HC Deb 22 July 1904 vol 138 cc951-98

As amended, considered.

MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)

said he had placed upon the Paper in the Committee stage a clause the effect of which would be to end this tax on December 31st. Section 3 of the Finance Act of 1901 made the coal tax a permanent tax, and the object and effect of the clause he was now moving was to make it a temporary tax running for a year only. Its effect would be that it would have to come up next year again in the form of a Resolution in Committee of Ways and Means and would be open to full discussion on that stage as well on the Committee stage. The Commission might by that time have reported on any new circumstances and facts that might have transpired in the preceding twelve months. He had deliberately adopted this more conciliatory course because of what occurred in Committee. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his speech had spoken of having an open mind on this question, and had practically promised to reconsider his refusal to abolish this tax affecting an enormously important industry in many parts of the country, if any new facts justifying such a course could be cited. He had felt that he was, under the circumstances, well advised in raising this question on the Report stage in this most conciliatory way. He looked on his proposal as a very moderate one indeed, and he hoped the Government would give it the consideration which he claimed that it deserved. It might be invidious to allude to the war taxes of 1902, to the corn duty, which was not only reconsidered but was actually repealed. He would not, therefore, attempt to trace any analogy or draw any inference from that action. He was, he knew, precluded from going into the merits of the coal duty, but he did most earnestly urge upon the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer the advisability of meeting public opinion in this matter. His position would certainly be vastly stronger and Letter in every way if ha accepted this Amendment. His speech the other night was a practical admission that the basis upon which this tax was originally imposed in 1901 was not permanent but was open to revision. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol in his Budgets of 1901–2–3 talked a great deal about widening the basis of taxation and about the difficulty and impracticability of imposing taxes of this kind, which involved very complicated commercial considerations in connection with trades in which there were contracts spreading over long periods without placing them on a permanent footing. The right hon. Gentleman also justified his action by claiming that in such cases it was unreasonable to impose the duty for one year only. He did not wish, however, to raise any recriminatory points, or to cast reflections upon anyone. He would simply submit that it was undesirable in the interest of constitutional government and of sound finance that taxes such as these should be excluded from the Resolution stage of the House, and that they ought to come up for reconsideration every year. This coal duty specially called for treatment of that kind. It ought not to Le treated as a permanent corner stone of our system of taxation, to go on generation after generation; it should be considered year by year in the light of all the interests concerned.

A clause. [Amendment of Section 3 of Finance Act, 1901]. Section three of the Finance Act, 1901, shall read as if the words 'until the first day of August, nineteen hundred and five,' were inserted after the words nineteen hundred and one' in line two of the Section."—(Mr. Channing). Brought up, and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the clause be read a second time."


said there were other Amendments on the Paper which raised the whole question, and this particular one was hut a small point, and he had therefore decided to reply at once, in the hope that they might come to an early decision on it. The hon. Member in a perfectly conciliatory speech had based his arguments on a speech he delivered in the early hours of Wednesday morning He could not accept the inference which the hon. Gentlemen drew from the speech referred to. All he had said was that he should keep an open mind to consider new facts which might be disclosed by the Report of the Royal Commission on the Coal Supplies, and it was not fair to press that to the extent of suggesting that he differed from the statement of his predecessor when he proposed the tax. He did not pretend that the coal trade was as prosperous now as when the duty was imposed, for at that time it was admittedly in enjoyment of exceptional prosperity; it was characterised by high prices and high rates of wages. As they all knew, the coal trade was subject to very great fluctuations, and the fat years had to bear their share of the burden of the lean. In order to arrive at a fair opinion as to the condition of the trade they must take a number of years and strike an average. The hon. Member because he undertook to preserve an open mind, now asked him to make the duty annual instead of permanent. He thought that that was hardly a reasonable request. What was necessary from the constitutional point of view was that a sufficient portion of the revenue should come annually of necessity under review in order that Parliament should grant the Ways and Means necessary for the service of the year. This review was amply provided for in present circumstances by the number of annual taxes that were brought under review. There was thus no danger to constitutional rights owing to the fact that certain taxes were enacted in a permanent form. Under the circumstances, therefore, he was unable to accede to the request of the hon. Member.

MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)

said the Chancellor of the Exchequer at all events gave the impression during the recent debate that he had an open mind on the matter of the coal tax, and that he would wait until the issue of the Report of the Royal Commission before definitely deciding whether or not the tax should be a permanent tax. But the point really before the House on the present occasion was whether this tax, admittedly put on as a war tax and intended as a temporary tax, ought not to be brought annually under review.


said the hon Member could not find any authority in the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol for the statement that the tax was intended to be temporary.


said the tax was at any rate put on for the purposes of the war, but the expenditure of the Government had been so great that the war taxes were now practically permanent. In former days the expenses of the State used to be voted by separate Bills, and a far larger proportion of the taxes were voted annually than was now the case, but in consequence of disputes with the House of Lords all the taxes were put together in one Finance Bill. With the exception of the tea duty, practically all the taxes now came within the category of permanent taxes. He did not think that that was a right system. It was only fair that these matters should be reviewed year by year, particularly in the case of a tax so complicated in its nature as the coal tax, which had led to such disputes as to upon whom the burden fell and how far it was damaging the interests of the trade. He therefore heartily supported the Motion.

MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)

said the Amendment, although it did not bring into discussion the merits of the coal tax itself, raised a point of considerable financial importance. The tax was imposed as a a war tax, and one of its chief claims to support was that it fell on a trade which had especially benefited by the war. The result of the withdrawal of such taxes from the consideration of the House, except by such out-of-the-way methods as that adopted on the present occasion, was the diminution of the —control of Parliament over the taxation of the country. It was a part of the policy of the present Government to minimise the power of the House of Commons. It was the fact that such taxes as this were permanent instead of annual that enabled the Government to postpone the consideration of the Finance Bill to the present period of the session, and for that reason he should support the Amendment.

MR. BRYNMOR JONES (Swansea District)

thought the Chancellor of the Exchequer had hardly met the point raised by the mover of the Amendment. If the words were inserted the coal tax would come to an end on 1st August next year unless the Government took certain steps before that date, and the desire of his hon. friend was that when the Budget Resolutions were put down next year there should be one dealing with the coal duty, which would give the House a favourable opportunity for discussing the whole matter. The right hon. Gentleman had exhibited an excellent spirit in dealing with this question, and he appealed to him to recognise the reasonableness of the Amendment.

MR. TREVELYAN (Yorkshire, W.R., Elland)

said that if the right hon Gentleman could have accepted this Amendment it would have expedited the Report of the Bill, because it would have been a real concession to the very strong objection to the tax on that side of the House. It would have been an admission that the arguments put forward in the recent debate had had some effect, and that there was some prospect of the tax being reconsidered next year. Whether or riot certain taxes were imposed as war taxes was not of much importance, inasmuch as they had all been retained, and some of them

even increased. But the coal tax was clearly one that ought to be annually reconsidered. Nobody maintained that it did any good. It protected nobody but the foreigner; it seriously injured the coal and shipping industries. If the new Army scheme realised its author's expectations there would be a possibility of considerable reductions of taxation next year, and it would be only a reasonable concession to say that this tax should be one of the first to be reconsidered.

MR. SAMUAL EVANS (Glamorganshire, Mid.)

said that apart from the consideration that the House ought to have an opportunity of considering year by year taxes of this kind, he thought the character of the coal tax was such that it ought not to be a permanent tax. The predecessor of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer clearly did not hold the view that it was a permanent tax in the ordinary sense of the term, because in dealing with the subject he stated that if the tax was to be permanent it might be well to consider whether some changes should not be made in order to bring the duty more into relation to the value of the coal. Many districts had been very hardly hit by the tax, and certainly there had never been a tax which created so much dissatisfaction in the minds of everybody connected with the trade concerned. The effect upon the trade from year to year required to be considered, Consular Reports ought to be watched, and it was necessary that there should be the fullest possible investigation into the matter. In fact, the nature of the tax was such that it of all taxes deserved to be put into the category of annual taxes, and he hoped the House would press for that to be done.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 87; Noes, 147. (Division List No. 269.)

