HC Deb 09 July 1902 vol 110 c1196
MR. JOHN WILSON (Falkirk Burghs)

I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that Consul General Sir W. Ward, in his Report on the Hamburg Coal Trade, states that while the importations of British coal in 1901 experienced a falling off of 307,777 tons, as compared with 1900, the imports of Westphalian and of American coal showed increases last year of 130,762 and 9,586 tons respectively; and whether, in these circumstances, he will reconsider the question of the coal tax.


It is true that there was a diminution in the exports of British coal to Hamburg in 1901, as compared with 1900; but the 1901 figures were still greatly in excess of those for the years 189–98–9, and in the Report to which the hon. Member refers, Sir W. Ward observes that the falling off was due to the unfavourable condition of most branches of German industry in 1901, which attracted to Hamburg the surplus output of Westphalian coal, for which there was no demand in, German inland towns. I do not, however, think that a falling off in our export of coal to a single German port affords any argument for a reconsideration of the coal duty. The export to Kiel and Lubeck showed an increase in 1901; and from the recent report of H. M. Consul at Nantes, I find that the amount of British coal imported to that port in 1901 forms "a noteworthy increase in so bad a year, and shows how little the article was affected by the export duty of 1s. which, where charged, has been paid by the foreign consumer."