HC Deb 10 June 1902 vol 109 cc315-48

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause '2—

(9.0.) MR. FLYNN (Cork County, N)

said he wished to move an Amendment to the effect that the tea duty should not be levied in Ireland. There was a greater disproportion between direct and indirect taxation in Ireland than in England, and while the tax bore far more heavily upon the poor than the well-to-do in both countries, its severity was exceptional in Ireland. The tax as at present applied made no distinction in the quality of the article, the cheap tea of the poor woman having to pay as much as the costly beverage of the wealthy person. Having regard to the small resources of the people of Ireland, he thought the Chancellor should be able to extend some concession to them. Tea formed a large item in the expenditure of the poor Irish family. When the annual expenditure amounted to £11 9s. 0d., tea and groceries cost £3 of that amount, or over 35 per cent. of the whole. In England the percentage spent on tea would not be so large, for the people here were more in the habit of drinking beer. Maize and tea formed half of the total cost of living to the poor in Ireland, and he asked the Chancellor to take that into account and to relieve them of the tea tax. Last year the right hon. Gentleman had pleaded that it was war time, but now that peace had fortunately been brought about surely the Treasury would accede to the request. It might be said that granting it would create Customs difficulties. That was an objection that might apply in the case of spirits, which were sometimes handled in small quantities, but tea was dealt with in chests and large quantities and could be easily followed. The Chancellor had a large surplus at his command, he could afford to be generous, and he could not devote a portion of it for a more worthy object, or one more likely to be appreciated, than relieving tea, which was a necessity of life in Ireland and not a luxury, from the proposed duty. The amount would not be considerable to the Treasury, but would be a very great boon to Ireland, and above all to the poorer classes of that country. The people of Ireland could not afford to use a more expensive food, and he trusted the right hon. Gentleman would be able to take a more generous view of this matter and relieve Ireland from what was one of the most; considerable injustices of indirect taxation under which she at present lay.

Amendment proposed— In page 2, line 2, to leave out the words or Ireland.'"—(Mr. Flynn.)

Question proposed "That the words 'or Ireland' stand part of the clause."


said this was not the first time the hon. Member had brought this matter forward, but he must demur to his arguments, for his experience in this country was that the poor were more particular about the kind of tea they bought than other people, and probably it was the same in Ireland. He could not assent to the suggestion of the hon. Member, and as he was engaged in raising taxation he regretted to say he must oppose the Amendment. He did not think that the Budget resolutions had any bearing on the subject of the financial relations between the two countries. Next spring the whole question of direct and indirect taxation would have to be considered, and no doubt the tea duty would come under consideration. But he knew too well how dealers in these articles could, on the slightest hint, so arrange matters as to forestall by premature clearances the payment of a duty they expected to be raised, or delay by late clearances the payment of duty they expected to be lowered. Therefore, he was not going to say a word as to the possible finance of next spring.

MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)

said if this were the time to consider the financial relations between the two countries he could understand the speech of his hon. friend the Member fur North Cork, but he believed that by consent that question had been adjourned to a day promised for the discussion during the present session. He should be glad to vote for the abolition of the tea duty in Ireland, and also in the United Kingdom; but when they looked at the Budget of the Chancellor of the Exchequer he did not think it was possible to submit a proposal of that kind at this time. Speaking for himself he was pledged, so far as the war was concerned, to vote for whatever expenditure the Government might deem necessary for that war, and there had not been a Motion before the House which he had not supported when it was in relation to the Government's war policy. Therefore, the hon. Member placed him in a position of great difficulty. He should be very glad to vote for the Motion, but he was pledged to support the Chancellor of the Exchequer, even at the expense of Ireland, and if his hon. friend went to a division he should have to vote against him.


complained that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had misunderstood the argument of his hon. friend. Considering the circumstances of the people of Ireland on whom the tea tax fell with exceptional heaviness he thought the claim made was justifiable. The Chancellor of the Exchequer knew Ireland well, and he thought that under the special circumstances the burden on that country should be reduced. Let him withdraw the tax on tea and make it up by taxation on some other article.

(9.30.) COLONEL LOCKWOOD (Essex, Epping)

said reference had been made by hon. Members opposite to the way in which the poor people of Ireland would suffer from the new taxes proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was sorry to say that the taxes would also be felt by many in the agricultural districts of England. Even in Essex the poorer classes might suffer from the tax on tea. He had some acquaintance with the condition of the poorer classes of Ireland, and he believed they would undoubtedly suffer from the tea tax. He understood that the poorer classes in England and Ireland were not content with the quality of tea which might satisfy some of them here. They bought a more expensive article, for which they paid 2s. or 2s. 4d. per pound. He thought that hon. Members opposite must recognise that the Chancellor of the Exchequer tonight had shown a kindly feeling towards the request made by hon. Members from Ireland in this matter, although he had not been able to make a definite statement on the subject. It was the wish of the right hon. Gentleman if possible to lighten the tax which might bear, he would not say unfairly, but hardly upon the poorer classes. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had warned the hon. Member for North Cork against learning too much of the gospel from the hon. Member for King's Lynn. He would sooner take the word of the Chancellor of the Exchequer than accept the doctrines of the hon. Member for King's Lynn. He thought, however, that the hon. Member for North Cork would see that

it would be impossible to draw a line of demarcation between England and Ireland in this matter. He could not help hoping that the general prosperity that was likely to flow over the country now the war was settled would be participated in by Ireland, that the money of the foreigners who were sure to visit our shores this year would pour into a country in which they might be sure of a hearty reception, and would assist the people to bear the incidence of this heavy taxation.

(9.35.) Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 138: Noes, 69. (Division List No. 214.)

Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F. Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Parker, Gilbert
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Parkes, Ebenezer
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Fisher, William Hayes Pemberton, John S. G.
Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose Pierpoint, Robert
Anson, Sir William Reynell Flower, Ernest Pilkington, Lieut-Col. Richard
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Gardner, Ernest Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Arrol, Sir William Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans) Plummer, Walter R.
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon Pretyman, Ernest George
Austin, Sir John Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Bailey, James (Walworth) Hain, Edward Purvis, Robert
Bain, Colonel James Robert Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm. Rasch, Major Frederick Carne
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley Rea, Russell
Balfour, Rt. Hn. G'r'ld W (Leeds Henderson, Alexander Reid, James (Greenock)
Banbury, Frederick George Higginbottom, S. W. Renwick, George
Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor Holland, William Henry Richie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benj'min Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Beach, Rt Hn. Sir Michael Hicks Horniman, Frederick John Rolleston, Sir John F. L.
Bignold, Arthur Hoult, Joseph Ropner, Colonel Robert
Blundell, Colonel Henry Houston, Robert Paterson Runciman, Walter
Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn Hudson, George Bickersteth Russell, T. W.
Brodrick, Rt. Hn. St. John Hutton, John (Yorks. N. R.) Seton-Karr, Henry
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Sharpe, William Edward T.
Brotherton, Edward Allen Lawson, John Grant Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Bull, William James Lavland-Barratt, Francis Smith, HC (N'rth'm'b. (Tynside
Bullard, Sir Harry Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington Soares, Ernest J.
Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H. Llewellyn, Evan Henry Spear, John Ward
Cautley, Henry Strother Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Cavendish, V. C. W. (D'rbyshire Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart
Cayser, Sir Charles William Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S. Stock, James Henry
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent Thornton, Percy M.
Chapman, Edward Lncas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth Tomlin, on, Wm. Edw. Murray
Charrington, Spencer Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred Tufnell, Lieut-Col. Edward
Coghill, Douglas Harry Macdona, John Cumming Valentia, Viscount
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse MacIver, David (Liverpool) Vincent, Col. Sir C E H. (Sh'ffield
Colston, Chas. Edw. H. (Athole Maconochie, A. W. Webb, Colonel William George
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Welby, Lt.-Col. A. CE (Taunton
Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire Williams, Col. R. (Dorset)
Craig, Robert Hunter Majendie, James A. H. Williams, Rt Hn. J Powell (Birm.
Davies, M. Vanghan-(Cardigan Max well, W J H (Dumfriesshire Wills, Sir Frederick
Denny, Colonel Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M. Wilson, A. Stanley (York E. R.
Dewar, T R. (T'r. H'ml'ts, S. Geo. More, Robert, Jasper (Shropsh're Wilson, Chas. Henry (Hull, W.
Dickson, Charles Scott Morgan, David J. (Walth'mst'w Wilson, Fred. W (Norfolk, Mid.
Doughty, George Morrell, George Herbert Wilson, J W (Worcestershire, N.
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford
Donglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Mount, William Arthur
Doxford, Sir William Theodore Murray, Rt. Hn A Graham (Bute TELLERS FOR THE AYES— Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Duke, Henry Edward Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)
Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)
Abraham, William (Cork, N. E. Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Redmond, William (Clare)
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion
Allan, William (Gateshead) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Ambrose, Robert Joyce, Michael Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leeds)
Barry, E. (Cork. S.) Leamy, Edmund Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Blake, Edward Lundon, W. Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Broadhurst, Henry MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A. Spencer, Rt Hn C.R. (Northants
Caldwell, James Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Sullivan, Donal
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Taylor, Theodore Cooke
Channing, Francis Allston MacVeagh, Jeremiah Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgaush.)
Condon, Thomas Joseph M'Kean, John Thompson, Dr. E C. (Monaghan
Crean, Eugene Mansfield, Horace Rendall Toulmin, George
Delany, William Mooney, John J. Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Doogan, P. C. Nannetti, Joseph P. White, George (Norfolk)
Edwards, Frank Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan) O'Brien, Kendal (Tipp'r'ry, Mid. Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Fenwick, Charles O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.) Williams, Osmond (Merioneth
Ffrench, Peter O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.) Wilson, John (Durham (Mid.)
Flynn, James Christopher O'Kelly, James (Roscommn, N. Young, Samuel
Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) O'Malley, William
Gilhooly, James O'Mara, James
Griffith, Ellis J. O'Shaughnessy, P. J. TELLERS FOR THE NOES— Sir Thomas Esmonde and Mr. Patrick O'Brien.
Hammond John Power, Patrick Joseph
Hayden, John Patrick Reddy, M.
Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Redmond, John E. (Waterford

*(9.45.) MR. CHANNING moved an Amendment to reduce the tea duty from 6d. to 4d. per lb. He did so on two specific grounds. In the first place the Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated that in considering the various expedients by which he could meet the increasing expenditure of the country, his object was to distribute the burden in fair and equal proportion between direct and indirect taxation, so that the pressure on the various classes of society might be reasonable and equitable. He did not think that hon. Members on the other side of the House nor the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself had fully considered the exact incidence of these taxes upon the incomes of the working classes. In previous debates reference bad been made to the very interesting and suggestive returns obtained by the Board of Trade in 1889 on working men's expenditure. He would wish hon. Members could examine that return for themselves and see the exact result interpreted in the form of an income tax. The simplest and easiest way to ascertain whether a tax was just or unjust was to find out what was the proportionate contribution of their income which the working classes made to the taxation of the country. He had been furnished with a number of tables of working men's expenditure by one of the ablest co-operators in the Midlands, and whose name was held in high repute in the co-operative world, giving the names, the numbers in the families, and their consumption of bread stuff's, tea, sugar, and tobacco. These tables showed that an enormous contribution, as expressed in terms of an income tax, was being made in respect of these four heads of expenditure alone. They were the budgets of artisans of the highest class with incomes ranging from 32s. to 50s. a week. One budget of 35s. a week showed a total indirect contribution ad valorem on these four articles of 19d. in the £, expressed as income tax: in another case the amount was 24.8d. in the £. These figures would help hon. Members opposite to realise how enormous was the contribution of the working classes to the revenue of the country, He asked the Committee to remember that this calculation did not include anything in respect of intoxicating liquors, though a large proportion of the class referred to did consume such liquors, and in that way made an additional contribution to the revenue. It seemed to him that the figures he had quoted represented the extreme inequality of the treatment of the working classes as compared with the other classes, He had worked out the exact amount of income tax which would be paid by an ordinary working class family on the amount of tea consumed, supposing the tea was sold at wholesale prices. The average wholesale price had been given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as 8.87d. The proportionate tax in these tables would range from 12.8d. down to 3.6d. in the£. Of course that did not represent the exact amount of contribution by the consumer, because he had to pay a good deal more for his tea than wholesale price. Assuming that the price of tea paid by the working classes was from 1s. 2d. to 1s. 6d. per lb., these figures would be increased from a third to a half, and would represent an income tax of from about 2d. to above 5d. in the£. If the Financial Secretary to the Treasury required further instruction on this point he would refer him to a remarkable paper by the Colonial Secretary in 1884, showing the proportion of tax revenue then paid by the working classes. He contended that not only on the tea duty, but on the whole of the indirect taxation imposed by the successive Budgets introduced by the right hon. Gentleman, the inequality of treatment as between the rich and the poor had not been diminished, but had been vastly increased. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had received an enormous excess from the tea duty of no less than £1,050,000 the first year and £490,000 last year over his estimate of £1,800,000 for the added 2d. And another of these indirect taxes, that on sugar, had produced £1,290,000 over estimate. These increases constituted a very great burden on the. working classes. There was a very strong claim on the part of these people who were paying so disproportionate a share of national expenditure to have some relief from the duties imposed upon them, and it was because the Chancellor of the Exchequer, although he had a considerable amount of money to spare this year, and in the coming year if the ordinary expenditure was maintained, would have a still larger amount to distribute, had not given any intimation of his intention of removing the burdens from the working classes that he felt it necessary to move his Resolution, which he now did.