Allen, Charles P. Burt, Thomas Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan
Ashton, Thomas Gair Buxton, Sydney Charles Delany, William
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Caldwell, James Dobbie, Joseph
Boland, John Cameron, Robert Donelan, Captain A.
Bowles,T.Gibson(King's Lynn) Causton, Richard Knight Doogan, P. C.
Brigg, John Condon, Thomas Joseph Elibank, Master of
Broadhurst, Henry Crombie, John William Ellice, Capt E. C(S. Andrw's Bghs
Burke, E. Haviland Cullinan, J. Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)
Farrell, James Patrick Lloyd-George, David Shipman, Dr. John G.
Fenwick, Charles London, W. Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Spencer, Rt. Hn. C.R.(Northants
Fitztmaurice, Lord Edmond Mooney, John J. Stanhope, Hon. Philip James
Flavin, Michael Joseph Murphy, John Strachey, Sir Edward
Flynn, James Christopher Nannetti, Joseph P. Sullivan, Donal
Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) Nolan, Col. J. P. (Galway, N.) Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)
Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herb. John Norton, Capt. Cecil William Tomkinson, James
Guest, Hon Ivor Churchill O'Dowd, John Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Hammond, John O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N Tully, Jasper
Hardie, J. Keir(Merthyr Tydvil) O'Malley, William Wallace, Robert
Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. Parrott, William Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Higham, John Sharpe Partington, Oswald Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol,E.) Paulton, James Mellor Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney)
Holland, Sir William Henry Pirie, Duncan V. White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Horniman, Frederick John Plummer, Sir Walter R. Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Jacoby, James Alfred Priestley, Arthur Wyndham-Quin, Col. W. H.
Jones,David Brynmor(Swansea Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Joyce, Michael Robertson, Edmund (Dundee) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Channing and Mr. Thomas Bayley.
Kennedy, V. P. (Cavan, W.) Russell, T. W.
Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall) Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington) Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Leigh, Sir Joseph Sheehy, David
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose Mitchell, Edw.(Fermanagh, N.)
Anson, Sir William Reynell Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon Mitchell, William (Burnley)
Arkwright, John Stanhope Flannery, Sir Fortescue Molesworth, Sir Lewis
Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O. Flower, Sir Ernest Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Arrol, Sir William Forster, Henry William Moore, William
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Foster, Philip S.(Warwick, S.W. Morrell, George Herbert
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Gardner, Ernest Morrison, James Archibald
Bailey, James (Walworth) Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'mlets Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer
Bain, Colonel James Robert Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby- Mount, William Arthur
Baird, Jon George Alexander Gretton, John Murray, Rt Hn. A. Graham(Bute
Balcarres, Lord Greville, Hon. Ronald Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)
Baldwin, Alfred Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Newdegate, Francis A. N.
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A.J.(Manch'r) Heath, Arthur Howard Hanley O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Balfour, Rt Hn. Gerald W.(Leeds Heath, James (Staffords., N.W. Palmer, Sir Walter (Salisbury)
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch. Helder, Augustus Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Hickman, Sir Alfred Percy, Earl
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin Hope, J.F.(Sheffield, Brightside Pilkington, Colonel Richard
Bignold, Sir Arthur Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham) Pretyman, Ernest George
Bigwood, James Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Bill, Charles Hudson, George Bickersteth Pym, C. Guy
Bond, Edward Hunt, Rowland Reid, James (Greenock)
Brassey, Albert Jameson, Major J. Eustace Ridley, Hon. M.W.(Stalybridge
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred. Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green
Campbell, Rt. Hn. J.A.(Glasgow Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T. (Denbigh) Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Campbell, J.H.M.(Dublin Univ. Kimber, Sir Henry Royds, Clement Molyneux
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. King, Sir Henry Seymour Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Cavendish, V.C.W.(Derbyshire Laurie, Lieut -General Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J.A.(Worc. Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Samuel, Sir Harry S.(Limehouse
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Sharpe, William Edward T.
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks., N. R. Sinclair. Louis (Romford)
Coddington, Sir William Lee, A. H. (Hants., Fareham) Sloan, Thomas Henry
Coghill, Douglas Harry Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Colomb, Rt. Hon. Sir John C R. Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset
Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Llewellyn, Evan Henry Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs.
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton) Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol,S. Thompson, Dr EC (Monagh'n, N.
Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Loyd, Archie Kirkman Thornton, Percy M.
Davenport, William Bromley Lucas, Reginald J.(Portsmouth Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.
Dickson, Charles Scott Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Tuff, Charles
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Macdona, John Cumming Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward
Doxford, Sir William Theodore M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Valentia, Viscount
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin M'Iver, Sir Lewis(Edinburgh, W Vincent, Col. Sir C.E.H(sheffield)
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Manners, Lord Cecil Walker, Col. William Hall
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Maxwell, Rt Hn. Sir.E.(Wigt'n Wanklyn, James Leslie
Fisher, William Hayes Maxwell, W.J.H(Dumfriesshire Warde, Colonel C. E.
Fison, Frederick William Melville, Beresford Valentine
Welby, Lt.-Col.A.C.E.(Taunton Wilson, John (Glasgow) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.
Welby, Sir Charles G. E.(Notts. Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H.(Yorks.)
Whiteley, H.(Ashton und. Lyne Wortley-Taylor, Henry Wilson
Willoughby de Eresby, Lord Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Wilson, A. Stanley(York,E.R.) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
* MR. JOSEPH WALTON (Yorkshire, W.R., Barnsley)

said it was most unfortunate that the last discussion on the coal tax upon this clause should have been taken after the House had been sitting continuously for seventeen-and-a-half hours. During that sitting he ventured to point out to the Prime Minister that it was a physical impossibility for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give constant attendance during the continuance of that debate, or to deal adequately under the circumstances with this most important question affecting 5,000,000 of the population of the United Kingdom, because there was no industry in the United Kingdom comparable in importance to the coal industry. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was absent —and he did not blame him—when he ventured to address the House the day before yesterday. He then stated that under all the circumstances, representing as he did one of the largest mining constituences of the United Kingdom with over 11,000 coal miners in it, he would take this opportunity of raising this question. He understood that there was an impression abroad that he was personally financially interested in this question. He desired, therefore, to say that the collieries in which he was interested personally entirely confined their trade to inland consumption, and consequently in regard to this tax he had practically no direct financial interest. He had, however, an interest in the 11,000 coal miners in the Barnsley Division of Yorkshire, and it was on their behalf that he rose to move this clause. He was glad to hear from the Chancellor of the Exchequer the other day that he was keeping an open ear for any new evidence in regard to this important matter, and the right hon. Gentleman said he had not closed the door to the review of any new facts as to the operation of the coal tax. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had since put a somewhat different construction upon those words from that which many hon. Members understood them to bear, but he did not disguise the fact that he had an open mind and that lie was prepared to keep an open ear for new evidence. It was difficult in the course of the long sitting they had the other day for the Chancellor of the Exchequer either to keep an open eye or an open ear, and it was equally difficult for the majority of the Members present during that sitting to do so, for he noticed that during the discussion of the coal tax on that occasion one-half the Members were asleep.

The figures on which the Chancellor of the Exchequer based his statement the other day included 16,000,000 tons of bunker coal and coal exported abroad to the extent of 5,000,000 tons which was not subject to the coal tax. He put it to the right hon. Gentleman that what he ought to consider was the coal which was subject to the tax. In 1901, there was sent abroad 43,329,000 tons; in 1903, 41,660,000 tons, showing an actual decrease of no less than 1,668,000 tons, and this notwithstanding the fact that there was a special demand from the United States of America owing to a great strike there. From 1890 to 1900, under normal conditions, the annual increase in the export of coal was 1,500,000 tons; from 1900 to 1903 that increase was absolutely checked, and that, in his opinion, was unanswerable proof of the fact that even in regard to quantities this tax was operating injuriously. He would give some figures in support of that contention. The increase in coal production in Germany in 1903 as compared with 1902 was 9½ per cent., in France 17 per cent., and in the United Kingdom only 1½ per cent., showing how much more rapidly the output of coal was increasing in those countries as compared with this. Another proof that the coal tax had limited the quantity of exported coal was this. The exports had increased between 1900 and 1903, but instead of 1,500,000 tons annually as in the previous ten years the increase was only 1.12 per cent. In regard to bunker coal, on which no export tax was levied, the increase was 5,000,000 tons or 43 per cent., showing how trade expanded by leaps and bounds when it was left free, whereas when it was "cribbed, cabined, and confined" by this protective tax of 1s. per ton in favour of every other foreign nation as against our own trade it was hindered.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, by grouping certain countries together, had arrived at some statistical results. He himself preferred his own grouping, and he would take the case of Holland, Belgium, and France and compare the years 1901 and 1903 in relation to British exports of coal. Our exports to Holland, Belgium, and France decreased by 1,500,000 tons, but in the same period the exports of other foreign countries to Holland, Belgium, and France increased by 2,750,000 tons. They not only took the 1,500,000 tons that we lost, but they still further increased their trade by 1,250,000 tons. He did not think that anyone in this country who had any interest whatever in the coal trade, as miner, coal owner, coal exporter, or shipowner could possibly be satisfied to see foreign nations increasing their trade at this most rapid rate, while at the same time British trade was actually declining. A meeting was held at Newcastle in October last at which a statement was made as to the power of foreign competition by a great statesman, the ex-Colonial Secretary. He said— You miners are only waiting to be eaten up. If you look you will see the production of coal in Germany, France, and America has been increasing with gigantic speed, and it is as sure as anything that in a comparatively few years they will want no more of your coal, and that they will probably be exporters of coal here. What is your stand-by? Well, it was certainly not the present tariff-reforming British Government that was their stand-by, so far as the coal trade was concerned, because instead of doing I all they could to stimulate and assist the coal-mining industry, which employed 850,000 men, who with their wives and families represented a population of no less than 4,000,000 deriving their living out of this industry—so far from doing all they could to promote the prosperity of this great industry they imposed upon it a tax of £2,000,000 a year, which, in fact, was a protective tax in favour of every coal-producing country in the world against their own country. Could anything be more suicidal, or more amazing, on the part of a Government which professed that at the present moment their greatest interest was to promote the prosperity and expansion of British trade. This was a question of the highest importance, because this tax violated the principle of the equal incidence of taxation. No corresponding tax was levied on any other great industry of the country. In the coal trade they paid every other rate and tax that was levied equally with every other industry, and they did more, and he desired to especially draw the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to this point. The right hon. Gentleman had a Commission inquiring into the incidence of income-tax. It was levied so far as the coal trade was concerned on the average of the preceding five years, and at the present time, when a majority of the collieries being worked in this country were losing money, the income-tax was assessed on the average of the last five years, which brought in the high price years of 1900 and 1901. In the majority of cases coal-owners were paying large sums of money in respect of income-tax, when, instead of getting any income, they were actually losing money. Incomes derived from other industries paid income-tax on an average of three years, and there were some industries in respect of which the income-tax assessment was levied on the results of the preceding year only. He thought it was only right that this should be brought under the special notice of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was sure the right hon. Gentleman would not object to his placing before him in the way he was doing to-day certain facts and arguments which tended to show that this tax was operating most injuriously on the coal-mining industry of this country.

