§ Mr. SAMUEL ROBERTS
moved, in C. (Retailers' On-Licences) Spirits [Publican's Licence] to leave out the words "A duty equal to half the annual value of the licensed premises," and to insert instead therof the words "Duty specified in Scale 3."
The Amendment is to substitute for the Government proposal a scale which appears in my name on the Paper, and its general object and effect is to equalise proportionally the duties with the annual value. At present we admit that there are anomalies. Shortly, they are that the low annual values are paying too highly, and that some of the higher ones might be reasonably charged more. We have always admitted that. The effect of my Amendment will be to bring the duties more into a reasonable scale of charge and at the same time to bring into the revenue not less but rather more money than they are at present receiving. May I give one or two instances to show what the difference will be between my scale and that of the existing duties. There is a considerable diminution in the rates for smaller houses. Up to the annual value of £15 the minimum will be £4 10s. A £20 house will pay £6 instead of £11, a £50 house will pay £13 15s. instead of £25, and a £100 house will pay, £25 instead of £30. With respect to houses over £100 the Annual Value Duty rises progressively. A £200 house will pay £45 instead of £35, a £300 house will pay £60 instead of £40, a £400 house will pay £70 instead of £45, and a £500 house will pay £75 instead of £50. The result of that would be that in the case of houses under £100 in annual value the revenue would lose about £255,000 in the year, but for houses of £100 or upwards the revenue would gain £279,000; there- 1851 fore, the net result would be that the revenue would gain about £23,000. I submit that the present duties should not be materially increased. It may be taken to be one of the canons of taxation that you should not tax any commodity more than it can bear, and we hold that the taxes on the liquor trade are now as high as the trade can reasonably be expected to bear. They contribute about 38½ millions a year out of a total tax revenue of £130,300,000, or 29.4 per cent. of the total revenue. I take these figures for the year ending March, 1908. In that amount of 38½ millions are included certain items which were not intended to fall on the trade or, at all events, to be permanent charges. Mr. Goschen, in 1890, proposed a purchase scheme of licences involving a sum of £440,000 a year. That money was devoted to local purposes, principally technical education and things of that character. Since then the revenue has received £8,000,000 in cash—money which was voted by this House for the purpose of purchasing redundant licences but devoted to other purposes. Then there are the war taxes which Sir Michael Hicks-Beach raised in 1900 of 1s. a barrel on beer and 6d. a gallon on spirits. Sir Michael Hicks-Beach stated distinctly that he regarded these war taxes as simply a temporary aid to the revenue, but they have been included by this Government in the permanent taxation of the country, and since they were imposed they have contributed in all 24½ millions of money.
The next item I should like to mention is the compensation fund under the Act of 1904. The trade last year contributed £1,089,000 under that head. It is true that the money is devoted to paying compensation for those houses which the justices consider are not required, but still it is a burden which they have to bear, and therefore I include it in those other items which have been imposed upon the trade in recent years. While all this extra taxation has been piled upon the liquor trade, what has been happening with the consumption? The consumption has been gradually falling from year to year. The country, no doubt, is getting more temperate, and that is a matter in which we rejoice, but it is not a matter of congratulation from the Chancellor of the Exchequer's point of view. The fall in the consumption of beer from the year 1899–90 to the year 1908–9 represents 3,500,000 standard barrels, and a drop per head of the population from 32.29 to 26.47 gallons. 1852 That fall of 5.82 gallons per head of the population in eight years was admitted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his speech. Spirits show the same thing. There has been a falling off in the same period of nearly 9,000,000 gallons, or a drop per head of the population from 1.18 proof gallons to 87 proof gallon. When you find the taxation of the tirade increasing as it has been, and at the same time the consumption of liquor falling off very materially, it is not a time surely for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to impose further taxation on the trade.
