§ 1. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That in lieu of the duty of Customs now payable on Tea, there shall be charged on and after the twentieth day of April, nineteen hundred and four, until the first day of August, nineteen hundred and five, the following duty (that is to say):—
§ "Tea, the pound … Eightpence."—(Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer.)610
§ * MR. ASHTON
said the Chancellor of the Exchequer was sanguine in budgeting only for a surplus of £750,000. They had had during the past few years much experience of Supplementary Estimates, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought now not only to budget for a few hundred thousand pounds above his estimates for the year, but ought to make some allowance for Supplemental Estimates which were sure to come during the course of the year. He might have made good the deficit by reducing the expenditure or adding to the taxation of the country, He (Mr. Ashton) believed that the time was coming when in the interests of national finance they would have to make a reduction in the expenditure of the country. He was glad to find there were right hon. Gentlemen opposite who were of the same opinion. The taxation of the country was rapidly approaching the point where elasticity would disappear and they would be face to face with an absolute necessity of reducing the expenditure or as an alternative of laying on taxation which would press very severely on the springs of the industry of the country. He did not suppose that during the course of the present Government they would see any material reduction in expenditure if they were to judge from the enormous increase during the time they had been in power. Figures had been given for the past twenty years, but those for the past nine years were sufficient for his case. During the time the Party opposite had been in power the expenditure of the country had been raised by fully 30 per cent. That was a very serious increase, and he saw no signs from the present estimates of its being checked.
On the other hand, he believed there was large scope for reduction in at any rate two directions, viz, in the expenditure of the Army and the Navy. That could be done without effecting the efficiency of the forces. From the answers given to Questions in the House lately, it appeared that our expenditure on the Navy was £39,000,000, whereas that of France, Russia, and Germany combined was only £36,000,000. During the last nine years the tonnage of English ships had increased by 9,331,000 tons, while those of France, 611 Russia, and Germany combined had only been 8,475,000 tons. Roughly speaking, the tonnage of the three Powers he had named was 10 per cent. less than our own. In spite of that, they were told by the Admiralty authorities that they only estimated their strength against that of two other Powers. They all deseed to have a strong Navy which was capable of dealing with any two other Powers, but he suggested that they were relying too much on the opinions of naval experts. Experts opinions were excellent in their way, but they ought to be kept in check by those who were in control of affairs—the Government and especially the Prime Minister. Of late years the Government had been giving their head too much to experts without exercising a reasonable control over expenditure. If the experts were told that we required a fleet superior to others it was natural that they, having no responsibility for the Estimates, should take care that their calculations were on the right side. It was for the Government, and especially the Prime Minister, who was the head of the Defence Committee, to see that the Estimates were reasonable and sufficient for the exigencies of the country without permitting extravagant expenditure. If that was the case with the Navy, what of the Army? The figures for the past ten years showed that the Army expenditure had increased from £18,000,000 to £34,500,000, while the increase on the Navy had been about the same. In the case of the Army they were all agreed that they had not enough to show for that enormous increase. Certainly, so far as the Boer War was concerned, it did not show that the largely increased expenditure was met by a proportionate increase in efficiency. This was not a time when we need pursue a course of extravagance. At this moment we were on better terms with the great sister nation of America, and we were thankful to find ourselves on the threshold of a better understanding with France. He congratulated the Government most heartily on the French Treaty, although he was inclined to think that the French might have got a little the best of it, at any rate in respect to Morocco. Personally he did not mind that, because he believed that the increase of friendly relations with that 612 country would pay us over and over again for any concession which might be rather extravagant. He admitted that the extravagant Estimates for the Army and Navy might be necessary if certain hon. and right hon. Gentlemen in that House had their way, for if those promoting so-called tariff reform got their way the country would find itself waging financial wars with various countries. But so long as they remained a free-trade country—and he was happy to say he did not see any prospect of change—and so long as they remained on good terms with the trading nations of the world he did not think they needed to pursue the extravagant course of expenditure on the Army and Navy they were now following.
Coming to the new taxation proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. Gentleman proposed to impose an additional tax on tea. He sincerely regretted that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not seen his way to finance the country without an addition to that tax. It was already 6d. per pound, and a serious tax on what was becoming more and more a necessity of consumption for the working classes. When they got a duty of 8d. per pound they practically made the duty equal to the value of the tea itself. Such a large increase on an article of consumption was a serious thing indeed for the poorer inhabitants of the country. They had heard that afternoon the very eloquent and touching speech of the Leader of the Irish Party as to the effect it would have on the poorer classes in Ireland who were large consumers of tea. So were the poorer classes in England. The tax would not conduce to temperance. Further, it was hard upon the poor Indian. It was the fashion to take very little notice of India in discussing tariff reform. India was a part of the Empire, and it was a little hard that a tax of this sort, which would press hardly on the people of that country, should be proposed. He objected to the tax most strongly because it was not the time to put further indirect taxation on the country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said it was only fair that, as 1d. had been added to the income-tax, the indirect taxpayer should bear part of the 613 burden on the ground that the income-tax had been put up during the war. But a large amount of indirect taxation was also imposed during the war. For the purposes of the war £17,500,000 of direct taxation was imposed, representing 7d. in the £ on the income-tax, and £15,000,000 of indirect taxation was imposed. Last year the Chancellor of the Exchequer thought he could remit some of the taxation, and he took £10,000,000 off direct taxation, but only £2,500,000 off indirect taxation, so that, instead of the indirect taxpayer owing anything to the Exchequer at this moment, it was the direct taxpayer who was in its debt. The Chancellor of the Exchequer now proposed to put £2,000,000 for this year on direct taxation and £2,500,000 on indirect taxation. If the incidence was unequal before its inequality was now to be increased, and therefore he protested against the consumers, who were largely poor people, being made to bear taxation whilst those who benefited thereby were the income-tax payers. They had been told for many years past that the income-tax ought to be held in reserve for emergencies. Unfortunately the elasticity in the taxation in this country had practically come to an end, and if we were to maintain our direct and indirect taxation at something like half and half he was afraid there was very little prospect indeed that the income-tax could be largely reduced in the future. We had come to the end of our resources, at any rate in direct taxation, and, if we were to broaden the burden of taxation, it ought to be broadened equally on direct and indirect taxation.
He was very glad the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not propose to broaden the basis of taxation, because he had observed when hon. Gentlemen opposite talked of broadening the basis of taxation they always meant the putting of further burdens upon the poor by indirect taxation. We were, as he had said, coming to the end of the elasticity of taxation, and the only way we could raise our direct taxation was by the income-tax. We had got to get accustomed to a shilling income-tax as a regular source of revenue, and we should have to find other resources for 614 cases of emergencies. In the great French wars at the beginning of last century the income-tax was as much as 2s. in the £, and, if we had emergencies again, this was the sort of thing we should have to accustom ourselves to. If we had emergencies, we should have to levy taxes not only on poor people, but in the form of taxation which would bear hardly or the springs of industry, and the only recompense for that was that possibly people would realise what it meant for Governments to get into trouble and that these emergencies would perhaps be less likely to occur. So far, the Government in its extravagant course of five years had been saved by the death duties; these had been the salvation of the Government, but, unfortunately, we had come to the end of that, and ho ventured to suggest that in place of the tea tax, the Chancellor of the Exchequer might have found other sources of income, which would have fallen upon the direct taxpayer. He ventured to suggest that he might have dealt with the question of the licence duties on public-houses. It was possible the Prime Minister might apply that on the morrow, but it was a means by which, in the opinion of experts, by altering those duties, from £1,000,000 to £l,500,000 might very easily be raised without doing any injustice or putting any undue burden upon anybody. At present those duties were levied in a most unfair manner, bearing very heavily indeed on the owner of small public-houses and very lightly indeed upon the owners of large public-houses. This was quite a different question from the beer duty? The Chancellor of the Exchequer had told them, as the Member for West Bristol told them before, that we had taxed beer to its utmost capacity and that if we taxed it any more it would be taken out in watering the beer. He dared say this was the case, but the tax on beer was levied on the customer, and, to a certain limited extent, on the brewer also. This tax upon licences of public-houses was a tax paid not by the brewer or the consumer, unless the brewer happened to be an owner, but by the owner. He did not think it would be any great hardship to extract from the owner of the public-house 615 some considerable sum for the privilege of having a licence. He suggested that the Chancellor of the Exchequer might in this way, instead of putting 2d. further on tea, have got almost as much money, if not quite, without bearing hardly on the consumer. He might also have dealt with the house duty The house duty was levied only on houses of £20 and upwards. The hon. Member thought there was a great deal to be said for lowering the value of the house subject to duty to £10, by which the Chancellor of the Exchequer might have got a good deal of money. It was extremely desirable, if possible, to bring home to the working man as well as to the wealthier classes the amount of taxes placed upon the country, and he thought in this way they might do so as they could not do by taxing food.