He objected to the tax also because it was applied only to a small portion of the coal-mining industry. If a tax on coal was justifiable it ought to be placed on the whole coal output of the nation. He would give a concrete case. There was a colliery in the Barnsley division exporting 240,000 tons of coal a year. It was a thin and expensive seam, and at the present moment the owners were losing money, while they were paying £12,000 a year in respect of this coal tax beyond what they ought to be made to pay. That would make all the difference on the question whether the pit would be closed in the near future in all probability, or kept working and con- tinuing employment to a thousand men working that particular seam. At another colliery not two miles away, which did not export any coal, the owners were wholly free from this charge of £12,000 a year, which in the other case was a huge and intolerable burden. If the tax was justifiable at all, he submitted that it ought to be placed on the whole output. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer must continue the tax he would suggest that it should be 2d. per ton on the whole coal output of the country, 1d. to be charged to the royalty owner, and the other 1d. to the mine-owner. In that way the injury would be very much minimised. They were told that the royalty owners were receiving £6,000,000 per annum in royalty rents, taking the average at 6d. per ton. In a great majority of cases the royalty rents under existing leases were worked on a sliding scale, and rose or fell with the price of coal. Consequently in recent times the royalty owners had been receiving more than £6,000,000 a year, without any risk of capital on their part whatever. He should like the right hon. Gentleman to give his attention to this particular point.

It had been contended that there was no proof that the tax was injurious to trade, because forsooth the exports I had not been very materially reduced. But that was not the question. The question was, Is it or is it not a fact that by reason of this coal tax we receive one shilling per ton less at the pit's mouth than we would do if this tax did not exist? Our coal was exported in competition with that of France, Germany, and Belgium, and the price was fixed by what these countries would accept. He knew from personal knowledge that this was an absolutely true and irrefutable statement. He did not wish to use strong words, but it simply meant that by imposing this tax the Government was confiscating £2,000,000 a year of the earnings of the coal miners, owners, exporters, and shippers, who were carrying on the export trade of this country. That was a flagrant injustice. He would remind the Chancellor of the Exchequer hat whereas in 1900 the coal trade was prosperous and prices high, there had been an average fall in the value of coal shipped by Scotland and the north-east coast of England of no less than five shillings per ton. Though the tax of one shilling per ton could be borne when it was first imposed because it only meant that amount of reduction in profits, to-day in the case of many collieries it meant a. question as to whether they should be kept working or closed. He knew a case of a colliery in Northumberland employing 2,500 men, and he would give the Chancellor of the Exchequer the exact result of the working of that colliery in the first two months of this year. That colliery exported 103,000 tons in two months, which was at the rate of 600,000 a year. The net result of then working for those two months was a loss of £1,700. They had to pay 1s. per ton coal tax on 70,000 tans, and but for that tax the result would have been a profit of £1,800. He thought that, in view of the enormous importance of this question, the time of the House was well occupied in having all these facts and figures laid before the Chancellor of the Exchequer and before the country.

He was perfectly well aware that the coal tax was unfortunately rather popular in the country. As long as human nature was humane nature, people did not object much to anything that they thought would bring some financial gain to themselves. What he meant was that the general body of coal consumers in this country imagined that if they could only curtail coal exports and put a few million tons of coal extra into the home market prices would fall. That undoubtedly was the case. This coal tax would net have been maintained so long as it had been but for this operation of human nature. He could only appeal to the general mass of the people of this country and to all coal consumers that they should endeavour to consider this question on broad sound principles of justice and fair play all round as between the coal industry and their own industry. He advocated that this tax should be levied all over the country, but if that was refused then it should be made an ad valorem tax. He knew that his hon. friends who represented Welsh constituencies objected to an ad valorem tax, because the coal in Wales was much more valuable than the coal in other parts of the country. But what he submitted was that it was absurd to levy the same export duty on coal which was worth 6s. per ton as on coal which was worth 12s. per ton. The only true principle in regard to this subject was that there should be an ad valorem duty on the pit-month prices and not on those f.o.b. Collieries were situated in various localities, some on the seaboard and others inland. In the former case the cost of transport might amount to 6d. per ton, while in regard to the latter it might be 2s. 7d. per ton placing the coal f.o.b. The effect of that was that it paid the colliery owner better to sell his coal in the former case at 5s. 11d. per ton than at 6s. 10d. per ton, because if he sold at 5s. 11d. per ton he had no coal tax to pay, and if he sold at the normal price of 6s. 10d. per ton, and paid the tax, he would only receive 5s. 10d. A colliery exporter with 6d. per ton carriage, putting coal f.o.b. selling at the price of 5s. 11d., paid no tax, and got 5s. 5d. clear at the pit's mouth for small coal. But another colliery owner producing the same quality of coal, paying carriage at the rate of 2s. 7d. to the port of shipment and selling at the rate of 6s. 1d. per ton f.o.b. would only have a balance of 3s. 6d., out of which he would have to pay 1s. per ton of coal tax, leaving for wages, and every other charge, 2s. 6d. as compared with 5s. 5d. in the other ease. He thought the Chancellor of the Exchequer must feel that this tax, as at present levied, was unequal in its incidence, and that facts like these should receive from him all the consideration which they deserved.

They had been told that by the imposition of this tax they would conserve the valuable coal resources of the country, and that the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not feel equal to deal with this question definitely and finally pending the receipt of the Report of the Royal Commission on Coal Supplies. But it was an open secret that the Royal Commission had already ascertained that we had, in the matter of coal resources, six times the quantity of coal in these islands than was imagined a hundred years ago. The Chancellor of the Exchequer must have been impressed with this question of coal exhaustion, otherwise he would not attach so much importance to the Report of the Royal Commission. He did not believe that that Report would be of any great value on any other point. The members of the Commission had not such great knowledge of the commercial position of the coal trade as many Members in the House; and therefore to delay the repeal of this iniquitous and unjust tax pending the receipt of the Report of the Royal Commission was not justifiable. They were told that one great reason for imposing this coal tax was the necessity to conserve our most valuable coal resources. But what had been the effect of the tax? So far, the effect of the tax had been exactly the opposite. Before the tax was imposed colliery owners, who were not altogether stupid, had worked the cheaper working seams along with the more expensive seams. They naturally, after spending capital in sinking pits, desired to make the life of their undertaking as long as possible, and therefore they worked the cheapest seams along with the more expensive seams, so as to prolong that life. These were the lines on which the mining industry was being conducted; but when coal fell to 5s. a ton the colliery owners ware driver to cease working the thin seams and to work only the valuable seams. Everyone who believed that, after all, the ownership and working of the black diamond in this country was our mainstay as regarded our prosperity, ought to do something to check the extinction of the most valuable coal seams in the country. He could say from his own personal experience, as being largely interested in the mining industry, that they had been driven to take that course. and cease working the thin and common cheap seams.

Another view had been placed before the Committee the day before yesterday, with very great power and eloquence by the representatives of the coal miners. He was sure the House and the con; try were proud to have men of their ability, eloquence, and capacity as Members of that House. They gave the House information as to the practical effect, so far as it had gone, of the operation of the coal tax on the wages of the miners. Now, 80 per cent. of the cost of coal went in wages. At the time the coal tax was imposed. in Northumberland the wages were 61½ per cent. above the standard of 1879. At the present time that had been reduced to 18¾ per cent. above the 1879 standard. What had been the ease in the non-exporting districts? In Northumberland 69 per cent. of the total advances gained in wages had been lost between 1900 and 1903; but in the non-exporting districts only 25 per cent. had been lost. He thought the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be bound to admit that this huge difference must be accounted for somehow; and he ventured to say that a very substantial portion of that had been due to the fact of the imposition of a 1s. duty per ton on export coal causing the colliery owners to receive 1s. per ton less for their coal than they would otherwise have got. He did not for a moment say that the largest part of that reduction had been due to the coal tax, but a very substantial part of it had been due to the coal tax. For, of course, when coal h ad fallen to 5s. per ton in value, naturally the sliding scale of wages which had operated so beneficially in Northumberland was affected. He might say that in his own district an arrangement was come to before the rise in the price of coal extending right through the years of the high price of coal, when the miners received much less than they were entitled to. But the miners stuck to their bargain and never ceased to work, but carried out their arrangement in a way that deserved every consideration at the hands of the Government and the country.

It was well known that a big coal strike affected every other industry. At the time when the coal tax was imposed, though some of the hot-headed men were desirous to bring about a general strike, which would have teen a lamentable misfortune and a cause of loss to the whole country, the enormous majority of the miners believed in constitutional agitation for the removal of the tax so manifestly unjust to them. It was in their interest that this debate was proceeding. On all these grounds, he ventured to submit to the House that the miners were entitled to receive justice at the hands of the Government and the country so that a more equitable incidence of taxation should be brought into play. In regard to Scotland, the same argument was perfectly true. The waves in Scotland since 1900 had fallen no less than 60 per cent. Could any- one contend for one moment that coal miners ought not to receive very substantially higher wages than the ordinary workers in the country who performed their duties under much better conditions? He had always considered that the coal miners were, beyond any other workmen in the country, the men who were at the foundation of the commercial prosperity of the nation. The whole trade of the country was dependent on the coal trade, and there was no class of workmen who ought to receive more consideration at the hands of that House and the country than the miners. The late Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1901 said that if he believed that the coal tax would be paid by the miners he would not impose Well, he welcomed the appointment of the right hon. Gentleman to his present high position at a not very advanced age, and he hoped that he would adopt the same policy as his distinguished predecessor. If the right hon. Gentleman had been in office he would have agreed that those statements had been substantiated; that this tax had resulted in a great reduction in miners' wages. This tax ought to have been remitted in the previous year, when there was £10,500,000 to remit. It was unjust, when remitting that amount, that four-fifths of it should have gone in remitting direct taxation and only one-fifth in indirect taxation. But because justice was not done in the past it was no reason why it should not be done now. He appealed to the Chancellor to give the information he (Mr. Walton) had given to the House his most careful consideration, because he was perfectly certain that if at the eleventh hour the Chancellor accepted the clause he proposed he would be doing an act of justice which would redound to his credit. He begged to move.

