HC Deb 10 February 1908 vol 183 cc1371-2
MR. BARNARD (Kidderminster)

To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, (1) whether he can give the number of pre-1869 beer-house licences that were in existence at the passing of the 1904 Licensing Act; (2) how much has been contributed by the owners of these houses to the compensation fund in the financial years of 1905, 1906, and 1907; (3) how many of them have been suppressed during these years; (4) how much money has been collected from the trade under Goschen's Act; (5) will he state the purposes to which Mr. Goschen originally intended to apply that money; (6) and how much has the war tax of 1s. per barrel on beer and 6d. on spirits yielded since the termination of the war.

(Answered by Mr. Asquith.) (1) The numbers of ante-1869 beer-houses have never been ascertained with certainty; but it is believed that, out of the total number of 31,942 beer-houses in existence on 1st January, 1905, i.e., when the Licensing Act, 1904, came into operation, the ante-1869 beer-houses numbered 28,000 and upwards. (2) Owing to the absence of exact records it is not possible to say how much has been contributed by the owners of ante-1869 beer-houses to the compensation fund. (3) The number of ante-1869 beer-houses extinguished with compensation in the years 1905, 1906, and 1907, is believed to be 1,673. This number is exclusive of the ante-1869 beer-houses (believed to number 277) which have come to an end without compensation for various causes in the same three years. (4) The total sum derived from the additional duties on beer and spirits imposed by the Customs and Inland Revenue Act, 1890 (to which presumably my hon. friend refers), up to 31st March, 1907, amounted to £21,087,970. (5) It appears from the Budget Statement of 17th April, 1890, that the original intention of the Government was to devote about one-quarter of the proceeds of these additional duties to the "purchase of licences," and the remainder to various local purposes (see Hansard, Vol. 343, Col. 734). (6) The estimated yield of the additional 1s. per barrel on beer and 6d. per gallon on spirits from the termination of the war up to 31st March last, amounted to £8,557,000 and £4,152,000 respectively.