I should like to point out to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who is going to reply, what the effect of these increased Licence Duties will be in one or two of our large county boroughs. Bristol, with the full licences, the beer on-licences and the wine on-licences, shows, under this Budget, an increased charge of £21,826, or 165.8 per cent.; Norwich shows an increase of £11,279, or 141.8 per cent.; Dover shows an increase of £5,849, or 172.8 per cent.; and Birmingham shows an increase of £43,153, or 193.9 per cent. In a previous Debate I mentioned the figures connected with the city I have the honour to represent, and therefore I will not enter into details, but I should like to say that the total increased burden on the city of Sheffield involved in the new duties, and the duties which have been increased or put on during the last eight years, amounts to £98,633. Do the Committee think that with these largely increased duties the trade can possibly continue to prosper? I know I shall be told that they do not wish it to prosper. It has been stated over and over again by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite that the object of the Government is to reduce licences. They tried to reduce licences last year, and fortunately they failed in their scheme. Hon. Gentlemen stated at that time most clearly—the Lord Advocate was one—that if the Licensing Bill was thrown out by the House of Lords they would adopt other methods to take their revenge. There was a letter published in the "Times" newspaper on 5th May last from two gentlemen interested in breweries, namely, Mr. E. N. Buxton and Mr. Whitbread. They said that the new charges which would fall on the two brewery companies with which they are connected under the heads alone of Licence Duty and Manufacturer's Duty would be £104,745. They further stated that these two companies divide among their ordinary shareholders £61,300. Comment is needless. If these figures are 1853 accurate, the whole of that dividend is going to be absorbed, and more than absorbed. I have figures from other brewery companies which I might give to the Committee, and which tell the same story. One company which has 30 fully-licensed houses in or near London pays Licence Duties at present amounting to £1,699, and under the new duties the amount will be £12,525, or between seven and eight times the present figure.
I do not know what the position of the Prime Minister is in regard to these increased Licence Duties, but I do know that two years ago, before the introduction of the Licensing Bill, he stated very clearly that, in his opinion, any legislation which Parliament might pass should be such as not to inflict injury upon this trade. On 26th November, 1907, he said:—In any legislation which the Government propose they will keep in view the legitimate interests of all persons who have invested their money in this licensed trade, which is a lawful trade, not prohibited by law, and a trade therefore the investors in which ought to be secure like the investors in every form of commercial or financial undertaking in the country against unreasonable or confiscatory legislation.I am afraid that since the Prime Minister spoke these words other influences have come over him—influences which we know very-well in this House have weighed with the Government, and they have been driven on first by the Licensing Bill of last year and now by a measure which is going to be a very great deal worse for the trade than that Bill was. Under the Licensing Bill a certain amount of compensation was to be given to houses which were to be extinguished during a period of 14 or 21 years. But under this Bill houses are going to be extinguished by taxation without a penny of compensation. That is the great distinction between the Bill of last year and this Budget. I hope I have stated the case impartially and fairly. I have no personal interest whatever in this trade, but I am concerned to see that justice is done to all classes of the community. May I appeal to the Government on four grounds? Firstly, on financial grounds, I say that the trade is already overburdened; secondly, consumption is declining and the temperance habits of the people are growing every day; thirdly, the Compensation Act of 1904 is working smoothly and well, and licences which are redundant are being reduced at the rate of something like 2,000 a year, without injustice, because the market value has been given; and, finally, I appeal on behalf of the thousands of persons who are connected with the trade 1854 from whom the State is receiving no less than 29 per cent. of its tax revenue, and who have invested their money and savings in it, relying that the State, under which the trade has grown up, would never round upon them and deprive them of that property and of their means of earning their livelihood.
§ Mr. BELLOC
The Schedule proposed by the Government to which this in an Amendment seems to me to be taking a particular industry—indeed, I can see no way out of the conclusion—and asking that particular industry to pay a tax which not only in amount, though that is very important, but in nature and character is greater than any tax that has ever been imposed by a British Legislature upon a particular class of people. The particular Amendment proposed which I am supporting would have the effect if it were passed of destroying the principle which underlies the Schedule, the principle that half of the annual monopoly value, as it is called, of the licensed premises should be taken by the State. It seems to me that the selection of this particular industry, the laying of this particular tax upon it in this Schedule, does not proceed from any particular motive but from several confused motives, and you have, as you almost always have in legislation, a confusion of motives involving a more or less unworkable result. It seems to me that these three principles very clearly appear. The first, with which I heartily agree, with which I think all Radicals and Liberals agree, and with which probably in their heart of hearts the majority of the Opposition agree also, is that the monopoly created by the community must be restored to the community. It ought never to have been let slip from the community. Another principle is that whatever can pay at a time of acute national strain when a large sum of money has to be found must pay. The third principle, which has nothing to do with either of the others, is that it is immoral to consume fermented liquor. I have no doubt whatever that the latter insane proposal has not a little to do with the type of legislation which it is being sought to mend. As to the restoration to the State of the monopoly value undoubtedly created by the community, I support it, as does almost everyone who thinks clearly on these matters. I might go so far as to say that I wish personally that no such monopoly had ever been created at all. I am by no means convinced that the creation of a comparatively small number of privileged 1855 places in which the ordinary domestic habits of a people can be indulged is a good thing. I am not at all sure that we should not have done better to have followed the rest of European civilisation, the great countries—our rivals, lately our successful rivals—and let a man have freedom in this matter, punish him if he got drunk, but let him drink in moderation pretty well in whatever premises were ready to pay the minimum taxes. I am not at all sure we ought not to have done that, but that is hardly to the point. We have chosen for some considerable time past to limit these premises in number, and, therefore, to give them a monopoly value. That monopoly value has acquired, by prescription, something of the quality of property. Anyone who shuts his eyes to that denies a patent and a glaring fact in English life and in Irish life as well.