A clause [Reduction of Coal Duty]— On and after the first day of August, nineteen hundred and four, one penny shall be substituted for one hilling as the duty on coal under Section 3 of The Finance Act, 1901."— (Mr. Joseph Walton.) Brought up, and read the first time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the clause be read a second time."

* SIRWILLIAM HOLLAND (Yorkshire, W. R., Rotherham)

said he represented a constituency who were keenly interested in this tax. Some thousands of miners in that constituency were either out of work or working very short hours. But they need not be in that unfortunate position were it not for the coal tax. Within the last few days one of the largest collieries in his constituency had been shut down for the ostensible purpose of making extensive improvements and alterations to machinery, but these improvements would not have taken place at the present time were it not for the fact that trade was particularly bad and very largely due to this tax. He did not say that the depression in the coal trade was entirely due everywhere to this tax, but in the home markets there was at the present time a diminished demand for coal, and that fact made the collieries much more dependent than when times were good upon the export trade. Any legislation, therefore, which hampered the export trade was a very much greater grievance than would otherwise be the case. It was contended that the average exports had not fallen off, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer could not deny that these exports would have Greatly increased had it not been for the gratuitous injury done to the coal trade by the continued imposition of this tax. Under present circumstances it was untenable. It was put on at a time when the coal trade was booming, but now those engaged in the trade had a very different tale to tell. As the circumstances of the trade had greatly altered there was a sufficient reason for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reconsider the imposition of this tax.

They constantly heard complaints of hostile tariffs abroad. The foreigner was entitled in his fiscal legislation to please himself and impose whatever kind of legislation he thought would be likely to benefit his own industries; but in this case the injury done to the coal trade was not the work of a foreign Government but of our own, and there was, he thought, sufficient reason for the deep and lasting resentment which was felt in the colliery districts at the continuance of this tax. If the coal trade asked for no favour for itself it was entitled at least to object to any favours being distributed by the British Government to its competitors abroad. Contrasting the conduct of the British Government in this matter with the conduct of foreign Governments, it would be, found that Germany had obtained important contracts in the French market by reason of the facilities she gave as regarded transit both by land and water. It would be well if the British Government could take a leaf out of the German book in that respect. They saw the German Government doing all it could to help the trade of their country by improving the waterways and in many other directions, while the British Government were simultaneously taking very effective steps, not to help but to hinder so important a trade as the coal trade. How could they reasonably expect the coal trade to hold its own in competition with the coal trade of other countries when such different treatment was being meted out to it? The imposition of a coal tax on the British coal trade was more injurious than the imposition by a foreign country of an import duty, and the reason was this. If France or Germany or Italy imposed an increased import duty on goods going into their respective countries that hostile action only affected their own country, but this coal tax affected the coil which was exported from this country to all foreign countries, and therefore trade with every one of those countries was injuriously affected by the tax. A short time since he attended a miners' demonstration in the Barnsley Division, which was attended by some 70,000 miners, at which this tax was vigorously and unanimously condemned from every platform. That showed how strong was the feeling among, those immediately concerned, and he trusted the Chancellor of the Exchequer would do something to meet their views.


said he did not profess to be a specially accredited representative of the miners' interest in that House, but he did claim to represent a number of miners in his own constituency, and he wished to present the case of the miners of Gloucestershire and Somersetshire. There fields were comparatively small. There were perhaps only seventy-one or seventy-two mines, in which about 13,000 people were employed and, whereas in other parts of England the output and number of men employed in the mines had increased, the output of these mines had actually decreased by 122,000 tons, and the men employed in getting coal had decreased by 400. There was, too, a great difference in the character of the working of the mines, the seams in Gloucestershire and Somersetshire being exceedingly thin and very difficult to work, resulting, of course, in an increased cost. The coal obtained was exceedingly inferior and commanded only a very low price. The consequence was that the area of sale was considerably restricted, and the slightest increase of cost resulting from a tax had a very baneful effect, an effect considerably greater than in the case of prosperous mines. When an industry was prosperous and paid good dividends a redaction of the dividend from 10 per cent. to 8 per cent., while disagreeable, was not necessarily ruinous, but if they reduced the dividend from 2 per cent. to zero the effect was at once disastrous. The same might be said of wages. A 10 per cent. reduction when they were high, while disagreeable, could be borne, but a similar reduction on a low wage came very hard on the unfortunate miner. Well, in those particular fields both profits and wages were low. What was the cause of it? It was not until some time after the actual imposition of the tax that it was found possible to say what the effects of it were likely to be. They did not export coal from that district. They had to sell it in the home market and although the Chancellor of the Exchequer the other night told them there had been an increased export from the Channel ports it had not affected them in that way because they had no export trade. But they had felt the effects of the tax in another direction. The effect of the underselling of the export coal by the cheaper German coals in consequence of the tax had been to drive those export coals into other markets which had been found at the expense of the district to which he referred. The result had been an absolute decrease of output and of employment.

There was a sect of people who called themselves Christian Scientists. He believed they enjoyed the name because their religion was neither scientific nor Christian. In the same way this proposal might be called scientific taxation, but so far as his constituents were concerned the effect was neither scientific not beneficial. He did not propose that afternoon to examine in detail the questions which made that tax a vicious one, but there were two facts which he thought deserved consideration. The tax was imposed for two objects — to produce revenue and to check the output. The Prime Minister, speaking in 1901, told them that no responsible statesman would by taxation endeavour to restrict output, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer clearly indicated that the object in his mind was to restrict the output of coal in this country. He said "A check on the increase of coal exports would not be an unmixed evil to the trade of this country," and in answer to an interposition by the hon. Member for South Shields he said that if the export trade of this country to the Continent was 8,000,000 tons of coal a year, "so much the worse for this country." As to revenue, he was bound to say that the money raised by means of this duty might have been much better raised by way of income-tax on realised profits rather than upon coals before the profit was realised. He ventured to say that this was an ill-omened tax. Since its imposition every succeeding Chancellor the Exchequer had found himself embarrassed as to where to get his revenue, and the first Chancellor of the Exchequer left office within six months of proposing it. His successor also disappeared within six months, and the present Chancellor of the Exchequer should consider whether he had not better abandon this fatal inheritance in order to save his own political life.

MR. MOUNT (Berkshire, Newbury)

was also unable to claim any close acquaintance with the mining industry. But in his opinion the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to have regard to, not the immediate incidence but the ultimate burden of the tax; and if it could be shown that the general tendency of the export trade in coal since the tax was imposed had been in the direction of progress and not of retrogression, then some further arguments than those which had been adduced must be forthcoming before his right hon. friend was induced to abandon the duty. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon was last year able to show that the export trade in coal had shown remarkable vitality. In 1902 it showed an increase of 2,200,000 tons over 1900, and in 1903 there was a farther increase over the preceding year of 3,376,000. He remembered in the course of the debates last year attention was drawn to the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was lucky, inasmuch as he was benefited by the strike in the United States. But that strike came to an end in the early months of last year, and yet the increase of exports had gone on. Again, in the northeastern ports, the exports had gone up by 1,122,000 tons, and those for the Welsh ports by 437,000 tons. This rate of increase was fully maintained in the first six months of the present year. The figures show an increase of 1,541,000 tons.


said the hon. Member included in his figures coal under six shillings a ton, which was not taxable, and bunker coal. If the statistics were confided to taxable coal it would be found that there had been an actual decrease in the exports from the north-eastern parts.


thought the question they had to consider was whether the total export had increased or diminished since the tax was imposed. The mine-owner got his profit and the miner his wages in respect of bunker coal just as they did in respect of other classes of coal. One of the contentions of the opponents of the tax was that it was unfair to single out a particular industry, and still more a particular branch of that industry, for taxation. On the face of it there was a good deal to be said for that contention. One would naturally have expected if there had been a certain progress in the export trade in coal to have found a correspondingly greater increase in the rate of production of coal not affected by the tax. As a matter of fact that was what they did not find. The increase in the total output of 1903 over 1902 was 3,239,000 tons, or less than the increase in the amount sent abroad, which was 3,376,000 tons. In the whole period since 1900 the increase in exports was 5,572,000, while the increase in total output was 5,153,000, so that the portion of the coal trade not affected by the tax had slightly decreased. He agreed with what had been said by the hon. Member for Barnsley as to the way figures could be used, but the figures which he had just given to the House showed, in his opinion, the necessity of waiting for a longer period before they could definitely say that a case had been made out for the abolition of this tax upon coal.


said the speech which the hon. Member for Newbury had just delivered was a very interesting one, but it appeared to him that the hon. Member had been a little fallacious in his figures dealing with the quantities of coal exported from this country. In order to deal fairly with the effect of this tax upon the export trade they had to look at the figures for taxable coal, excluding all coal below 6s. per ton and bunker coal. It they found an increase in that class of coal which was not taxed and they did not find a corresponding increase in that class of coal which was taxed it was unfair to take the two together as an argument in favour of the tax. He desired to give the House one figure for the whole country. In dealing with the effect of the tax upon the export trade they must look only at the figures relating to taxable coal. In 1901 the tonnage of taxable coal exported was 43,329,703; in 1902 it fell to 41,622,000, and last year it remained at practically the same figure. Those figures, he thought, spoke very strongly against the tax, because they showed that there was not an increase but a diminution in the quantity of taxable coal exported, whereas in regard to non-taxable coal there had been an increase in various directions.

