HC Deb 08 March 1900 vol 80 cc392-3
*MR J. LENG (Dundee)

I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if he can state approximately the amounts paid at the custom houses in the United Kingdom on Saturday and Monday in anticipation of the extra duties to be imposed by the Budget, and whether it would be praticable in future years to prevent or diminish such anticipatory payments by making it a condition that the new or additional duties should be surcharged on all payments made between the announcement of the date of the Budget and the passing of the Budget resolutions.


It is not possible to give an exact figure, but the payments in the two days will, I expect, amount to about two and a quarter millions, whereas under ordinary conditions they would average about £180,000. I quite agree with the suggestion that some steps should be taken to diminish or prevent the loss of revenue caused by these large anticipatory payments, but I am afraid the actual plan suggested by the Hon. Member would not quite meet the case. It is not always possible, when a man has once cleared goods at the lower rate, to recover a surcharge. But I am carefully considering the subject, and hope to be able before the Committee stage of the Finance Bill to make some definite proposal for dealing with the matter.


Will the right hon. Gentleman let us know the names, so that we may know whether we are getting their goods cheaper in consequence?


These goods are often—in fact, I may say generally—cleared, not by the persons who retail them, but by wholesale dealers.