He would impress upon the Government the very serious character of the burden which was now laid upon the community by the vast expenditure and taxation. The position had become acute, largely in consequence, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer had told them, of the trade of the country at present being in a somewhat depressed condition. The trade within the bounds of the kingdom was undoubtedly poor; the people were pressed by heavy taxation and rates, and also by the very considerable taxation on food that had had to be imposed. These were things that were bound to tell upon the prosperity of the people; it was a very serious question, and called for earnest consideration, and it was largely on this ground that he suggested that the only method by which we could put matters on a better footing was by reducing taxation.
* SIR MANCHERJEE BHOWNAG-GREE (Bethnal Green, N. E.)
wished to associate himself with the compliments deservedly paid to the right hon. Gentlemen who had presented his first Budget to the House upon the very lucid financial statement he had made. But he could not conceal from himself or the House the great disappointment he felt at the increased duty he proposed to put upon tea. It was, he thought, about two years ago that his hon. friend the Member for Central Hull and himself 616 protested against the maintenance of the duty upon tea at 6d. per pound. In 1901, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol, who was then Chancellor for the Exchequer, said that tea was already taxed up to 75 per cent. of its value, that it was produced now mainly by our fellow-subjects in India and Ceylon, that it was, owing largely to over-production, in a by no means satisfactory condition, and that, therefore, he did not think they ought to increase the duty on tea. Hon. Members on this side of the House who shared his opinion that 6d. was too high, did not go into the lobby then against the Government on the distinct assumption that the very first opportunity possible would be taken to reduce that duty. They were told that the increase of the tea duty from 4d. to 6d. was mainly due to the exigencies of the war, and, believing as they did in the necessity of the war, and the necessity of raising a larger revenue that year, they denied themselves the opportunity of protesting as strongly as they might have done against the maintenance of the increased duty on tea on that occasion. And now in this year of peace and in an essentially peace Budget they were told that the duty on tea would have to be increased by a further twopence per pound.
He considered this question from two points of view—one, that of the consumer here, and the other that of the producer in India and the Colonies. In regard to the consumer, he spoke on behalf of a very large working-class population whom he had the honour to represent. He believed it was a very unjustifiable tax. It struck mainly at a staple article of food of the working classes, and he was perfectly sure that the effect of this increased duty on tea would be, to a very large extent, to increase the burden on those classes. Another point of view was that there were £30,000,000 of British capital embarked in the tea industry, and 70 per cent. of the companies paid no dividend. From that point of view also the determination of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to impose a further duty on tea was, to his mind, an unwise one. He trusted that the time was far distant when the interests of India would prove a negligible quantity in the deliberations 617 of this House. India, as he had stated over and over again, had very few productive industries left. She was really suffering from the want of industries. He believed that the great cause of almost all the evils which India was afflicted with, and all the apprehensions which were felt consequently from time to time as to the loyalty of her people, were due to her poverty, and anything that struck a further blow at her productive industries ought to be regarded with great concern by this House. Besides the planter, who was generally a British settler, there were engaged in the production of tea a large number of the labouring population of India. He was afraid that the imposition of a larger duty upon tea would have a very distressing effect upon their future. He was surprised that the right hon. Gentleman should have come to the conclusion that tea this year could bear an additional duty better than any other article of food. Considering the present fiscal situation and programme for the future which had been so much talked of recently throughout the country, he thought one of the first things that would be borne in mind by British statesmen was that no blow should be struck at any large industry in our dependencies and colonies which might greatly modify its future prospects.
He was prepared to admit that it might fairly be asked how the necessary revenue was to be raised to meet the deficit if this increase upon the tea duty was not adopted. He had always believed that those who complained of an evil would do well to suggest a cure, and he was prepared with an answer to this query. He thought that one way of raising the necessary revenue either in this or in future years would be to adopt the economic policy which had been successful in India, and that was, after every source of legitimate and tolerable taxation had been exhausted, to have recourse to the imposition of a revenue duty upon all imports. Of course such a duty might run the risk of being regarded as a protective duty, but in India, which had followed the fiscal policy of Great Britain always, and which was dependent for her economic arrangements on the sanction and control of the Imperial Government, 618 this policy had been pursued with success. There a 5 per cent. ad valorem duty had been imposed for the last seven or eight years upon all imports, and he did not see why that policy could not be adopted in this country. It was done in India with our sanction and there was no vestige of protection about it. The additional duty of twopence on tea was, after all, a burden on the consumer here, and a very serious addition to the domestic expenses of certain classes of society which made it extremely unfair in its incidence. Take for instance a rich man who buys a house in Park Lane or builds a palace. He furnishes it with marble from Italy and furniture from France, and he does not pay a penny of duty on these articles, whereas a poor man, who must, as a necessary article of food, buy tea, has to pay the additional duty of twopence in every pound. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer had thought out some other means of obtaining the necessary revenue he would have done better, and he himself should not have been driven to the necessity of disagreeing with the proposal of the Budget on this particular point.
There was another consideration to which he wished to direct attention of the Committee. He was informed that a large amount of Chinese inferior tea went to America and was not allowed to be landed there or passed into the market, because it was regarded as an article which would injuriously affect the health of the people. He was told that that tea mostly came to this country, and was allowed to go freely and without any prohibition into consumption by the people. Under this increased taxation that would be still more the case, so that regarded from the point of view of the health of the population even, the tax was a very objectionable one. He was sorry that he could not vote for this increase of duty on tea. The right hon. Gentleman would have been carrying out the promises of the former Chancellors of the Exchequer if he had done something this year to reduce the duty on tea. It was now, on the contrary, going to pay more than 100 per cent. of its value. From whatever point of view he looked at this proposal to enhance the duty on tea he could 619 only regard it with grave disapproval. He trusted it was not too late for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reconsider his decision. If it was too late to do so this year he trusted that the protests of himself and others now would have their effect in future years. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer would see that no further increase took place and would effect a steady reduction in the near future he would do an act of justice to the people both here and in our Indian Empire. A great deal had been said in the course of the debate as to the increased expenditure of the country and the necessity for retrenchment. He for one thought the time had arrived when a strict inquiry should be held into the causes of this large increasing expenditure, and for devising means whereby extensive reductions in several large Departments of the State could be effected. If that were done he was perfectly sure that such staple articles of food as tea would not have to bear additional burdens year after year.
§ * MR. MCCRAE (Edinburgh, E.)
said he joined his congratulations to those already given to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who. in presenting the Budget, certainly made a most lucid statement. The right hon. Gentleman had also been congratulated on refraining from dealing with the Sinking Fund. He had, however, departed to a certain extent from the principles of sound finance by doing what he thought had been rather cunningly undisclosed in his statement. The right hon. Gentleman had really met the deficit of last year entirely from borrowed money. If the Committee would keep in view the £3,000,000 Transvaal contribution and also the borrowed money remaining in Exchequer balances, he thought he would be able to show that the whole of the deficit of last year had been met from that source, and therefore the right hon. Gentleman had only to budget for increased taxation for the deficit of the present year. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said he felt himself in a difficult position. Mr. Lowe, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, said he felt he was in a difficult position because millions were pouring into the Exchequer which he did 620 not know what to do with. The difficulties of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to day had been of a different kind. He had not only had to face increasing expenditure and stationary revenue, but he had had to suffer from the too sanguine expectations of his predecessor in office. But, after all, the matter went deeper than that. He was the victim of the system of plunging in expenditure which had characterised the present Government from the time that it assumed office. That was no new feature of a Conservative Government. The only new feature was that on this occasion they had remained long enough in office to reap the harvest of their own sowing. Hitherto it had been the experience that a Liberal Government had come in and reaped the harvest of tares, had cleaned the ground for a new crop, and after things were set on a sound footing a Conservative Government had again come into power. That was a matter of history which the Chancellor of the Exchequer knew very well although he assumed otherwise. For the first time a Conservative Government was faced with the problem of discharging its own liabilities. He had had to contend with the aftermath of the war expenditure.