He desired to draw attention to the case of one or two particular districts. One of the vices of the tax was that it did not apply to the country as a whole, but affected only certain districts. If there was a case for the tax at all, the tax ought to have been imposed on all coal, whether for home consumption or for exportation. That had not been done, and the operation of the tax had fallen hard upon the north-east district and upon South Wales. That showed that this tax was a vicious one. The origin of this tax was based upon the great prosperity of the coal trade in 1900 and the year before that date, and had it not been for the abnormal prosperity of the coal trade during those years this tax would not have been imposed. That being the origin of the tax, it would have been much fairer if the tax had been placed upon all the coal raised. He would deal with Cardiff and Swansea particularly. The Chancellor of the Exchequer if he condescended to go into the details would see that the western portion of the South Wales district had been very much affected by this coal tax, Cardiff not so much as other parts perhaps. It had already been pointed out that Cardiff had a monopoly of the best steam coal in the world, and it was not so badly hit as the Swansea district. There was some coal in the Swansea district which was exported to a considerable extent; but the coal expected from Swansea (including Neath, Port Talbot, and other places) was not of the same class as the Cardiff coal. It was very soft coal, comparatively speaking and when worked through and through produced on the average about 35 per cent. of large and about 65 per cent. of small. The market for Swansea coal had been chiefly in France, Belgium, and Holland, and that market had been carried on on the principle of the through and through market, that was that the large coal was not separated from the small. Upon the through and through principle a reasonable price was very often obtained in France and adjacent countries. What had been the result of this tax in the Swansea district? Inasmuch as a tax of 1s. per ton had been put upon this class of coal it had been found impossible to carry on the through and through trade, and now screening was necessary, which gave 30 per cent. of large coal as against 70 per cent. of small. Consequently it did not pay their customers in France to take this large percentage of small coal when they had to pay a tax of 1s. per ton on the whole of the coal. The result was that the market for the large coal had been restricted, and a tremendous amount of small coal was left unprofitably oil the hands of the producer. As a rule that small coal could be sold at prices varying from 6s. 3d. to 6s. 9d. per ton, but if that coal was exported they would have to pay a tax of 1s. per ton. The result was that if 6s. 6d. was the price, the producer here had to pay 1s. on it, and thus was only able to get 5s. 6d. after deducting the duty. Therefore, instead of having the natural commercial price operating on the price of coal they had a fictitious artificial price put upon it, and that coal had to he sold at 6s. The effect of this tax had been largely to upset that trade, and coal which should have been sold at a higher price had to be sold at 6s. and less, in order to escape the tax. The profit of 3d. or 6d. on such coal might make all the difference between maintaining a profitable colliery aid causing it to be shut up.

This tax injured local trade and the miners had had to suffer. They had not enjoyed that increase in trade which they had a right to expect in competition with foreign countries. They were seeing for the first time what used to be their markets abroad occupied by foreign competitors. They had evidence of collieries having been closed up; of exports that had declined owing to the loss of large contracts which South Wales people would have got but for the imposition of this tax. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said he was not satisfied that local trade had been injuriously affected, but he would remind the right hon. Gentleman that those who gave evidence before the Royal Commission all declared that the tax prejudicially affected the coal trade in their districts. He had received a letter showing the immediate effect of this tax in Swansea, how injuriously it had operated and how it had redounded to the advantage of their foreign competitors. The letter stated that— Immediately the tax of 1s. per ton was imposed, the Westphalian Syndicate, aided by an agent thoroughly versed in the Welsh trade, and who had formerly represented for many years a South Wales exporting firm, set about in earnest to displace our coal in the North French and Bay ports, and after the pre-Budget contracts were terminated we were compelled, under most unequal conditions, to compete against this importation of German coal. Saddled as we were by this impost of 1s. we found that we were supplanted in all quarters—the difference in nine cases out of ten in favour of the Germans being exactly represented by the amount of the tax. To cite an isolated case, the Lazare Weiller Copper Works at Havre, which took their supplies exclusively from this district up to September, 1901, turned their attention to German through coal on account of the advantage in price, and since that date they have not taken one pound of our coal. The loss of this works alone represents a tonnage of at least 70,000 tons. I might enumerate ad infinitum, but it can be said, without fear of contradiction, that the hold which the Westphalian Syndicate has obtained in the North French and Bay ports is a serious set-back to the trade of our port. The writer further stated— I have just completed a trip in France extending over two months. I have failed to sell a pound of through oal. It was impossible to oust the Germans from our former preserves, the shilling duty barring the way. That was chapter and verse. Evidence of that kind had been given before the Royal Commission. Although taking ports generally there had been an increase, the exports of coal from the Swansea district showed a diminution of 100,000 tons. Therefore the argument in favour of Swansea being the victim of this tax was a very strong one. In 1901 the exports of coal from Germany to France were 1,564,000 tons; in 1902, 1,718,000 tons; and in 1903 2,065,000 tons. That represented the trade which Germany had captured from South Wales.

He would now give the figures of the progressive increase in the German exports of coal, coke, and fuel by sea, which were very appropriate, bearing in mind the decreases which had taken place in the exports from our own ports. These figures were, 1901, 5,710 tons; 1902, 242,893; and 1903, 630,499 tons. A comparison of the ports to which our coal used to go would show clearly how Germany had collared our markets. He would quote the shipments of German coal to five typical ports—

1901 1902 1903
Caen None 8,614 50,000
Bayonne None 35,670 60,000
Rouen None 10,090 94,390
Marseilles None 28,222 115,241
Nantes None 57,000 133,000

Those were five ports to which our coal used to go in large quantities. He had shown that whilst the exports of coal from the Swansea district had decreased, the German exports to each of the places he had quoted had increased considerably. The Chancellor of the Exchequer quoted the other day a report made by the Consul at Nantes in favour of his view that the coal duty was paid by the customer and not by the seller. He should like to give to the House a few figures showing the export trade to the town of Nantes. Since the imposition of the tax the import of British coal to Nantes had decreased as follows—

1900 1,521,966
1901 1,459,250
1902 1,130,048
1903 1,098,196

It was clear from these facts that this tax was unfair to those particular districts he had mentioned. The Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to consider this matter much more seriously in view of the particular districts affected—not merely taking a general view of the whole trade—and the time had come, or would come very soon, they hoped, for the repeal of the duty altogether. If that could not be clone, the next best thing would be to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make some difference in the amount of duty, which ought to be raised upon coal in proportion to its quality and value. He had already, on a previous Amendment, quoted from a speech by the right hon. Member for Croydon when Chancellor of the Exchequer to the effect that if this tax were to be made a permanent tax, regard ought to be had to the question whether it would not be fair to make a difference between the good and the inferior classes of coal. He thought it had now been shown beyond questions that the industry in the Swansea district had been affected very badly by the tax, and would be affected still more in the future.

SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derbyshire, Ilkeston)

said they had good evidence that the export of coal from this country had been checked. Since the tax was put on the trade, its original elasticity had been broken, and it no longer continued to expand as it had done in previous years. That was what they contended was one of the great evils of the tax. It tended to check and maim the trade of this country, and it had done that in a very significant way in every coal district throughout the land. Among the miners there had been a very strong feeling against the imposition of that tax. When it was first proposed he was surprised to find in a Midland county like Derbyshire that the feeling was as great as in other parts of the country which were exporting centres. But the coal-mining industry in this country was a solid industry, the workmen were solid in all matters connected with their trade. They took an intelligent interest in it, and they saw more than any of the Members who favoured the tax that this impost put on a section of the trade would in the end be a serious injury to the whole trade. It was a vicious tax in the beginning because it selected one particular trade of the country for attack. The exceptional prosperity of that trade at the time was a very bad reason for putting a tax on it. They found now that the effect of the tax bad extended to the whole of the coal districts of England, for in the exporting districts the coal was still being brought to the surface, but, instead of being exported, it came into the home market and so affected the general trade throughout the country. In consequence there had been a fall in the wages of the workers, so that there was a general diminution of prosperity, not only in the exporting districts, but throughout the coal-producing areas of the country. The hon. Member for Mid-Glamorganshire had referred to the export of coal to certain French ports. There were some sixteen ports on the littoral of France which used to take coal from this country. They sent their vessels there continually before this tax was imposed, and they had practically a monopoly of that trade. That state of things enabled those ships to be profitably employed because there were only four out of those sixteen ports in which the Germans competed. What was the state of affairs now? By this tax the whole of the South Wales trade to those ports had been destroyed and the Germans had built up a trade there in consequence. They could not have a more striking instance of the injurious effect of a tax than that.


said he observed that it was not his own financial methods to which hon. Members opposite objected. But he thought there was no tax which had been imposed by his hon. friend the Member for Bristol or continued by his right hon. friend the Member for Croydon which had not been objected to by the critics on the other side of the House. How would the revenue of the country be derived if those critics had their way? [An HON. MEMBER: Put a penny on the income-tax.] The hon. Member had answered the question, and that was the explanation. For every tax they took off they would put a penny on the income-tax. He would not say whether that would be just or fair to the income-tax payer. As to the coal tax, he did not know that he could add very much to what he had already said. Some time ago he received an influential deputation representing the trade in all its branches, and he made to them an answer in considerable detail. The other day they spent four hours and a half in discussing this tax, and it was strongly and earnestly opposed by the miners representatives in that House. It was greatly to the credit of those hon. Gentleman and to the House of Commons that after so prolonged a sitting they were able to discuss this question with so much freshness and clearness. The contention of hon. Gentlemen opposite was that if the markets were to be kept the price of coal must be lowered. But it was clear that, if the foreigner was paying the tax and lie must be allowed to have his coal cheaper, there was some contradiction in the argument that the tax fell on the home producer and the home worker. There was not much value in dealing with a particular source of supply. The sound view was to treat the trade as a whole, and in this case the facts were riot so unsatisfactory as hon. Members believed. The export of coal had continued to increase. Our trade had been larger than ever before. But as prices fell it must be clear that a greater proportion of the coal must be below the 6s. limit. It was not fair to compare the coal above 6s. now with the export of coal above 6s. in the year when the tax was imposed and to assume that all the coal within the dutiable limit in the first period was still within the dutiable limit now.