Amendment proposed— In page 2, line 3, to leave out the word 'sixpence,' and insert the word 'fourpence.'"—(Mr. Channing.)

Question proposed, "That the word" sixpence 'stand part of the Clause."


I own I am rather surprised that the hon. Member should have moved this Amendment on the present occasion. There can be no question, to my mind, that, having regard to the expenditure of the year, we must retain the duties at the same rate as they stood last year. Taking the country as a whole I cannot see what possible grounds there are for this Amendment. I pass by what the hon. Gentleman said as to the sugar duties, but with regard to the tea duty there has been a very considerable increase in the yield of the tea duty in the past year. Is not that clear proof that the great bulk of the population of this country continue to indulge in tea even to a greater extent than before. And why? Because although the tax has been increased, the price of tea has fallen. I consider that the proposal of the hon. Member to reduce the tea duty this year is unjustifiable; but I do not at all deny that when we come to revise taxation next year it will be perfectly right to take the tea duties into consideration.


said that it was satisfactory to have from the Chancellor of the Exchequer the statement that the addition of 2d. to the tea duty was a war tax and not to be made permanent.


Nothing could be more wrong than for me to indicate in the slightest degree what proposals I may have to make in regard to the taxation next year. The hon. Gentleman must not take anything I have said as a promise.


thought that the right hon. Gentleman had failed to grasp the real objection on that side of the House to this tax. It was no answer to them to say that the yield of the tea tax had been larger than last year, and that the consumption had increased. The great objection which they had to this tax was that it fell irretrievably on a large section of the community which could not bear any additional burden at all. One-third of the population were so poor that they could not stand a single farthing more of taxation. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had laid down a proposition which must broadly be accepted by all. He said that every man who was capable of maintaining himself ought to contribute to the taxation of the country. So should all of them. But did the right hon. Gentleman mean by "maintaining himself" that it must be in a state of physical efficiency? On the ground the hon. Gentleman suggested it allowed a margin of subsistence for men who had wages of 15s. or 18s. a week, but when they came to a poor woman who had no margin over a miserable subsistence—very often the margin was below it—they had no right to tax them at all. This was the root of their objection to the additional taxation, not because it was a war tax, but because it fell with unrelenting severity on the poorest of the poor.

MR. M'KENNA (Monmouthshire, N.)

said there was one phrase which fell from the Chancellor of the Exchequer which put his argument out of court, and that was "Having regard to the expenditure of the year." This tax was not needed for the expenditure of the year. The right hon. Gentleman had got a surplus of £6,000,000; and he should vote for the reduction of this and every indirect tax until they had absorbed this surplus. On that ground the Amendment was amply justified. If they had to select from amongst the taxes that which might be reduced, this is the one which should have the first place. It was not an alternative between comfort and want of comfort. Nobody would contend that a family that was living in comfort would be reduced to discomfort by the increase of the tea duty by 2d. in the lb. or the increase in the price of the quartern loaf by a farthing. That was not the question they were dealing with now. What they were pleading for was the population which was not physically fit on account of low food., One-fourth of the population were living on wages insufficient to preserve them in full physical efficiency, and he submitted that when there was a surplus of £6,000,000 they should take off this increased duty on tea which had really become a necessity to the poor.


said that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had now a surplus of £6,000,000, which he did not know exactly what to do with.


I did not say that.


said that the first and greatest debt the right hon. Gentleman owed was to the over-taxed working people, and therefore he should devote at least £2,000,000 of this money to the relief of these poor people. Running through all the arguments of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was the strain that as the people still used the articles he had taxed, therefore they were not over-taxed. The Chancellor of the Exchequer should rejoice that the working people were going on using tea instead of strong drink. He understood that the right hon. Gentleman did not drink tea, or coffee, or use sugar. He wished the right hon. Gentleman did, for it was very necessary sometimes on the Treasury Benches. There was an increasing tendency to the consumption of tea. It was now used at breakfast, dinner, at tea, and at supper time. He himself used it, and found great advantage from it, when it was not too strong. It was very soothing and cooling and, in his judgment, strengthening; at least he found it so. It was now used in the field by agricultural labourers instead of the home brewed beer which they formerly took out to work with them. Now, if the country was prosperous to the extent that the consumption of this article of domestic use was on the increase, surely the class of people he referred to was more entitled than any other to a share in that prosperity. Having a surplus of £6,000,000, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had put 2d. on the lb. of tea two years ago. had no excuse for maintaining that 2d. Surely he ought to give back at least 1d. of it; or let him give a definite pledge that night that the tax would not be maintained at its present rate beyond this year. He did not know a more unjust tax than a tea tax; and there were lots of other articles from which he could get his £2,000,000, and he ought to do it.

MR. HEMPHILL (Tyrone, N.)