But the ordinary expenditure had assumed a progressive proportion hitherto unparalleled in the history of this country. It reached a culminating point in the period 1900 to 1903. Mr. Gladstone in 1879, referring to the extravagant Conservative Government from 1874 to 1900, stated that in five years that Government had increased the expenditure of the country by £8,000,000. What had the present Government done under the cover of war expenditure in one year? The ordinary expenditure in 1900–01 was increased by £9,000.000. During three years it was increased by £20,000,000. During the years 1901, 1902. and 1903, there were deficits which were covered up by war expenditure amounting to £3,000,000,£ll,800,000,and £ll,000,000re-spectively. Chancellors of the Exchequer had made attempts to stem the tide of this extravagance. The right hon. Gentlemen the Member for West Bristol had called attention to it again and again. The previous Chancellor of the Exchequer 621 the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon went so far in his Budget speech of last year as to complain of the recklessness in regard to the ordinary expenditure, and he added that it was only by being a little less reckless that they would be able to keep money out of the hands of the tax collector. In 1894–5 the actual expenditure was £94,000,000 and last year it was £147,000,000—an increase of' £53,000.000. To this had to be added £2,000,000 for the reduction of the Sinking Fund and £2.700,000 for the increase in local taxation grants. That was exclusive of capital charges for Naval and Military Works, etc. He was only dealing at present with revenue expenditure. In round figures there was an increase for 1901–5 of £50,000,000, without taking into account the £4,500,000 Interest on War Debt. Truly this was a great achievement. The natural increase in the produce of the revenue, a large proportion of the war taxation, and the great increase of taxation resulting from the death duties had all disappeared into this awful gulf of profligate expenditure.
It had always been contended on that side of the House that too little had been paid out of taxation for war expenditure. The policy which had been pursued in that matter was an uneconomic and short-sighted one. What had been the result? It had enormously increased the National Debt. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had to-day stated that the aggregate liabilities of the nation amounted to £794,498.000, being a decrease of only £3,850,000 since last year. In 1894–5 the National Debt was reduced by nearly £8,000,000, and no sum of £10,000,000 fell to be added, as would be the case this year, in respect of capital charges not included in the revenue expenditure of the country. The Funded Debt in 1898–9, the year before the war, was £627,000,000 as compared with £762,000,000, being an increase of £135,000,000. If hon. Members would analyse these figures they would see that really no Sinking Fund whatever had been provided to meet the war expenditure. In the year before the war the charge for the National Debt was £23,000,000, but the sum now laid aside for that purpose was £27,000,000. In that sum £4,500,000 was included, the interest for the war 622 indebtedness, so that really the Sinking Fund was rather reduced than increased, the difference being met by the reduction in interest which took place last year. In 1898–9 there was a Sinking Fund amounting to £5,800,000 and the charge for interest and management was £17,200,000, while for the year just concluded the amount was £6,600,000 Sinking Fund and the charge for interest and management was £20,400,000. According to the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to-day that estimated sum of £6,(500,000 had not been applied because he stated that the Sinking Fund last year was £5,149,000. And they still went on borrowing for Naval and Military Works. These capital charges amounted this year to £10,000,000. He wondered what was now thought of the glowing picture which the late Chancellor of the Exchequer drew last year of the National Debt disappearing in the next fifty years. That right hon. Gentleman started with the calculation that it was to be reduced by £40,000.000—£30,000.000 from the Transvaal contribution, £4,000,000 repayment for advances; and £6,000,000 from the China Indemnity. Of these £40,000,000 we had received last year the sum of £3,000,000, and for this year out of £17,000,000 to be received we only received £6,000,000! Then the Floating Debt had not been mentioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ * MR. MCCRAE
It was only mentioned, but the right hon. Gentleman did not endeavour to make the House realise the serious danger of having such a large amount of Treasury Bills floating. He must compliment the Chancellor of the Exchequer in refraining from dealing with the Terminable Annuities falling out in 1906. There was a great temptation for him to deal with them in the same unsound way as the late Chancellor of the Exchequer had done with similar annuities in his 1899 Budget.
He would now come to the question of the Exchequer balances. He had said that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had really paid for the deficit of last year out of money borrowed. In 1899 the Exchequer balances, exclusive 623 of the capital issues which were in the hands of the Exchequer, reaching £1,861,000, amounted to £7,058,000. In the last completed year these balances were stated at £4,263,842; but in this latter sum there was no less than £2,880,000 of borrowed money. He thought the present Chancellor of the Exchequer would admit that; so that the real Exchequer balances only amounted to £1,383,842; and the whole of the deficit of 1903–4 had been met by borrowed money. The same objection might be taken to the proposal of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer to strengthen the balances by taking £1,000,000 this year from the unclaimed dividends. He had always observed since he came into the House that if any Chancellor of the Exchequer had an unsound argument to lay before the House, he always quoted Mr. Gladstone, and then proceeded not to do what Mr. Gladstone did, but to do something very different. Now, the Chancellor of the Exchequer that day had stated that he was going to strengthen his balances by doing what Mr. Gladstone did in 1866 by taking similar unclaimed dividends; but what did Mr. Gladstone do then? He reduced the National Debt by the amount of the unclaimed dividends appropriated; but what the present Chancellor of the Exchequer was proposing to do was to relieve taxation to the amount, by applying the proceeds to revenue purposes. However, with the exception of these two points, he congratulated the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the way he had faced the financial situation, with one other exception as to his proposals to meet the deficit of the present year. The right hon. Gentleman was going to impose £4,500,000 of new taxation, and he had very distinguished precedents to refer to, so far as the increase in the income-tax was concerned. An increase of expenditure in 1859 was met by an increase of the income-tax, and again in 1893 the same course was followed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth. So far he approved. But in 1859 Mr. Gladstone, in making his Budget speech, said—It would be an act of gross injustice towards the consumer to make an imposition on tea or sugar.
§ * MR. MCCRAE
said it was a very large duty compared with what it now was, but the principle was the same, although they were dealing with a different situation at present. He maintained that a proposal by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to impose an additional sum of £2,000,000 on an article of domestic consumption like tea, in a peace Budget, was a course which, if not condemned by the House, would be condemned by the country. What was the position in regard to taxation? £33,000,000 were put on as war taxes. Last year there was a reduction of £13,000,000, leaving an increase of taxation of £20,000,00(1, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer was that day proposing to add £4,500,000. How was that enormous sum to be raised? By Customs and Inland Revenue to the extent of £14,500,000; by income-tax £9,500,000; and therefore he maintained that the indirect taxpayer had good reason to complain. There was a remission last year of the corn tax, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said that that tax did not fall on the consumer. Why then was it taken off professedly for his relief? It had been suggested that there was a source of revenue lying ready to the hand of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the licence duty, from which it was estimated that an additional sum of £2,000,000 could be raised without putting any great hardship on anyone. He had another suggestion to make to the right hon. Gentleman, and it was that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should take a lesson from Japan. The Japanese Finance Minister—and he was sure the right hon. Gentleman the Solicitor-General who smiled would agree with this—said last year that—In order to provide for the work of carrying to completion the programme of national armament, it was of the utmost importance that the necessary funds should be obtained from the most reliable and unfailing source, and there was none better suited for this purpose than the land tax.He recommended that to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. They on that side of the House were twitted some time ago for proposing a tax on land values; but he believed that recent circumstances 625 brought that source of revenue appreciably nearer. He rather disagreed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the reference which the right hon. Gentleman had made to municipal indebtedness. That had amounted to such a sum, said the right hon. Gentleman, as to cause serious reflection; but the right hon. Gentleman ought in fairness to have given the proportion between remunerative and unremunerative municipal indebtedness. It ill became the pot to call the kettle black. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer would show an example in economy, he was sure it would be followed by the municipalities.
