§ 5. "That there shall be charged on motor spirit on and after the thirtieth day of April, nineteen hundred and nine, a Customs import duty of threepence per gallon, and on and after the first day of June, nineteen hundred and nine, an Excise duty of the like amount; and that there shall be charged, on and after the last-mentioned date, on a licence to be taken out annually by a manufacturer of motor spirit, an Excise duty of one pound, and on a licence to be taken out annually by a dealer in motor spirit an Excise duty of five shillings."—[Mr. Lloyd-George.]
§ Resolution read a second time.
§ Motion made and Question proposed: "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
moved to add at the end of the Resolution: "Provided that a rebate of the amount of such duty shall be allowed in respect of all motor spirit used in public service and commercial vehicles and in all arts and manufactures." Various parts of the Budget show exactly the political lines upon which the right hon. Gentleman is going in the development of his scheme of taxation, and the duty upon petrol proposed in this Resolution is one which politically seems to me to be bad in principle. The right hon. Gentleman has chosen one article to place an import duty upon that will have an effect upon more growing trades than any other. If he had specially looked out for such an article he could not have been more successful. In a great many kinds of trade petrol is now used. I quite agree in speaking of taxation on petrol that from the tone of the Debate in the House last week with regard to the taxation of pleasure motor cars, I cannot expect much sympathy in reference to any tax with regard to such cars, but it must be remembered that petrol is used in other things 1084 and quite apart from motors or for propulsion. It is used for the making of paints and varnishes, dry cleaning, solvent for indiarubber, illuminating, gas, removing, extracting fats, and so forth, and various other commercial purposes. The right hon. Gentleman has told us, in reply to questions, that he does not propose to place a tax of 3d. on petrol used in arts or commerce apart from that used in propulsion, but such rebates are not included in the Resolution before the House. The whole Question, so far as arts is concerned, is mixed up with the very serious question of the trouble that will be forced upon manufacturers, and that will be given in commerce with regard to the question of rebates which these manufacturers who are now in the habit of using petrol will have to go to before they get their petrol; duty free. I submit, in the first place, that; it is exceedingly unwise to put a tax upon what, is absolutely a raw material. The right hon. Gentleman has challenged us in the course of this Debate as to how we should raise this taxation, and it is suggested that we should be forced to put a tax on the raw food of the people. We on this side do not admit in any sense or way that that is a definition of a Tariff Reform Budget. The right hon. Gentleman has selected for the purpose of this tax an article which is in no sense, or certainly is only in a very limited sense, a manufactured article. It cannot be used when it enters this country except as raw material for propulsion or manufacturing purposes. The Excise which the right hon. Gentleman proposes would be exceedingly difficult. I understand that petrol is produced from coke. It is produced not in many instances in England. It is a by-product of the manufacture of coke. It is increasingly used, but the right hon. Gentleman will have to establish a system of Excise officers all over the country in order to examine into and catch the manufacturers of minute amounts of petrol. Very large expenses will be incurred by the taxpayers in connection with this Excise precaution.
1085 In addition to the 3d. tax, it is already known the importers are putting on ld., and manufacturers and other users of petrol will have to pay more than the tax produces to the Exchequer. I understand that the right hon. Gentleman agreed that it was unwise to raise by any import duty or any fiscal duty more money than is necessary to go into the Exchequer. I took the trouble to refer the other day to the founder of the Free Trade doctrine, Mr. Adam Smith, and he lays down as one of his four canons that every tax should be contrived so as to take out of the pockets of the people as little as possible more than was absolutely necessary for the purposes of the Exchequer. It is clear to-day that more will be charged for petrol as a result of this new tax than the Exchequer will get. I do not propose to discuss the question of pleasure motors. I agree that the Debate in the House the other night showed a pretty strong feeling that pleasure motor cars Should be more largely taxed than they have been, and all the objection I propose to raise is not so much with regard to the taxation of motor cars but to the taxation of petrol which is used for used other purposes than for pleasure motor At the same time, I cannot help feeling that the taxation on petrol, in addition to the taxation on motor cars, will undoubtedly tend to restrict output, and, therefore, to limit the construction of pleasure motor cars in that way, and then I think also we shall have another effect of this taxation upon petrol, namely, we shall have carburreters made for the purpose of using a heavier and cruder spirit. That will involve heavier and more disagreeable smells in the streets. Perhaps that does not count for a great deal, but it must be admitted that motor cars have improved in the last few years, and have become much less disagreeable from smells than before, and that it was due to the increasing use of petrol, and it is almost a certainty that carburetters will be discovered which will enable the use of stronger and heavier spirit. We have been asked many times in the course of these Debates to suggest an alternative tax. Well, there is an alternative tax which, without any desire to lead to the Debate on fiscal lines, I would like to suggest to the right hon. Gentleman. That is a tax of 10 per cent. on all imported foreign cars and accessories, which would produce fully as much as can produced by this tax on petrol. Why should not the right hon. Gentleman, I will not say stretch his Free Trade conscience a little further, but 1086 why should he not place this tax upon foreign motor cars?
We have been accused in the last three weeks of suggesting no alternative taxation on luxuries, but foreign motor cars are undoubtedly luxuries, and stand on the same basis as champagne or any other extreme luxuries, and, instead of placing a tax on locomotives and upon commerce, if the right hon. Gentleman would depart — even by a little degree— from his Free-Trade conscience, and place a tax of 10 per cent. on foreign motor cars and accessories, he would get a sum of money quite as large as that which he will get from his proposed taxation of petrol. At all events, instead of restricting the manufacture of English cars, as the tax on petrol will, this tax would tend to restrict importation of foreign cars and tend to increase the employment of English working men in this country in making English cars. I was much struck by the speech delivered last week by an hon. Member for one of the divisions of Glasgow, speaking in opposition to the tax on motor cars. He told us this was a highly organised trade, a highly specialised industry, employing an increasing number of mechanics and the very highest form of labour, and it is undoubtedly a pity that the right hon. Gentleman should place any kind of taxation that would tend to destroy the amount of labour which is being engaged in the production of high-class motor cars. I have taken some trouble to ascertain that, and I found, with the assistance of one of the editors of a motor car paper, that the enormous amount of labour that goes to the making of a motor car— I do not mean the labour that is employed in the rough work such as the production of the iron or wood, but I mean in the building of the car— a man who buys a £ 250 motor car keeps one second-class mechanic going and pays his whole wages for a year; a man who buys a £ 300 car keeps one first-class mechanic going and pays his wages for a year; and a man who buys a £ 500 car provides full employment for one first-class and one second-class mechanic for a whole twelve months.
I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that he ought to do something to increase the employment of these first and second-class mechanics instead of placing a taxation upon motor cars, which will undoubtedly have a tendency to decrease the use of such motor cars in the future and to decrease the manufacture of motor cars in this country. But the principal point 1087 I wanted to raise upon this Resolution is with regard to commercial spirit. This taxation will undoubtedly be a serious tax upon the commercial enterprise of this country. Again, I got the aid of an editor of a motor car journal, and with him investigated the additional cost which the different forms of commercial vehicles will have placed upon them by the right hon. Gentleman's taxation, even with the rebate of 1½d A motor cab running an average of 60 miles a day would cost nearly £ 6 more per annum in petrol. Whether that extra cost comes from the driver's pocket or the proprietor's I am not now going to discuss. A motor' bus— and I shall have more to say in a few minutes about motor' buses— running an average of 112 miles a day will actually cost £ 50 per year more owing to the tax upon petrol. A motor van, of course, uses a very heavy amount of petrol and the cost on such a vehicle will be 3d. per mile extra. A 1-ton motor van running 66 miles a day will cost £ 9 12s. more per year; a 2-ton van running 60 miles will cost£ 11 5s. more per year; a 3-ton van running 50 miles will cost £ 15 7s. a year extra owing to the taxation of the right hon. Gentleman. Now, obviously, motor vans and wagons are only used because they are economic, either in the saving of time or in the saving of money. People do not buy expensive machines like this purely for the purpose of pleasure. They are used by our manufacturers and shopkeepers either because they are cheaper from the point of view of labour and time or of money. There is a very grave fear that the Liberal Government are placing a tax directly upon the Commerce of the country by putting a tax upon petrol. The use of Motor vans is increasing, and as it increases so the tax placed on commerce will increase. I want to see the roads of our country used more than they are. The other night in Debate it was rather suggested that motor cars should pay more in proportion for the use of the roads but that is not my idea in regard to the roads of a great commercial country like England. My idea is the more the roads are used the better it is for the commerce of the country. From various causes the use of Canals has died out very largely, and we have now a finer system of roads than any country in Europe. I do not say they are better built, but they are more in proportion than the roads of France or Germany. In a very remarkable article in the 1088 "Times" this morning it was stated that there are 150,000 miles of roads in England and Wales, and that in England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland there are 37,000 miles- of main roads, all of which are to-day open free to any commercial man or any manufacturer who likes to send his goods by petrol wagons rather than by canal or railway. I speak from my own absolute knowledge when I say that there are certain articles which no railway in England can take which are manufactured in Great Britain— I refer to those huge boilers manufactured in the Midlands, which are increasingly growing in size owing to the needs of electric lighting stations. They are so large that our railways are unable to take them because. they cannot get them under certain bridges. The time is coming when far more use will be made of the roads of our country by petrol vans. I have an extraordinary series of figures from one of our great London firms — Shoolbred's — who have a fleet of motor vans, and last year it was calculated that they saved on each van as against horse traction £ 85 a year. This represents to them a saving of £3,000 a year.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
The right hon. Gentleman seems pleased at. that. He seems pleased that a firm have been energetic and enterprising enough to develop a new system of traction and commerce, and because they have effected an economy the right hon. Gentleman must jump down upon them and take a portion of the profit they have made by their industry. That is not my idea of taxation. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to be pleased at any commercial enterprise which develops economy in traction, and incidentally uses the roads which I always thought were constructed for, and intended for the benefit of, all the people in this country.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
The right hon. Gentleman says he is going to spend it on the roads, but what benefit does a Shoolbred van, or a motor omnibus, in London get out of this fund. The proposals have heard in regard to the allocation of this money are to make tar roads, construct loops round villages, to round off corners, and hedges, but those are not in London, but in the distant parts of the 1089 country. This petrol tax is going to fall almost entirely upon the commercial undertakings who use petrol vehicles in our towns, where they will not benefit by the allocation of this fund. [MINISTERIAL cries of "Why not?"] I have not heard any suggestion that the improvement of London roads is going to be paid for out of this fund. I venture to suggest that in towns the motor vehicle, shorn of its rubber tyres, does an infinitesimal amount of harm to the streets of London. [Cries of "Oh, oh."] I should like to ask any hon. Member opposite if he can prove that a motor omnibus— which appears to be the most unpopular vehicle to Members of this House, although it is not unpopular outside — shorn of its rubber tyres and running on asphalte and wooden pavements, does in any degree the same amount of harm to the streets of London as would be done by a similar number of vehicles carrying a smaller number of passengers shod, by iron tyres and drawn by horses The Chancellor of the Exchequer on previous occasions has gone to Germany for his advice. Is he aware that Germany, far from placing a tax on petrol and hampering the commercial industry in petrol vehicles, is actually paying a large subsidy for the manufacture of petrol vehicles, and Germany is paying a subsidy of £ 50 for petrol wagons registered for military purposes in time of need. The right hon. Gentleman ought to consult his colleague at the War Office, and instead of placing a penalty on petrol vehicles he should try and induce the Government to pay a premium to encourage them to provide means of locomotion which would prove exceedingly useful on the approach of the invader on the Eastern side of our country.
What is the Chancellor of the Exchequer going to get out of this petrol tax, even for the roads? I supplied him with same figures, which I think overstated the case, but I want to give him the benefit of the largest amount of petrol used in commercial vehicles, and I suggested 12,000,000 gallons. The best information I can obtain places the amount at the outside at 10,250,000 gallons used every year in commercial vehicles. He is taxing petrol per gallon and not per ton, and a tax of one halfpenny per gallon amounts to 30s. or 35s. a ton on fuel used in commerce. How would hon. Gentlemen opposite like 30s. a ton placed upon the coal used on our railways, and in commerce of various sorts, and used by our steam motor traffic. That is the nature of 1090 the tax which the Chancellor of the Exchequer is imposing on commerce, and what will it produce? At the outset not more than £ 50,000 or £ 55,000, and that is putting it as high as I possibly can. This means that one single firm or company will have to pay £ 37,000 at least.
Here I should like to make it perfectly clear that in saying a word on behalf of the motor omnibuses of London I am speaking of a matter in which I am personally interested. I would not say a word to lead hon. Members to think I was not speaking without some knowledge or without some interest. I have shares in them, and I have been the professional adviser to the London omnibus companies. The motor omnibuses of London, much as they are disliked by hon. Members of this House, are not disliked by working men. The motor omnibuses of London carry 4,000,000 people every year, and they enable those people to have more time at home with their families, more time for recreation, and they are able to get away from the congested parts of London. It does not look as if they were so very unpopular. I am glad that in this matter I am not met with the same hostility as I was in the case of motor cars. Motor omnibuses pay a tax of £ 6 18s. for the first year, and for succeeding years £ 5 18s., but the position of motor omnibus companies will-be rendered exceedingly difficult if this tax passes in its present form. For some years past motor omnibuses have been making heavy losses, owing to the insensate competition between the different companies, but that has now ceased, and I am in a position to say that at the present moment the combination is making progress. The losses have ceased by vigorous economy and adaptation which could only be made by amalgamation. At the present time no profits are being made.
How, then, can this industry stand a tax of £ 37,500 a year, which will increase as the number of petrol motors grow? Is it fair to put a tax of £ 37,000 out of a possible total of £ 50,000 upon one commercial company which caters for all these millions of people, and which employs 15,000 workmen? I am speaking not merely on behalf of the shareholders but also on behalf of 15,000 workpeople who are employed by this company, because there is a very grave possibility, if this tax is insisted upon, that the companies will close their doors. I am told by the directors that it 1091 is impossible to raise their fares in competition with the tube railways and the London County Council tramways. I am not saying anything against the tramway system, which has the purse of the ratepayers behind it, but in view of these facts it is impossible to raise omnibus fares. The Chancellor of the Exchequer says he does not want to injure any trade, or inflict any hardship upon any individual, but in this case he will more than injure, because he will go very near destroying this particular industry, and inflict a hardship upon the individuals who are carrying on this trade if he persists in this tax.