said he had opposed this tax last year and in 1900 when it was imposed as a temporary tax because the war was raging. But now the war was really over—it had even ceased to be "A sort of war"—yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer maintained the tax at its existing high scale. As an Irish Member he had no hesitation in saying there was no tax which pressed so unfairly on Ireland. The House might not be aware that tea had now become one of the first necessities of life among the poor people of Ireland. After the failure of the potato crop they were obliged to feed on Indian corn, which was now also subject to taxation, and that led to the extensive use of tea in the cottages of Ireland. The elementary principle of taxation was that equality of taxation meant equality of sacrifice. It was absurd to talk of maintaining a proportion between direct and indirect taxation. The first duty of every Government was to see that none of the inhabitants of their country died of starvation; and if they taxed the first necessaries of life, it involved, more or less, if not actual starvation, or, as the alternative, the poorhouse, which was the very last resort of persons of independent feeling who were daily on the very verge of starvation. Why should the tax be retained on this particular occasion? If the war were actually in progress, and if it were necessary to face for another year, ail the wasteful and extravagant or justifiable expenditure—it mattered not which for his argument—be could understand the Chancellor of the Exchequer maintaining the sixpenny duty on tea. If the right hon. Gentleman did not mean in 1901 to remove it when the war was over, why did he make it a temporary tax, and not a permanent tax, like the tax on sugar last year and the tax on corn in the present year. He had listened with great interest to the debate on the previous clause. He had no opportunity of taking part in it, owing to the closure being carried, but the observations he intended to make on it would be equally germane to the present Amendment. For the first time in the history of Finance, the Chancellor of the Exchequer admitted he had over £6,000,000 to spare, but would not enlighten the Committee or the country as to how he meant to apply the money. The right hon. Gentleman introduced his Budget when peace was looming in the air, and, without waiting to see whether peace could actually be effectuated, he rushed in and raised a loan of £32,000,000, and then informed the House of Commons that it could not discuss the loan because he had received the money. He also introduced the corn tax, and proposed to continue the sixpenny duty on tea Why should he do that, when peace intervened before the Finance Bill was passed. He himself felt that the country was unduly and unnecessarily overtaxed in the present Budget. He thought that the general opinion, not only of those who would have to bear the taxation, but also the verdict of posterity would be that the right hon. Gentleman was now taxing the first necessaries of life, and was leaving to the nation a legacy like that left by Pitt. The right hon. Gentleman said, in reply to the hon. Member for Leicester, that he could not do better than pay off' his debts, but why would not the right hon. Gentleman pay off half his debts, and relieve the unfortunate poor people by giving them a cheaper breakfast table. He was brought up in a school of politics and finance, the favourite motto of which was a free breakfast table. But that had all now gone to the winds, and had ceased to be a popular cry. All their old notions of liberty, of retrenchment, and above all the idea that the first object of every financier should be to secure a free breakfast table for the poor and half-starved population were abandoned. Even in the great city of London with all its brilliancy and magnificence, if they could only, like Asmodeus, lift off the roofs, and peep down on some of the garrets and attics in that vast hive of humanity, what misery, what poverty, what destitution, and what heartrending scenes would be witnessed. It had been the pride of almost every statesman to relieve poverty, in as far as in him lay; now the Chancellor of the Exchequer had £6,000,000, and it ought to be his first duty to apply £2,000,000 of that to the reduction of the tea tax.

(10.22.) MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire, Eifion)

said he wished to say why he would be unable to vote with his hon. friend who moved the Amendment. He regarded the tax as a war tax; and that being so, he was strongly of opinion that it was the duty of the country to discharge its obligations, and also that the generation which made war ought to pay for it. He had both in the House and in his own constituency strenuously denounced the Government because they had made war—in his opinion an unnecessary and iniquitous war—and they ought to make the generation which supported the war pay for it. It would, therefore, be absolutely inconsistent for him to vote for the reduction of the tax; but he felt, nevertheless, that there was no hon. Member who had a better right to vote against any war tax than he had, because he had always voted against supplies for the war, and had never voted a single sixpence towards it. But now the expenditure had been incurred and should be paid for, and the only question was whether it should be paid by the people who made the war, or by posterity who would not be in any way responsible for it. There was the further point that the tax on tea reached a class which scarcely any other tax reached, namely, the Nonconformist teetotalers. In the past, Nonconformists distinguished themselves as a peace-loving community, but they had fallen away from that during the last few years, mainly under the influence of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton, and the hon. Member for the Louth Division. Therefore, he thought they ought not to escape any of the burden of the war taxation, and ought to be made to pay. It might be said that he was inconsistent because he had voted against the corn tax; but there was a great difference between the corn tax and the tea tax. In the first place when the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Central Sheffield cheered so loudly the imposition of the corn tax, that indicated to him that the tax was one of Protection, and later the hon. and learned Member for Launceston showed that it would fall with great severity on a class if the community which, whether they supported the war or not, ought to escape taxation. The tea tax was not Protective in any shape or form, and could not be denounced as the thin end of Protection. It. was true that a good many poor people used tea, but, after all, tea was not a necessary of life. Bread was. He felt it his duty, on the present occasion, to support the Government. He voted for the tax when it was imposed, and he also voted for the sugar tax, and he hoped they would be continued until the war expenditure was paid off. He could not agree with the argument that because the war was over they should not continue to impose increased taxation. That was a fallacious argument. The war was over, but the obligations incurred by it had not been discharged, and until they were, war taxation was necessary. On that point, the argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was perfectly sound; and he maintained that the present, taxation ought to be continued until the entire cost of the war had been paid by the generation which rushed the country into it.

(10.30.) MR. GEORGE WHITE (Norfolk, N.W.)

said he happened to be a Nonconformist teetotaler, and he did not know why his hon. friend should have charged that special class with being responsible for the war. He was free from that charge himself, and he believed that a great many others like him were also free from it. He did not object to the tax personally. He was willing to bear his fair share of taxation, but he wished to protest against the tax on behalf of a certain section of the community, whose interests had not been as fully represented during the present debates as they deserved to be. He referred to the large and deserving class of agricultural labourers. Years ago that class had representation in the House of Commons, and he could well imagine that their representative would have made a most vigorous protest against the tax, had he been present, and would have protested against a tax on food being placed on that, deserving and small wages-earning portion of the community. He would have been able, from his own experience, to point to the time when Free Trade did not exist, and when that class had to bear the great burdens laid upon them as well as upon other classes of the community—burdens which have now happily disappeared since the advent of Free Trade. But that, representative was not now in the House, and he, himself, had the privilege and honour of representing the constituency for which he sat.; and he, therefore, felt hound to take that opportunity of making a most vigorous protest against the tax. If the closure had not intervened, he would have wished to have made some remarks on the corn tax, even in preference to the tea tax, but both taxes laid a heavy burden, though not in the same degree, on the class in whose interests he was addressing the Committee. He had taken pains during the last few months to gather, as far as he could, what amount of the burden would be placed on wage-earners who were not in the same position as artisans in large towns earning 30s., 35s., or 40s. a week. They had to be content with wages of 11s. or 12s. a week, and he was prepared to say that at least an extra burden of 1s. had been placed on them through the commodities they purchased from week to week in the village shop, since the advent of the war taxes. If the right hon. Gentleman would consider the proportion of 1s. to 12s. per week he would see that a heavier burden was laid on that class of the community than on other classes who had the good fortune to have larger incomes. It was not on his own behalf, or on behalf of the class he immediately represented, that he made that protest, but on behalf of a class who were bearing more than their just share of war taxation. It had been said over and over again that all classes of the community should bear their portion of war taxation, especially the working classes, because they had clamoured very loudly for the war; but as far as his experience went, there was no class less ardent for the war than the agricultural labourers. At the same time, they had borne sacrifices of a different kind from those which resulted from monetary burdens, They had sent their sons to the war in large numbers; and in every village in the district from which he came there were those who had lost their sons, or other near relatives, in the war. Therefore, they had made great sacrifices, and he thought it was extremely hard that they should have a new burden of taxation placed upon their shoulders, after having borne sacrifices of a much more serious kind. The 1s., which was the smallest additional amount which had been placed on the shoulders of the agricultural labourer, would do a great deal. All who knew the rural districts were aware that many shameful cases of overcrowding could be found in them, just as well as in the slums of the large cities. What would not 1s. a week do towards providing a better cottage? What would it not do towards improving the conditions under which these hardworking men were compelled to live—conditions which were a disgrace to any civilised community, and which, he was sure, every hon. Member would desire to see improved. If the additional burden were laid on them there would be no possibility of their getting better cottages. Unfortunately they were a class who had reaped no benefit from the war. Many of the artisan class had received higher wages and a larger amount, of work through the war, but in the agricultural districts the labourers had to bear burdens and make sacrifices without getting any money recompense in any shape or form. He felt, therefore, that, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer had the means in his hand of removing that portion of extra taxation referred to in the Amendment, he ought to respond to the call made on him both in the House and out of it, and relieve to that extent a very deserving class of the community.