It is no good to argue that in theory the State has got the right, if it likes, to take away licences at any moment. There is such a thing—and there always has been in human society, and always will be, and it is a profoundly moral thing—as property based on prescription. I gave a case some time ago when a similar principle was being debated in the earlier part of the Finance Bill of a constituent of my own who had inherited from his father, and had paid duty with it, a freehold which was licensed, and had upon it a very important hotel in my Constituency. His father in turn had inherited from his father. For three generations the family had this property, and it was the sole property of the family. I may add, though it is not logically relevant to the point, that all three of these men were very strong Liberals, and the third one is a Liberal on many matters, but not, I fear, on this. You have there a small property inherited with Death Duties paid upon it, and regarded by everyone connected with the family has an honest and permanent investment. How much of its success was due to the industry and the attention to business that build up a goodwill I cannot say. You now come down from that matter. There are hundreds like him up and down the country. It affects the smallest shareholders in breweries in thousands. You come in and say, "because in legal theory you are possessed of a monopoly created by the State, the State will begin to resume it at once at a shocking rate." If you doubt that the rate is shocking, I will put this very forcible comparison before the House. 1856 The man of whom I am speaking earned in the year 1907 very much the same sum of money by that inherited business, which he manages himself and works morning, noon, and night, as I by my pen and various lectures. We found, on comparing notes, that we had the same income, and you are asking him to pay under the Schedule a sum equal to more than one-third of his total earnings. [An HON. MEMBER: What was the income?"] If there were no inquisition in these matters, no such thing created by modern States, I would inform the hon. Gentleman, but as things are it is as well to let it alone.
At any rate, the House may take it that it is a very large proportion of taxation, taxation which cannot in its nature be passed on to the consumer, and which comes straight out of that man's pocket. If you are prepared to deny that that prescriptive right exists in this case, then you must deny it in I know not how many cases to which taxation equally apply. What about the enclosure of commons? Suppose we who feel so strongly on the matter that the enclosure of commons was immoral in many cases came forward and said, "The State gave you the right through private Acts of Parliament to enclose these commons. We are going to take it away. We are going to take it away not by that power of purchase which the State always possesses over an individual on account of its longer life and its greater credit, but very largely, and at shockingly large amounts." If that were done with regard to the enclosed land it would be regarded as a grave injustice. It is equally an injustice when applied to the licensed trade. If you propose a scheme for the recovery of monopoly by the State by degrees, slowly and in such a fashion that the licensed freeholder or the shareholder in the brewery or what not felt the transition in a manner light and reasonable, I would support that policy; but I maintain that this Schedule is eminently unreasonable, and in its effects would be a shocking thing.