He would conclude by saying that he thought the Chancellor of the Exchequer had really missed a great opportunity. They had been promised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, that after the war was over they should have a full consideration of the financial position of the nation. That they had not yet got. He had hoped that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have taken this opportunity to deal more fully with the financial situation, and to put the finances of the country on a broader basis. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman's voice had not been raised that day more effectively in favour of economy. What was wanted was courage to grapple with the demon of extravagance, and to initiate a policy of retrenchment all along the line. Greater control over expenditure was required. It was a maxim in military strategy that the enemy should be beaten in detail. The Estimates were taken separately for the different departments and expenditure increased by detail. There was no occasion when the House could have a full review of the whole expenditure of the year before taxation was imposed. This colossal expenditure was attaining such proportions that it was exceeding their capacity to bear taxation. That responsibility, they, on that side of the House contended, lay with the present Government. The hon. Member for Exeter said that that responsibility rested also with the Opposition. He repudiated that argument. The responsibility rested with the present Government alone. He would quote an excerpt from a speech delivered by Mr. 626 Gladstone in 1879, which showed how history repeated itself. Mr. Gladstone, in speaking of the Beaconsfield Administration, then said—They began the great development of that new method of Government policy and finance under which we were told our country is at length to assume its true position in the world, a position founded on a new creed with a variety of articles, the first of which is uniform financial deficiency.That was very much the position today. They had a deficit last year, deficits in the previous years, and now they had another deficit this year. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer had boldly faced the position, and availed himself of new sources of revenue, he might have relieved the poorer classes of the community from an undue share of the burden of taxation.
§ MR. McKENNA (Monmouthshire, N.)
said he wished to congratulate the Chancellor of the Exchequer on his Budget, if for nothing else than that from beginning to end it represented the pure orthodox doctrine of free trade. The right hon. Gentleman had found that the tobacco duties were in accordance with Cobdenite doctrine, and therefore he had increased them. There was a time when the Chan- cellor of the Exchequer was regarded as the drum of the Protectionist Party opposite; but now they must look upon the Prime Minister as a hostage for the good behaviour of the Party behind him, and so long as he was in his present position it was a pledge that the country would be perfectly free from protectionist tariffs. In spite of the mystery in which the Prime Minister wrapped up his views, it was evident that the Government did not intend, and apparently had not the slightest wish, to introduce protectionist legislation now. Under these circumstances it was a wise thing to retain as Chancellor of the Exchequer a Minister who publicly advocated doctrines entirely different from those taught in that House by the Prime Minister, although it seemed rather like appointing a practitioner who dispensed quack medicines to be President of the College of Physicians. There was a reason why he thought it was a doubtful advantage to have a protectionist Chancellor of the Exchequer at this moment. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he really believed that by taxing the foreigner he 627 could get all the revenue he required, could have no inducement for that economy which this Committee ought to insist upon. It was bound to affect the right hon. Gentleman's mind in the long run, that if they were a little extravagant, that would help him in the policy which he wished to carry out. That was a real danger which the Committee ought to face. On the other hand, the Committee ought to find satisfaction in the fact that the Budget now introduced was a sure indication to the country that the whole tariff reform agitation was a mere sham. It was hardly conceivable that, if hon. Gentlemen opposite really believed that millions could be brought into the Exchequer, that our trade could be revived and brought to a state of great prosperity, that the Empire would be no longer in danger, but would be linked to us by firmer bonds than ever by a mere stroke of the pen, they would be prepared to postpone that change indefinitely—not for this year only, but indefinitely—for the convenience of the present occupants of the Front Bench.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer had spoken of the alarming increase in local indebtedness, which for England and Wales alone, he said, amounted to £197,000,000. He would like the right hon. Gentleman to tell the Committee how much of that was due to the good example of the municipality of Birmingham. He would remind the right hon. Gentleman of the admirable work done by the Birmingham Corporation by means of money raised from the public, and the right hon. Gentleman must confront the late Colonial Secretary and convince him that the admirable work which he did when Mayor of Birmingham was a mistake from beginning to end. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that municipal indebtedness had increased to £197,000.000, he did not remind the Committee that the greater part of that was raised for remunerative undertakings, which provided not only for interest, but sinking fund. He ought to have told them how much had been paid off by the local authorities during these twenty years. They were every year paying off fully as much as was necessary to keep up their credit at the highest point, and 628 the credit of the London County Council stood at this moment actually at a higher point than the credit of the State. His hon. friend was, he thought, a little unfair on the Chancellor of the Exchequer with regard to the Sinking Fund in referring to the debts which were incurred on account of public works. The sinking fund of these Public Works Loans was, he thought, met each year out of the Estimates, and, consequently, when his hon. friend spoke of the Sinking Fund as if he, were going to include the amount of the Public Works Loans in it, he should also have included the amount of Sinking Fund raised on the Estimates for the purposes of meeting those loans; and, if he did include them, he would find the provision made in the Sinking Fund for the Public Works Loins and public debt would be sufficient if it were allowed to remain intact. He agreed entirely, however, that, as a matter of fact, the deficit of this year was, with the possible exception of £800.000, being paid exclusively in the shape of a £1,000,000 from the unpaid dividends. He did not think the Chancellor of the Exchequer had quite come up to the level of his other work in the Budget when he only made a possible provision of £800,000 to cover any Supplementary Estimates, which from past experience would be far in excess of that amount, and would therefore have to be met out of loan. He deplored the tea duty upon every ground, upon British and upon Indian ground; and he was bound to say. that, although he agreed with the rest of the Budget, he should feel constrained on that, account to vote against it.
§ SIR GEORGE BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
said the way in which the Budget had been received was the best compliment the Chancellor of the Exchequer could have. Everything seemed peaceable and quiet, despite the idea that the Budget, was to be a serious matter for the Government. He agreed that the financial condition of the country and the growing expenditure were matters of enormous importance; but he thought, instead of talking about increases in millions, they should look and see in what the money was spent. There were really four item in which 629 large increases had occurred during the past ten years, viz., the Army, the Navy, education, and the wages paid to State employees; the other items were very much as they were ten or twenty years ago. Would anyone get up and say the Navy was to be reduced largely and substantially? ["Hear, hear!" and "Yes."] He could not conceive any responsible section in the House really saying the Navy must be so reduced as to bring the Estimates back to their state of a few years ago. They would all like it, and be glad if the expenditure could be cut down; and, having regard to the Treaty initiated in high quarters between England and France, they hoped it would, before many years were over, be possible to substantially decrease the standard of all this enormous expenditure upon armaments. He knew nothing of the Army, but, looking at the state of Europe, and of the world, and at what was going on both in the Far and Near East, they could not say that this was a time when an enormous reduction could be made in the Army expenditure. During the last ten or fifteen years the Vote for education had increased by nearly £10,000,000 or £12,000,000; but he was satisfied there was not one single Member, who, on the platform would say that the expenditure on education should be reduced, and he did not think there were many who would say so in the House; and he did not think any Member would dare to reduce the fourth item, the wages paid to the employees of the State. Indeed, he did not think there was any hon. Gentleman opposite, who would go all over the country talking about the extravagance i of the Government, who would dare to say there was one of these items he would reduce. He was as anxious to see as much economy as he could, and he rejoiced extremely that the right hon. Gentleman had maintained the Sinking Fond, because to his mind it was the only substantial means they had of pressing some sort of economy upon the attention of the House. He always regarded the great cause of increased expenditure as being not the Government bat the desires of the House, which continually pressed the Government, whether Conservative or otherwise, for increased expenditure; and he said emphatically that why he always 630 objected to the reduction of the Sinking Fund, and still thought it not sufficient, was because he looked upon it as a sort of indirect or private way really tending to economy. The great subject of local taxation had also been brought up. He looked with the greatest apprehension at the enormous increase of the local taxation, a comparatively small part only of which was remunerative; and he said they were building up an enormous debt and risk in this large expenditure. Of course, they had representative government in each locality, and each locality was allowed to borrow; but he thought some such rule as was in force in America, where there was a limit to the borrowing power of each locality, would be beneficial here. He again emphasised the necessity of looking into the items before talking about increases of millions to see which they could honestly say they intended to decrease. He thought, the Army and Navy might be ultimately decreased, but at present there was no section of the House which, if in office, would dare largely to decrease those great spending Departments in any way.