There are other questions affecting doctors' motor cars and those belonging to veterinary surgeons, but I will leave them to other speakers. This is not a political question, and I do not put it forward as such. It is simply a question whether the right hon. Gentleman is really wise in seeking to raise such a flea-bite as £ 50,000 by a tax upon the commerce of this country, more particularly when £ 37,000 of that sum comes from one particular firm. It is a tax on raw material, on locomotion, and upon a growing industry, and I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to be merciful on these occasions. So far he has not given us any concession in his Budget, but I hope he will be able to say that so far as commercial vehicles are concerned some relief should be given to an industry which has done so much not only for London, but for the community at large.
§ Mr. JAMES F. MASON (Windsor)
I beg to second the Amendment which has been moved by my hon. Friend. It does appear to me that there are very special objections to a tax on petrol. To begin with, Mr. Speaker, there is a car which does more damage to the roads than the motor car, but it will not come under this taxation, and that is the steam car.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I must remind the hon. Gentleman that he is not now discussing the Resolution. He is not entitled to discuss the tax as a whole.
§ Mr. MASON
I will come to the Amendment. The tax deals with petrol, and has reference not only to public service, but also to the use of petrol in manufactures. My hon. Friend has referred to the hardship which this taxation must necessarily inflict on persons when petrol is used in manufactures. I have no doubt that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will meet our objections by a rebate on petrol when used 1092 in other ways than those which he contemplated, but it is quite obvious that in many cases a rebate will be open to the greatest objection. Now, Sir, the users of petrol who are included in the Amendment relate to the commercial motor cars, and especially to omnibuses. My hon. Friend stated that he was interested in an omnibus company, and I may say that I am personally interested in tube railways, but at the same time I should be sorry indeed to see an industry like that of motor omnibuses hampered by a tax of this kind. I understand that the petrol used by motor omnibus companies and by cabs and other motor vehicles will be subject to a rebate of one-half of the tax. I have seen that stated, but I do not know whether it is true.
§ Mr. MASON
Then I understand that there will be a rebate of one-half— that is to say, 1½ d. a gallon, instead of 3d— but it must be borne in mind that the petrol used by the companies is bought on different terms from the petrol bought by private individuals. I believe that the wholesale price of the petrol used by the omnibus companies is 5½ d., but taking the petrol used by a private individual at Is., the increase would be 25 per cent., instead of 27 per cent. The difference between the petrol used by the omnibus companies and commercial vehicles and by private individuals is not favourable to commercial cars. I understand that the object of the right hon. Gentleman in proposing this taxation on cars is that it should bear some proportion to the damage done to the roads. With all that I quite agree, but I venture to think that he would better attain his object if he taxed the tyre instead of the petrol. The wear and tear of tyres does bear a direct ratio to pace, and pace bears a direct ratio to the damage done to the road. A tax on petrol is, therefore, not the best way to attain the object which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has in view. So far as the Amendment goes I do not hesitate to say that the proposal to allow a recovery of half of the tax will operate somewhat unfavourably on the use of commercial cars, which have a just claim to that rebate.
§ Amendment proposed at the end to add: "Provided that a rebate of the amount of such duty shall be allowed in respect of all motor spirit used in public service and commercial vehicles, and in all arts and manufactures."1093
§ Question pat: "That those words be added."
§ Mr. RENWICK
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman, when he conceived the idea of putting a tax on motor cars and motor vehicles did not realise what the result would be. The result is likely to be— and I have consulted practical men on the subject— that vehicles such as steam cars will be built, as well as vehicles which use coal, and which are more injurious to the roads than motor cars with indiarubber tyres. The hon. Gentleman suggests that a tax should be put upon tyres, but the cars to which I refer have no tyres, and they do an enormous amount of injury to the roads. When the right hon. Gentleman introduced the Budget he said, with reference to this tax, that he proposed to put a tax of 3d. per gallon, but that there would be a rebate of one half. He also said that the amount of petrol used for other purposes was comparatively small. I think that he has not given sufficient consideration to this important matter. So far from petrol and its products being used to a small extent their use is of a very considerable character, and the tax is causing a large amount of unrest in maim facturing circles. It will have the effect of putting money into the pocket of those who direct trusts. It is an extraordinary thing that in all the three principal Resolutions which we have been discussing during the last two nights— that is to say, the Resolution affecting tobacco, spirits, and petrol— this tax will probably put a large amount of money into the hands of people already wealthy.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Caldwell)
This has no special reference to the matters in the Amendment, but relates to the general question of the tax.
§ Mr. RENWICK
May I point out that the Amendment at the end refers to all commercial vehicles and to spirits used in manufactures?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The hon. Member was referring to the general propriety of the tax rather than the specific Amendment under discussion.
§ Mr. RENWICK
I was referring to the tax as it would affect particular articles used in commerce, but I will try, as far as possible, to keep within your ruling. I want to call particular attention to what the right hon. Gentleman said in his Budget speech with regard to a rebate. He distinctly told us that there would be 1094 a rebate for all petrol used for commercial purposes, but there is nothing in the Resolution with regard to that rebate. I should like to call attention to a circular issued by a large firm. It distinctly bears out the statement that some firms are taking advantage of this tax to collect from those who use motor spirits something to which they are not entitled, and to which the right hon. Gentleman did not refer when he introduced his Budget. In another circular it is stated, "As you are already aware the Government propose a tax of 3d. a gallon on petroleum, naphtha, and petrol." Does the Chancellor of the Exchequer mean to include all those? If he does, his proposal will have a more far reaching effect than he ever anticipated.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
These remarks would be more appropriate after the Amendment is disposed of and the main Question is set up.
§ Mr. RENWICK
I will conclude with the remark which I rose to make, by asking the right hon. Gentleman carefully to consider the effect which this tax will have. Manufacturers of commercial vehicles are already turning their attention to vehicles other than motor vehicles. The mover of the Amendment said that different sorts of spirits will be used for vehicles, and I maintain that the tax proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer is a great mistake, and that it will defeat the object which he has in view. It will have the effect of doing away with rubber tyres and substituting for vehicles which use rubber tyres vehicles that do not use them, such as traction engines. I do sincerely hope that the right hon. Gentleman, before he finally commits himself to it, will give this particular view of the subject his most careful consideration, because I venture to say that the object he has in view is praiseworthy, for he wants, if possible, to reimburse the road authority for the damage done.
§ Mr. RENWICK
T will conclude by saying that I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give particular attention to the remarks which I have made.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I thought I detected some little difference of opinion between the Mover and Seconder of this Amendment as to the method on which each thought that the tax upon motors and motor vehicles should be applied. As I 1095 understood the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment, his view was that it would be much better to put a direct tax upon the foreign motor cars and motor vehicles of all sorts, whereas the hon. Gentleman who seconded took particular care to point out he was not himself opposed to attaining the object aimed at by means of indirect taxation. Dealing with the argument advanced by the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment, I should like to point out with regard to the proposed tax on foreign motor cars, that he would be losing revenue by the proposal both immediately and in the future, because he would be taxing a declining trade. It must be a matter of satisfaction to hon. Gentlemen to know that the value of motor cars imported into this country is annually declining, and that the trade, which in 1906 was worth about 4½ millions sterling, is to-day worth barely 4 millions. A 10 per cent. revenue derived from that source would therefore diminish year by year, and remembering the objects to which the proceeds of this tax are to be applied, it must be remembered that if there is a 10 per cent. duty applied to this particular trade, and these vehicles do not come into the country, the roads which are to benefit by the tax will do so by a less proportion to the extent of the difference between the amount realised under the method suggested by the hon. Gentleman and that realised under the proposals of my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. HARMOOD-BANNER
On the point of order I wish to ask if this discussion is on the Amendment or on the general Question?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I only referred to this point because the hon. Member in his opening remarks dealt with it, and I thought it only just to him that I should point out what I thought were the difficulties attending his proposal. But, coming to the tax which my right hon. Friend proposes to apply to commercial vehicles, he pointed out that the London General Omnibus Company— with whose affairs he has a more particular acquaintance than any other Member of this House— he pointed out that this company, which carries four hundred millions of passengers every year, would have to pay £ 37,000 extra duty by reason of this additional taxation unless his proposal for a rebate were adopted. I wonder whether he has taken the trouble 1096 to apply the other point of view, and whether he is aware that it will cost each traveller carried by the Motor Omnibus Company one-fifth of a penny per year to meet a tax which, he says, is going to. make that great company close its doors and to push thousands of people out of employment? I do not think that if one-fifth of a penny were added to the fares paid annually by each of the persons carried by this company they would ever grumble at the tax, nor would the omnibus company find it impossible to add that sum to the amount they collect.
The hon. Gentleman who seconded this Amendment applied himself more particularly to the question which the Amendment raised, and he undoubtedly pointed out what were the difficulties in connection, with the distribution of the rebate upon the tax. Everybody who is acquainted with this subject knows that the word "petrol" or motor spirit covers a large number of articles, such as gasolene, benzoline, motor spirit, benzine, and so on. Undoubtedly there will be at first some difficulty in actually defining what motor spirit is in such a way as to include within the limits of the definition all possible substitutes for, or adjuncts to, that particular kind of spirit. But then that is a difficulty which has arisen in a. great many other trades and in other branches of commerce which are subject to Customs duties. The ingenuity of the importer is always at work to avoid, where he possibly can legitimately do so, the efforts of the Customs officer to bring him within the net of the duty. It is his business, if he can, to avoid that, hut at the same. time it is the business of the Customs officer to see that evasion is impossible. I do not anticipate for a single moment that there will be any greater difficulty in dealing with petrol spirit than there now is in dealing with dozens or even hundreds of other articles which in every country but our own are subject, with the approval of hon. and right hon.. Gentlemen opposite, to Customs' duties.. There is, I think, only just one other point which I need notice in passing, and that is the allusion which was made by the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment to the fact that one of the great London companies— Shoolbred's— will have to pay no less than £ 85 per year on every motor-driven vehicle as against the same vehicle. conveyed by horse traffic.
§ Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS
Not the same vehicle, but on the same amount of traffic conveyed by horse carriage.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I understand that every motor vehicle this firm employs saves them £ 85 a year in the carriage of goods. The vehicles which they employ in this motor traffic are of a particularly large, heavy and destructive character. They are nearly all employed, as I gather, in taking traffic out of London over country roads. Are these vehicles not to contribute anything to the maintenance of the roads over which they pass? Are they to contribute nothing to the expenses of the parishes and the unions through which they pass, and whose expenditure, as I have often seen in my own particular part of the country, they quadruple? Are they not to contribute to the increased cost imposed on the locality by the destruction of the excellent roads the locality provides for them? The hon. Gentleman went on to say, "Why do not you tax railways? "But is he aware that at the present moment, towards the upkeep of the roads over which the motor vehicle passes scot free, the railways contribute nearly one-half? It is the railway companies who are complaining that their contribution to local expenditure is enormously over-assessed, and greatly out of proportion to the nett revenue which they enjoy. It is not the railways which escape taxation for the purpose of locomotion; at the present moment they provide locomotion for persons who employ motor vehicles of a very heavy character, at very great expense to themselves. I think my right hon. Friend, in adjusting an inequality very detrimental to the railway companies, is doing not only a right but a fair thing. The Motion proposes that "a rebate of the amount of such duty shall be allowed in respect of all motor spirits used in public service and commercial vehicles, and in all arts and manufactures." I have endeavoured to deal with the case of the rebate on motor spirits so far as regards commercial vehicles, but I confess I do not understand what my hon. Friend means by a rebate in the case of public service vehicles.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I see. There is no doubt that the public companies which are engaged in the duty of placing cabs on the London streets have taken great advantage of the drivers of those vehicles by laying upon them the cost of this taxation, they have escaped the burden themselves by charging upon the drivers on the petrol 1098 used by them, a sum corresponding to the amount of the duty which they are supposed to have paid, but which they have not in fact paid at all. So far as this particular tax is concerned, it is not the company, it is the individual employed by the company who is affected by this tax. It is the servant and not the master who at the present moment, as I think, is unfortunately paying this tax. At this moment there is no person, I think, employed in the service of these public service car companies who need have paid one single penny duty on the petrol imported into this country. The hon. Gentleman who seconded the Amendment used a very curious argument. He said it was a grievance that the kind of petrol used in public service cars and commercial vehicles generally was much cheaper than that used in motor cars for pleasure, and that the rebate on it, being only 1½ bore a much higher relation to the value of petrol than was the case with petrol used in pleasure cars, therefore the person paying the tax had a much greater grievance than the person who paid 3d. on petrol which cost ls. Id., or whatever the figure may be. I confess I do not see that grievance. No doubt the proportion is much higher, but the sum paid at the same time is much less, as a matter of fact, than would have to be paid on any other motor vehicle, and it would be better judged by the total sum paid than by the ratio one bears to the other. It is confessed, I think, that this tax is to go to the benefit of the roads, and it is not unjust that it should he laid upon those who use the roads. It is not unjust, moreover, in the case of commercial vehicles, that a rebate should be made, because, after all, these are employed not in pleasure but in commerce, but looking at the incidence of the tax, whether as to the capacity of the person who owns the pleasure car or the amount of traffic propelled by motors generally, I do not think this tax is unjust or inconvenient to the public at large.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The hon. Gentleman has made a speech, as he always does, which must have interested everybody who followed it; but I cannot say that he has answered the points which my hon. Friend has laid before the House. The hon. Gentleman and the Government know that when this tax was first mentioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech, I by no means took 1099 up a hostile attitude to it. I and my hon. Friends on this side of the House, on the first blush, were rather inclined to approve of the tax, provided that it went to the, upkeep of the road, and we did not divide against the Resolution when it was moved in Committee on the first night of the Budget Debate. But I confess the short discussion which we have already had has given me a good deal of cause for reflection, and whilst I reserve for the general discussion my opinion on the tax generally, I do wish to make some observations on what is strictly the subject of the Amendment, the position in which this tax will be, in regard to vehicles used for commercial purposes, or what are called public services, such as omnibuses and cabs. But, before I do that, I must note one or two curious statements made by the hon. Gentleman in defiance of all that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is doing in this Budget. He gave it as a conclusive reason, against the suggestion of my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester (Mr. Joynson-Hicks), that he might get the money by taxing imported foreign cars, that he said, it would be to levy a charge upon a declining trade. Why, the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not hesitate to levy a charge upon a declining trade.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I objected that it was a declining trade, but I also pointed out that it would not do what the Chancellor of the Exchequer required.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has a remedy for that. He claps on a higher duty still. He is not troubled by that. He only says if one sum will not do double it, and, if that will not do, quadruple it, and that is the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget. I only note that to show how inconsistent Ministers are, and how the arguments by which they defend one tax are inconsistent with the proposals which they make in regard to other parts of the Budget. Take another observation of the hon. Gentleman's referring to what my hon. Friend has said as to the cost of this tax to one great London company, meaning the London General Omnibus Company. He says it only works out at one-fifth of a penny per passenger per year, and he 1100 asked: "Is it impossible for the company to recover that one-fifth of a penny from that passenger?" I must really leave the Chancellor of the Exchequer to explain how a halfpenny is the least practical amount that we have in regard to the imposition of duties, and how it is bad finance to put a charge upon somebody which they can get out of the consumer unless you take out enough to justify them in increasing their charge by a halfpenny. It is mocking the company, whose present misery has been described by my hon. Friend, to suggest that they can recover these taxes in that sort of way from their passengers. The last general observation I have to make is as to a canon of finance laid down by the hon. Gentleman, which I confess, amazed me, and as to which I should like to ask whether he is prepared to apply it to other taxes as well. He told us that the argument used on this side of the House that the half tax proposed by the Government for the spirit consumed in commercial vehicles and omnibuses was a heavier percentum in a case of that sort than the heavier tax on motor cars used in pleasure was wrong That seemed to him to be a very wrong way of looking at the matter, and he said that one considered not the percentage of the tax, but the cost of the article— the total cost, plus tax to the consumer— and with that observation he waved aside my hon. Friend's criticism. Apply that illustration to the Tea Duty. Certain tea is sold tax free at, say, 6d. a pound. Other tea costs, tax free, perhaps, 2s. a pound. Does the hon. Gentleman really mean that you are to look at the total cost to the consumer of the tax, plus tea, and have no regard to the proportion of tax. If you put a tax of 6d. on 2s. tea and a 2s. tax on 6d. tea, then, according to the hon. Gentleman's canon, good finance would be amply satisfied. Hitherto everybody is ready. both critics and defenders of the Tea Duty. to acknowledge that it was a disadvantage that it did have that effect, the taxing of a cheap article out of all proportion to a dear one, because you could not make an ad valorem tax. But that has always been recognised as an evil, inherent to the duty.Now the hon. Gentleman looks upon it as a virtue.
