§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the amount likely to be derived from the duty on publicans' licences in the current year; whether he is aware that the Treasury has estimated that the imposition of an ad valorem duty on all licensed houses equal to that now imposed upon the smallest houses would produce a revenue of £3,500,000 per annum; and whether, before asking the House to continue existing taxes on necessaries, he will consider the propriety of increasing these duties by making all houses pay at the rate now paid for the smallest houses.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN, Worcestershire, E.)
The estimate of the amount likely to be derived from the duty on publicans' licences in the current year was about £1,750,000. The second paragraph of the Question is founded on a misapprehension of an Answer which I gave to the hon. Member last year.† I then stated that it was roughly estimated that the total annual value of public-houses, exclusive of hotels, in England and Wales, was about £7,000,000, and that 50 per cent, of £7,000,000 would amount to £3,500,000. This is a simple arithmetical fact, but it by no means follows that this amount of revenue could be obtained by imposing a 50 per cent, ad valorem licence duty on all such houses. Such a tax would, I conceive, certainly extinguish many of the houses, and no estimate has been made by the Treasury of the effect of its imposition on the total annual value of all public-houses.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the propriety of increasing the duties as suggested before he brings in his next Budget.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I consider all the suggestions made to me, but I cannot say that I derive great advantage from many of them.