§ SIR WILLIAM HOLLAND (Yorkshire, W.R., Rotherham)
said he wished to associate himself with the stand hon. Members and right hon. Members on the opposite side of the House had made for economy. He thought, if those Members, who were pretty numerous, were to band themselves together and decide on some joint action they would be able to speak with authority and in time enforce their views. The features of the Budget were the colossal scale of our national expenditure and the magnitude of our deficit. It appeared to him that deficits were becoming chronic in the Budgets. In the period from 1888 to 1898 every Budget with one exception, when there was a slight deficit, showed a surplus, but since then we had witnessed appalling deficits. He hoped they were getting to the end of such a sad record. He congratulated the Chancellor on his admission that there were signs that the extreme depression in our trade of the past few years was passing away. This was good news. He thought it was absolutely true, and he called the attention of the House to the fact that it was taking place without the assistance 631 of their friends from Birmingham who were advocating new and drastic remedies.
He should also like to acknowledge the accuracy of the Chancellor's diagnosis as to the ailments which just now attended the cotton trade. These troubles were to be assigned to the scarcity of raw material and the speculation which had taken place in the raw material. He hoped the Chancellor would stick to these views, because he considered it likely there might he an attempt to attribute them to other causes, and to advocate a fiscal remedy instead of the true and accurate remedy, viz., to increase the supply of raw material. He 'lid not claim to be an expert in the tobacco trade, but it did strike an outsider that if import duties were to be levied on any manufactures imported into this country which at the same time were made on an extensive scale in this country pro tanto those duties, unless coupled with a corresponding Excise duty, must afford protection to those engaged in the trade. He considered the increased tea duty would come as a surprise to everybody. It would hit a class already hard hit by taxation and particularly by the sugar tax imposed within the last few years. He supported the appeal to the Chancellor to remove the duty from alcohol required for manufacturing purposes. The effect of the removal would be infinitesimal on the Budget, because the industries were non-existent; but, by removing this barrier, we should, he thought, soon have a rush from foreign countries and new industries would be established, improving employment. Chambers of commerce throughout the country had passed resolutions in favour of some such action, and he hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would therefore take the matter into his careful consideration. He was sorry the right hon. Gentleman had not seen his way to remove the coal tax, which had led to the loss of contracts and had diminished employment, lessening the ability of those concerned to pay other taxes. Contrasting England's growing indebtedness with the financial condition of the United States, Germany, and Italy, he quoted from a report with respect to the latter country, 632 which stated that there had been five surplus Budgets, that the Debt was being steadily reduced, and that the high quotation of Italian stock testified to the estimate formed of the soundness of Italian credit. He was afraid the converse must be true with regard to the estimate formed of the credit of this country. All these facts, he said, confirmed his view that we had lost ground in comparison with other nations; but he hoped we had now turned the corner and that the days of deficits were past.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
said he would direct the attention of the House to one specific subject, viz., the effect the increased tea duty would have upon the constituency he represented, or rather the county of Donegal. Of all portions of the United Kingdom the county of Donegal would be the most detrimentally affected; it was largely poverty-stricken, the people having the greatest difficulty to sustain existence at the best of times. They rarely took any meat; and they did not eat bread as they, in England, knew it; they ate Indian meal. In one family of five, where the income amounted to £10 a year, £3 was expended on tea, and in another family, where the income was £25 a year, £7 was expended on tea. Tea with them was an article of food, and these family budgets showed the enormous effect the increased duty would have on the life of the inhabitants of his constituency. He could not imagine anything more atrocious than this increase. The incidence of taxation as regarded tea between England and Ireland was not fairly proportioned, for in Ireland more tea was drunk than in England. Ireland, moreover, stood in a very different position to England, and if the whole hundred Irish Members voted against this duty, including the Loyalists and the Members for Dublin University, it would not affect the tax. Ireland was unconstitutionally placed, and if the tax could be resisted by force it would be proper to do it. He had no wish to draw a contrast between the present free-trade Chancellor of the Exchequer and the free lance who appeared on a platform at 633 Birmingham approving the transgressions of an erring father, but he did assert that there was reason to doubt the spirit of the Budget, and to look on it as a clear indication of the principles advocated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham of putting a tax on the food of the people, and, as such, he hoped it would be strenuously opposed.
§ * MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I feel that I must make one or two observations in answer to what has fallen from hon. Members in the course of the debate. First, I desire to acknowledge the great kindness with which I have been received by Members of the Committee on both sides of the House. I am very sensible of the personal kindness they have shown me. It is, I suppose, more than I can hope that any Chancellor of the Exchequer should carry a Budget without coming into active controversy with some section of opinion in the House, but at any rate, I desire to postpone that stage until a later date in our discussions. I think it has been generally admitted that, under difficult circumstances, the Government have faced the position with courage, and have made proposals which are worthy of the nation and worthy of the acceptance of this Committee. My right hon. friend the Member for West Bristol has cautioned me as to the estimates I have prepared, and has expressed the hope that I have taken a warning by the results of the last two years and been moderate in the expectations I have formed. He alluded in particular to the fact that last year contained an extra day, and asked whether I had remembered that fact in forecasting the revenue of the current year. Yes, Sir, I have taken that into account, and, I believe, after taking the best opinion that I could, that the estimates of revenue which I have presented are moderate and are more likely to be exceeded than to result in a deficiency.
My right hon. friend asked me for some further explanations of exactly how I propose to deal with the realised deficit of the past year. I have made very full and ample provision for the estimated expenditure for the current year—that deficit, at any rate, I have filled. The ques- 634 tion is, what exactly have I done with the realised deficit which we inherited from the year which has just closed. I think my right hon. friend was somewhat confused by mixing up the repayment which we have received from the Transvaal with the amount by which the balances were swollen owing to excess borrowings beyond the actual expenditure during the course of the war. The balances were actually swollen out of money borrowed for war charges, but not at the time expended in war charges, to the extent of nearly £3,000,000. I had a realised deficit on the past year of, roughly, £5,500,000 to deal with. To the extent to which the balances were abnormally swollen in the years of war by borrowings intended to be devoted to the purposes of war, but not at the time required for war, I now allow the war charges of last year to fall finally and definitely upon balance—that is to say, that the money which was borrowed for the war charges but not at the time required for war charges I now apply to meet to that extent the war charges which have since accrued. The war charges which have since accrued have indeed exceeded the excess of our borrowings, but it is only to the extent to which our borrowings exceeded the immediate demands for war charges that I propose that those war charges shall now be thrown upon the excess borrowings of past years. That gives me a sum of a little less than £3,000,000. Then I propose to obtain, by the utilisation of a part of the sum standing unused in the unpaid dividend account, a further sum of £1,000,000, which will go to make good that deficit, and to replace the draft which has been made upon the balance. My right hon. friend very naturally said that he presumed these sums were remaining invested, and invested in Consols, and hoped I should be cautious how I became a seller of Consols at the present moment. Yes, Sir, that is a matter which has had my most careful attention, and I shall be most careful as to the time and the manner in which I realise this asset. I think the services of the National Debt Commissioners will be most useful in this connection. All that I will say at present is that the difficulty adumbrated by my right hon. friend has not escaped my attention, and 635 I shall have careful regard to the interests of Consols. I thus obtain from the excess borrowings the sum of £2,800 000, and from the realisation of the asset of the unclaimed dividends £1,000,000, or a total of a little short of £1,000,000. The deficit being in round figures, £5,500,000, or a little under, I have still a little more than £1,500,000 to make good. My right hon. friend I think, wished me to explain exactly what I propose to do in regard to that £1,500,000. As I have already stated, I believe the estimates of revenue which I have laid before the Committee are framed with great moderation. I am hopeful that they will be exceeded and that the actual surplus revenue will be larger than the sum I have named to the Committee. From that surplus revenue, after allowing for the unforeseen contingencies of the year, I shall make good a considerable portion, not improbably the major portion of the £1,500,000 which will still remain after my other proposals have been adopted. It is to the surplus I look to make further provision towards the restoration of balances, and if I cannot restore the whole of the £1,500,000 by which the balances are depleted, then the remainder must wait for restoration in the subsequent year. That is a course in accordance with precedent, and a course that is dictated by the circumstances of the moment to any one in my position. Taxation is very high, and I am obliged to raise it still higher. An emergency has to be met, and to the temporary nature of the emergency I must have regard in making provision, not disturbing any trade or industry or burdening the present year out of all proportion to the permanent needs of the country. I ask the Committee to support me in what I feel is no popular task in imposing fresh taxation to the extent that is necessary fully to cover the anticipated deficit of the current year and to leave a large margin towards wiping out the remaining deficit of last year. But a Chancellor of the Exchequer would not be justified in asking the Committee at a moment like the present to impose a very much larger addition to taxation in the current year with the knowledge that it would not be required for the ordinary expenditure of the subsequent year.