It was said that he had no right to include bunker coal in his statement. Why not? At the time when the tax was imposed it was stated that it would become the interest of shipowners to take a larger amount of bunker coal than they had done in previous years. Formerly a ship which now took coal for a round voyage took coal only for the out-ward voyage and refilled her bunkers her destination. Now the vessel gave the greater part of her space to bunkers and carried coal for the whole run of the voyage. Thus the quantity of coal was transferred automatically from the heading of "exports" to the heading of "bunkers." The returns were vitiated to that extent for the purposes of comparison by this change. The export of bunkers had increased between 1900 and 1903 by over 5,000,000 tons, or 43 per cent. The increase of tonnage clearing outwards had increased by 11.5 per cent., and the increase of bunkers had been 31.5 per cent. greater than the increase of tonnage cleared out. Roughly, therefore, it might be taken that the portion of coal which before the tax was imposed appeared as export now appeared as bunkers. To exclude the bunkers from the effect of the tax on exports would therefore be misleading.

There was no doubt that German competition had developed enormously. It was due in part to the care and skill with which the Germans prepared their coal for the market, and in part to the development of water communication between Germany and certain markets which had taken place in recent years. But had Germany in this question of coal shot so far ahead of us? Our excess of exports Over imports in 1903 was greater than that of 1900 by more than 5,000,000 tons, and than that of 1902 by more than 3,000,000 tons. The German excess of 1903 was greater than that of 1900 by 3,500,000 tons, and than that of 1902 by 1,400,000 tons. In certain kinds of coal we now had to face a severer competition than we had been accustomed to in the past; but in spite of that our exports had actually increased by a greater amount than the exports of our most formidable competitors. [Cries of "What is the ratio?"] He expected that question. He had been a student of the fiscal controversy, though he had not taken a large part in it; and he noticed that whenever a fiscal reformer quoted a percentage increase of our trade he was told that it was a fallacious thing to do; the percentage increase in our enormous trade must be less than that on the smaller trade of our competitors. He would drop percentages, therefore. Our excess of exports over imports in 1903 was 63,500,000 tons, and Halt of Germany was 13,500,000 tons. By the aid of later figures he was now able to make some comparisons between the first five months of this year and the first five months of 1902 and 1903. In the first five months of 1904 we exported 2,288,000 tons of coal to Germany, or 40,000 tons more than in the same period of 1903, and 150,000 tons more than that of 1902. To Holland we exported 357,000 tons in the first five months of 1904, or nearly 100,000 tons more than in the same period of 1903, and 64,000 tons more than that of 1902. To Belgium the export had also increased. To France—our "vanishing market"—our exports had decreased from 2,948,000 tons in the first five months of 1902 to 2,907,000 tons in the same period of 1903, and increased again to 2,915,000 tons in that of the present year. These were rather striking figures. They ought to make hon. Gentlemen pause before asserting that the coal tax alone was responsible for everything that went wrong with the coal trade.

MR. D. A. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)

said that to ascertain the effect of the duty it was necessary to make comparisons with years before the duty came into operation.


said the argument put forward was that our markets were vanishing markets, but as a rule vanishing markets did not get bigger as years went by. If he was able to show that they were now selling more coal than they were selling before the tax was imposed he thought he was showing that our markets were not vanishing.

MR. FENWICK (Northumberland, Wansbeck)

asked the right hon. Gentleman if he could te11 the House how the increase since the tax was imposed compared with the average rate of increase for the years before the tax was imposed.


said he was sorry that he was not able to furnish the hon. Member with those figures. The percentage of our exports to the total production of coal was greater last year than in any previous year. In 1890 the percentage was 21.29; in 1895, 22.62; in 1900, 25.94; in 1902, 26.6; and in 1903, 27.7. If the tax had been fatal to our industry one would not expect to see that part of the industry which was affected by the tax show a greater ratio of growth than that part of the industry which was not affeted. But he did not close his mind to the new material which the Government would shortly have. That should have most serious consideration, and the Government must, of course, watch the effect of this tax on so great an industry with particular care.

MR. KEIRHARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil)

said that this tax was wrong in principle and vicious in incidence. The export trade had only been maintained by the wages of the miners being reduced to the extent of the burden of the tax, which should never have been resorted to unless every other method of taxation had been exhausted. He would not labour the general argument it beyond saying that if t was indispensable that £2,000,000 a year should be extracted by this coal tax for the national finances thee it ought to be applied as a general tax of one penny or twopence per ton upon all coal raised and upon royalties and profits, and it should not be imposed, as the present tax was imposed, upon the wages of the working colliers. The right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had put forward a strong argument in support of the tax by the assertion that the general export of coal had not decreased since this tax was applied. Assuming that to be the case it was only stating half the truth. The point of view which he wished to impress upon the House and upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer was that the export trade was only being maintained by the wages of the colliers being reduced to the extent of the burden of this tax and that was a very serious matter. Upon this subject it was just as well to take the opinion of men on the spot, and in order to show how this tax hampered the operations of British coal exporters he would remind the House that Consul Johnson last year reported from Amsterdam that the total importation of British coal again showed a decrease as compared with the year 1902, and he said that the exertions made by the Westphalian Syndicate to monopolise the Dutch market and to create an export trade for German coal had been unremitting and very successful. He further stated that if this duty was only lowered by 6d. per ton the German coal would not be able to compete with English coal. In these days when we heard so much about dumping we should be careful not to give the foreigner any undue advantage over the home competitor.

He desired in this connection to deal with the coalfields of Scotland. There was pending just now a very serious dispute in the teal trade which could be traced almost directly to the operation of the export duty on coal. The inspector for the East of Scotland had called attention to the fact that trade had been depressed, that employment had not been regular, that wages had been reduced, and that certain mines were in danger of being closed. The exports of coal from Scotland for the first throe months of this year, according to the figures supplied by the Chancellor of Exchequer, as compared with the opening three months of 1903, showed a decrease of 64,000 tons. There was no doubt that that was largely due to the operation of the shilling duty. Apart from that, the working of the tax had had a direct bearing on the wages of the Scottish miners, and a reflex bearing on the wages of miners all over the kingdom which only those who had studied the matter were able to understand. In reply to a Question put by his hon. friend and colleague in the representation of Merthyr Tydvil, the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that the quantity of coal exported of value exceeding 5s. and not exceeding 6s. per ton was 944,413 tons; and that the coal exported exceeding 7s. in value and not exceeding 8s. was 707,897 tons. He asked the Committee to observe that under 5s. and over 7s. per ton the exports of coal ran in the neighbourhood of 1,000,000 tons for these three months, but the exports between 6s. and 7s. per ton were only 88,597 tons. What was the explanation? There was no duty paid on coal which did not exceed 6s. per ton value, and the exporter of coal found it cheaper to accept 5s. 11d. per ton for coal exported than it would be to accept 6s. 6d., because in the one case he escaped duty, and in the other he would have to pay it. It so happened that 6s. 6d. was just about the normal export price paid for Scotch coal, and so the working of the duty, so far as the Scotch coal trade was concerned, had been the direct cause of bringing the export price of coal down 1s. per ton below what the actual working of the market would justify. He was sure this argument would carry weight with the House, as the whole of the Scotch coal trade was on the eve of one of those crises which men of all Parties united in deploring. For a number of years there had been an agreement for the regulation of wages, and the minimum wage agreed upon had been 5s. 6d. per day. In view of the conditions of a miner's life no one would say that that was an exorbitant wage. But the average number of days worked of late had been only four and a half. per week, so that the present earnings of the Scotch miners were less than 25s. per week. Employers now found that, largely through the operation of this tax, they were unable to continue paying even 25s. per week and that they must abandon the minimum agreed upon. Therefore the direct outcome of the operation of this tax, so far as the Scotch collier was concerned, was to precipitate what would probably prove to be a long and bitter trade dispute, impoverishing between 60,000 and 70,000 families, and dislocating the entire trade of one of cur great coal exporting districts.

He hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would consider the fresh evidence which had been adduced in the course of this debate, or which might come to him throught other channels, and he would come to the conclusion that a tax which had the effects he had indicated was not one that should be continued, or which could be defended. He believed the tax was wrong in principle and injurious in its application. It was imposed as a war tax, and, the war being over, it should now disappear. If one class of people were less imbued with the war fever than another they were the miners of the country. He owed his seat to the fact that the miners in the constituency which he represented were so opposed to the war policy that they rejected a candidate who was in favour of it, and returned him because he was opposed to the war. It was doubly hard that men who did not believe in the war should be specially penalised in paying for the war and its consequences. He hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer would at the earliest possible moment remove the tax.


said this was a tax on only a portion of the coal-mining industry. He believed the coal-owners m ere prepared to be taxed at a time when trade was prosperous, but the people of the exporting districts felt aggrieved that they should be selected to bear the whole tax. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol introduced the tax one of the chief reasons he gave for it was that it would prevent the undue exportation of coal, and retain the coal measures of the country for the purpose of our industries at home in future years. The right hon. Gentleman was entirely erroneous in that for instead of a decrease in the quantity exported there had been a considerable increase. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer when he received a deputation representing the coal trade gave as a chief argument in favour of retaining the tax that the exports had largely increased. The right hon. Gentleman argued from this fact that the trade was prosperous. There was more to consider in this question than quantity. Profits were now much less than at the time the tax was imposed, and many collieries were now losing money. The fact that exports had increased in volume could not be taken as evidence of prosperity. Everyone knew that if they did not, whether in manufacturing or mining, work up to their full capacity they were not working at the cheapest rates, and the fact was that prices had been falling ever since the tax was put on. He did not by any means attribute that entirely to the tax, but as soon as a coal-owner found that prices were going down the only thing he could do to save a loss was to produce the largest quantity possible, so as to diminish his cost. The increase in quantity exported, instead of showing a growth in the prosperity of the trade, showed exactly the reverse. It proved indisputably that masters and men were doing their utmost to maintain profits and wages by the largely increased quantity. That was the reason why the predictions made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, had proved to be erroneous. He hoped the present Chancellor of the Exchequer would give this matter his most careful consideration.