The second point is that we are passing through a very heavy financial strain, and the money must be paid by those who can pay it. I heartily agree. But we are attempting to find, in my opinion—it is merely a personal opinion—more money than this country alone can find under the present system of private property. We have chosen to adopt an Imperial system which does not support us from outside; we have to find the defences of the Empire, or nearly all 1857 of them, within these islands. We have now to find 16 millions of money extra to what was expected a year or two ago and it is perfectly just, particularly when the country is undergoing a strain of this kind, that those who can pay should pay, even if they have to pay exceptionally. On that account I support, heavy as the taxation is, the Income Tax at the present rate, and I support also the Super-tax, which is on a sound principle. But what makes the Government think, what makes any reasonable man think, that this particular industry is on so flourishing a scale, or is in some way so hiddenly making money, that it should be taxed to this vast extent? What makes the Government think that those who have shares in brewery companies should be taxed to this vast extent? Where are the exceptional profits in these companies, or in these inherited premises which happen to be licensed? Where are the exceptional profits from free houses? They have become for two generations a fixed item of property. They have not gone through what is vulgarly called a boom. There is no vast margin on which you can suddenly draw as you might draw on more than one type of property of modern times. These licences are a type of property which is solid, but which, on the whole, is declining, and you cannot claim that you are producing this Schedule with the object of taxing people who can easily afford the taxation, which in justice they should have paid before, and which they are now escaping. As to the third principle, I am convinced, and I think most of us are convinced in our heart of hearts, that it lies at the bottom of this type of legislation—the principle that it is immoral to consume fermented liquor. I care not with what arguments you may attempt to fend me off in that matter, I care not by what amount of sophistry—and there is plenty of it in that camp—you may attempt to whittle down the point, the opinion of the common elector in this matter—and it is the opinion held throughout England, and held very vigorously up and down the country at the present moment—is that behind these proposals there lies much more than the desire to recover monopoly value back to the State, much more than the desire to fine taxable sources in order to meet the financial strain.
The proposition that the consumption of fermented liquor is immoral is held by a tiny minority in the State, but unfortunately it is a minority whose vitality is augmented exceedingly by wealthy fad- 1858 dists. It is a minority of a few exceedingly wealthy families. [Laughter.] Hon. Members perhaps laugh because the spectacle of these families causes amusement to them as it does to me, or because they have not heard the facts. It is one or other of these alternatives. An audit of the secret Parliamentary funds would show that behind this Government there is a body of subscriptions, the vast majority of which proceed from men who hold that the consumption of fermented liquor is immoral. That is the main motive underlying the Schedule. On all three bases, the first of which is the most reasonable, and the last of which is preposterous, I object to these proposals. I object to them not only on the grounds of justice, but I object to them—though the word has fallen into disrepute I am not a little proud of it—as a democrat. I believe these proposals are opposed to the general sense of the people of England, and in imposing such taxation the Government are doing so with the aid of a body of men who are somewhat uninterested in the result, which may be oppressive. Those who have sent me here, and those who have sent most of us here, object to this particular portion of the Budget; but the land taxation Clauses are popular, and deservedly popular. They are not oppressive, they will produce a small sum for the moment, and they give the advantage in the future that the State needs are to be met on the basis on which the State has a right to collect. The Super-tax is not only not unpopular, but the vast majority upon whom it will fall are ready to pay it. The tax on tobacco, though pressing hard on the poor; the tax on tea, though pressing hard on the poor; though I should like to see them reduced, are accepted owing to the conditions of our financial life. This is a new system of taxation, and I have no hesitation in saying, if this Budget fails to become law, that it is one of the levers which may be used most powerfully for bringing about that result, and will be the most unhappy exception to the general principles contained in the Schedule.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the DUCHY of LANCASTER (Mr. Herbert Samuel)
I am not going to follow the last speaker into a general disquisition on the general policy of the taxation of liquor licences, or argue once more that the State ought to have a share of the monopoly which has been granted. It is perfectly easy to prove the utter inadequacy of the existing scale of Licence Duties. All these things were 1859 dealt with when we discussed the Clause to which the Schedule is attached. We dealt with all the arguments advanced by the hon. Member who has just spoken. The proposal is based on the principle that compensation is the price of the insecurity of licences which existed before the Act of 1904. We had the bases of contribution to insurance funds, and the constitution of reserve funds which the insecurity of these licences rendered necessary. We showed that the War Taxes imposed by the late Government had been shifted on to the consumer. We showed that there was a declining consumption in the last 10 years, which followed on a very rapid increase of consumption in the previous 10 years. While the consumption has been declining, I think the number of sources of supplies has also been declining. I think we dealt also with all the points that the hon. Member for Salford made when he delivered his speech on that previous occasion, except, indeed, the remarkable obsession under which he labours that all things evil that may be proposed by this Government are due to the fact that the Liberal Government are bought up by wealthy teetotallers, whose subscription to our fund have resulted in these objectionable proposals. I remember when, some time ago, steps were taken to prevent a Roman Catholic procession, which at that time attracted much attention, from taking place in London, the hon. Member said that this also was the result of the action of a few rich Orangemen who subscribed funds to the party.