My right hon. friend went on to express a hope that I should secure 636 from the tea duty the revenue anticipated. He said very truly that there is no article which more lends itself to anticipatory clearances from bond in expectation of increased duty than tea. My right hon. friend will be glad to learn that tea this year has been less sensitive than in some previous years, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that clearances in the last week or two have not been such as to show there has been anticipation. On the other hand, there might, in expectation of relief from taxation when the next Budget statement is made, be a disposition on the part of dealers to hold back clearances, but by moving the Resolution in a form that will continue the duty up to August, 1905, I hope to secure the revenue I anticipate. My right hon. friend indulged in some good-natured chaff upon the choice of tea as a subject for increased duty. He referred to the difficulty he had when raising the duty, and pictured to himself with some satisfaction the present Chancellor of the Exchequer replying to the hon. and gallant Member for Sheffield and others who are in favour of preference being given to Indian and Colonial products when they attack him for increasing a duty on what is mainly an Indian product. I do not think the Indian Government will complain, for from an interesting despatch I gather that they are satisfied with the assurance that whatever duties are put on are paid by the British consumer. I assure my hon. friend the Member for Bethnal Green that I personally regret to have to choose this subject for taxation. I do not think the increase in the tea duty which I propose will check to any material extent the consumption of tea. Duty or no duty, it is impossible that the increase in the consumption of tea per head of the population can continue at the same rate at which it has progressed for the past half-century, because, to employ a picturesque phrase which has been supplied to me by an authority on the subject, the British people have very nearly reached saturation point in the matter of tea drinking. But I hope I can count upon the able and influential support of my right hon. friend the Member for West Bristol in proving to my hon. friend the Member for Bethnal Green that his Indian constituents—if I 637 may use the phrase—will not have to suffer the whole of the burden of the increased duty on tea, but that it will be borne by the taxpayers of the United Kingdom. I do not pretend that to raise the tax on tea is a popular course. No one is more alive than I am to the objections that can be raised against it. But, after all, I have to provide a sufficient sum of money to balance the national accounts and to leave a margin on the right side; and if the use of tea for this purpose is condemned, hon. Members must find for me some other source of revenue less objectionable.
The hon. Member for Bethnal Green suggested that I should have recourse to a general duty on imported goods and the hon. and learned Member for Waterford urged that if I must raise money by indirect taxation some article of luxury rather than an article of universal consumption should be employed. I will not enter to-night into any elaborate examination of the subject, but I venture to defy any hon. Gentleman who holds that view to frame a satisfactory method of realising their aspirations without a revolution in our fiscal system, and the Government are precluded by the pledges they have given from attempting any fundamental change in our fiscal system at the present time. There is, of course, another suggestion which is equally certain to be advanced in the debate on the Budget, and that is economy. It is not for me to defend the expenditure of a Cabinet of which I was not a member against the criticisms of my right hon. friend the Member for West Bristol. But I confess I think there is some inconsistency, in my right hon. friend, of all men in the world, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the years of greatest expenditure, admonishing me, of course in the kindliest spirit—
§ SIR M. HICKS BEACH
No, no! I have not said a word, and certainly never intended to say a word, which would hold my right hon. friend responsible for the expenditure of which I complained. Of course, my right hon. friend was not then in office, and consequently was not responsible for the expenditure.
§ * MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I am most anxious to avoid entering into 638 a personal controversy with my right hon. friend, but I do submit that it is a little hard that my right hon. friend, now he is free from the responsibility of office, should criticie so freely the expenditure of the days when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer and one of the most influential members of the Cabinet which incurred that expenditure. Every Chancellor of the Exchequer in turn has the strongest interest in reducing expenditure, and every Chancellor of the Exchequer will use every effort to is cure economy, subject only to his sense of what is necessary for the safety of the country. The test which must be applied is not whether the expenditure is large or small, but whether it is more than is needed for the wants of the country. Would any hon. or right hon. Gentleman on the Government side have been prepared, at any time during the nine years that our Party have been in power, to save a million or two millions of increase of taxation by a corresponding reduction in the building programme of the Fleet? What are they willing to give up? Our financial reserves are as important as our military or naval reserves; the three must be considered together, and in any particular year we must weigh the demands of the one against the demands of the other and strike a balance between them. I do not think it right, having assented to certain programmes of military and naval expenditure, having felt it impossible to refuse assent to those programmes, now to complain of that expenditure. I venture to say that the expenditure on the Navy in the years for which we have been responsible has been a great insurance for the nation, and that if we had not year by year assented to the sacrifice, heavy as they were, which the country has been asked to make, at moments: such as those we passed through last autumn and winter, there is no limit to the panic expenditure into which we might have been forced. I will say no more on that subject at present, as I understand it is to be raised again in the course of subsequent discussions.
The right hon. and learned Member for Haddingtonshire expressed his desire that we should arrive at some more accurate and scientific determination of the actual incidence of taxation upon 639 different classes or individuals in the community. That was the very first thought that occurred to me when I entered upon office. I have taken a good deal of pains to obtain information on the subject, but I will tell the Committee frankly that every calculation I have made or seen I am advised by those most competent to advise me is a matter of pure speculation on which I should be unwise to base any arguments or conclusions. I do not say I have finished my inquiries, and I can promise that the subject shall not escape my attention. The burden of the debate has been, after all, not a criticism upon the particular proposals of the Budget, but an attack on the alleged extravagance of the Government, and a demand that there should be greater economy in the future. I deny the extravagance. The Government have spent largely, but we have spent on purposes of the first importance to the country. We have got value for the money and as long as that is the case we cannot be fairly accused of extravagance. I do not profess to hope that there can be any great reductions in the Navy Estimates, but I do hope that the great exertions we have made in recent years in meeting not only current liabilities, but the deficit we inherited, have placed the country in such a position of naval strength, that the Navy Estimates will not grow in the next few years as they have done in the past. And I also hope that by modifying and improving the Army system, which has been the accepted Army system for thirty years past of both Parties in the country, the. Secretary for War, in particular, may obtain a more, efficient Army and yet make some reduction in our great military expenditure. But if there is to be a real economy there must be some change, in the House, itself, and that change must be as marked on the Benches opposite as on the Benches on this side of the House. Hon. Members come forward with a cheap and easy cry against large expenditure, when the bill has to be paid, but how much support can I count upon from any hon. Members opposite in resisting any popular demand for increased expenditure?
§ * MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Hon. Members have enjoyed the opportunity often enough, and what did they do? Some of them stayed at home; some of them walked out; and the rest went into the lobby in favour of increased expenditure and justified it to their consciences and constituents by the statement that they were voting against a Government in which they had no confidence. That is an easy way of treating the difficulty; but it is idle to talk of economy as long as that irresponsible feeling exists among many hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite who ought to have some responsibility because they profess to have a real knowledge and appreciation of the difficulties which confront the Government. I am afraid that I have adopted a more controversial tone than I had intended. But amid interruptions I find a little difficulty in restraining myself within those limits of moderation and calmness which I laid down for my guidance when meditating my remarks. I conclude as I began, by expressing my genuine thanks to the Committee for the kindness they have shown to me, and with an appeal to hon. Members to come to a decision upon this Resolution, which it is absolutely necessary to take this evening. I must also take the Resolution as to the changes in the tobacco duties. The only result of not passing the Resolutions would be that certain Gentlemen would be enabled to procure goods to a considerable extent to-morrow, and that is in the interest neither of the public nor of the trade generally. I hope, therefore, those Resolutions will be passed to-night, and I shall not then ask the Committee to proceed further.