* MR. BEAUMONT (Northumberland, Hexham)

supported the new clause moved by the hon. Member for the Barnsley Division. The case against the tax, he said, grew stronger every year. The tax was originally proposed when the coal trade was particularly good, and it was thought that it would be a nice source of revenue. He had always maintained that this was an indirect way of taxing coal-owners more heavily than other classes, being a sort of graduated income-tax. If a graduated income-tax was proposed, it would not be on his side of the House that it would be opposed, as had been shown in recent debates. It bad been proved over and over again that since the tax was imposed it had had an injurious effect on all connected with coal-mining operations. Coal - owners' profits had been reduced, the wages of miners had been lowered, and shipping had been seriously affected. Competition with foreign coal producers was now much keener than formerly, and that made it very difficult for this country to regain the position it had held. In view of what had taken place in regard to tariff reform proposals, they could not but look upon this as a protective tax, and from that point of view he regarded the continuance of it with great suspicion. It gave a bounty to the foreigner. It was argued by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol, and especially by the President of the Board of Trade, at the time the tax was imposed that it would restrict the export of coal and enable us to husband our resources for our own purposes. It had always struck him that that was an absurd argument. Even although the export of coal were to be restricted by this tax by a few hundred thousand tons a year, it could not be seriously contended that this diminution would greatly prolong the life of the coal fields. As a matter of fact, it had not had the effect of restricting exports, because the Chancellor of the Exchequer now defended the tax on the grounds that in 1903 we exported more coal than in any previous year, so that the argument which was used when the tax was first proposed fell to the ground. From every point of view this was a most mischievous tax, and, as it had not fulfilled the expectations which were held out, the case against it was unanswerable. If the tax could not be abolished this year he was glad the Chancellor of the Exchequer had an open mind on the subject. He felt confident that if the present Government stuck to office much longer their mind would become more open still. The Government would not be able to resist the outcry from all classes concerned against the tax, and if only in view of expediency, when face to face with a general election, they would have very soon to withdraw the tax.


associated himself with what had already been said as to the hardship this tax imposed on Northumberland and Durham and the northern coalfields generally. He derived some encouragement from what the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said as to the modifying of the tax, or the removing of it altogether. This tax introduced a principle which was altogether novel and it would require strong arguments on the part of the Government to maintain it. He knew of no export duty which had been imposed either by this or any other country in modern times except in respect of an absolute monopoly. Although the steam coal of South Wales might justify the tax on that ground the coal from the Northumberland and Durham coalfields had to meet keen competition and could not afford to pay an export duty. What he wanted to draw attention to was the deplorable fact—they could not complain of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—that the members of the Government were not usually present to hear the arguments advanced from the comparatively humble Members of the House against this tax. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had advanced the plausible argument that since the tax was imposed the exports had gone up. Undoubtedly there had been an increase in the export of bunker and non-bunker coal, but what had been the ratio? The ratio of increase even had not been maintained. For the ten years 1890–1900 the average rate of increase was 1,500,000 tons per annum. The ratio of increase since the tax was imposed was only 138,000 tons. Yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer played with figures, and told them that the exports of coal had been increasing since the imposition of the tax. The figures given by the right hon. Gentleman were illusory, while figures like those he had quoted showed that there had been a decrease in the ratio.

He also complained that the tax pressed very heavily upon a certain limited section of the coal trade. Of the total amount of revenue received from the tax, which was about £2,300,000, no less than £583,000, or between one-fifth and one-fourth, was collected from Northumberland. Surely that was not an equitable basis of taxation The First Lord of the Treasury in dealiag with the corn tax said that the great objection to it was that it pressed with exceptional hardness upon farmers and that, therefore, was what strongly moved him in removing the tax. Surely he might use that as a parallel and say to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, "Here is a tax that falls on one limited section of the coal-exporting districts of England, and presses to the extent of a fourth or a fifth on the people of Northumberland." The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that he would be disposed to consider the tax. If they showed the right hon. Gentleman that the ratio increase in the export of coal had fallen off, and that the tax pressed on a limited area of the country, they surely had been able to establish two of the most fatal objections to any kind of taxation.

What was the average realised price of coal? We had been obliged through the competition of foreign countries to reduce the price of our export coal. About eight-tenths of the Northumberland coal was exported. In 1901, before the imposition of the tax, the average realised price of this coal was 11s. 2d. per ton. This year the average realised price was only 6s. 3d. per ton. Wages, as well as prices, had been injuriously affected. In 1900 the wages paid to the miners were 61 per cent. above the standard of 1879; they were now only 18 and a fraction above that standard. Northumbrian coal went to all parts of the world, but a very large proportion of it went to Holland, France and Belgium. The gravamen of their complaint was that by the imposition of this tax the Government had increased the geographical area over which German coal-owners were able to send their coal and compete successfully with the coal-owners of this country. It was obvious that this 1s. duty increased the area of successful competition. He found, for instance, that from the port of Myth the export of coal to Germany, Holland, and Belgium, which was the area of competition, fell from 700,000 tons in 1902 to 500,000 tons in 1903; and he was informed by people of great authority that that decreased exportation was entirely due to the incidence of this tax, and to the increase of successful competition in Germany, Holland, and Belgium. It was not for the Opposition to suggest an alternative to the coal tax, but his hon. friend the Member for Merthyr Tydvil pointed to a tax on mining royalties as an alternative. If the facts and the reasons which had been adduced were inimical to the principle of this tax, and showed that it was inequitable in its operation, that it was slowly, but none the less seriously, affecting the coal trade in the North of England, and if the Chancellor of the Exchequer professed an open mind on this question, then the right hon. Gentleman, he hoped, would see his way to remove this tax, which brought in a small proportion of revenue, and which was felt as a serious grievance by an industry which was little able to bear this burden.


said he wished to touch on one or two points which might have been overlooked. The unfairness of the tax had been already referred to, but at the back of that apparent unfairness lay the idea that we should retain in this country as much as possible of the steam coal of Wales, more particularly for war purposes. If that coal was exported in too great quantities the Admiralty might feel the want of it on some future occasion. But he would point out that it was unfair to tax one set of coal proprietors and one group of minerals for the good of the whole country. The logical thing would be to secure a portion of the coal district in South Wales for national purposes, and retain it as a reserve for the use of the Admiralty. The incidence of this tax was very partial; in favour of one part of the trade and against another part of it. A great deal of coal in South Wales was sent 10,000 miles away, and the tax, the freight, and cost of the coal often brought up the selling price to 40s. or 45s. per ton delivered to the ports of India and South America. A tax of 1s. per ton meant a very different percentage on coal from Northumberland, Durham, and Scotland, which was sent across the narrow seas and delivered in Hamburg. Therefore, the coal trade in the North-east of England and of Scotland felt the tax to a much greater extent than the trade in South Wales. The coal in the North-east of England was by no means special, but came nearer in quality to that of the North of Europe than did that of South Wales. That was a monopoly, unique in the world, smokeless, giving the largest amount of steam power, and occupying the smallest amount of cubic space. It had to be remembered that when the great boom in coal died away freights fell, and the lowering of the freights enabled the coal-owners in the North of England and Yorkshire to maintain their foreign trade for some months beyond the general fall in price. But when freights reached a, point which became unprofitable, ship-owners laid up their ships, and the export trade fell off. Consequently, the price of coal was lowered all round. The effect had been to throw more coal into the home market, and the coal-owners of Yorkshire and Derbyshire began to feel the stress. As the price approached the line of exemption it fell rapidly below it. This, reducing the average selling price, tended to depress the miners' wages. He was not pretending for one moment that the export trade wholly determined the price of coal. The price of coal was regulated to a large extent by the iron market. When the iron trade was active a larger amount of coal was engrossed by it, but when the iron trade fell off a larger quantity of coal was set free for export. He was quite sure that it would have been a wiser thing to have put 1d. on the whole trade, instead of electing one branch of the trade for navy taxation.


appealed to the House to bring the discussion to a close.


said he would not take up the time of the House for more than a couple of minutes. He admitted, with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the coal exports and the number of persons employed in the trade were greater last year than in the previous year. The implication of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was that they, therefore, could not be so badly off as they pretended to be. But he would like to remind the right hon. Gentleman that he admitted in his speech the other night that, so far as the north-eastern ports were concerned, there was practically no increase. That meant that with the natural increase of population there was an increase in the number employed in the mines, and there was practically a stagnant industry. Although the export trade had been greater last year than the year before, the average rate of progress had not been maintained since the imposition of the tax. For ten years prior to the imposition of the tax, the average annual rate of increase of exports, as a whole, was over 1,500,000 tons; but since the imposition of the tax that rate of development had been very seriously checked. During the three years which had elapsed since the imposition of the tax the average annual increase, instead of being 1,500,000 ions was only 120,000 tons. If the average rate of increase of exports was not maintained, and if there was an increase in the number of persons employed, they were bound to find themselves in the end in a very much worse position than they were previously.

SIR CHARLES McLAREN (Leicestershire, Bosworth)

said he hoped that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he had the opportunity of introducing the Budget next year, would, after taking counsel with those who understood the coal and export trade, see his way to dispense with this tax. A great many ingenious figures, no doubt prepared for him, had been used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but with those who knew the trade and the grievances under which they suffered, these figures carried very little weight. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the apparent decrease in the exports of small coal was not real, because bunker coal was taken to a large extent for the coal that was formerly exported. If that were so, it was striking at the advantage which the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to derive from this tax, and in the second place, it was striking at the recognised advantage to the shipping trade. Before the tax was imposed, an amount of coal was exported in slow ships to Port Said and other coaling stations where merchant ships refilled their bunkers. Now, instead of filling up their cargo space, they took coal to keep them going throughout the whole voyage, and consequently the merchants who had these depots abroad were diminishing their stocks. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that our exports were increasing, which was true; but the right hon. Gentleman forgot that the development of our collieries was also increasing. Every year hundreds of thousands of pounds were being expended in developing new sinkings, and the coal produced from these new collieries went abroad. If they were to reckon percentages, regard must be had to the increased means they had of sending out coal from the best collieries, and to the fact that more would have been exported but for the coal tax. It was true that the exports from the Welsh and the Tyne ports had increased, but there was no increase at all from the Humber ports. That meant that the collieries of Yorkshire, Leicestershire, and Derbyshire had been arrested in their normal increase of output. Owing to the long railway carriage to the seaboard, these collieries were unable to compete with those close to the sea. That reacted on all classes of coal; and if the right hon. Gentleman went down to Lancashire and Yorkshire he would find many men idle, all because the coal tax had throttled the coal trade. This was a working-man's question.