said that the reply of the right hon. Gentleman completely evaded the trustworthy figures he had laid before the Committee, which showed that in the case of well-paid artizans the four items of indirect taxation amounted to an income tax of from 1s. to 2s. in the £, and the amount paid on tea represented an income tax of from 2d. to 5d. in the £. And when you went to the very poor in the East End of London and elsewhere, and to the agricultural labourers dealt with by the hon. Member for Norfolk, the case was still worse. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had not attempted to deal with or controvert these figures; and he now challenged the right hon. Gentleman to say whether the imposition of the tea tax and the other taxes did not impose on the working classes a larger proportion of contribution to the expenditure of the country than was imposed on the higher classes in the payment of the income tax and the other duties which fell upon them. The right hon. Gentleman was perfectly well aware that the proportionate expenditure on an item like tea in a wealthy household was almost absolutely nil in proportion to the income of that house; but in an humble household, and still more among the poorer classes living in single room tenements, it formed an enormous contribution in proportion to their income. He challenged the right hon. Gentleman to say whether he could maintain in face of figures of that kind, that the contribution asked for from the working classes bore anything like a just and fair proportion to the contribution taken from the wealthier classes of the community. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would deal with the figures he had given, and state whether they did not establish the fact that the working classes had to contribute more largely than the wealthy classes.


The hon. Member asks me a question, and in reply I may say that I do not think that the figures he has given establish the case he has endeavoured to make out. But whether they do or do not, there is no question whatever that at the present time the contributions from indirect taxation to the revenue are less in proportion to the contributions from direct taxation than ever before. Last year direct taxation contributed nearly 53 per cent. and indirect taxation only 47 percent. The hon. Member may think that indirect taxation should contribute even less. That may or may not be.


These are totals, not individual cases.


I do not think you can argue this matter from individual cases, and I will only add that there is not the slightest reason for the proposed reduction.

(10.50.) MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)

said that if the proposal had been to abolish the tea tax altogether, he would have voted gladly in its favour, because he had always regarded the tax as one of the worst and most oppressive forms of taxation. He would, however, vote to reduce the tax, because that was the best proposal before the Committee at present. He regretted that he had not an opportunity of speaking on the previous Amendment, but he was temporarily absent from the House, and had no opportunity of taking part in either the debate or the division. However, it was better late than never; and he thought he would be able to keep well within the limits of the question before the Committee, and at the same time say something as to why he regarded that tax especially oppressive on the poorer classes, and, therefore, especially oppressive on Ireland, where the poorer classes formed a larger proportion of the population than in any of the other nationalities making up the United Kingdom. The right hon. Gentleman had asked whether it was to be contended that all classes of the community were not to contribute their share to the general taxation of the country. That argument, which rather astonished him, and which had been repeated several times, involved a somewhat curious contradiction, for it seemed to be contended, and to be regarded as perfectly consistent to argue, that a certain tax would not impose any burden on the working classes, and at the same time to contend that the working classes must bear their share. They could not bear a burden which did not exist, and he was, therefore, unable to understand how the right hon. Gentleman could reconcile these two propositions. He himself accepted the principle that the taxation of the country should be spread over all classes. Without some such safeguard, and with the strong military spirit abroad, he did not know what wars would be entered upon without any provocation or necessity. But that principle should have the limitation that the means for a bare livelihood or a half livelihood, ought not to be touched. That was recognised as regarded the middle classes, because a certain proportion of income was deducted before the Income tax applied. Was it to be argued that they had no right to exclude from taxation that low basis required for subsistence. He put tea as part of that narrow basis of cheap living which ought to be excluded from the operations of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his agents. He looked upon tea as it would affect the working classes in the slums of London and the Congested Districts in Ireland. He heard the Chancellor of the Exchequer once say that he was a total abstainer from tea and tobacco, and he did not think, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman knew the part that tea played in the lives of other people, especially the poor. The seamstress of St. Giles lived on tea and bread and butter. Again, in the Congested Districts of Ireland, tea was one of the main articles of food. It was a stimulent, but it not only exhilerated the spirits, but it destroyed the pangs of hunger, and stayed the appetite for more substantial food. In Ireland the consumption of tea was proportionately greater than in England or Scotland, and it was a curious fact that the tea consumed in Ireland was dearer and of a better quality than the tea which was used by the working classes in England. Therefore, it could be seen that in the Congested Districts in Ireland, the tax on tea was a very considerable burden. The consumption in England was between 5 and 6 lbs. per head, whereas in Ireland it was 8 lbs. per head. It was. therefore, an unequal tax as between England and Ireland, because it tell more heavily on Ireland than on England. He remembered the time when tea was regarded as a luxury only for the rich in Ireland, and when the peasantry would be shocked if anyone thought of taking tea for breakfast. But tea was now the fashion, and was used more in Ireland than perhaps in any other country in the world except Russia and China. Was it not preposterous that the food of the, people should be subjected to such a high rate of taxation? Further, it was an unequal tax because it was levied unequally, 6d. being imposed on tea at 3s. 6d. per lb. as well as on tea at 1s. 6d. per lb. He thought that the sooner the Liberal Party went back to the principle of the free breakfast table, and demanded that the necessaries of life should be free from taxation, the better for them.