§ SIR ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)
said that what was wanted was not so much a change in the Committee or in the House as a change in the spirit which had animated the Government towards foreign and colonial affairs during the last four or five years. Throughout the debate, with the exception of a remark by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, hardly a reference had been made to the main cause of the present financial 641 difficulties. As the Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated, the military expenditure had been practically dictated by the late war. Whether that war was right or wrong, it was at the bottom of the present difficulties, and it was only reasonable that the House of Commons should recognise the fact. Without a complete change in the spirit which brought about that calamity, and similar calamities on a smaller scale, there was little prospect of economy in the future, on the part either of the present or of any Government.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
said the answer to the inquiry of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol with regard to the deficit of £1,500,000 left over from last year was extremely unsatisfactory, and he hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would even now give the matter further consideration. The question he desired to mention had reference to the tea duty. If they merely voted against the Resolution which had been put from the Chair, it would seem as if they were obstructing the general Budget; whereas what they wanted to do was something quite different. They wanted to take a clean issue with regard to the proposed increase in that duty. He would therefore move an Amendment to substitute "sixpence" for "eightpence" in the Resolution. The effect of this Amendment would be that the tea duty would continue to be levied at sixpence. He was amused at the light way in which this matter had been treated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol. With regard to this duty he might say that they had had a good deal of experience of the kicking downstairs treatment when the right hon. Gentleman himself was Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he was sorry that he had not adopted milder ways in dealing with people. He wished the Committee to consider how the tea growers were being treated. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol said that tea was not a raw material, but to India and Ceylon tea was practically a raw material for it was the most important product of those countries. Probably the Committee did not realise the difference to those countries 642 between a sixpenny and an eightpenny tea duty. The sixpenny duty on tea was carried in the year 1883 and it continued to 1899 when it was reduced to four pence. In the year 1863 all the tea used in the country was sent from a foreign nation, but since then tea had become a great British product and they were not only supplying the English-speaking people with tea at the present time, but their tea growers produced 80,000,0001bs. a year for export to other countries. This duty would strike a deadly blow at an important British industry which was now suffering under very great disabilities. The Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to consider these tea growers, who had already pointed out to him that the consumption of tea was kept under a heavy disability by the 6d. duty. The Chancellor of the Exchequer would not find it a pleasant thins to tell the tea growers that the country was saturated with tea, and that it did not matter what it did to them. It was practically admitted that this was suggested with the idea of punishing India. The right hon. Gentleman did not like the attitude of India with regard to tariff reform because they were too much free-trade for him, and consequently he was going to put a tax upon their tea. The tea growers ought to be considered in this matter and so ought the wants of their own people. The people of this country might be saturated with tea, but what was the reason? They could not afford more expensive drinks. It was the poor who took tea, and yet this article of consumption was to be treated worse than any other article. The duty on tea had been doubled, for it used to be 4d. and now it was 8d. The Government did not propose to double the duty on beer, and why did they not increase the beer and spirit duty in something like the same proportion as they had done the tea duty? Why not double the beer duty before they doubled the tea duty? The Government had punished India, and now were going to punish the temperance people too. To-morrow the process would be carried a step further when they were considering their friends the publicans and the brewers. Tea was not the first article but the very last upon which a heavy burden of this kind should be laid. The Chancellor of the Exchequer 643 had received many compliments that evening, but he assured the right hon. Gentleman that his path would not be easier as this Budget went on, and he warned him not to take those compliments too seriously The right hon. Gentleman seemed to him to be like a man who had sat down on a wasps' nest. He would have a great deal of trouble with tea and tobacco before the Budget was finished with. He begged to move his Amendment.
In line 5, to leave out the words 'Eight pence,' and insert the words Sixpence.'"—(Mr. Lough.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words 'Eight pence' stand part of the proposed Resolution."
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN (Birmingham, W.)
The hon Member has chosen rather unexpectedly to take a division upon an Amendment to this Resolution, and I should like to say one or two words upon that Amendment, although I will detain the Committee for only a short time. I listen with the greatest pleasure and satisfaction to everything which falls from the hon. Member for West Islington on a financial subject, especially if that financial subject has anything to do with tea. But to-night, Sir, I have listened with greater pleasure even than ordinarily, because what he has said affects not merely the question before the Committee, but also certain other controversies in which I have taken great personal interest. I am led to believe that the hon. Gentleman has made a mistake and that he has moved unwittingly a different Amendment from that which he ought to have moved in order to carry out the objects he has in view. The hon. Gentleman on this occasion, as on all other occasions, is disinterested. He does not speak for himself; he does not speak for his constituency; he does not speak even for his country. He speaks for what he calls two great Colonies. Sir, he and I are in the same boat. I have been speaking for the Colonies for a good number of years, and I rejoice to find that I am to have the co-operation of the hon. Gentleman. He speaks for these two great dependencies, and he asserts 644 that in his opinion the increased duty on tea will most materially injure them. It is not the consumer here in the first instance who is concerned, but the producer there. It is the external producer who is injured by a duty placed upon the importation of an article into this country. I accept the theory of my hon. friend, my coadjutor in the future, and I assure him that I share the anxiety which he feels. I am most anxious that no injustice should be done to the Colonies or the dependencies of the Empire. But surely in these circumstances the minimum which the hon. Gentleman should have moved should have been a preference Amendment.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
That shows a lack of courage on the part of my hon. friend. My hon. friend is perfectly well aware that so far as I am concerned I have put forward certain views, which have been contemptuously rejected on the other side—[Several HON. MEMBERS: And on your own side]—for discussion and consideration, and not altogether without some sucess. But I have distinctly declared from the very beginning that I have no intention whatever of bringing them forward as practical subjects for the consideration of the present Parliament. But, although I should be guilty of almost a breach of faith if I were to introduce a subject of that kind into the House at the present time, no such limitation applies to my hon. friend, and I say, according to the theory which he has so admirably developed to the. House, he, as the saviour of the two Colonies of India and Ceylon, ought to have proposed an Amendment not to reduce the taxation of tea, but to give a preference to those Colonies upon the tea which they supplied. In that case the growers for whom he is so deeply moved, and whose condition he has represented in such affecting terms, would have been infinitely indebted to him. No doubt they, on their part, would have been willing to make some reciprocal concession.
645 That is the first thing for which I am indebted to my hon. friend the Member for West Islington and in which I find myself in entire agreement with him. But there is another point. There is almost always, I observe, a slight inconsistency in the argument of those who call themselves free-traders. They always want to eat their loaf and have it. They always want to represent that their scheme benefits inconsistently all classes of people, and that our scheme injures inconsistently all classes of people. But what does the hon. Gentleman say to-night? He says the proposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is to ruin the producers in India and Ceylon, because the whole effect of the duty is to fall upon them. He said it would be a deadly blow. That is the first thing; that is the speech for the big meeting. Then comes the speech to the overflow, which, as we know, is always entirely inconsistent, and the speech to the overflow is that this increase in the duty which is to ruin the producer in India and Ceylon, which it can only do by reducing the price which he obtains for his production is also a deadly blow at the poorest of the poor, who consume tea as an article of food, to whom it is of more importance than anything else. Again I am interested. amused, delighted at the support which is being afforded to certain theories of mine upon the subject by the hon. Member for West Islington. I am in the recollection of the House when I say that in pursuing the discussion to which I have referred I suggested that it would be some compensation to the poorest of the poor if a reduction was made in the cost of tea for any increase they might have to pay on some other article. In making that statement I was scornfully entreated by the friends of the hon. Gentleman. But no longer can that be the case. The next time it is said:—"Oh, you are insulting the poor when you propose to reduce the price of tea. Babies are not fed upon tea."' [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh," and cheers.]"The loaf, and the loaf alone, is the staff of life. "When that is said in the future I shall be able to say, "No," for I find a person of great authority [some OPPOSI- 646 TION cries of "Divide," and MINISTERIAL cries of "Order"], a person of great financial authority in the Liberal Party, the Member for West Islington, in accord with me in thinking that the cost of tea is of as much importance as the cost of any other article. We have gained something incidentally from the dicussion of this matter, and, although I shall vote against the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman, I can assure him I shall give the greatest consideration to the arguments by which he supported it.