So much I will say about the hon. Gentleman's general observations, and now I want to come to the remarks which he addressed to the Amendment itself. It is, in the first place, a direct tax on industry, and many manufacturers interested in the 1101 production of motor vehicles are afraid that you may check the growth of that manufacturing industry; but, apart from that, you are taxing the industry as a whole, and you are taxing locomotion. Hitherto the House has rather boasted that it has steered clear of taxes on locomotion in our desire to facilitate the transfer of products about the country as freely as possible. Now the Government say that those products are carried over the roads and must contribute to the upkeep and the cost of the roads, but their proposal is that only a particular class of motor traffic shall contribute to the cost of upkeep, and I want to know how they justify that distinction? It was put by my hon. Friend, but it was not even referred to by the Financial Secretary. What is the answer of the hon. Gentleman, and what is his justification in fact, or in logic, for distinguishing between a motor van which uses petrol, or spirit, and a motor van propelled in every other way? It is not the damage they do to the roads, because everyone will admit that there are certain forms of steam vans, hauling great trucks like railway trucks behind them, which move along the road and do more destruction to them in once passing over them than even one of these heavy petrol vans or omnibuses would do in a hundred times by making the journey. How is it fair, how is it logical, to tax this particular method of generating power and securing compulsion and leaving others to go free; and may you not end by producing very far-reaching results on the development of the industry which you yourselves would probably regret, and which in any case you have no desire to do, and which, I venture to say, you have no right to do? Are you not handicapping the petrol car? Is not the manufacturer and the inventor of the petrol car handicapped in his competition with other people who are developing steam cars or other forms of oars? That is, I admit, a point made by my hon. Friend to which we have had no answer indicated from the Government, and it does seem to me to render their particular proposal not as fair and just, and not as expedient, as at first sight I was inclined to think it was. There was another observation made by my hon. Friend. He had taken some pains to get an estimate of what the actual yield would be of the tax which the commercial world is going to pay. The Government must have figures upon that subject, but my hon. Friend says that at the outside 1102 they are going to get £ 55,000 at the present time, and, if the traffic develops, of course they may get a great deal more; but at the present time at the outside they are going to get £ 55,000, and of that £ 55,000 they are going to take £ 37,000 from the omnibus companies of London. My hon. Friend said it was not fair to spend money got from these London omnibuses, who do not wear the roads very much, in order to make improvements for the motors, which run at great speed over country roads and in village streets and other places where omnibuses never entered. How can you justify a tax, which falls O heavily upon one particular body, when you find so large a proportion of the damage done by others? I will not detain the House any longer, but I do hope that the Government will elucidate these points.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
I wish to say one or two words upon the subject of the discussion, because I think there is at least a misapprehension as to the amount of damage that these motor' buses do to the streets which they pass over. I admit, so far as these 'buses are concerned, that if they are on wood paving, or a car road is laid down for this particular class of traffic, then the soft, double-tyred wheel of the motor omnibus does not do much damage. But it is a moral certainty that on the roads through which these 'buses have now taken to travel the local authorities have discovered that the ordinary macadam is sucked up to such an extent by the double tyre of soft rubber on the motor-omnibus wheels, that they have been obliged in almost every district in London where these' buses travel to spend enormous sums of money, and, therefore, the statement that has been made here this evening that they do practically no damage, that they cannot derive any benefit, and that, generally, they are the most harmless kind of locomotion, as far as London is concerned, is not borne out by the facts, as anyone who inquires will find out. Consequently, I wanted at least to give an illustration or two which any Member can see for himself if he will take the trouble to go along some of the roads where these' buses travel. There is a new line of motor' buses to Wandsworth along an old macadam road which was quite satisfactory to the ordinary traffic, and which will even take a traction engine with heavy flat iron wheels without the slightest damage. It is a great mistake to imagine that these heavy broad wheels do any particular damage to good roads. To thin 1103 macadam roads in the country immense heavy traffic of that description at certain times of the year, after rain or during a thaw when puddles are about, may do immense damage, but to a good macadamised road it does none at all. The greatest damage to an ordinary macadam road is the sucking out process of the double soft tyred omnibus wheel taking out the small particulars which bind the macadam together, and you can see illustrations of that to-day on East Hill, where the borough council have had to put down a first-class road twice in a year. They are most damaging to ordinary macadam roads, but to properly prepared tarred macadam which can resist the sucking process they do scarcely any damage at all.
Whether that will alter the views of hon. Members with reference to this Amendment I do not know, but at any rate, as one who has made roads, who has for years repaired roads, who has even been consulted occasionally about roads, I make these observations so that there may be no mistake that unless the roads are prepared for them these are very damaging methods of locomotion. The flat metal studs do not interfere with macadam roads if they are fairly well distributed over the face of a wheel, and are not pointed, but flat. The flat iron surface goes on to the road, and the ordinary macadam road is not damaged at all. I do not think taxi-cabs are heavy enough to have any effect on the roads, and they probably damage them less than the older form of locomotion. I should like to ask what justification there is for excluding motor omnibuses, which derive the whole of their revenue from plying for hire on the public roads. I can quite understand that there would be good justification for exonerating the ordinary commercial vehicles, used for carrying merchandise, from this petrol tax altogether It is an interference with industry in that case, but when it comes to a motor omnibus which plies for hire, and does enormous damage and occasions inconvenience to everyone, the case is different Any assessment committee will tell you that in some of the main streets where motor omnibuses go the assessments have been obliged to be lowered. No one will live in them. A different kind of tenant has had to be put into some houses along the streets in my own locality, which I daresay is no exception to the rule. I 1104 have heard no justification so far for even a rebate on this kind. of locomotion. The hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. F. Maddison) one morning started to come to the House, and met one of these motor' buses and they all three just happened to get together— a heap of mud, the motor' bus, and the hon. Member for Burnley— and he was a picture when I saw him. Motor' buses are a positive nuisance to anyone travelling along the streets, and there is no reason for exonerating them from taxation.
§ Mr. E. C. MEYSEY -THOMPSON
I shall support the Amendment for many reasons, but I shall touch only on one which I believe has not yet been mentioned. It is the case of a hard working and very deserving class of men— the drivers of taxi-cabs. It is allowed that they do very little damage to our roads, and it is no doubt in the knowledge of every Member of the House that taxi-cab drivers have to pay for their own petrol. I have taken the trouble to go into the figures, and I have discovered that the amount of petrol used daily is between four and five gallons. This tax will entail an extra cost of some 3s. or 4s. a week, or from £ 7 to £ 10 a year. That is a very serious burden upon a poor man who has a family to support. I do not quite see how he is to get it back from the public, and if this very reasonable remission is not made in the case of the taxi-cab it will be the driver who will be the sufferer to a very large extent. On that ground alone I should certainly support the Amendment and advocate the remission of the whole extra tax upon petrol in the case of taxi-cabs. In regard to motor' buses I agree with the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. John Ward) that they are in many ways a nuisance. I. think, however, that if we put a heavier tax upon them we shall make it more unlikely that the owners will spend a great deal of money in improving their machinery and in lessening the noise and the nuisance. It is quite clear that if the motor' bus companies have to spend £ 37,500 a year on account of this tax, either they must get it out of the pockets of their passengers or they must suffer the whole loss themselves. It is quite impossible for them to suffer the loss themselves, for I do not believe they earn a sufficient sum to do so, and they will make it up, therefore, out of the pockets of the passangers. The passengers are to a very great extent 1105 working men, and it seems to me a very strange thing for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to advocate the putting of a higher rate on working men who are conveyed from the central parts of our towns to sleep amidst healthier surroundings at a distance. I did expect that a Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Liberal side would be the last person to make that suggestion. It seems to me that the present Government by their Budget proposals are not so much attempting to help true working men, or what I would call the working bees of the hive, but that they are rather taxing the working bee for the sake of the wasp. We have heard of wasps robbing honey from the hive. That is the position the present Government take up. The wasp is more noisy and fussy, and it has a sharper sting in its tail. The bee is the taxi-cab driver, and he is to be sacrificed to the faddist wasps. The money is to be extracted from the working bee to carry out the fads of everybody on the other side. For these reasons I support the Amendment, and I hope the Government will see their way to support the taxi-cabs.
§ Sir HENRY NORMAN
The Hon. Member, who moved the Amendment, touched upon one or two topics which, I think, would probably be more in order at a later stage, and, therefore, I defer my remarks on them until then. I listened to the hon. Member's remarks with great interest, and with a great deal of sympathy. There is no doubt that a hard case can be made out with respect to commercial vehicles. Any sympathetic person, therefore, would naturally feel inclined at first sight to request the Chancellor of the Exchequer to deal very gently with them in this Budget, even to the extent of allowing a rebate of the whole sum, but, after all, there are other qualities as valuable, in their way, as sympathy. There is justice, for instance, and I venture to think that in looking more carefully into the matter one will see that this tax, however one's feelings may be hurt by it, is one that should appeal to our reason. There are three classes of commercial vehicles with which we are chiefly concerned. There are, in the first place, taxi-cabs— a new, admirable and most popular method of locomotion. That is an industry in which, I may say, I have myself a certain interest. These cabs, it is true, at present are paying very well indeed. The number of them on the street is being added to very rapidly, and as competition increases in that way their 1106 earnings will be proportionately decreased. We are concerned with these cabs for the coming financial year. The taxi-cab driver was sympathetically alluded to by the hon. Member for Stoke. He is mostly a hardworking, intelligent, well-trained and thoroughly respectable man, of whom this also might be said— that at the present moment he is earning a very good living indeed. I do not say that he does not in every way deserve it, but he is making a larger income than the majority of men of his own class, and, therefore, any little excess he has to pay will not press so hardly on him as upon others in similar spheres.
In this Debate, so far as it has gone, it has been assumed that the whole of this tax will be passed along to the consumer. That may or may not be, but supposing it did, it will not press, after the rebate, so much as 1½ d per gallon. Putting that reason very briefly, there are a number of great importers of spirit, and they will not be able to raise the price to the whole extent of the tax, unless they are enabled to form a complete trust. There are now potential producers of very large quantities of motor spirit, apparently a very excellent quality, who have to fight their way into this retail market, the most important market in the world, and I think it very unlikely that a trust will be formed. Therefore, it is quite unlikely that the whole of this amount, after the rebate has been deducted, namely, 1½ d which we are discussing on this Amendment, will fall on the commercial vehicle. In the second place, there is the case of the motor omnibus. The position of the motor omnibus at present is one to call for our sympathy, but we must at the same time ask why the motor' bus has got into that position. The original motor' buses put on the streets were placed there very hastily by enterprising financiers, who bought up anything which they thought it would pay them to run on the streets of London. These dreadful vehicles in a few months were found to be a public nuisance in every way, on account of dropping oil on the streets and the smell which they caused. There are many motor' buses on the streets to-day which, in my opinion, have no right to be running in a civilised capital. The desire to get rich in a hurry, to use an American phrase, of the original promoters of the motor' bus industry led them into the very difficult financial position in which they now find themselves. As these vehicles disappear from the streets in the natural process of tear and wear they will 1107 be replaced by other vehicles correctly designed, well, economically, and efficiently constructed for the work they have to do, and under those circumstances the working expenses will not be nearly so high. Therefore the profit they will be able to pay the shareholders will be larger, and this tax w ill not press upon them so heavily. I desire to associate myself most strongly with what was said by the hon. Member for Stoke. It is an extraordinary fact that it is open to any one of us with sufficient capital to place a whole fleet of motor' buses on the streets of London absolutely at his own sweet will. That seems to be an extraordinary state of things, and, pending some municipal bye-laws which shall prescribe certain restrictions in regard to the roads to be used by such vehicles, I think the least the owners can be called upon to do is to make some general contribution for the upkeep of the roads of the country. In the third place there are the motor lorries. That is an industry which is just establishing itself at the present moment. There is at the present moment not a very large number of these. Many of them keep themselves going from an earning point of view with considerable difficulty. Again, here invention and design are making rapid progress, and we must not judge the motor lorries of the immediate future by the motor lorry of the present.
