HC Deb 03 July 1906 vol 159 cc1622-3
MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state what precautions the Customs take to enforce the provisions of the Merchandise Marks Act as regards brandy; what check there is against the use of false trade descriptions; if any test is applied, and what is it, to ascertain whether spirit entered as brandy is derived from the grape or from materials other than the grape; how many gallons of spirit imported from Hamburg were admitted to entry last year as brandy; was such spirit the distillate of the grape; how many seizures were made last year of brandy to which a false trade description was applied under the Merchandise Marks Act; what was the quantity of brandy as per Customs entries from Norway, Holland, and Denmark for the last ten years; and is it the case that at London Docks any spirit, whatever its origin, shipped as brandy is so entered by Customs and dock officials.


The means taken by the officers of Customs to prevent imported spirits being falsely described as brandy, in contravention of the Merchandise Marks Acts, are to examine all spirits entered as brandy, and, if such do not appear to be the brandy of commerce, to submit samples to the departmental analyst. No test is applied to ascertain whether spirit entered as brandy is derived from the grape or from other materials, but tests are applied to ascertain whether such spirits contain those constituents other than spirit which characterise the brandy of commerce. If such constituents are not present the spirit is not allowed to be entered as brandy. Particulars of the quantity of brandy imported from Hamburg are not available, the records of imports being shown under countries only. During the year 1905

Years. Norway. Netherlands. Denmark.
Proof Gallons Proof Gallons Proof Gallons
1896 3,032 34,012 9,481
1897 66 35,756 26,442
1898 2 22,066 11,142
1899 641 24,330 23,053
1900 6,363 22,446 2,824
1901 3,342 17,410 1,186
1902 3,164 14,521 1,688
1903 4,599 8,276 32
1904 Imported 294 Imported 7,033 Imported 32
Consigned 292 Consigned 3,564 Consigned 32
1905 Imported 1,928 Imported 5,947 Imported 61
Consigned 1,928 Consigned 2,320 Consigned 61

As will be seen form what is stated above, it is not the case that at the London Docks or elsewhere any spirit, whatever its origin, shipped as brandy is allowed by the Customs Department to be entered as brandy. The Board have no official knowledge as to the action of the dock officials with regard to such spirits.


Why allow brandy to be imported from countries in which notoriously no grapes are grown?


It may be in course of transit from elsewhere.