§ * MR. THEODORE TAYLOR (Lancashire, Radcliffe)
said the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken did not often suffer from want of imagination, but on the present occasion he had quite excelled himself in throwing at the advocates of free trade the very charge they so often made against him. The hon. Member for West Islington had told them that the consumer of tea in this country and its producer in India were both to be injured by one operation, whereupon the right hon. Gentleman sought to make it appear that because the producer would lose, the consumer would be saved that loss. He thought the theory that had been put forward in such a bold and broad manner should be answered at once. The consumer by the extra charge he had to pay for his article would reduce his consumption of it, not only to his own disadvantage, but to that of the producer also. It did not follow at all that the producer in India and Ceylon could reduce his price, but if he did it would only be temporarily, until the checking of tea production made it remunerative again. The mere fact of the annual consumption being restricted by this tax was a permanent injury to the producer, without any corresponding gain to the consumer. As a result of this addition to the tea duty not only would consumers have to pay the whole of it, but our Eastern tea producing dependencies would suffer from diminished trade. Let the House remember too the extent of this duty. On a large part of our tea consumption it was already an ad valorem tax of 75 per cent. and this 647 extra 2d. would make it 100 per cent. Was it right to impose a tax of this magnitude proportionately injurious to both consumer and producer?
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 265: Noes, 193. (Division List No. 84.)651
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C.||Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O||Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir John E||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.|
|Arrol, Sir William||Doughty, George||Keswick, William|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Kimber, Henry|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Duke, Henry Edward||Laurie, Lieut.-General|
|Rain, Colonel James Robert||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monmouth)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A.J.(Manch'r||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Lawson, Jn. G. (Yorks., N.R.)|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Faber, George Denison (York)||Lee, A. H. (Hants., Fareham)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds||Fardell, Sir T. George||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manch||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Llewellyn, Evan Henry|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Mich. Hicks||Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Bristol, S.)|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Fisher, William Hayes||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Bignold, Arthur||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose||Lowe, Francis William|
|Bigwood, James||Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Bond, Edward||Forster, Henry William||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Fyler, John Arthur||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Galloway, William Johnson||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Bowles, Lt.-Col. H. F (Middlesex||Gardner, Ernest||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Brodrick, Rt, Hon. St. John||Garfit, William||Maconochie, A. W.|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool;|
|Brown, Sir Alex. H. (Shropsh.)||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn)||M'Calmont, Colonel James|
|Bull, William James||Gore. Hn G.R.C. Ormsby- (Salop||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Line.||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)|
|Butcher, John George||Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Campbell, J.H.M. (Dublin Univ||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Malcolm, Ian|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Graham, Henry Robert||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Maxwell, Rt. Hn Sir H.E (Wigt'n|
|Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire||Greene, Henry D.(Shrewsbury)||Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston -Manor)||Greene. W. Raymond (Cambs.)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Grenfell, William Henry||Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Gretton, John||Milvain, Thomas|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A (Worc||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Groves, James Grimble||Molesworth, Sir Lewis|
|Chapman, Edward||Hambro, Charles Eric||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Midd'x||Montagu, Hn. J. Scott (Hants.;|
|Coates, Edward Feetham||Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hardy, L. (Kent. Ashford)||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Morrison, James Archibald|
|Colomb, Rt. Hn. Sir John C. R.||Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Mount, William Arthur|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.|
|Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Heath, A. Howard (Hanley)||Muntz, Sir Philip A.|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Heath. James (Staffords., N.W.||Murray, Rt, Hon. A. G. (Bute|
|Craig, Chas. Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Heaton, John Henniker||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Helder, Augustus||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Henderson. Sir A. (Stafford, W||Myers, William Henry|
|Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Newdegate, Francis A. N.|
|Cust, Henry John C.||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Hope, T.F.(Sheffield, Brightside||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley|
|Davies, Sir H. D. (Chatham)||Hoult, Joseph||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Denny, Colonel||Houston, Robert Paterson||Percy, Earl|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Hutton, John (Yorks., N. R.)||Pilkington, Colonel Richard|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Plummer, Walter R.||Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Pretyman, Ernest George||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Skewes-Cox, Thomas||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Pym, C. Guy||Sloan, Thomas Henry||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Randles, John S.||Smith, Abel H. (Hert'ford East)||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.|
|Ratcliff, R. F.||Smith, H.C (North'mb. Tyneside||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Reid, James (Greenock)||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E (Taunton|
|Remnant, James Farquharson||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)||Welby, Sir Charles G.E.(Notts.|
|Renwick, George||Spear, John Ward||Whiteley, H. (Ashton and. Lyne|
|Ridley, Hon. M.W.(Stalybridge||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green||Stanley, Edward Jas.(Somerset||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas Thomson||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lanes.||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.|
|Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.||Wodehonse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert||Stock, James Henry||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Rothschild, En. Lionel Walter||Stone, Sir Benjamin||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Round, Rt. Hon. James||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Royds, Clement Molyneux||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Rutherford, John (Lancashire)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxf'd Univ.||Wyndham-Quin. Col. W. H.|
|Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Thornton, Percy M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Alexander Acland- Hood and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.|
|Sandys, Lt.-Col. Thos. Myles||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)||Tuff, Charles|
|Abraham, William (Cork, X.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Joyce Michael|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Dobbie, Joseph||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Donelan, Captain A.||Kilbride, Denis|
|Allen, Charles P.||Doogan, P. C.||Kitson, Sir James|
|Asher, Alexander||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Langley, Batty|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Duncan, J. Hastings||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herb. Henry||Dunn, Sir William||Layland- Barratt, Francis|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Edwards, Frank||Loamy, Edmund|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Eli bank, Master of||Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Ellis. John Edward (Notts.)||Leigh, Sir Joseph|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Emmott, Alfred||Leng, Sir John|
|Black, Alexander William||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Levy, Maurice|
|Boland, John||Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Fenwick, Charles||Logan, John William|
|Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Lough, Thomas|
|Brigg, John||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Lundon, W.|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Freeman-Thomas, Captain F.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Fuller, J. M. F.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Goddard, Daniel Ford||M'Crae, George|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Grant, Corrie||M'Hugh, Patrick A.|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||M'Kenna, Reginald|
|Caldwell, James||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Hammond, John||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Harcourt, Lewis.(Rossendale||Mansfield, Horace Rendall|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Harcourt, Rt Hn. Sir W (Monm't||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Mooney, John J.|
|Cawley, Frederick||Harwood, George||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Mayden, John Patrick||Moulton, John Fletcher|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Helme, Norval Watson||Murphy, John|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Crean, Eugene||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Cremer, William Randal||Holland, Sir William Henry||Norman, Henry|
|Crooks, William||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Cullinan, J.||Horniman, Frederick John||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.)|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan||Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Delany, William||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, X.)|
|Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway||Joicey, Sir James||O'Malley, William|
|Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||O'Mara, James|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Shee, James John|
|Parrott, William||Shackleton, David James||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Partington, Oswald||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Ure, Alexander|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Perks, Robert William||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Wallace, Robert|
|Pirie, Duncan V.||Sheehy, David||Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Price, Robert John||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Priestley, Arthur||Slack, John Bamford||Wason, Jn. Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Rea, Russell||Smith, Samuel (Flint)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Reddy, M.||Soares, Ernest J.||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Redmond John E. (Waterford)||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R (Northants||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Redmond, William (Clare)||Stevenson, Francis S.||Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)|
|Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries||Strachey, Sir Edward||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Rickett, J. Compton||Sullivan, Donal||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Rigg, Richard||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk. Mid.|
|Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Tennant, Harold John||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Robson, William Snowdon||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)||Woodhouse. Sir J. T (Huddersf'd|
|Rose, Charles Day||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.||Young, Samuel|
|Runciman, Walter||Thomas, D. Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Russell, T. W.||Thomas, J. A (Glamorgan, Gower||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Herbert Gladstone and Mr. William M'Arthur.|
|Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Tomkinson, James|
|Schwann, Charles E.||Toulmin, George|
§ Main Question put.652
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 259; Noes, 188. (Division List No. 85.)