My sympathy with the motor lorry in its present condition was, I confess, much greater until the hon. Gentleman who moved this Resolution gave us the figures of Messrs. Shoolbred's vehicles. As the Financial Secretary to the Treasury said, it is perfectly well known that that enterprising firm delivers goods over a very wide district all around the metropolis. Therefore, if any commercial vehicles of any kind ought to make a contribution to the upkeep of the roads in the country it is certainly such vehicles as those. And the figures he gave, which are no doubt correct, that the owners save on each one of the fleet. of vehicles they employ £ 85, completely knocked the bottom out of any mercy for these vehicles. If we do not tax those commercial vehicles we may get a situation in which the motor car will practically have to pay for the road which the commercial vehicle destroys. I think the tendency would be in that direction. Certainly, in view of the destruction of the roads, once granting the principle— false as I think it— but granting it as we do here, that the users of the roads should pay 1108 for them, I do not see how it is possible, in justice and in practice, from the figures I have given, to exempt these three classes of vehicles. With regard to what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire said as to traction engines,. and the use of practically railway trucks. that they draw, it is within the knowledge of anyone who has ridden in motor cars in the country, and is a matter of observation, that the damage which they do to the roads on many occasions is almost incalculable. I have myself occasionally been stopped on the road by one of those vehicles in front, and have had to follow it a great distance, going slowly, and watching its great wheels chopping up the surface and destroying the roads. I was told some time ago by a road surveyor that after he had constructed a new road one of those vehicles went over it. I forget what exactly in pounds was the amount of damage done by the one passage of this vehicle, but it was very large indeed. Certainly, I think, although they pay a substantial sum, some means should be found to make them pay more in taxes, and it occurred to me that something like the old toll-gate system might be established simply for the benefit of these vehicles, and they might be called on at certain fixed points to pay something for going on further. Finally, one general point has either not been mentioned or not been emphasised as I think it ought. That is in order to introduce that great benefit, as it is allowed by all speakers on both sides of the House to be, the central road authority, it was absolutely essential to raise a very large sum of money. There is no other method, so far as I can see, besides this taxation of petrol, by which the necessary additional sum can be raised to make the central road authority a serious and real and permanent enterprise. While it is true in a way, as several speakers have said, that this tax upon commercial vehicles will be a handicap to them, yet in the first place it will be a constantly decreasing handicap, because of their own greater efficiency, and, in the second place, it is also a help because, as time passes by, the road system of the country will be much improved, and their own progress in the use of the roads will improve and be much facilitated; so that, as well as being a handicap, it is to-day, and will be, in rapidly increasing measure, also a help.
§ Sir WILLIAM BULL
I hold -very strongly that no country has ever suc- 1109 ceeded which has deliberately taxed power, that is, any power that has come into its possession naturally or otherwise, whether waterfall, electricity, steam, or what not; and I, for one, therefore, am strongly against this tax on petrol altogether; and, as previous speakers mentioned, I have also worked out the figures with regard to the difference between taxation on coal and taxation on petrol. I will not touch further on that, as I see you, Sir, shaking your head, but it has a bearing, I consider, on the question of commercial vehicles. With regard to the rebates that are suggested on commercial and other vehicles, I should very much like to hear from the Government how these rebates are going to be arranged. How are these earned monies going to be accomplished in the case of the large firms, commercial companies like Ball of Brixton and Tilling?
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER
This Amendment is not as to how rebates are to be worked out. The Question is whether certain rebates mentioned here ought to be given.
§ Sir WILLIAM BULL
There is also the commercial Question of the dyers and the cleaners. A very large sum will be charged to the dyers. Petrol is used to a very large extent for these commercial purposes— to an almost incredible extent— and although they are promised that the rebate shall take place, yet for a certain time it is quite clear that a very large sum of money will be locked up for one or two months before they get their money back. That is a question that agitates me a great deal, inasmuch as I represent a Constituency in which there is a large number of laundries and dyers and cleaners, and they have been seeing me on the subject. With regard to the question of the use of petrol as a lighting power, there are men in the country who use petrol for their pleasure vehicles and their commercial vehicles. I have now in mind an ironmonger I know, who also uses petrol in connection with this new light called "Petrolite." How is the Government going to arrange as to that rebate?
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER
The Question is not how is the Government going to arrange the rebate, but whether there ought to be a rebate in respect of the matters in the Amendment.
§ Sir WILLIAM BULL
I venture to submit the question is whether they are justified in making this tax on motor 1110 spirit when there is such a tremendous amount of rebate that you have to go back in various directions to the users of petrol and the users of motor spirit. I trust I am in order in advancing the theory which I should be very glad indeed to hear considered by the right hon. Member on the Front Bench when he comes to make his reply. I welcome very much what the Government have proposed in regard to using this money for making up the roads of the country. In that I think they are doing a very great work.
Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER
The purpose for which the money is to be devoted is not involved in this Amendment.
§ Mr. A. C. MORTON
Though I sympathise with this Amendment, believing that these matters would be better settled from a business point of view, yet unfortunately they are regarded from a party point of view, and therefore it is difficult sometimes: to vote for proposals with which one may be in sympathy. So far as the tax on commercial vehicles, motor cars, omnibuses or cabs is concerned, I think it is a bad tax altogether, because it is a tax on industry, and it is a tax that we do not put on anything else in a similar direction. We did away with the tollgates in order to remove charges from commercial vehicles, and we swept them away in the interests of Free Trade and Liberalism generally. But now it appears we have to begin again, and we are to impose on a certain industry a charge which we have done away with in other directions. I do not so much mind how large the tax is on pleasure motor cars, because the owners can afford to pay, and no doubt ought to pay something. The total sum mentioned with regard to one London company is that the tax would cost them £ 37,000 per annum. That company at present only just pays its way, and the tax would come as an absolute loss to the shareholders of £ 37,000 per annum. We are told that all the railway companies ought to be allowed to charge enough to pay interest on the capital, and so on. Is not that equally true with regard to cabs, omnibuses, and other commercial vehicles generally? I cannot understand the reference as to motor omnibus companies increasing the charges; anybody who knows anything about London, is aware that they cannot increase the 1111 fares of motor omnibuses. The competition of other omnibuses, of railways, tube railways, and tramways does not permit 'of motor omnibus companies raising their fares to enable such a company as that to which reference has been made recouping the sum of £ 37,000. This tax upon omnibuses and other vehicles does not apply to omnibuses propelled by electricity— the latter omnibuses are not to pay. If you arc going to tax all vehicles— although I should not like to see such a tax— for the upkeep of these roads, I can quite understand that it might be fair all round. But I do not think you would be able to carry it through this House or anywhere else, because we know the agitation there would be with regard to putting a heavy tax on public vehicles.
I quite understand that we are in a difficulty, and that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has got us into somewhat of a cleft stick in this respect. He said that if he did not raise this money by charges on motor omnibuses, cabs, and commercial vehicles, then there would be no money for the upkeep or improvement of the roads of the country, except the ordinary sums obtained from the rates. The Mover of the Amendment stated that, as far as London was concerned, he thought these motor omnibuses did not do any harm to the roads. Sufficient time has not elapsed to enable us to come to any conclusion as to how far they injure the roads in places like London, where the thoroughfares are mainly asphalt or wood paving. My own opinion is that these motor omnibuses do damage the asphalt roads, but not so much the wooden pavements. They wear Out the asphalt, and expenses are incurred in renewing it, though we have not to do anything to the concrete foundation. I think these motor vehicles will cause extra expenditure in London and other big cities, and they undoubtedly do cut up the roads in other places, but to what extent we cannot say at the present moment. The electric omnibuses, as I said, are being allowed to go free. There are many of them in London now, and they do, not make so much noise as the motor omnibuses, nor are they so offensive. Undoubtedly it is possible through bad management of a motor omnibus to damage the road and sometimes leave it in a very unpleasant condition. I am glad to say that in some parts of London we find the law is strong enough to put an end to that nuisance, because we are now prosecuting anybody who causes any nuisance of that 1112 sort in any way whatever. The hon. Member opposite referred to using the money for the upkeep of roads. But this proposal is only making a portion of the community pay. Some of your motor omnibuses are a nuisance, but whether they are or not I think they have come to stay, and they are exceedingly useful, especially in those parts of the country where you cannot have railways. I think we should encourage the motor traffic, subject to regulations.
I freely admit, on the other hand, as this is a new industry and may be of great use in this country, not only for commercial purposes, but in the better working of the land, it is rather hard that you should tax them and not tax other vehicles, whether railways, or tramways, or anything else, and so make them pay in like manner. Above all, it would be exceedingly unfortunate if the tax were so high that it should be prohibitive of the vehicles altogether. I admitted at the beginning I am not in a position to vote against the Government on this Amendment to-night. [An HON. MEMBER:" Oh, oh."] My hon. Friend knows as well as I do, in the first place that it is unusual to Vote against the Government on Resolutions of this kind in the Committee or the Report stage. I was going to add when the interruption occurred that there is another stage when we may be a little more independent and in a little better position to discuss this question of charge or rebate, or whatever you like to call it, on either motor-buses, cabs or commercial vehicles of any sort. In regard to the Amendment before us, I hope that before the Bill comes to be discussed that the Government will take a serious and, if necessary, a friendly attitude with regard to this matter, and inquire into it in any way it affects trade. I think I may fairly assure the Government we fully recognise that the money must come from somewhere, and the only question in imposing these taxes is to do so so as to place the least difficulty in the way of the trade and commerce of the country. If this tax would interfere with the use of the vehicle and with their use for the country generally, then we ought to allow the full rebate.
§ Mr. G. D. FABER (York)
I have listened to this discussion throughout and it seems to me although the Question lies within a narrow compass to raise questions of far-reaching importance. It. has been the fashion to make either confessions or disclaimers of personal interest in this matter, and I suppose I ought to begin by 1113 saying that I am not interested in the motor omnibus companies and that I have no interest in taxi-cabs. I have a certain amount of shares in the District Railway, which is in direct competition with the omnibus companies. On the night when the Chancellor of the Exchequer made his Budget speech I certainly felt in complete sympathy with the idea that the motor users of the roads of this country should pay in the two directions of a motor duty and a duty on petrol. As to the duty upon petrol the Question becomes much more important when one finds it is necessary to differentiate between the private owner and user of motor cars and the owners and users of commercial cars, because many difficulties at once arise. First of all, this tax upon petrol is distinctly in restraint of trade, and the rebate proposed by this Amendment, if the House should think fit to grant it, would exempt that particular trade from what seems to me at the first glance a particular injustice. The Chancellor of the Exchequer proposes to grant a rebate with regard to 1½d. of the tax, and to let the other 1½d. stand. Therefore, to that extent, it is directly in restraint of trade, and in restraint of a very important trade, in this country. Not only is it that, but when you come to look at the matter closely it does seem to work out hardly, at any rate—I will not say unjustly—to a particular class of vehicles engaged in propulsion by petrol-driven motor buses.
I was very much struck indeed by the figures given by my hon. Friend the Member for North-West Manchester (Mr. Joynson-Hicks) in regard to the London General Omnibus Company. My hon. Friend brought out the fact that the total expected to be gained by the Revenue out of this tax upon petrol in respect of commercial vehicles was a sum of £55,000. He then proceeded to bring out the vital fact, as far as the omnibus company is concerned, that out of that sum of £55,000 no less than £37,000 will be found from that particular company. This is not a political question, and I am glad it is not. It is a commercial question, and one in which we should judge what is fair under all circumstances, and even if we have a prejudice against motor omnibuses we ought to consider whether a fine of this enormous amount ought to be imposed upon this particular company of £37,000 out of a total of £55,000. It does seem a strong order. If motor omnibuses are a nuisance, do not have them; let the police deal with them; but once you allow they are a 1114 public convenience, then do not shoot a bolt from the blue down upon them, and such a serious bolt from the blue, going to the financial centre of their existence. I think we ought to pause many times before we consent to have that effected. I was very much struck by the most valuable observations, if he will allow me to say so, of the hon. Member for Stoke-upon-Trent (Mr. John Ward) with regard to the damage which motor omnibuses under certain circumstances do to the roads.. In certain circumstances only, I understood him to say—where the road is. Macadam—the effect of the rubber tyre is to pull up the component matter which forms the macadam road and to do serious damage. That is a factor in the case which ought, to a certain extent, to influence our judgment.
