HC Deb 05 May 1903 vol 121 cc1366-7
MR SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)

To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer what amount of the fixed charge (of £23,000,000) was, in the year ending 31st March 1903, applied to cost of management, interest on debt, and sinking fund, respectively, dividing the last item into the amounts due to the terminable annuities which were at first suspended and subsequently allowed to continue, to the other terminable annuities including life annuities, and to the new sinking fund; and what were the corresponding figures for 1899–1900 and the estimated corresponding figures for 1903–4.

(Answered by Mr. Ritchie.)The comparative figures are shown in the following Table:—

both native-grown and imported, which was in operation for about two months; that in September last the British Consul at Canton remonstrated against this additional tax on the ground that it was inconsistent with the treaty obligations of China, and that it was in consequence discontinued; whether the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has sanctioned this action of the Consul, having regard to Clause 5 of the additional article to the Chefoo Convention, signed in London in 1885, which provides for further taxation on imported opium, subject only to the condition that such taxation equally applies to the Native drug.

(Answered by Lord Cranborne.) An attempt was made last year to levy an additional tax upon opium. Under the prescribed conditions this could only have operated so as to discriminate in favour of Native opium. But it was also in violation of Clause 2 of the additional article of the Chefoo Convention, because it was to be levied at the port and while the packages were still unopened for consumption, in which case the amount of the tax is by the clause specifically limited. His Majesty's Minister at Peking and His Majesty's Consul-General at Canton, acting under the instructions of His Majesty's Government, protested against the tax, and the new regulations were withdrawn.