§ Mr. BELLOC
What I said was that there was a body of wealthy Nonconformists who supported the Government, and who got together and put pressure on the Government at the last moment. That is literally true.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I speak from recollection, and I should be very sorry indeed to misrepresent the hon. Member; but I think my recollection is correct that the party funds came into question.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
What I said is quite correct, and it is obviously an obsession which affects the hon. Member.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The figures given by the hon. Member opposite, I gather from him, refer to certain public-houses in the neighbourhood of London, 1860 whose Licence Duties have been increased sevenfold and eightfold on the average. Of course, they were exceptional cases, because no house could have its Licence Duty increased sevenfold unless its annual value was over £800, and it was now paying only £60. No house could have its annual value increased eightfold unless its annual value was £1,000 and is now paying £60. These are very exceptional instances, and the Committee must not consider that the average increase of duty is anything like that which one would gather if we did not carefully examine the speech of the hon. Member. I come to the particular scale which is now proposed as the considered alternative to the Government proposal. I would ask the special attention of the Committee to the proposal made from the opposite side of the House. Hon. Members opposite—I do not complain of it—have appointed a Committee of Members to draft and put down Amendments to these Schedules and this Amendment has been moved by the chairman of that committee, supported by other Members, and it is clearly the considered and deliberate proposal of the party opposite as to the right way of dealing with the liquor licence taxation of the present Budget. After long deliberations they put this scale on the Paper by way of Amendment. Whatever the consequences of this scale, it would actually lower, and considerably lower, the Licence Duties now payable and now being paid by more than half the public houses of England, by about two-thirds the public-houses of Scotland, and by 97 per cent. of the public-houses of Ireland. These Licence Duties have been paid ever since 1880—nearly 30 years—and now, when the State is in need of fresh revenue, hon. Members come forward with a proposal which will lower the taxation on these houses. The hon. Member for Salford who has just spoken, said that the proposals in our Budget are such as had never been proposed in relation to any industry in any civilised country.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
As a matter of fact, this scale is 50 per cent. on the annual value, and it is now the scale of Licence Duties for the majority of public-houses in this country. A house of £20 for the last 30 years has been paying £11. If this Amendment were accepted that duty would be lowered at once from £11 to £6. The house with an annual value of £40 now pays £20, and will under this alternative scale pay £12.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
It is the annual value that has always been taken for the purpose of the Licence Duty. A house with the annual value of £40 now pays £20, and the Licence Duty will be under this scale £12. The house of £50 now pays £26, and under this scale it would pay £15 The house of £100 has been paying for the last 30 years £30, and if this Amendment were adopted it would be reduced to £27. Therefore by this scale they propose that the State should make a loss of £255,000, which is to be counterbalanced by a gain on the larger houses of £270,000, or a net increase of £23,000. How much is the gain on the larger houses? The hon. Member who spoke first to-day said that they always admitted that the larger houses should pay more, and Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, practically declared that the present scale was indefensible, and ought to be increased on the larger houses, which could well afford it. On a £200 house the present duty is £35. What do hon. Members opposite propose to raise it to? To £45. There is the extent of the increase. A £700 house, which must, of course, be a very large public-house—some gin palace probably in one of the great industrial quarters of our great towns—now pays £60, and it is proposed to charge it £85. I think when the Committee considers carefully the nature of this alternative proposal they will agree with me that it is one of the most remarkable ever placed on the Paper for the consideration of this Committee. Hon. Members opposite have been clamouring for an increase of the Navy for years. They have been advocating old age pensions; they have moved Amendment after Amendment to increase the cost of old age pensions; they have urgently demanded relief for the local rates, and as a contribution towards it they now propose to lower the duties on the vast majority of the public-houses of the United Kingdom and on the rest to increase them so as to give a net increase of £23,000 to the deficit of £16,000,000. We always knew that the alliance between hon. Members opposite and the liquor trade was very close—political alliance I mean—but I am surprised that they consider it consistent with their public duty to make a proposal such as that which is now before us.
Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I am very much surprised at the right hon. Gentleman. I 1862 thought the first part of his speech would have been to defend the Government, but I am bound to say I am amazed to find, so far as I can discover, he has not spoken a word in defence of the Government and apparently he thought the best course to adopt was, when you have no ease, abuse the attorney for the other side. I submit that the proposals of the Government in this matter are really so extravagant, to say no more, that they stand in much need of some defence. I do not care whether the party funds come from the temperance party or not, but surely the spokesman of the Government on a matter affecting such a large section of the community, as do the proposals of these Schedules, ought to have something to say for them.
Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
On the contrary, we were told on the Clause that the proper time to discuss them was on the Schedule, and no one knows better than the right hon. Gentleman that it would be quite out of order to discuss these details on the Clause. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition carefully pointed out at the outset of the Debate that we could not go into detail as to the questions raised upon the Schedule. Accordingly now is the time to defend them, and now is the time for the right hon. Gentleman, who has not a single word to say in defence of them. He says, forsooth, that there is a political alliance between the party to which I have the honour to belong and the trade. I am not ashamed of that. It is an honest trade and a respectable trade, and a trade that ought to be treated by the Government with common honesty. When the right hon. Gentleman says that the scheme of taxation proposed by this scale submitted by my hon. Friend only gives £24,000 per year, let him remember that he is taxing a falling industry, and taxing an industry, moreover, and a business, moreover, which has suffered enormously since the 3s. 9d. was put on whisky by the present proposals. Everybody knows who has investigated the matter—and I am quite sure the right hon. Gentleman must be perfectly well aware of it—that the incomings of the publicans have suffered enormously since the increase on the Whisky Duty was imposed. I wish to give some concrete examples of what this taxation will result in, taken from Scotch instances which have been given to me—one or two instances of 1863 restaurants, which, to my knowledge, in Edinburgh and Glasgow, are of the very highest class, but which will not come in under any of the exemptions which Section 31 provides.
Before I come to that, let me say that the business principle of this proposed scale is absolutely bad, and that there is no justification whatever for saying that you ought to tax public-houses according to their rental. It is perfectly well known that a house with a rental of £100 may sell less whisky than a house with a rental of £20 or £25. Anyone in the trade knows that, and the right hon. Gentleman knows it just as well as I do. Accordingly, you are putting a tax on the better class of house, and so high that you drive it out of business and encourage the worst class of house to continue. The information I have from those engaged in the business shows conclusively that the basis upon which this Schedule proceeds is fundamentally wrong, and calculated to work out injustice. Then may I say this from the Scotch standpoint—in Scotland, as there are practically no tied houses, the publicans there will not get the benefit under the section which deals with tied houses. The publican in Scotland is assessed very often not only on his rental, but on what he pays as a fine or for goodwill. I will give an instance. A gentleman writes to me to say that he paid for his house £4,250. That was for goodwill. He got a lease for 14½ years at a rent of £130. The assessors of the Scotch Valuation Office said to this gentleman, "The true value of these premises is not £130, because you paid £4,250 for the goodwill. The true value is twice £130, or £260." Accordingly he stands on the valuation roll at double his rental, and according to the scale of the Government he would have to pay a full additional rental in lieu of Licence Duty. That shows that in addition to having rated on the rack rent, you have put a rating also on the additional value due to the goodwill or fine paid on purchase.
I was about to refer to two cases of high-class restaurants carrying on business, one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh, high-class houses. Their present duty is £103. I do not dispute, of course, that there ought to be some increase, but I do dispute that any justification can be alleged for imposing upon that business a charge, instead of £103, a sum of £1,137. The manager writes to me that their total profits for the year were £870, and accord- 1864 ingly the Government proposed on this thoroughly respectable high-class business to exact £200, or £300 more than the total profit.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
A house over £500 annual value has the right immediately to be charged on the basis of compensation value. [HON. MEMBERS: "What is it?"] We have discussed that so often; it will be taken on the amount of the liquor trade, and not in any degree on the rateable value, so that the hon. Member's figure of £1,000 is altogether foreign to the facts.
Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
I give this as an instance of the very bad system of legislation of applying an English Act which we in Scotland know nothing about to Scotland. Those who write me say we do not understand anything about English compensation, and I confess I doubt if the right hon. Gentleman could specify what is compensation for a Scotch business. There is no machinery provided for it. Then, in one other case, the rent is £150, and it would be subject to the compensation value, but what that will turn out to be nobody can tell, and there the increase is £373. May I just point out that one of the results of this is that if you destroy this business you are going to add very largely to the number of the unemployed. I come to the public-houses proper, and I find there from the returns which I have got from 45, within a few minutes' walk of Glasgow Exchange, that the additional duty paid by those 45 people will be over £10,000.