Then passing to the motor cab, I should like again to quote the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent (Mr. John Ward). According to the hon. Member, the motor cab does no damage at all. It plies for hire as a rule—at any rate, largely—within the metropolitan area, and it does not use the roads of the country. It is a commercial vehicle plying for profit. Is it fair, since it does no damage to the road, confines itself to a restricted area, and is a commercial vehicle, that it should pay this special tax? We, cannot lose sight of the consideration that here it is in direct competition with other classes of vehicles which pay no tax of this kind at all. The result of the imposition of this duty upon petrol, even in the restricted shape we are now discussing, will be seriously to affect that particular class of vehicle. The Secretary to the Treasury, I think, tried to meet this point by saying that the driver of the taxi-cab—because it is upon him that this tax falls—is doing well and making a good living. I do not know that that ought to be our guiding consideration in arriving at a conclusion, or that, if the incidence of a tax is. unjust, the fact that a man has a certain amount of money in his pocket lessens the injustice. From both these points of view my mind is in doubt whether on the whole we are doing right by having a tax of this, kind at all. The original idea, no doubt, was that all the roads in the country would benefit by it, but it is clear from the course of the Debate that thousands of vehicles would pay the tax that will not use the roads of the country, generally speaking, at all. My mind is rather torn by doubt. I want the roads of the country to be kept up, and I think it is fair that pleasure motor cars should pay this tax; but 1115 looking at it from the commercial point of view I very much doubt whether it does not carry us further than we desire to go; whether in our desire to sweep into the net pleasure cars, we are not also subjecting commercial vehicles to great injustice; and whether, in the case of the omnibus company of which the hon. Member for North-West Manchester (Mr. Joynson-Hicks) is such a powerful advocate, it is not going to do injustice beyond repair. For these reasons, although my mind is not quite clear on the whole matter, if my hon. Friend goes to a Division I shall record my vote in his favour.
§ Mr. C. D. ROSE
The hon. Member for North-West Manchester (Mr. Joynson-Hicks) in moving this Amendment made a case of special pleading almost entirely for the London General Omnibus Company, of which no one knows more about the internal working. As a small shareholder in the London General Omnibus Company, I doubt whether my co-shareholders will welcome his remark that if this tax is imposed that company may as well close its doors. With regard to the proposed tax on other commercial vehicles, I should like to associate myself fully with the hon. Member for Wolverhampton (Sir Henry Norman) and the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. John Ward). This tax on petrol, although there are many objections to it, is part of a, general scheme the proceeds of which are to be devoted to the general upkeep of roads used by all classes of vehicles propelled by internal combustion engines. If such a tax is to be imposed, I agree that commercial vehicles should bear their proportion of it. It has been said that they do not use the country roads to any great extent, but I think that evidence has been brought forward showing that they use them to a considerable extent. Tradesmen now go distances of 30 or 40 miles from London by means of these vehicles. In November in the year before last an important series of trials of commercial vehicles was inaugurated, when about 1,000 vehicles, built entirely for the purpose of carrying merchandise over country roads, started on a thousand miles journey, and certainly the evidence brought before those who sat as judges in regard to those trials showed that the damage to the roads was very considerable indeed. Therefore, if a tax is to be imposed at all, I think it is only right that commercial vehicles should bear their proportion of it. I do not believe that the 1116 tax will really act in restraint of trade, because the class of engine now being constructed is being rapidly made so that a much smaller amount of fuel is necessary, and the tax will be practically very little felt. With regard to electrically driven vehicles being let off, as far as I understand they are really confined almost entirely to cities and towns, as no system of batteries has yet been found whereby electrically driven vehicles can go through the country. Therefore, they can be entirely eliminated. I can only repeat with regard to this tax on petrol, that I think in actual practice it will be found that a considerable part of the tax will be made up to those who pay it by the improved. condition of the roads of the country.
§ Mr. JOHN GRETTON
I propose to do little more than associate myself with the objection which has been made to the tax that is proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer upon commercial vehicles. I want to refer particularly to the last part of the Amendment. This tax is to be imposed for the purpose of improving the roads. It appears to me, and I think it will to every other Member of this House who considers the matter, that it is a grave injustice to impose a tax upon petrol for commercial purposes, and to apply it for the improvements of the road or for any other purposes.
I may point out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he can very well make this rebate; that he can be generous in this matter, because this petrol tax does not in any way affect the general scheme of Imperial taxation. I should like to remind him of another class of employment for which petrol is used, and that is for motors for pumping on farms, for threshing, for the separation of milk, and for the making of cider. For these purposes petrol is being used more and more largely, and if he does not make a rebate in these eases he will be inflicting another injustice.
§ Mr. GRETTON
The right hon. Gentleman does not intend to tax them at all? He has not made any statement to that effect. A tax placed upon motors for these purposes will be another grievance to these classes of agriculturists.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I thought I had made it perfectly clear that I do not propose at all that the tax should fall upon motors used for anything except propulsion.
§ Mr. GRETTON
That clears up a very grave anxiety that exists. I think that statement will probably relieve considerably an amount of anxiety which is felt elsewhere. If only I have obtained that statement, I have not risen in vain.
Sir GILBERT PARKER
I have only one or two points to make. My main point is that I oppose this tax from a standpoint, which is, perhaps, an unusual one. Nevertheless, I do hold that a tax upon industry which is to be applied for one particular purpose only is a new principle engrafted upon our system of taxation. What is the position? The motor industry, which, of course, can only thrive if it has capital behind it, is the product of ordinary, legitimate, scientific developments. It is the outcome of general progress in applied science, which makes for the betterment of the conditions of life generally in the country. It cannot be said that the motor industry as it exists exists only for the benefit of people who drive motors or who have capital invested in it. It cannot be said that the tax on petrol as applied to this motor industry is a tax which places, as it were, a duty upon a particular industry that is getting an especial benefit out of the community. There is no person who can reasonably say that the motor industry stands apart from the general community, and that the advantage which ensues from the spread of that industry is an advantage which accrues only to the people who drive or manufacture motors. This tax presents an absolutely new principle in our system of taxation.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Gentleman is now discussing the tax as a whole. That is not the Question now before the House. The only question now is as to whether there should be an extra rebate for commercial vehicles.
Sir GILBERT PARKER
Mr. Speaker, I have entered upon the larger question. I must confine myself to the rebate on petrol for commercial vehicles. I think that the rebate should be made, because the commercial vehicles do not represent, as I said, a commercial activity which is confined to the interests of those who are behind the industry. Have commercial vehicles, as the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has said, that go to different 1118 parts of the country in the ordinary pursuit of commerce, therefore, to be taxed? I do not obpect to that taxation so much so long as it is part of the general scheme, and is applied to the general taxation of the country. But I believe that this rebate should be granted because these commercial vehicles are only in pursuit of their commercial enterprise beyond the limits of the metropolis or in any particular area where the commercial enterprise exists; that these commercial vehicles are only working in the general interest of the commercial development of the country. Therefore the rebate which my hon. Friend (Mr. Joynson-Hicks) asks for is a perfectly just claim and appeal. These commercial vehicles represent exactly what the old van system represented in the country. No one can say that the wheels of the very heavy vans which left the Metropolis from Shoolbred's or Maple's to go down into the suburbs did not produce injury to the roads. Yet no one ever thought of putting an especial tax upon these vehicles for the benefit of the districts outside London. And you are applying this tax only to vehicles which are propelled by petrol, upon the assumption that they are the only vehicles which injure the road; whereas the cost that can be said—I think if I appealed to the President of the Local Government Board that he would agree with me—with regard to the petrol vehicles is that it may be at the present moment producing a little more injury to the road than the old iron-wheeled van. What you are doing is this: you are taking the difference between the injury done by the motor vehicle and the old iron-wheeled van, and you are establishing a principle of differentiation in taxation which I consider extremely dangerous. And because of that I think my hon. Friend is well justified in asking for a rebate upon those commercial vehicles which have followed on the old horse-drawn vehicles in carrying out the enterprise which they represent. I support my hon. Friend in the Amendment which he has moved.
§ Mr. J. D. REES
The point which I wish to bring before the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already very lightly been put in my absence, so that I will not dwell upon it only just for a moment. I have been asked to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he cannot see his way to differentiate between petrol spirit of a high specific gravity and petrol spirit of a low specific gravity. I do not pretend to be an expert on the question of the gravity 1119 of spirits, but I believe this difference is the difference between 700 and 730. As there would be a very great difference in distinguishing where this commercial rebate would come in, it would, if feasible, very much facilitate the matter if the spirit of the heaviest specific gravity was, so to speak, at the source, granted exemption from taxation. The Chancellor of the Exchequer will no doubt understand this, and be able to explain what, I dare say, I have very imperfectly upon certain instructions received tried to explain to the Committee.
§ Mr. T. F. RICHARDS (Wolverhampton, W.)
I wish to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer a question in relation to a phrase which has been very often occurring in this Debate, that is: What is the meaning of the phrase "commercial vehicles," and what does that come to? It has been pointed out by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South (Sir Henry Norman) that it covers the taxation of motor 'buses and motor lorries. I desire to point out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that there is another commercial vehicle which is used for certain purposes, and when drawn by horses was exempt from license duty, and which now, as a motor car, ought to come under this head. That is the motor car used by commercial travellers when collecting orders. The only question I desire to ask is whether "commercial vehicles" cover the motor cars used by commercial travellers in the manner I have described?
§ Mr. JOHN O'CONNOR
I am loth to enter into this discussion, because 1 have not very much interest in motor traction. My motor car has not yet arrived, but I should like to say a word or two from the point of view of the man in the street who is obliged to use traction of any kind without distinction now and again. I am one of those who are obliged to use motor omnibuses now and again, especially as the weather changes, whether it be too hot or too wet for ordinary progress through the streets; I am then obliged to take a motor omnibus. Therefore I am very much concerned whether I should travel in the motor omnibuses which ply for hire on the roads I traverse every day in the week. I am very well served by a certain company of omnibus proprietors that pursue their calling for hire in the direction in which I live and have my being, and I have inquired into the condition of this company. 1120 I find that this company carries one hundred thousand passengers every week upon an average. I am told that last year they made a small profit upon their trade which would have enabled them to pay a dividend to their shareholders—which, I believe, would have been the first dividend paid in London by such a company—if it had not been that they had a loss on previous years' trade, and that they devoted their dividend of last year to paying off the loss of the year before. That is sound business. I believe this small company, the smallest in all London, do endeavour to conduct their business in an honest and fair manner.
I listened to the speech of the hon. Member who moved this Motion with very great interest. I find that he stated that the effect of the tax on petrol will be to deprive his combined companies of a certain: amount of profit, amounting to something like £37,000 per annum, and that the computation is that the loss per mile of these combined companies, having a capital, I believe, of something over £2,000,000, is something like 3d. per mile. I asked the accountant of this small company what their loss per mile would be owing to the increased tax, and the accountant told me it would be one-third of a 1d. per mile, which almost exactly corresponds with the computation of the companies that carry, I believe, four hundred million passengers per year. I am here to-night speaking as the representative of the four hundred million passengers. Why do they travel by these motor omnibuses? They travel, of course, because they suit them and because they select that mode of travelling. The motor omnibus is not the nuisance that some people make it out to, be. These motor omnibuses travel in competition with the vast development of underground railway that we have all experienced and benefited by in London for the past few years; they travel in competition with a vast and commodious system which has been established by the London County Council. The. motor omnibuses are patronised by four hundred millions of people in the year. It must be these people find the advantage of availing themselves of that system. What is going to be the result of this tax? The result of the tax is going to be that these four hundred millions of people are going to be deprived of the mode of conveyance that they select as most convenient for themselves. What is going to happen to it? It is going 1121 to be crushed out of existence. It is absolutely impossible that they can exist if the right hon. Gentleman is going to insist upon this tax on petrol. I see and hear some audible smiles on the other side of the House, but when I make a statement of that kind I do not make it recklessly, but I make it on good foundation. I make it because I have inquired. I know that the publican can shift his burden on to the public, because they are tained that it is a fact that the London omnibus proprietors cannot shift their burden on to the public because they are in competition with those who already compete with them, and who are not going to be taxed. There is no direction in which these motor omnibuses travel where they are not in competition with a tube line, a tramway line, or with both. Therefore they cannot raise their fares, they cannot place the burden upon the shoulders of the public, and I know that the small company to which I have referred—which was shaping very well for the dividend this year, having no debts to clear off—have been deprived of all hope of a dividend upon their small capital, and they have not only abandoned all hope of paying a dividend, but they have abandoned all hope of being able to renew their plant, which must in the course of time be worn out. What is the result of that? Not only will the people in the street who use these omnibuses be deprived of the comfort and convenience of travelling by this means, but the unfortunate shareholders will be deprived of their property. They will not be able to renew their plant as it gets worn out, and therefore the company must come to an end when the present plant is exhausted. I thought I would mention these humble views to the House, which are based upon experience and inquiry, and I suggest to the. Chancellor of the Exchequer that I feel quite sure when he chose this tax he did not intend it should have the effect of depriving a considerable number of people of the convenience of travelling by a mode which they prefer, and he did not intend that persons who invested their money in this industry, which has not been prosperous up to the present, to crush it out entirely. I very humbly submit these views to the House, although I do not suppose they will go very far. The Chancellor of the Exchequer must take them for what they are worth. At any rate, they are sincerely offered, and I hope this great convenience to the people of London will not be interfered with.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I think there is a general desire to get on to the discussion of the tax as a whole, and to bring to a termination the very useful Debate we have had on this extremely narrow issue. I need hardly say that I want the Committee to bear in mind why this tax has been imposed. It has been imposed purely for the benefit of the roads of the country, and it is no part of the general scheme of the Government for raising revenue. It is purely a tax raised to enable us to set aside a fund for the purpose of improving the roads of the country. When we come to the general discussion I will give my reasons why we have chosen a tax on petrol as part of our method for raising this sum of money out of the motor industry of the country. I think it is very important in relation to this particular Amendment that the Committee should bear in mind the object of the tax, namely, that it is for the benefit of the roads.
The point is, should the commercial vehicles and the omnibuses of the country contribute to this fund? Already they are let off one part of the tax. They are not charged as motors, and the question is, should they therefore make any contribution at all? The contention of the hon. Member who opened the Debate in a very able speech was that they should not. I can well understand that they should not be called upon to contribute as such; but if there is to be a special contribution to be levied on motors at all I really do not see why commercial vehicles and omnibuses, which do more damage to the roads, should not contribute. We have heard a great deal about tubes and underground railways and tramways, and these have been cited as a reason why we should not tax the omnibuses because there is competition between them. What happens? Take the tubes and the underground railways. They do not use the roads. On the contrary, they relieve the roads. But although they do not use the roads, and although they relieve the traffic of the roads, they are compelled to pay high rates; in fact, they are rated very heavily. The London railways do contribute a very considerable amount of money, and it is a very heavy burden upon them. The same applies to the whole of the railways in the kingdom, because they are called upon to pay a heavy contribution towards improving the roads, whereas the vehicles running in competition with the railways are not paying anything at all by way of a special contribution. I could not defend it. Really you have 1123 either got to let off the motors altogether, or if you do not you cannot possibly defend putting the whole of the charge on the lighter vehicles and letting off the heavy vehicles which tear up the roads.