(11.0.) MR. WILLIAM ABRAHAM (Glamorganshire, Rhondda)

said that it had been stated on both sides of the House that the working classes were in some way or other concerned in the war, and that they ought to take their part in the taxation to bear the expense of that war. He could say, however, honestly and deliberately that by no class in the country was the war more opposed than by the men he had the honour to represent. When, however, the war came they took part in it, not because they loved the war, not because they thought that the war was really justifiable, but because their country was at war; and they were prepared to make sacrifices and did make sacrifices, not because they liked the war, but because they liked their country. How had their services been recognised? Their bread had been taxed; their tea had been taxed, their sugar had been taxed; their tobacco had been taxed, their beer had been taxed, and almost everything that made life pleasant for them had been taxed. That, as the Committee would admit, reduced the value of their earnings, but even more than that, they had to contribute to the coal tax. For assisting the Government in the war, although they did not like the war, they had been paying not only by a reduction in the value of their wages, but by a reduction of the wages themselves. He would appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reduce the taxation to the extent, proposed in the Amendment before the Committee. It might be said that the men for whom he was speaking liked beer; but they were great users of tea. That was their beverage. They took cold tea to their work, and had tea again when they returned. It was tea morning, noon, and night, and he, therefore, earnestly appealed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to allow the proposed reduction.

MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)

said that if the financial situation had remained unchanged since the introduction of the Budget he would not be supporting the Amendment. Last year he voted in favour of maintaining the 6d. duty, Every penny on tea represented £1,000,000, and if there were any additional money required from indirect taxation, he thought through tea, was the best way to get it. Tea was a much better article on which to impose taxation than corn, because it did not interfere with any other trade. It was a clean tax, and, therefore, if any additional taxation were required, he would not support a reduction of the duty on tea. But he thought they now found themselves in the most extraordinary position in which the House of Commons ever was in in discussing a Finance Bill. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had got £6,000,000 or £8,000,000 more than he wanted. A paper circulated that morning showed that there was a considerable surplus without levying any additional taxation at all. His hon. friend proposed to reduce the duty on tea by 2d. which would deprive the Chancellor of the Exchequer of £2,000,000; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer had got £6,000,000 to spare, and why should he not give away £2,000,000? If money were required he would prefer that a tax should be put on tea, but when the Chancellor of the Exchequer insisted on purling on a new tax on con; and on increasing the income tax, neither of which were required, then he would support the Amendment to reduce the tea tax, because he thought the tax payer was, entitled in something out of peace. The position of the Government was most extraordinary. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had shown that he could dispense with £16,000,000 of income, yet the taxpayer was not to receive anything. The right hon. Gentleman refused to abandon the corn tax; let him, therefore, return something to the taxpayer in tea. There was never a peace established after a great war that the taxpayer did not gel something, and he could not understand the position which the Government had taken up. He would support the Amendment because he did not believe that the money was wanted. If he could induce hon. Members opposite to think out the matter for themselves he was sure his hon. friend would receive support from them for his Amendment. But they did not appear to think of anything; they did not believe in figures; and without support from hon. Gentlemen opposite they, on that side, could do nothing. Even at the last moment he would appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite to consider whether in the interest of the taxpayer they might not see their way to support the Amendment.

MAJOR RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford

said he was absolutely uninterested in the question of tea, but he did not understand why the hon. Member for North-West Norfolk should allocate to himself the right to speak for the agricultural labourers. They all knew that the hon. Member was the apostolic successor of Mr. Joseph Arch, but that did not entitle him to speak for the agricultural labourers, He himself had represented the agricultural labourers, with more or less success, for seventeen years, and many of his hon. friends also knew something about them. The hon. friend suggested that the tax should be withdrawn because the agricultural labourer received only 11s. or 12s. in wages. If he might venture to say so with the utmost respect, that was what he might call an exaggerated hyperbole. In the eastern counties their wages were about 15s. a week. The hon. Gentleman also said that the agricultural labourers in East Norfolk were less ardent about the war than were people elsewhere. Well, Norfolk was sometimes said to be a little behind hand, and possibly they had not heard about the war yet. All he knew was that in Essex the agricultural labourers gave an honest and independent support to the war, and were by no means dissatisfied with it. The hon. Gentleman also said that the wages of the agricultural labourer would be diminished by 1s. a week, and that if he had that 1s. he would be able to house himself better. Did the hon. Gentleman mean that for 1s. a week more an extra cottage could be put up, or did he mean that a better cottage could be obtained for an additional rent? Their difficulty in Essex was that they could not get cottages, even if they paid five shillings a week rent. The solution of the question was the building of more cottages by the local authorities. What he had said was said with the utmost respect, and he only wished to suggest that other hon. Members took an interest in the agricultural labourers as well as the hon. Member did, and, perhaps, knew as much about them.

MR. JOHN DEWAR (Inverness-shire)

said he was unable to support his hon. friend on that occasion, as he thought that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had taken up a sound position in refusing to remit the tax. The right hon. Gentleman had really no surplus this year with which to remit taxation, and if he gave away £2,000,000 now it would be merely taking it out of the pockets of posterity. The right hon. Gentleman was perfectly right in applying every penny he had over to paying oft' debts. He opposed the corn tax, but the tea tax was in a very different position. He wished to say a word with reference to the relative proportion between direct and indirect taxation. He thought the right hon. Gentleman was wrong in taking 52 per cent. and 48 per cent. respectively as a fair distribution. If the right hon. Gentleman would examine the question more closely, he would find that men whose contribution to Imperial revenue was entirely from indirect taxation contributed a larger percentage of their income than men who contributed to both direct and indirect taxation. Two years ago he had occasion to go into the question for a different purpose. He consulted the manager of a large co-operative store, which had 4,000 or 5,000 working men customers, as to what they paid to Imperial taxation, and the manager replied that they paid a relatively small sum; but on going into details, and on examining the accounts of several teetotal working men who smoked a little tobacco, they found that these men contributed, roughly, five per cent. of their income to Imperial taxation, and, as the hon. Member for North-west Norfolk had said, another 1s. had since been added. Then, over and above that, the working man paid a large proportion of his income in local taxes, which would represent another five per cent., or a total of 15 per cent. in Imperial and local taxes. The man with £1,000 or £10,000 a year did not pay anything like that proportion. The more indirect taxation the Chancellor of the Exchequer levied, the more unequal would the burden become. He opposed the corn tax not on account of the amount, but because it was bad in principle, and would ultimately result in great hardship to the people. On that ground he opposed the corn tax, but he was bound to support the Chancellor of the Exchequer in regard to tea.