It had been put forward by the right hon. Gentleman that the State ought to assist the trade of the country, but here was a tax on a manufactured article, which was depriving a large number of the most industrious class in the community of their trade, and which was giving an advantage to German and Belgium millers. He would give a concrete example. Some years ago a firm with which he was connected sold 20,000 tons of coal to a French railway; the next year they sold 40,000 tons; and the year before the tax was imposed 60,000 tons. That was good trade. It was a trade which took them years to work up. But the next year, after the coal tax was imposed, they found it impossible to compete with the German coal-owners, who were able to sell their coal at a franc per ton less than the British. There was no chance of getting that trade back again as long as the coal tax was imposed. This was a far more important discussion than any question of tariffs or protective duties. A suggestion had been thrown out that the tax might he put on in a less injurious manner than at present. He agreed with that. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer put a tax of 2d. per ton on coal all round, that would hardly be felt, and would certainly be free from the unfairness which had been so ably described by his hon. friends whose particular counties were closely affected by the existing tax. He trusted that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would take care that this blot on our fiscal system would be remedie next year.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 142; Noes, 197. (Division List No. 270.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N.E. Flynn, James Christopher O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Allen, Charles P. Foster, Sir Waller (Derby Co.) O'Shee, James John
Ambrose, Robert Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Parrott, William
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Partington, Oswald
Atherley-Jones, L. Hammond, John Paulton, James Mellor
Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire) Harcourt, Lewis V.(Rossendale Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)
Beaumont, Wentworth C. B. Harcourt, Rt HnSirW(Monm'th Plummer, Sir Walter R.
Benn, John Williams Hardie, J.Keir (Merthyr Tydvil Power, Patrick Joseph
Blake, Edward Hayden, John Patrick Priestley, Arthur
Boland, John Hayter, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur D. Redmond, John E.(Waterford
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H. Rickett, J. Compton
Broadhurst, Henry Higham, John Sharpe Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Brown, George M. (Edinburgh) Hobhouse, C.E.H. (Bristol, E. Robson, William Snowdon
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Holland, Sir William Henry Roe, Sir Thomas
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Horniman, Frederick John Rose, Charles Day
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Jacoby, James Alfred Schwann, Charles E.
Burke, E. Haviland Jones, David Bryntnor(Swansea Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Burt, Thomas Joyce, Michael Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Buxton, Sydney Charles Kennedy, Vincent P.(Cavan,W. Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Caldwell, James Kilbride, Denis Sheehy, David.
Cameron, Robert Law, Hugh Alex.(Donegal,W.) Shipman, Dr. John G.
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall) Slack, John Bamford
Causton, Richard Knight Leanly, Edmund Smith, Samuel (Flint)
Channing, Francis Allston Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Clancy, John Joseph Leigh, Sir Joseph Spencer, Rt Hn.C.R.(Northants
Condon, Thomas Joseph Lloyd-George, David. Strachey, Sir Edward
Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark Lough, Thomas Sullivan, Donal
Cremer William Randal London, W. Tennant, Harold John
Crombie, John William Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Thomas, David Alfred(Merthyr)
Cullinan, J. MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Tomkinson, James
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) MacVeagh, Jeremiah Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan M'Hugh, Patrick A. Ure, Alexander
Delany, William M'Kean, John Wallace, Robert
Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway M'Kenna, Reginald Walton, JohnLawson(Leeds,S.)
Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.) M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Donelan, Captain A. Mooney, John J. Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan
Doogan, P. C. Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Elibank, Master of Murphy, John White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Ellice, Capt.EC(SAndrw's pghs. Nannetti, Joseph P. Whiteley, George(York,W.R.)
Emmott, Alfred Newnes, Sir George Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Esmonde, Sir Thomas Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway,N. Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan) O'Brien, Kendal(TipperaryMid. Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Eve, Harry Trelawney O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Young, Samuel
Farquharson, Dr. Robert O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)
Farrell, James Patrick O'Connor, James(Wicklow,W.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.
Fenwick, Charles O'Dowd, John Herbert Gladstone and Mr.
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmund O'Kelly, James(Roscommon,N. William M'Arthur.
Flavin, Michael Joseph O'Malley, William
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hon. SirH. Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)
Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden Bailey, James (Walworth Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.
Anson, Sir William Reynell Bain, Colonel James Robert Banbury, Sir Frederick George
Arkwright, John Stanhope Baird, John George Alexander Bathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin
Arnold-Forster,Rt.Hn.Hugh O. Balcarres, Lord Beckett, Ernest William
Arrol, Sir William Baldwin, Alfred Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Balfour, Rt.Hon. A.J.(Manch'r. Bignold, Sir Arthur
Bigwood, James Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs.) O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Bill, Charles Grenfell, William Henry Palmer, Sir Walter (Salisbury)
Blundell, Colonel Henry Gretton, John Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)
Bond, Edward Greville, Hon. Ronald Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley
Boulnois, Edmund Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Pemberton, John S. G.
Bousfield, William Robert Harris, Dr. Fredk. R.(Dulwich) Percy, Earl
Brassey, Albert Hay, Hon. Claude George Pilkington, Colonel Richard
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley Pretyman, Ernest George
Brown, Sir Alex. H. (Shropsh.) Heath, James (Staffords. N.W. Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward
Bull, William James Helder, Augustus Pym, C. Guy
Campbell, Rt. Hn. J.A.(Glasgow Hickman, Sir Alfred Reid, James (Greenock)
Campbell, J.H.M. (Dublin Univ. Hoare, Sir Samuel Remnant, James Farquharson
Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H. Hope, J.F.(Sheffield,Brightside Ridley, Hon. M.W.(Stalybridge
Cavendish, V. C. W.(Derbysh. Horner, Frederick William Ridley, S.Forde (Bethnal Green
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Howard, J. (Midd.,Tottenham) Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Hozier, Hon. James H. Cecil Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Chamberlain, RtHnJ.A(Worc.) Hudson, George Bickersteth Robinson, Brooke
Chamberlayne, T.(S'thampton) Hunt, Rowland Round, Rt. Hon. James
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton Royds, Clement Molyneux
Charrington, Spencer Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T.(Denbigh) Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford
Clare, Octavins Leigh Keswick, William Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Clive, Captain Percy A. Kimber, Sir Henry Samuel, Sir H. S. (Limehouse)
Coates, Edward Feetham King, Sir Henry Seymour Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos.Myles
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Laurie, Lieut.-General Saunderson, Rt.Hn.Col.Edw.J.
Colomb. Rt. Hn. Sir John C. R. Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Sharpe, William Edward T
Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Shaw-Stewart, Sir H. (Renfrew
Corbett, T. L. (Down North) Lawson,JohnGrant(Yorks.N.R. Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge Lee, A. H. (Hants., Fareham Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Cross, Herb. Shepherd(Bolton) Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Sloan, Thomas Henry
Crossley. Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Smith, RtHn. J Parker(Lanarks.
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S. Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)
Cust, Henry John C. Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham) Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)
Davenport, William Bromley Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol,S Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Lancs
Dickson, Charles Scott Lonsdale, John Brownlee Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Lowe, Francis William Talbot. Rt. Hn. J.G.(Oxf'd.Univ.
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Loyd, Archie Kirkman Thompson, Dr. EC(Monaghan,N
Dixon-Hartland, SirFredDixon Lucas, R. J. (Portsmouth) Thornton, Percy M.
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.
Doxford, Sir William Theodore Macdona, John Cumming Tritton, Charles Ernest
Duke, Henry Edward M'Iver, Sir Lewis(EdinburghW Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Manners, Lord Cecil Valentia, Viscount
Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart Martin, Richard Biddulph Vincent, Col. SirC.E.H.(Sheffield
Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.) Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F. Warde, Colonel C. E.
Fergusson, Rt.Hn.SirJ.(Manc'r Maxwell, Rt. Hn. SirH.E.(Wigt'n Welby, Lt.-Col.A.C.E.(Taunt'n
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Maxwell, W.J.H.(Dumfriessh.) Whiteley, H.(Ashton und. Lyne
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Melville, Beresford Valentine Whitmore, Charles Algernon
Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas Mildmay, Francis Bingham Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Fisher, William Hayes Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G Wills, Sir Frederick
Fison, Frederick William Mitchell, William (Burnley) Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.
FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose Molesworth, Sir Lewis Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Wilson-Todd, Sir W.H.(Yorks.)
Flannery, Sir Fortescue Moon, Edward Robert Pacy Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson
Flower, Sir Ernest Moore, William Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart
Forster, Henry William Morrell, George Herbert Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W.) Morrison, James Archibald
Gardner, Ernest Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer
Gore, Hon. S.F.Ormsby Murray, RtHnA.Graham(Bute TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir
Goschen, Hon. George Joachim Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Alexander Acland-Hood and
Goulding, Edward Alfred Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath) Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.
Graham, Henry Robert Newdegate, Francis A. N.
Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Nicholson, William Graham

Question put, and agreed to.

And, it being half-past Five of the clock, and objection being taken to further proceeding, further proceeding on consideration, as amended, stood adjourned.

Bill, as amended, to be further considered upon Monday next.