We have heard a good deal about Shoolbred's, and I think that is as good an illustration as any other firm. The hon. Member for North-West Manchester (Mr. Joynson-Hicks) says Shoolbred's have 36 of these very heavy vans, and what happens? Those vans are used in the country. They are used for the purpose of the heavy trade of Shoolbred's not in the town but in the country.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
Yes, but it is only a very small part, and they are used mainly for the purpose of carrying furniture from Shoolbred's 20, 30, and probably 50 miles into the country. Let the Committee bear in mind how Shoolbred's carried that traffic before the invention of the mechanical traction. They used the railways. Because you have this improvement in mechanical traction, which has saved Shoolbred's £3,000 a year, according to the hon. Member for North-West Manchester, they are enabled to save the charges of the railways. Therefore, the railway companies have got a grievance, and they have got a case. In all these country villages and parishes they are charged heavy highway rates for the purpose of improving the roads which are used in competition with the railways by Shoolbred's and others. They save the railway charges and the railways have to pay heavier rates than before; in fact, they have gone up within the last four or five years, and that is very largely due to mechanical traction. The highway rates have gone up, and the burden of the rates has increased year by year chiefly because of mechanical traction. Yet towards these higher rates those who use the roads are not contributing a single penny. That is not justice. It is said that the omnibus companies do not pay; they are running at a loss this year, but now they are able to make both ends meet. What is the real reason for this? It is purely owing to the stupid and cut-throat competition between these various companies. The Metropolitain pays 1½ per cent. and the District Railway does not pay at all. The omnibus companies do not pay, and they will never pay until they come to some sort 1124 of understanding between them, but that has nothing to do with petrol. It is not to the interest of the community that any public undertaking should be run at a loss, because in the long run the public do not get the same service. I said that when I was at the Board of Trade, and I say it now. The hon. Gentleman should do his best to introduce common-sense into the heads of the various companies.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
They pay for the roads. The hon. Member's company will not pay anything. He wants to put all the burden on the ratepayers for the benefit of the London Omnibus Company. That is the real reason. I do not think there is anything in the demand which has been made. The tax is not an expedient for raising revenue but for improving the roads and for relieving the gowing burden on the ratepayers. The hon. Gentleman has not pointed out how the price of petrol has gone down within the last few years. Petrol two or three years ago was 1s. 2d. a gallon. Probably the wholesale price was less. An hon. Member has said that the wholesale price is now 5½d. If 1s. 2d. was paid for an inferior article—for petrol has improved in quality—and now only 5½d. is paid, my case is all the stronger. Motor spirits, like political spirits, ought to improve. There are means of perfecting the mechanism, and petrol is getting cheaper. The users of petrol will pay something like one-half what they have been paying—that 1s, 5½d., instead of 1s. 2d.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
The price has gone down from 9d. to 5½d. They will save more than 3d. for the improvement of the roads. In addition to that, the users of the cars will get the guarantee of improved roads. You must take into account the number of punctures that will be abolished. Think of the wear and tear that will be saved. Think of the amount of compensation for accidents that will be saved by having the roads a little better and a little wider. The hon. Member should take a broader view of this Question than he does. The hon. Member was very eloquent about the military use of these cars. He seemed to think that we could drive the Germans away not with "Dreadnoughts" but with 1125 Vanguard omnibuses. When the time comes we shall be very glad to get off so cheaply, and I am sure the hon. Member and his friends will then be very glad to pay the petrol tax. It will be a very cheap bargain for the War Office. Everybody wants improved roads, but everybody wants somebody else to pay for them. I hope that the Committee will stand by the tax as a whole.
§ Mr. JAMES TOMKINSON
I wish to give the results of a little calculation I have made. We have been told that a certain omnibus company carries 400,000,000 passengers yearly, and that this extra tax will cost it £37,000. Roughly speaking that represents nine million pennies, and dividing them up between the 400 million
§ passengers it gives for each 1-45th of a penny, or the eleventh part of a single farthing. It is not the tax that hurts, it is the ruinous competition, and if the companies would only carry their passengers a little shorter distance for their money I think they would have no reason to complain of not making a profit.
§ Question put: "That at the end of the Resolution the following words be added:' Provided that a rebate of the amount of such duty shall be allowed in respect of all motor spirit used in public service and commercial vehicles, and in all arts and manufactures.' "
§ The House divided: Ayes, 60; Noes, 238.1127
|Division No. 133.]||AYES.||[10.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Ffrench, Peter||Nolan, Joseph|
|Balcarres, Lord||Fletcher, J. S.||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Forster, Henry William||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gardner, Ernest||Oddy, John James|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Gordon, J.||Parker. Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Gretton, John||Remnant. James Farquharson|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Renwick, George|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hamilton, Marquess of||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Helmsley, Viscount||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Houston, Robert Paterson||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Kavanagh, Walter M.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Clark, George Smith||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Valentia, Viscount|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||M'Arthur, Charles||Wilson, P. W. (St. Panceas, S.)|
|Crossley, William J.||Morpeth, Viscount||Younger, George|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Nannetti; Joseph P.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Fell, Arthur||Newdegate, F. A.||Joynson-Hicks and Sir W. Bull.|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.)||Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Dewar Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.)|
|Agnew, George William||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Duckworth, Sir James|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Cameron, Robert||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Armitage, R.||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)|
|Astbury, John Meir||Cawley, Sir Frederick||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Baring. Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Cheetham, John Frederick||Essex, R. W.|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Esslemont, George Birnle|
|Barnes, G. N.||Cleland, J. W.||Everett, R. Lacey|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Clough, William||Falconer, James|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Clynes, J. R.||Fenwick, Charles|
|Beauchamp, E.||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Ferens, T. R.|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Findlay, Alexander|
|Bell, Richard||Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Gibb, James (Harrow)|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Cooper, G. J.||Gill, A. H.|
|Been, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Glover, Thomas|
|Bennett, E. N.||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Bertram, Julius||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)|
|Betheil, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Cowan, W. H.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)|
|Bowerman, C W.||Cox, Harold||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Branch, James||Craik, Sir Henry||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Brigg, John||Crooks William||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Curran, Peter Francis||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Harwood, George|
|Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Haworth, Arthur A.|
|Hazel, Dr A. E. W.||Moltene, Percy Alpert||Shackleton, David James|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Mond, A.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Montgomery, H. G||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Henry, Charles S.||Morrell, Philip||Snowden, P.|
|Herbert, Cal. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Morse, L. L.||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Napier, T. B.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Hodge, John||Nicholls, George||Summerbell, T.|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Norman, Sir Henry||Sutherland J. E.|
|Hooper, A. G.||Norton, Captain Cecil William||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.)||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Tennant. H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Hudson, Walter||Nuttall, Harry||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Hutton, Alfred Eddison||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Jenkins, J.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Tomkinson, James|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Partington, Oswald||Vivian, Henry|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Walton, Joseph|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Jowett, F. W.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wardle, George J.|
|Joyce, Michael||Pointer, J.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Pollard, Dr. G. H.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Lambert, George||Radford, G. H.||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Layland-Barrett, Sir Francis||Raphael, Herbert H.||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Lehmann, R. C.||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Redmond, William (Clare)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Rees, J. D.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Rendall, Athelstan||Wiles, Thomas|
|Luttrell. H ugh Fownes||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Richardson, A.||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Ridsdale, E. A.||Williams, W. Liewelyn (Car'th'n)|
|Macpherson, J. T.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Wilson; Hon. G. G.(Hull, W.)|
|M'Callum, John M.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Robinson, S.||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|M'Micking, Major G.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Maddison, Frederick||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Mallet, Charles E.||Rose, Charles Day||Winfrey, R.|
|Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Rowlands, J.||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Marnham, F. J.||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Massie, J.||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)||Joseph Pease and the Master of Elibank|
|Menzies, Walter||Sears, J. E.|
|Micklem, Nathaniel||Seddon, J.|
§ Motion made and Question proposed: "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The duty which we are now considering is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting of the new duties proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is interesting, because it seems to me to combine in really a remarkable manner all the vices in a single tax, which, as a rule, can only be found in a number of taxes. In the first place this is a duty which will be undoubtedly injurious to trade, and in the second place it is a discriminating tax—that is to say, it is imposed upon one kind of industry without imposing corresponding duties upon competing industries of the same kind. Thirdly, it is a duty which will be found extremely difficult of collection, and will inflict an enormous amount of inconvenience upon the people who pay the tax in proportion to the amount derived from 1128 it, and the final vice, about which I will speak at greater length, is one which ought to appeal to Ministers on that Bench opposite, and that is the very complicated nature of this proposal for raising revenue. All this has nothing to do with the object of the tax; against that I have nothing to say. I should like to point out at a little greater length what these different disadvantages are. In the first place it is a discriminating tax. In the previous discussion the Chancellor of the Exchequer was asked over and over again to point out why he proposed to levy this class of duty on one class of vehicles using the road and not to levy it on another crass using the road for the same purpose, and he gave absolutely no reason of any kind. Everybody knows that this industry in petrol motors is comparatively new in this country, that it is competing with other forms of locomotion, that it is competing regularly with the gas 1129 engine, the steam engine, and with the electrical engine, and none of these modes of locomotion is to be taxed in any way, but the petrol motor is to be singled out, and the fact that this particular duty is to be used against a particular industry is the strongest possible argument against a tax of this kind. Let me point out to what extent this discrimination really exists. The right hon. Gentleman, just before we had a Division, spoke with tremendous force about the absurdity of letting commercial vehicles off altogether. As is usual with him, and as I have been told of myself also, he proved too much, and if the case is so strong as he made out, then, instead of giving them half the tax, they ought to have it doubled, because they are the vehicles which, according to him, inflict the largest injury upon the road. But look at the different kinds of vehicles which compete with these motor vehicles; everybody who goes about the country knows that it is those great traction engines which inflict far more injury upon the road than could possibly be inflicted by the motor industry. They are not taxed, how ever, because they are driven by an old-fashioned industry, and the motors are driven by a new-fashioned industry.
In London here petrol motor cabs are competing with electric cabs. I do not think the Chancellor of the Exchequer realises to what extent he is discriminating against the motor industry as compared with electric cabs. I find that for ordinary London use, no touring at all, these taxes will amount to the equivalent of a licence duty of something like £10 a year—that is to say, that in competition with the electric motor the Chancellor of the Exchequer is doing precisely the same thing as if he said the holder of a petrol motor should pay £10 more than an electric motor. I could give many other illustrations, but I think I have said enough to justify my first point, that this is a discriminating tax against one form of industry, without imposing a corresponding burden upon another. The second vice which I said applied to this tax was that it would be extremely difficult to collect. I do not think anyone can doubt that, because the right hon. Gentleman told us that the duty is not to be imposed on stationary petrol engines or motor boats. How is it to be worked? Are the people who use this motor spirit for ordinary industrial purposes to pay the tax first and got a drawback afterwards? If so, it is inflicting an intolerable injury 1130 upon them in comparison with the man of money. The difficulties of collection will really be out of all proportion to the amount of revenue the Chancellor of the Exchequer will obtain.
What is the difference between the motor spirit used for industrial purposes and that used for other purposes? How are you going to draw the line Take an illustration given to me by a friend of mine, the managing director of a shipbuilding line, who has a motor car, the petrol to drive which is taken from the ordinary stock of petrol used in the shipbuilding yard. This car is used by him to go on his commercial travels in the City of Glasgow and to take him to and from work. Is that an ordinary commercial purpose or is it not? The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told us that doctors are not to have the benefit of the lowered rate of taxation in regard to petrol. How in the world can anyone defend that if a reduction is to be given for commercial purposes? Everyone knows that all over the country the doctors have motor cars simply to carry on their profession, and to them a motor car is just as much stock-in-trade as any other implement used in trade. The reason I say that should be interesting to the Chancellor of the Exchequer is that one of the favourite arguments that everyone who sits there uses against the taxation that we advocate is to say it will not work in practice. Look how complicated it is ! The Financial Secretary, who has been very kind to us in these Debates in many ways, in his speech before dinner, dealing with this point, said "You talk about its complications, but after all it is no worse than you find in other countries, and you are in favour of these complications in other countries." I think it is worse than any I ever heard of, and yet we know that Gentlemen on the Bench opposite—I do not think it applies to the Chancellor of the Exchequer—but the Prime Minister never makes a speech on the Fiscal question without saying you cannot draw a distinction between raw material and manufactured articles. After this that difficulty disappears. The difference between raw materials and manufactures is nothing like the difference between what is used for industrial and for ordinary purposes in this tax. I am bound to say for the Chancellor of the Exchequer that we have had reasons to be grateful to him on many occasions. He has done a great deal to help us, but if he succeeds, and on the whole I think he is very likely to succeed, in finding that this tax will work 1131 and will be collected, it is perfectly certain that the argument about the difficulty of collecting any import duty must absolutely fall to the ground.
The only other point of importance to which I referred is that this is a tax which is injurious to trade. I do not think anyone will doubt that. It is injurious to it not in the indirect sense of the words used by Mr. Gladstone., and quoted the other day by the Solicitor-General, that money is taken away from fructifying in the pockets of the taxpayers. It is not merely injurious in that respect. It is directly injurious to a particular trade. We have had proof of it in the remonstrance which has been raised by the owner of taxicabs. We have had further proofs of it in regard to motor omnibuses. No one doubts that, to some extent, it must injure trade. It must injure it even, to some extent, in regard to the ordinary pleasure motor car. If you add to the cost of running there is a tendency at least to diminish the use of it. All I ask hon. Gentlemen opposite to admit in regard to that is that this duty will inevitably do an injury to this new industry which has sprung up in this country, either by diminishing the amount of employment which the industry gives now or at the best by preventing the expansion which might otherwise be expected in the industry. There is one side of the picture. That is the effect of this method of raising taxation. It is going to injure a particular trade which has sprung up.
Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me to suggest another method of raising the same amount of Revenue which would not be open to these disadvantages. We brought into this country last year somewhere between four and five millions worth of foreign motor cars. A duty of 10 per cent. on that amount would have given us a larger amount of revenue than the right hon. Gentleman is going to get from petrol. I am going to indulge in some of the fiscal fallacies of which hon. Members know I am guilty. We should have got that amount of Revenue, and I want the House to consider the two alternative methods of raising it from the same source. What are the objections to raising it by the method I propose? In the first place, and this is a distinction which hon. Gentlemen opposite will be very unwilling, I think, to make, but it is a fact that the strongest argument against Tariff Reform does not apply to this pro- 1132 posal at all. The strongest argument, indeed in my honest opinion the only intelligible arument, that is ever put forward is that while by this method we will undoubtedly get a larger share of the home market—no one will deny that—it is selfevident—they all tell us that you will so raise the cost of everything that you will lose a larger proportion of your foreign market than you gain in your home market. That may or may not be true. I have argued it often, and shall be willing to argue it again, but it is not relevant here. Does anyone contend that because a man prefers to buy a foreign motor car our exports of anything else will be prevented by his having done so? Obviously that argument has no bearing whatever on the putting on of this particular tax. Of course, it may be said that a. certain quantity of the parts of motor cars are imported from abroad. I am told that practically none of these so-called parts are used in ears which are being exported. I wish to make every admission in connection with this matter. Suppose that they were used for cars which were exported, then there would be no difficulty whatever in doing what is done in other countries in similar circumstances in the way of giving a drawback to the exporter for the full amount of the duty in the case of motor cars exported abroad. I say, therefore, that that argument—and I think it is the only argument that can be advanced in favour of free imports—is one which does not hold. What other arguments are made in favour of free imports? I am trying to put the case as an ardent supporter of Free Trade would do. It will be said that by this method you will raise the price of cars, that it will cost a man more to buy one, and that there will be less money to spend on the purchase of cars. That is the common argument. I would ask hon. Gentlemen opposite to bear in mind when they speak so freely on public platforms of consumers invariably paying the duty, that no economist of any school has ever made a statement of that kind. No economist has ever said it or believed it. It altogether depends on circumstances, and the circumstances on which it depends are in regard to the amount of competition. When anyone realises the extent of the motor industry in this country at the present time, and realises how much possibility there is as regards supply and demand, then, I think, it is perfectly evident that the effect of putting on an import duty would he not to raise 1133 the price of cars, but that foreign producers would have to take off the amount of the duty if they wished to make sales in this country. Let us assume that this is a disadvantage to place on cars imported here. It applies equally to the tax which the right lion. Gentleman proposes to impose. If you add to the cost of running, it is precisely the same thing as if you added to the initial cost. The spending power is increased as much in the one case as the other. There are other arguments I have heard used frequently on the platform, and I am ashamed to say by Members of this House who ought to know better. They say Tariff Reformers talk about revenue for Protection, in the same way as Protection for Revenue. They ask: Is it not evident that when you get revenue you cannot get Protection, and if you get Protection you cannot get Revenue? What a simple conundrum that is, and how unanswerable until you think over the matter! Everyone knows that if you take any country—America, Germany, or any other country —in spite of having a system of protection they do get revenue from this form of taxation, and they get it taking one period of five years with another in steadily increasing amounts. There is no doubt that they get revenue. Why do the hon. Gentlemen opposite object to our putting on duties on the ground that they are going to be protective? That argument obviously is absurd.
What happens in all these cases is precisely what would happen in regard to motor cars. They perhaps would come in in small quantities; perhaps they would not. Perhaps the general expansion of the industry would mean that the total number imported would remain the same. It would be time enough to hunt for another method of raising revenue when you discovered that the method you applied had failed. Some hon. Gentlemen think that is absurd. Last year, as I said, over four millions worth were imported. That would have given us more than £400,000. Suppose next year only three and a half millions were imported, that would still give us £350,000. What is the objection to raising the revenue in that way? Obviously it is simply one of these catch cries which may be used by people who have not taken the trouble to consider what would be the effect. I do not put the case from the point of view of Gentlemen opposite as fully as they would do, but I am trying to put it from their point 1134 with regard to this tax that I can now think of is the one derived from the consoling doctrine that imports must be paid for by exports. (Cries of "Question.") I do not think that that can be considered outside the question when I say that I am not going into it at length. It seems that some hon. Gentlemen do not like that. But we hear a lot about imports being paid for by exports, and I thought perhaps they might be interested in hearing a little more of it from their point of view. All I say is that the thing in itself has no bearing on the Question whatever, for this reason—and I think it is sufficient in the first place that doctrine to Members on this side is a commonplace belonging to every school of economics. It would be accepted just as readily by a German economist as by an English one; and in the second place, if it is true of one country it is true of another. If it is true of Belgium, which pays for its imports of raw materials by its exports of manufactures it is true of Spain which pays for its imports of manufactures by its exports of raw materials by its exports of manufacturers, it bearing on this question one way or another. The point is not whether you pay your debts. There is no doubt of that. There is no doubt that imports are paid for by exports just as two and two make four. But it does not follow that two and two pence are equal to two and two sovereigns. That is the deduction which hon. Gentlemen opposite are so fond of deriving from it. I have as far as I could examined the objections which might be raised against this tax from the Free Trade point of view, and the point of view of hon. Gentlemen that a case of this kind is largely self-contained, and that if you put a tax on a luxury like motor cars it does not affect our general export trade, and that the general argument about the whole system of tariffs does not apply. Then here is the alternative, which I present to the right hon. Gentlemen—and I have spoken on this subject at considerable length, because, I think, this is a good working model, which we might use to advantage in illustrating our case all over the country. Here are the alternatives: On the one hand, a method of raising the money which admittedly is going to improve a particular trade, and on the other hand a method of raising an equal amount of money which would undoubtedly have the effect of benefiting a home industry at the same time as you raise the money.
§ Mr. A. MOND
The hon Gentleman who has just sat down argued the question of Free Trade from another point of view, but he always treats Free Traders and Free Trade economists as if they were entirely lacking in intelligence, as if they had never studied elementary economics, and as if they were entirely incapable of appreciating any form of argument. Yet, after all, he showed himself so completely at sea in putting the elementary point of his case, he put it in such a grotesque shape as to render it extraordinarily difficult to any Free Trader to recognise any argument he ever heard before. The hon. Gentleman referred to taxation of motor cars, and he has accused us of having made the remarkable statement that you cannot have revenue and Protection at the same moment. But he put on the word "Protection" a double meaning. He says the countries that have Protection also obtain revenue from goods entering their country. Certainly, so far as your Protection fails, you obtain revenue; but, if your Protection succeeds, you will not get the revenue. One would have thought that even that very elementary problem a Tariff Reformer could have understood. But what do these hon. Gentlemen tell us all over the country. They wish to exclude foreign goods. Yes; "The Daily Express," your great organ, is conducting an inquiry every day, and what does that inquiry mean? It means that the home manufacturer is to make goods which are now coming here, and if he is to do that, you must exclude these goods, and those goods cannot give you revenue. You cannot have it both ways. Take the example of motor cars. He estimates that if you put on a 10 per cent. duty on motor cars there would be no diminution of the importation whatever; and he bases his estimate on this remarkable idea that if you put a 10 per cent. duty on foreign motor cars the same amount of motor cars would come in as come in now under free imports. By saying that he begs the whole question. I venture to say that you would see an enormous reduction in the imports of foreign motor cars if he had his 10 per cent. duty. The estimated revenue of £500,000 would soon become £250,000. He says that when this happens we can begin again. We can conceive what would be state of this country when the hon. Gentleman and his party came into office, if every year we had new taxation, and every other year a new deficit.
1136 The whole trade of the country would be dislocated by a hunt for new taxes. It is possible, I agree, that this tax on petrol is open to a good many objections. The hon. Gentleman has candidly admitted that the whole of his Tariff Reform system would be open to objections to the same extent. He has singled out one tax which he says is open to all the vices, according to his own argument. He has admitted, as he usually does, a number of extremely valuable points in our favour. He says: "If you increase cost you diminish consumption." We have said that on many platforms, but you have always denied it. You are always going to give more employment. Now he admits that they are going to give less employment. The hon. Gentleman also says that exports balance imports, and he spoke of that as a discovery of ours. No, it is not. It is very elementary. I wish we could convert the Tariff Reform League and their speakers, who are trying to persuade the people that all imports are loss and all exports gain. That is the fundamental argument of the mercantile school to which the hon. Member belongs, of the pre-Adam Smith days—the school of Louis Quatorze, whose disciple he is, the old argument on which the whole system of Protection is based. Then he gave us some remarkable arithmetic. He says exports balance imports. I suppose he means the value of exports balances the value of imports. He says two and two make four. We all knew that before, but it is very pleasant to hear a Tariff Reformer who does not say that two and two make five. What is his argument—one penny and one penny make twopence and one shilling and one shilling make two shillings, but how can you pay for two shillings of imports with twopence of exports? It seems to have no relevance whatever. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bonar Law), in his elaborate disquisition, stated it was for the benefit of his party on platforms.
§ Mr. MOND
I am glad the right hon. Gentleman is going to use it, but I thought the instructions on platforms might have been given somewhere else in the privacy of the Tariff Reform League offices to young speakers. I must say I think the hon. Member for Dulwich (Mr. Bonar Law) has admitted to-night every one of our arguments. Although I cannot say T admire the petrol tax very much myself, I still would prefer it, because at any rate 1137 it will raise revenue on some sound and necessary basis and on a basis you can estimate. I would prefer it to the experimental attempt of the hon. Member for Dulwich to make his first effort in the great tariff, for which we have been waiting for seven years, and of which the schedule seems to be decided to-day as 10 per cent. on foreign motor cars.
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
The only sentence which struck me in the oration of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mond) as bearing even in the most distant way upon the matter now under discussion is that in which he spoke of the petrol tax. The hon. Member in that single relevant sentence declared he was no friend of the petrol tax. I come to the matter immediately in hand, and I am going to make an appeal in all reason and with all moderation to the right hon. Gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), and an appeal which I do not think he will listen to with altogether unheeding ears. I am not going to advocate or champion the claims of those who, as we were told in the earlier part of the evening, have a fleet of motor cars on which they make a profit of £85 each per year. I am not going to appeal for a great company which at all events deal with thousands of pounds. I am going to speak for one class, and a class which I think deserves the sympathy of all parts of the community, and that is a class which will suffer, and suffer very considerably, by this motor tax. I mean the doctors throughout the country. I am sure hon. Members when they hear of some points about their case will feel that they do deserve some sort of consideration on the part of the right hon. Gentlemen. I speak with a knowledge of it myself, because there is no constituency that contains more doctors than mine. This of all classes is the one most deserving of consideration for the good it does to the community in general, and I think that, in proportion to the good it does, it earns less of reward than any other professional class. I have gone with some care into the effect of this tax upon doctors. ["Divide."] Hon Members opposite listened to appeals made on behalf of capitalists; can they not listen to an appeal on behalf of a professional class which is very far from being composed of capitalists? If the appeal meets with no consideration from Members opposite, it will, I am sure, meet with consideration from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Doctors have been obliged to take to the use of motor cars 1138 not from motives of ease, not with social objects, not as a luxury, but to meet the exigencies of clients scattered throughout these wide country districts. Nowadays, when this method of quick travelling has come in vogue, it is impossible for doctors to feel that they are doing their duty to their clients unless they are fn possession of the means of securing access in cases of sickness with the utmost speed possible. The horse and gig which they formerly used cost about £100, whereas these motors cost from £180 to £200. They are small cars, and do very little harm to the roads, but they will have to pay like other cars. It is true there is to be a certain rebate, but that will not make up for the heavy burden which this tax on petrol will impose. At a very moderate computation, a doctor in a country district will use about 800 gallons of oil in a year, which represents a tax of £12 or £13. Taking the average income at £500, after careful inquiry, it will be equivalent to doubling the income tax, allowing for the rebate on the first £140 on income. Doctors are bound to pay this duty, not in their own interests, but in the interest of their clients; they cannot avoid it; not merely will it impose a super-tax greater than that to be imposed upon the very wealthy, but it will actually double the tax upon the very moderate incomes which these people enjoy. In olden days you did not tax the hay and corn of the doctor's horse, but you now place a tax upon the doctor's car just as you do upon the carriage of the wealthy. I think my appeal is an exceedingly moderate one on behalf of a very deserving class, and I trust that the right hon. Gentleman will see his way, at any rate, to treat it with sympathy.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I would like to add a very few words to the appeal which has been made by my hon. Friend who has just sat down on behalf of the doctors, who have a very strong case for the consideration of the House. I do not myself intend to be an admirer at all of this tax. It appears to me to be an excrescence on the Budget; to be admittedly unnecessary, either for the purposes of social reform or for the defence of the kingdom. Whatever might be said in favour of such a financial experiment if we were in a time of abounding prosperity, it does seem to me to he altogether indefensible in launching out on a fresh scheme of taxation when you have to raise for the first necessities of the State 1139 so large a sum as £16,000,000. There are other objections to the tax which I will not at this late hour embark upon. But I do desire to press the case of the doctors very seriously upon the right hon. Gentleman.