MR. GROVES (Salford)

urged that people ought to pay their debts before they transferred liabilities, and they should be just before they were generous, while if they had any obligations as to the amount of which they were not certain, a liberal sum should be set aside to meet them. That was the spirit in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer was acting. We had not finished with the debts connected with the war; there were troops to be brought home, amounts due to them to be paid, colonists to be taken to their own countries, and obligations of various kinds to be discharged. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer had a couple of millions to dispose of, he would doubtless have been more inclined to strike out the Corn tax rather than to take anything off the tea duty. The hon. Member for Northwest Norfolk had stated that he was a Nonconformist and a teetotaller. He himself had neither the privilege of being a Nonconformist nor the advantage of being a teetotaller, but if he had been seeking any boon from the Chancellor of the Exchequer he would have kept in mind the principles he had urged at the commencement of his remarks, and endeavoured to discharge his debts before he put oft' any of his liabilities.

MR. JOSEPH A. PEASE (Essex, Saffron Walden)

thoroughly agreed with the advice of the previous speaker in regard to discharging their liabilities, and he also believed that the working classes were willing to pay their fair contribution towards the expenses of the country of which they were proud to be citizens. But the contribution should be collected by a system of direct taxation by which every man has paid according to his means As the hon. Member for the Chelmsford Division had said, the labourers were prepared to pay their quota, but they were not prepared to pay five per cent. or ten per cent. of their income whilst the millionaire paid only one or two per cent. Having had to appeal to the agricultural labourers for their support, he could assure the Committee that in the county of Essex they agreed with the views he had put forward rather than with those of the hon. and gallant Member for the Chelmsford Division. It would be wise to call upon

agricultural labourers as well as other classes to pay by a system of direct taxation, and he should therefore support the Amendment before the Committee.

(11.16.) Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 229; Noes, 137. (Division List No. 215.)

Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F. Cranborne, Viscount Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Cross, Alexander (Glasgow) Haslam, Sir Alfred S.
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Dalkeith, Earl of Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.
Anson, Sir William Reynell Dalrymple, Sir Charles Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Denny, Colonel Henderson, Alexander
Arrol, Sir William Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh. Higginbottom, S. W.
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Dewar, T. R. (T'rH'ml'ts, S. Geo. Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.
Bailey, James (Walworth) Dickson, Charles Scott Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside
Bain, Colonel James Robert Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r) Digby, John K. D. Wingfield- Hoult, Joseph
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey) Dorington, Sir John Edward Houston, Robert Paterson
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Howard, John (Kent, Fav'rsh'm
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch. Doxford, Sir William Theodore Hudson, George Bickersteth
Banbury, Frederick George Duke, Henry Edward Johnstone, Hey wood (Sussex)
Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh
Bathurst, Hon Allen Benjamin Emmott, Alfred Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. Salop.
Beach, Rt Hn Sir Michael Hicks Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W. Keswick, William
Beresford, Lord Charles Wm. Faber, George Denison (York) Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.
Bignold, Arthur Fardell, Sir T. George Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow
Blundell, Colonel Henry Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Lawson, John Grant
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Ferguson, C. R. Munro (Leith Lee, Arthur H (Hants, Fareham
Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn Finch, George H. Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)
Brassey, Albert Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie
Brodrick, Tit. Hon. St. John Fisher, William Hayes Leveson-Gower, Frederick N S
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Flower, Ernest Llewellyn, Evan Henry
Brotherton, Edward Allen Forster, Henry William Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.
Bull, William James Galloway, William Johnson Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine
Bullard, Sir Harry Gardner, Ernest Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham
Butcher, John George Garfit, William Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft
Cautley, Henry Strother Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick Lucas, Reginald. J. (Portsmouth
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh. Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'ml'ts Macdona, John Cumming
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon MacIver, David (Liverpool)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm. Goulding, Edward Alfred Maconochie, A. W.
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r Graham, Henry Robert M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)
Chaplin, Light Hon. Henry Gray, Ernest (West Ham) M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E
Chapman, Edward Greene, Sir E W (B'ry S Edm' nds M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire
Charrington, Spencer Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury Majendie, James A. H.
Churchhill, Winston Spencer Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs. Manners, Lord Cecil
Clive, Captain Percy A. Gretton, John Martin, Richard Biddulph
Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E. Greville, Hon. Ronald Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.
Coghill, Douglas Harry Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick) Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.
Ceilings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Groves, James Grimble Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready Gunter, Sir Robert More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire
Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Hain, Edward Morgan, David J. (Walthamst.
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow Haldane, Richard Burdon Morgan, Hn. Fred. (Monm'thsh
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Hall, Edward Marshall Morrell, George Herbert
Cox, Irwin Edward Bambridge Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nder. Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford
Mount, William Arthur Reid, James (Greenock) Tennant, Harold John
Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C. Renshaw, Charles Bine Thornton, Percy M.
Muntz, Philip A. Renwick, George Tollemache, Henry James
Murray, Rt Hn A Graham (Bute Ridley, Hon MW (Stalybridge) Tomlinson, Win. Edw. Murray
Murray, Charles. J (Coventry) Ritchie, Rt Hn. Chas. Thomson Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward
Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath) Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion) Valentia, Viscount
Newdigate, Francis Alexander Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield) Vincent, Col Sir C E H (Sheffield.
Nicol, Donald Ninian Robertson, Herbert (Hackney) Walker, Col. William Hall
O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens Rolleston, Sir John F. L. Warde, Colonel C. E.
Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Ropner, Colonel Robert Warr, Augustus Frederick
Palmer, Walter (Salisbury) Round, James Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney
Parkes, Ebenezer Royds, Clement Molyneux Webb, Colonel William George
Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland) Russell, T. W. Welby, Lt-Col A C E (Taunton
Peel, Hn Win Robert Wellesley Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Pemberton, John S. G. Seton-Karr, Henry Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Percy, Earl Sharpe, William Edward T. Wills, Sir Frederick
Pierpont, Robert Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. B.
Pirie, Duncan V. Simeon, Sir Barrington Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh., N.
Platt-Higgins, Frederick Sinclair, Louis (Romford) Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath
Plummer, Walter R. Skewes-Cox, Thomas Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Smith, H C (North'mb, Tynds'de Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-
Pretyman, Ernest George Smith, James Parker (Lanarks. Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward Spear, John Ward Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Purvis, Robert Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Randles, John S. Stewart, Sir Mark J. M Taggart
Rasch, Major Frederic Carne Stock, James Henry TELLERS FOR THE AYES— Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Ratcliff, R. F. Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Rattigan, Sir William Henry Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Reed, Sir Edw. James (Cardiff) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Abraham, William (Cork, N. E. Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) M'Arthur, William (Cornwall
Abraham, William (Rhondda) Fuller, J. M. F. M'Cann, James
Allan, William (Gateshead) Gilhoolly, James M'Crae, George
Allen, Charles P (Glouc., Stroud Gladstone, Rt Hn Herbert John M'Hugh, Patrick A.
Ambrose, Robert Goddard, Daniel Ford M'Kean, John
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Griffith, Ellis J. M'Kenna, Reginald
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Hammond, John Mansfield, Horace Rendall
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Harmsworth, R. Leicester Markham, Arthur Basil
Bell, Richard Hayden, John Patrick Mooney, John J.
Blake, Edward Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale- Morgan, Lloyd (Carmarthen
Boland, John Hayter, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur D. Nannetti, Joseph P.
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Helme, Norval Watson Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H. Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E. Norman, Henry
Burke, E. Haviland- Holland, William Henry Nussey, Thomas Willans
Caldwell, James Hope, John Deans (Fife, West O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary, M.
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Horniman, Frederick John O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Causton, Richard Knight Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C. O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)
Cawley, Frederick Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley) O'Connor, James (Wicklow)
Cogan, Denis J. Jacoby, James Alfred O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Joicey, Sir James O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Craig, Robert Hunter Jones, William (Carnarvonsh. O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N
Crean, Eugene Joyce, Michael O'Malley, William
Cremer, William Randal Lambert, George O'Mara James
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Langley, Batty O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Delany, William Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W. Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)
Doogan, P. C. Layland-Barratt, Francis Power, Patrick Joseph
Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark) Leamy, Edmund Rea, Russell
Edwards, Frank Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington Reddy, M.
Elibank, Master of Leigh, Sir Joseph. Redmond, John E. (Waterford
Esmonde, Sir Thomas Levy, Maurice Redmond, William (Clare)
Evans, Sir Francis H (Maidstone Lough, Thomas Robson, William Snowdon
Evans, Samuel T (Glamorgansh Lundon, W. Roe, Sir Thomas
Farquharson, Dr. Robert MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A. Runciman, Walter
Fenwick, Charles Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Scott, Charles Prest, wich (Leigh
Ffrench, Peter MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Flynn, James Christopher MacVeagh, Jeremiah Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R. Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Sinclair, John (Forfarshire) Tomkinsou, James Williams, Osmond (Merioneth
Soares, Ernest J. Toulmin, George Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid
Spencer, Rt Hn C R. (Northants Trevelyan, Charles Philips Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Stevenson, Francis S. Walton, Joseph (Barnsley) Young, Samuel
Sullivan, Donal Warner, Thomas Courtenay T. Yoxall, James Henry.
Taylor, Theodore Cooke Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan
Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E. White, George (Norfolk) TELLERS FOR THE NOES— Mr. Charming and Mr. Broadhurst.
Thomas, J A (Glamorg'n, Gower White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Thompson, Dr EC (Monagh'n, N Whiteley, George (York, W. R.