Mr. SCOTT DICKSON
Yes.: 32 public-houses, and 16 of them are restaurants, the proportion, therefore, of increase is enormous. Now, taking the whole of those houses again, it appears that the present total rental is £41,000, and the total duty is to be £20,000, as against £7,000. While I cannot give the details as to the public-houses and restaurants, in some 1865 cases it will mean double, treble, and up to seven, eight, and nine times what the duty was before, with the result that it is impossible that those businesses could exist. I venture to submit to the Government, in the first place, if this scale is persisted in, you will not get your money. You may kill the business, and the result will be that the high-class public-houses will disappear, and you will have the less reputable and respectable of them; and you will drive the customers either to the shebeen or the club or drinking at home. I confess I do not think any of those alternatives is a good alternative, and I venture to submit that so far as the Scotch trade is concerned it is a part of the Budget which will give effect to the Lord Advocate's swinging duties. I think it was meant to give effect to them; but the result will be to drive honest men out of the trade, to increase the ranks of the unemployed, and to do nothing to promote the pause of temperance.
§ Mr. CLAVELL SALTER
We have at last come to the real point of the licensing portion of the Bill, and I am glad that the Debate should have been initiated by the introduction of this alternative scale, and, above all, I am glad, in the interests of the party to which I belong, that it should have been met by the speech of the Chancellor of the Duchy. When these duties were first proposed their extent and practical effect were not realised in the country at all. It has only been by very slow degrees that people outside the trade have realised what was really intended in the way of taxation of the liquor trade. This Debate will do a good deal to spread knowledge on that important matter, and the speech of the sole representative of the Government present will do more than any other speech could have done to illustrate to all fair-minded people outside the spirit in which this taxation has been imposed and is being maintained. I do not propose to deal with the speech made by the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Belloc), for whose support we are very grateful, beyond saying that I am not quite sure that there is very much in the one argument, which was so eagerly grasped at by the Chancellor of the Duchy, founded upon monopoly. If he looks at the older licensing statutes he will see that the origin of our licensing law is not any notion of monopoly at all, but a notion that the provision of victualling houses in ample measure and under proper control is a national benefit. ["No."] Monopoly has 1866 come, as in a measure it must always come, when you get State control. You get it in the case of railways or anything else controlled by the State. But against monopoly you must set restriction. You must remember that the publican, although he may be in some measure protected against competition in a way that the butcher and the baker are not, carries on his business under perpetual, harassing, and hampering restrictions, whereas the butcher and the baker are their own masters. I am prepared to discuss this matter upon the ground stated by the hon. Member for Salford. He says, "You are taxing a monopoly." For the sake of argument I will admit that. He says, further, that it is a time of financial stress, and that everybody must be prepared to make a fair contribution. That also I accept, provided the contribution is fairly assessed as between one taxpayer and one interest and another. I base my support of this alternative Schedule upon three suggestions. The first is that it is demonstrable, and I think is being demonstrated, that the licensed trade can bear no more taxation than rests upon it at present. Quite apart from the question of justice, on the mere matter of fiscal expediency it can bear no more. Secondly, it can be demonstrated, at any rate, that it cannot bear any such burden of taxation as the Government propose to put upon it. Thirdly, notwithstanding the scathing comment of the Government upon this Schedule as a Schedule, with which I will deal in a moment, I submit that as a mere Schedule, apart from the amount altogether, and as a mere piece of machinery, it is an infinitely better Schedule than that proposed by the Government.