In the first place I do not want to add to what my hon. Friend has said about a doctor's car being an absolute necessity, and in no sense a luxury. It is quite as much a necessity as any commercial vehicle. Far more, for the doctor's necessities are the necessities also of his patients. Apart from that there are several special circumstances about the doctor's car which really entitle it to special consideration when you are considering the amount of petrol used in that car. Being a necessity of his profession he has to use more petrol per mile than any other car user in the world. The ordinary car user uses his car during the summer. The doctor has to use his car mainly during the winter. Therefore he has to use, because of the additional heaviness of the roads, snore petrol per mile. More than that, the ordinary private car user drives only long distances at a time, and only starts and restarts occasionally. For the necessities of the employment of the doctor he has to be perpetually stopping and restarting, and that causes an additional consumption per mile. The result is that the doctor gets less out of his petrol than any other user. The above seems to me to be some ground for asking for remission. But when you come to take the actual amount which he will have to pay in respect of the tax then the case is even stronger. My hon. Friend has given a calculation. There have been a great many in the medical papers in the last two or three weeks. One I happened to notice showed that the ordinary country doctor uses from 200 to 400 gallons of petrol yearly. Three hundred gallons is a moderate estimate. That means at an increased price of 4d., not 3d.—it will he 4d., because the dealers will have to put something on the tax for the increased difficulties of bookkeeping, and so on. Therefore, if you take 300 gallons at 4d. it is £5. To put that addition on to the incomes of the country doctors of this country, I think, is a hardship that this House will consider very seriously before they sanction it.
There is another point about it. This tax will fall not on the rich doctors, but on the poor doctors. It will fall on the poorer doctor more heavier, broadly 1140 speaking; not only because it will be larger proportionately to his income, but because in point of fact he has to drive very long distances in order to earn his scanty fee. The doctor in the sparsely populated districts who has to drive great distances in order to earn such fees as he can necessarily uses a larger amount of petrol than another man who earns a smaller income in the same way. The higher-power cars which are used by very-wealthy people do not use proportionately a larger quantity of petrol, though they do use a greater quantity.
This tax will fall disproportionately more heavily upon the man who uses the lower power car and has to go to different places in order to earn his money. You treat the doctor who has to look after his car himself worse than the owner of the high power car. The doctor has not a highly-paid chauffeur who can keep his car up to the latest pitch of mechanical perfection, and every mechanical defect means more than petrol as every Member who has ever used a car will agree. Therefore in every way this tax is going to press heavier upon the doctor. If the admission is made that on certain commercial vehicles a rebate ought to be made then the case of the doctor is perfectly overwhelming. The user of the commercial vehicle will always have a chance of putting some portion of the extra tax upon his customer; but in the case of the country doctor is it suggested for a moment that he can recover the additional cost of petrol by charging additional fees upon the patients? I read a letter from a doctor stating that he had often to go long distances into the country, knowing perfectly well the fee he would receive would barely pay the cost of the journey, and very often it is exceedingly doubtful whether he would get any fee at all. The real effect of this tax will be one of two things. It either means an additional income tax upon an exceedingly poorly-paid portion of the community, or else it will be a tax upon the medical necessities of the poor. One of these two things it must be: It must either fall upon the doctor or upon the patients, and I really think it is difficult to decide upon which of these two classes this House should be least anxious to impose fresh taxation. I appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consider whether before we come to the Committee stage of the Finance he cannot see his way to meet the views put forward from this side of the House in regard to this tax.
MR. CATHCART WASON
No one appreciates the arguments in favour of the country doctor more than I do, but I do not think the case can be met in the manner suggested by the hon. Member who has just sat down. The only way the small country doctor could get relief would be by granting exemption to the low-power cars, and I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer will do well to consider whether be would not be well advised in this tax to do away with abatement, and to put what is known as a flat-tax upon all petrol that comes into the country. If he does that he will find more support than he does at the present time. My hon. Friend the Member for Dulwich (Mr. Bonar Law), in his very interesting speech, especially the first part of it, with which every Member of the House cordially agreed, used the argument that this tax upon petrol was differential taxation, and in the circumstances in which it is imposed, namely, for the benefit of the roads, it gives exemption to cars driven by other means than petrol, such as cars driven by steam and electric power. If my hon. Friend the Member for Dulwich had stuck to that instead of getting on to his favourite subject of Tariff Reform he would have carried the whole House with him. I do ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to consider the arguments used by the hon. Member for Dulwich, which are generally held in the country, namely, that this tax will operate unjustly upon the users of motor cars as against those cars driven by steam or electricity. The damage done to our roads is the only reason which the right hon. Gentleman has put forward, but I appeal to him, before this Bill gets into Committee, to consider whether, in the interests of the country roads, it is not possible to devise some means by which not only horse-power can be taxed, but in some way also the weight of the car. It is not only the car of high velocity but the car of great weight, competing with our railways, which tear up our roads to an almost intolerable extent. In every country district in England and Scotland we have great traction engines going over the roads, carrying enormous weights, and carrying loads which the roads were never adapted to carry and were never intended to be carried on the roads. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer might impose some countervailing duty upon those heavy vehicles. The grievance is that we have these heavy vehicles on the roads, and we have no means of taxing them, and they 1142 contribute nothing at all to the upkeep of the roads.
§ Mr. GEORGE RENWICK
I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not do-what the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Cathcart Wason) has suggested, namely, put a tax without rebate on all motor spirit. I wish to ask the. right hon. Gentleman if he adheres to the statement he made in his Budget speech, to give a rebate upon all motor spirit used for purposes other than for motor vehicles? There is nothing in this Resolution to that effect. I wish to remind him of what he said in his Budget speech upon that point.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
Certainly I propose standing by the proposals made in my Budget speech, but in the Resolutions rebates never occur. They are always left to the Bill itself. The Resolution simply covers the maximum charge.
§ Mr. RENWICK
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his explanation. Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House how they are going to recover the rebate in the case of the tax already paid, because no doubt the right hon. Gentleman is aware that the importation of motor spirit is in the hands of two, or three, or four large trusts or syndicates, and they have all issued circulars putting up the price of petrol fourpence per gallon, not only fur motor vehicles, but for all purposes. I suppose the right hon. Gentleman will tell us that those who have already paid can apply for a rebate, but they will have no locus standi at all, and they are absolutely at the mercy of the merchants. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to assist a very deserving industry like dyers, who use motor spirit largely for cleaning, and so on. I sincerely hope that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will take care that these powerful and wealthy syndicates do riot benefit as they are doing now by this tax. If they have large stocks they must now be getting a clear extra profit of fourpence a gallon, and I hope some steps will be taken to secure that those manufacturers who have already paid the tax will be able to get a return of the whole of the duty they have paid to which the importers of motor spirit are in no way entitled.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I wish to avoid altogether the more exciting topics which were raised earlier in the Debate. Questions have been put to me with reference to doctors. With regard to some points which have been raised I should like to 1143 wait until the Committee stage has been reached before giving a distinct answer to the Noble Lord. There are some practical difficulties to be overcome, but I take a favourable view of the suggestion. The amount that will be raised is comparatively small, and it is not so much in the interest of the doctors but of the whole community that favourable consideration should be given to the suggestion. I am very willing to give my favourable consideration to the point. With reference to the question raised by the hon. Member for Newcastle, I answered him by an interruption. I propose to stand by the proposals in my Budget speech. The tax will be confined exclusively to petrol used for propelling motor cars, and not petrol used for industrial purposes. The difficulty about rebate is this: Although the charge is fourpence a gallon, the Revenue will receive nothing, and we cannot give a rebate on nothing. I believe the British Petroleum Company and the Anglo-American Company have intimated that they will not impose the duty.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I can only quote the circular they have sent to their customers, in which they state they do not propose to make the extra charge prior to the 15th inst., but, after that date, it will have to be paid. We certainly cannot give a rebate on sums of money which we have not received, and that is our difficulty in regard to this matter. I desire to say one word with regard to the whole tax. The reason why we divided our revenue into a direct charge upon motors and another charge upon petrol is this: One man may have a car of very considerable horsepower, for which he has but a limited use —he may only use it one day a week. Another man, with a smaller car, may use it every day and travel thousands of miles every year. The man with the smaller car does far more damage to the roads than the man with the heavy one, and, under the circumstances, this we considered to be a happy combination for catching the two. The man whose heavy car tears the roads up pays the higher duty on the car, while he who uses the roads more pays propor- 1144 tionately in the shape of petrol duty. On the whole, I think this is a fairer method of taxing the motorists of the country than by confining the tax to horse power. Possibly, at the beginning, there may be difficulty in arranging for the collection of the tax, but in the long run I believe it will be got in with the greatest ease in the world, and that there will be a great and growing revenue for the improvement of the roads.
§ Mr. JOHN GORDON
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will, when considering this Question of rebate to medical men, also consider if he cannot extend it to veterinary surgeons, who stand very much in the same position.
§ Mr. A. C. MORTON
I desire to make a personal appeal to the right hon. Gentleman on behalf of the medical men of Sutherlandshire, who have to travel long distances to places, sometimes 20 miles or more, far from a telegraph station, and who find motors of the greatest possible use. I make this appeal not only on their behalf, but also on behalf of their patients.
§ Mr. ROWLAND HUNT
The hon. Member for Chester (Mr. Mond) has advocated a tax on petrol as the raw material in preference to a tax on the manufactured article like a motor car, which is practically an article of luxury for the rich. That is a very curious thing for a member belonging to the Liberal party, which is supposed, I believe, to be the great friend of the poor in this country to advocate. I would remind the hon. Gentleman that he overlooked the fact that he has got a form of protection in his own industry. I think it is a great pity he does not go hack to his own country, Germany, to preach Free Trade there. [Cries of "Withdraw."]
§ Mr. W. R. ADKINS
Is an hon. Member in order, Sir, in referring to another hon. Member of this House as belonging to another country and not to this?
§ Mr. ROWLAND HUNT
I was not aware that it was offensive. Of course, Sir, I withdraw it. The hon. Member for Chester said—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I think it will be better if the hon. Member will approach the Amendment, and leave the hon. Member for Chester alone.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I think in the interest of the House generally it would be better for the hon. Member to confine himself to the matter now before the House. A duel took place between the two hon. Members, and I think the House is content to leave it there.
§ Mr. HUNT
I hope I may put it in this way, that I understood the hon. Member for Chester said you could not have a duty on motor cars working two ways, both for revenue and for protection. I beg to say the hon. Member is quite wrong. If a sufficient duty is put on motor cars, so that half of the £4,000,000 worth imported yearly into this country were made in
§ this country, most of the £2,000,000 would go in wages to our working people, and we should get revenue for the other £2,000,000 worth which were imported, and therefore we should have it both ways. The hon. Gentleman will not allow us to put any import tax on motor cars because we can make them in this country. That is the real reason, and this is the principle we have gone on for 60 years. And after that the President of the Board of Trade was kind enough to tell us at Birmingham the other day that millions of our people were more miserable than those of other countries in the world.
§ Question put: "That the House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 256; Noes, 76.1147
|Division No. 134.]||AYES.||[11.20 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Higham, John Sharp|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Cowan, W. H.||Hodge, John|
|Agnew, George William||Craig. Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Alden, Percy||Crooks, William||Hooper, A. G.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Crossley, William J.||Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Armitage, R.||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Hudson, Walter|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Hutton, Alfred Eddison|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Astbury, John Meir||Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.)||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Duckworth, Sir James||Jenkins, J.|
|Baring, Godfrey (isle of Wight)||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in Furness)||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otiey)||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Jowett, F. W.|
|Beale, W. P.||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Beauchamp, E.||Erskine, David C.||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Essex, R. W.||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Bell, Richard||Esslemont, George Birnie||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Lambert, George|
|Bennett, E. N.||Everett, R. Lacey||Lamont, Norman|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Falconer, James||Layland-Barrett, Sir Francis|
|Bertram, Julius||Fenwick, Charles||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Ferens, T. R.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Findlay, Alexander||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Branch, James||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Gill, A. H.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Brigg, John||Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.)||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Brodie, H. C.||Glover, Thomas||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Maclean, Donald|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Macpherson, J. T.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||M'Callum, John M.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)|
|Cameron, Robert||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||M'Micking, Major G.|
|Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Maddison, Frederick|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Channing, Sir Francis Aliston||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Manfield, Harry (Northants)|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Harwood, George||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Marnham, F. J.|
|Cleland, J. W.||Haworth, Arthur A.||Massie, J.|
|Clough, William||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Clynes, J. R.||Hedges, A. Paget||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Helme, Norval Watson||Molteno Percy Alport|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Hemmerde, Edward George||Mond, A.|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Henry, Charles S.||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Cooper, G. J.||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)|
|Morrell, Philip||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Morse, L. L.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Vivian, Henry|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Robinson, S.||Walters, Joke Tudor|
|Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Walton, Joseph|
|Myer, Horatio||Roe, Sir Thomas||Ward, John (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Napier, T. B.||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Newnes, F (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Rose, Charles Day||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Nicholls, George||Rowlands, J.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Norman, Sir Henry||Runciman, tit. Hon. Walter||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Norton, Captain Cecil William||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Hussey, Thomas Willans||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Nuttali, Harry||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Sears, J. E||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Partington, Oswald||Seaverns, J. H.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Seddon, J.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Shackleton, David James||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Shaw, Sir Charles E. (Stafford)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Williams, W. Liewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Pointer, J.||Simon, John Allsebrook||Williamson, A.|
|Pollard, Dr. G. H.||Spicer, Sir Albert||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Price, Sir Robert J (Norfolk, E.)||Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Radford, G. H.||Summerbell, T.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Raphael, Herbert H.||Sutherland, J. E.||Winfrey, R.|
|Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Rendall, Athelstan||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Richardson, A.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Joseph Pease and the Master of Elibank.|
|Ridsdale, E. A.||Tomkinson, James|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gordon, J.||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gretton, John||Nolan, Joseph|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Oddy, John James|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Haddock, George B.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Hamilton, Marquess of||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hazleton, Richard||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Renwick, George|
|Bull, Sir William James||Houston, Robert Paterson||Ronaidshay, Earl of|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hunt, Rowland||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Joynson-Hicks, William||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Keswick, William||Starkey, John R.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Staveley-Hill Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Clark. George Smith||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Lyttelton. Rt. Hon. Alfred||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Dickson, Fit. Hon. C. Scott||M'Arthur, Charles||Younger, George|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon, A. Akers-||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Fell, Arthur||Mooney, J. J.||A. Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Forster, Henry William||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
§ And, it being half-past Eleven of the clock, Mr. Speaker adjourned the House without Question put, in pursuance of the Standing Order.
§ Adjourned at half after Eleven o'clock.