Motion made, and Question, "That this House do now adjourn"—(Sir William Walrond)—put, and agreed to.

(11.30.) MR. LOUGH moved to insert the word "net" after the Amendment of the duty on tea. The tea duty was not really 6d. per pound, but 6d. and ¼ per cent. on the amount of the duty. It was an extraordinary thing that in the Bill before the Committee this ¼ per cent. was not mentioned, but it was levied under some old Act. The theory was that the Exchequer should receive the 6d. per pound net, and the ¼ per cent. of the amount of the duty was levied to pay the expenses of collection, and so on. It was a crude idea of levying a customs duty, and he believed it had been abandoned in regard to every tax other than that on tea. The amount produced was only £15,000 or £16,000, but it was one of those onerous burdens on trade which were most unjust in their incidence and for which no good reason could be given. If the right hon. Gentleman would promise to consider the matter, he would be glad not to press the Amendment to a division.

Amendment proposed— In page 2, line 3, after 6d.'to insert' net.'"—(Mr. Lough.)


The hon. Member has confused two totally different things. There is a small warehousing charge of ¼ per cent. on all classes of goods, which has continued for the last forty years without complaint. If the hon. Member has any particular grievance in regard to tea, it shall be inquired into.


said that in view of the promise made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to inquire into the matter he would not press this point any further, and he begged leave to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Motion made and question proposed, "That Clause 12 stand part of the Bill."

Agreed to.

Clause 3:—

(11.40.) MR. SAMUEL YOUNG (Cavan, E.)

asked permission to say a word or two on the clause before the Committee. Spirituous liquors had always been heavily taxed in this country for the support of the State, although so many enjoyed the pleasures of their exhilarating influence. Successive Chancellors had been adding to the duties from time to time before and since 1859, when the duty was 8s. the proof gallon. Equalisation he thought took place over the three kingdoms in 1860, when 2s. was added, making the duty 10s. Since that period there had been additions to 10s. 6d. and now 11s., which seemed to be the point of tension at which the cord was likely to break. However, it was useless now to move for a reduction in the present state of the finance of the country. His object in rising was to point out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the Customs and Excise Acts of 1881 provided that there should he a surtax of 5d. per gallon on all imported spirits, which was afterwards reduced to 4d., at which it now stood. Now, in view of the fact that the cost of British-made spirits was increased by about ¾d. per gallon in consequence of the present duty on imported corn, from which the spirits were chiefly made, it seemed reasonable to ask that a re-adjustment should take place as regards the surtax on foreign spirits, otherwise the manufacture of British spirits would be handicapped to that extent. Besides, there were other reasons why German spirit should be further taxed. It was only a by-product made from all sorts of common materials, and only suitable for methylation purposes. There were extracted from the potato ferrino, fusel-oil, and spirit. But it was a fact that in many places it was used for British-made spirits to the injury of the health of the public. In many instances—for the purposes of cheapening—it was mixed with British spirits, and sold as British spirits without the knowledge of the consumer. Its use could not be dealt with under the Mercantile Mark's Act for obvious reasons. It, therefore, seemed to him that a readjustment in the taxation of the article should take place and a considerable addition made. What was asked for was not a new departure, but only a re-adustment as between home and foreign spirits. He did not move an Amendment, but simply placed the matter before the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was thoroughly conversant with the subject, in the hope that he would give it his best consideration, and introduce a clause to remedy the state of things which he had pointed out. He thought both sides of the House would agree to this.


I do not think any one desires to give an advantage to cheap foreign spirit. I will take steps to ascertain whether the hon. Member is correct in his representation of the matter, and if I find that he is right I will propose an Amendment.


thanked the right hon. Gentleman for his promise.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 4 agreed to.

Clause 5 rejected.

On Clause 6,

MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)

said he thought it would be fair that they should not enter upon the consideration of the income tax that evening, and he moved to report progress.


Of course, I do not object to this Motion if I may take it that there is a reasonable prospect of completing the Bill tomorrow night.

Committee report progress; to sit again tomorrow.

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