
|Butcher, John George||Faber, George Denison||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord George|
|Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.|
|Carlile, William Walter||Ferguson, R. C. Munro(Leith)||Hanson, Sir Reginald.|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Man.)||Hardy, Laurence|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Finch, George H.||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Henderson, Alexander|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Hoare, Ed. Brodie (Hampstead|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J.(Birm.)||Fisher, William Hayes||Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Hobhouse, Henry|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Flower, Ernest||Howard, Joseph|
|Charrington, Spencer||Forster, Henry William||Howell, William Tudor|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Hozier, Hon. Jas. Henry Cecil|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott(Hants)||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley|
|Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||More, R. J. (Shropshire)||Sandys, Liet.-Col. Thos.Myles|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Morrell, George Herbert||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Morrison, Walter||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt Hn Sir U||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Moulton, John Fletcher||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir J. H.||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham(Bute||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Keswick, William||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Knowles, Lees||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath||Smith, James Parker(Lanarks.|
|Lafone, Alfred||Newdigate, Francis Alex.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Lawrence, Sir E. D. (Cornw'll)||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)||Oldroyd, Mark||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsey||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Lecky, Rt. Hn. Wm. Ed. H.||Palmer, Sir Chas. M. (Durham)||Strauss, Arthur|
|Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Palmer, George Wm. (Reading)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Pease, Herbert Pike(Darlingt'n||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn(Swansea||Penn, John||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw.Murray|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(Liverp'l.||Pierpoint, Robert||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Pilkington, R.(Lancs.,Newton)||Usborne, Thomas|
|Lorne, Marquess of||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Lowe, Francis William||Pollock, Harry Frederick||Webster, Sir Richard E.|
|Lowles, John||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Welby, Lt.-Cl. A. C. E(Taunton|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Pretyman, Ernest George||Welby, Sir Charles G. E.(Notts.|
|Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Purvis, Robert||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Pym, C. Guy||Williams, Joseph Powell(Birm.|
|Maclure, Sir John William||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Rankin, Sir James||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|M'Arthur, Wm. (Cornwall)||Rentoul, James Alexander||Wilson, J. W.(Worcestersh, N.)|
|M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|M'Killop, James||Rickett, J. Compton||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R.(Bath|
|Malcolm, Ian||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Martin, Richard Biddulph||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel W.|
|Middlemore, John T.||Round, James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Milward, Colonel Victor||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Monckton, Edward Philip||Rutherford, John|
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.)||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Kilbride, Denis||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Langley, Batty||Richardson, J. (Durham, S.E.)|
|Billson, Alfred||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'land)||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Blake, Edward||Leng, Sir John||Runciman, Walter|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Lough, Thomas||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Caldwell, James||Macaleese, Daniel||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||MacDonnell, Dr M A (Queen'sC||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Crilly, Daniel||M'Crae, George||Souttar, Robinson|
|Crombie, John William||M'Dermott, Patrick||Steadman, William Charles|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Dewar, Arthur||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Doogan, P. C.||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Engledew, Charles John||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)||Wallace, Robert|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis||O'Malley, William||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Healy, Timothy M. (N. Louth)||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.||Woodhouse, Sir J. T.(H'dd'rsf'd|
|Holland, William Henry||Philipps, John Wynford||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Power, Patrick Joseph||Captain Donelan and Mr. Maddison.|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh|
§ Main Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 223; Noes, 48. (Division List No. 53.)147
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H(Bristol)||Bullard, Sir Harry|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Beach, Rt. Hon. W. W. B (Hants||Butcher, John George|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Buxton, Sydney Charles|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Beckett, Ernest William||Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Bethell, Commander||Carlile, William Walter|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r.||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Bonsor, Henry Cosmo Orme||Cayzer, Sir Charles William|
|Barry, Rt Hn A H Smith-(Hunts||Bousfield, William Robert||Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East|
|Bartley, George, C. T.||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm||Hobhouse, Henry||Pilkington, R. (Lancs., Newton)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc.||Holland, William Henry||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Howard, Joseph||Pollock, Harry Frederick|
|Charrington, Spencer||Howell, William Tudor||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Purvis, Robert|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Pym, C. Guy|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Colomb, Sir J. C. Ready||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Johnstone, William (Belfast)||Rankin, Sir James|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Johnston, Heywood (Sussex)||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe(Heref'd)||Richardson, Sir Thos. (Hartlep'l|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.||Kearley, Hudson E.||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Keswick, William||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson|
|Crombie, John William||Kimber, Henry||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Knowles, Lees||Rothschild, Hon Lionel Walter|
|Curzon, Viscount||Round, James|
|Lafone, Alfred||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Langley, Batty||Rutherford, John|
|Denny, Colonel||Lawrence, Sir E Durning-(Corn||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley|
|Dewar, Arthur||Lawrence, Wm. F.(Liverpool)|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. T. Myles|
|Doughty, George||Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Ed. H.||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Dunn, Sir William||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Evershed, Sydney||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'nsea||Shaw-Stewart, M.H. (Rnfrw.)|
|Lockwood, Lt. Col. A. R.||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Faber, George Denison||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liv'pool)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith||Lorne, Marquess of||Smith, James P. (Lanarks.)|
|Fergusson, Rt. H. Sir J. (Man.||Lowe, Francis William||Smith, Hon. W. F. D.(Strand)|
|Finch, George H.||Lowles, John||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Strauss, Arthur|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Macdona, John (Cumming||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Flower, Ernest||Maclure, Sir John William|
|Forster, Henry William||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||M'Crae, George||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon Sir Henry||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edin. W.)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Galloway, William Johnson||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Usborne, Thomas|
|Gedge, Sydney||Malcolm, Ian|
|Gibbs, Hn A.G. H.(CityofLond||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Wallace, Robert|
|Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Freder'k||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Webster, Sir Richard E.|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Milward, Colonel Victor||Welby,Lt.-Col. A. C. E.(Taunt.|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Monckton, Edward Philip||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.)|
|Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J.(St. Geo.'s||Montagu, Hon. J. S. (Hants.)||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropsh.)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Morrell, George Herbert||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Morrison, Walter||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Morton, Arthur H. A.(Deptford||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Greene, Henry D.(Shrewsbury||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks)|
|Gretton, John||Murray, Col. Wyndham(Bath)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Woodhouse, Sir J.T.(Hudders.|
|Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Gull, Sir Cameron||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||Oldroyd, Mark||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Rbt. Wm.|
|Hanson, Sir Reginald||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Hardy, Laurence||Palmer, Geo. Wm. (Reading)||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)|
|Henderson, Alexander||Penn, John|
|Hoare, Ed. Brodie(Hampstead||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel (Norwich)||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.)||Kilbride, Denis||Redmond, John E.(Waterford)|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Leng, Sir John||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Billson, Alfred||Macaleese, Daniel||Runciman, Walter|
|Blake, Edward||MacDonnell, Dr. M. (Queen's C||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Caldwell, James||M'Dermott, Patrick||Souttar, Robinson|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Maddison, Fred.||Steadman, William Charles|
|Crilly, Daniel||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Moulton, John Fletcher||Thomas, Alfred(Glamorgan, E.|
|Doogan, P. C.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)||Wilson, Frederick W. (Norfolk)|
|Engledew Charles John||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||O'Malley, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)||Mr. Labouchere and Mr. Broadhurst.|
|Healy, Timothy M. (N. Louth||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh|
§ Resolved, That in lieu of the duty of customs now payable on tea, there shall be charged, levied, and paid on and after the sixth day of March, nineteen hundred, and until the first day of August, nineteen hundred and one, the following duty (that is to say)—