I do not desire to deal at any great length with the proposition that the trade cannot bear, and can be seen to be unable to bear, any further taxation than now rests upon it. Since the duties were put on it in 1880, the taxation both of beer and of spirits has considerably increased, and the burden of the rates upon the publican has enormously increased. In addition to the impressive facts given by the Mover of the Amendment, I would point out that this trade is called upon to pay, and pays, 33 per cent. of its takings for rates and taxes. Monopoly or no monopoly, what other trade or interest is required to make any such contribution or anything approaching it to the public expenditure? That being the position of the trade, what is the kind of taxation proposed to be put upon it? A brewery was 1867 mentioned by my hon. Friend which has paid £30,000 a year, and has divided £60,000 a year among its ordinary shareholders. I should have thought that 10s., not for taxation generally, but for this particular tax, as against every £1 which goes to its ordinary shareholders, was a pretty fair proportion for any industry. But this brewery is to pay £120,000 a year for this duty alone. I say that that is impossible. Another brewery, which has paid £8,000, is now to pay £41,000. Careful local inquiries have been made in all parts of the country, urban and rural, and the figures—which, no doubt, are before many Members of the Committee—show increased Licence Duties, running up from 50 per cent. to over 300 per cent., in the case of public-houses; while, in the case of beerhouses, the addition is very much larger even than that. I have before me a list of 38 typical London houses of the larger kind—from £250 up to £1,600 a year annual value. They pay now £2,000 a year; they will pay £13,000. May I mention to the Committee instances, no doubt put forward as extreme instances, which were given at a meeting of free licence holders at Newcastle on July 6th? What do the Committee think of this as taxation proposed by the Government? One house, which pays £40 a year, and made a profit last year of £195, is to pay £175 for Licence Duty. Another, which pays £40 a year, and last year made a profit of £90, is to pay £175 Licence Duty. Another, which pays £60 a year, and last year made a profit of £302, is to pay £350 Licence Duty. Another, which pays £60 a year, and last year made a profit of £154, is to pay £500 Licence Duty. These amounts are in addition to all the other burdens—rates and taxes—at present resting on the trade. I doubt whether the Committee appreciate the immense pressure which this minimum scale will exercise upon the very smallest public-houses. In Norwich there are 416 licensed houses which will come within the minimum scale, and this is how they will be affected. All the following houses will in future pay £35 a year each, namely, 39 which now pay £25, 47 now paying £20, 91 now paying £17, 98 now paying £14, 95 now paying £11, and 46 now paying £8. I submit to any fair-minded business man that the imposition of a scale such as that means the immediate destruction of a very large proportion of those 416 houses.
This is the scale to which we venture to put forward an alternative. Taxation such 1868 as this is not imposed with a single eye for revenue, nor for revenue at all. It is imposed with the repulsive mixture of malice and philanthropy, sanctimonious piety and rigorous oppression, which is exhibited in every speech made on Liberal platforms in reference to this portion of the Bill. When we venture to urge the cruel and crushing nature of this taxation, its general industrial effect, the enormous number of people it will throw out of employment, and its vast indirect results, instead of being met by reasonable arguments on the part of the Government, we are told that all this has been discussed long ago, that we are in alliance with the licensed trade, and that, cordially cheered, passes for argument in this Committee. The Chancellor of the Duchy said that the increased taxation which he selected, and which happened to be an increase of 33 per cent. upon the present burden, was perfectly derisory, and he tore the Schedule to pieces by making the one observation—an observation made by my hon. Friend in introducing it—that it proposes to reduce the present scale of duties on houses under £100, and to increase it on houses above £100, so that on the whole there will be a slight gain to the revenue. I am surprised that that proposal should be challenged or criticised. I should have thought it was common ground that all over the country the present scale bore somewhat hardly upon the very small houses. This scale proposes, without injustice to the trade and without loss to the revenue, to rectify what has been admitted to be a defect in the present scale—to ease the burden on the small publican and somewhat to increase it on the larger publican, so that the houses above £100 will pay more, the houses under £100 will pay less, and the revenue will gain £20,000 or £30,000 a year. I cannot for the life of me see why that scale should be first of all elaborately described as a laboured result of the toil of some mysterious committee and then be torn to pieces by merely pointing out that it is fair to the small man, and rectifies the balance by putting more on the bigger man. I submit that the Government's scheme of taxation on the trade is oppressive, and that one of its patent and admitted defects would be remedied by this alternative scale. The Government admit that they cannot continue their scale into the higher ranges. What do they propose to do? They attempt to meet that admitted inequality in a most clumsy and unscientific 1869 fashion by taking an arbitrary line of £700—Which they now propose to reduce to £500—and beyond that line not reducing nor mitigating their scale, but giving the publican a choice, if he pleases, of jumping out of the frying-pan into the fire. The Chancellor of the Duchy assumed with great courage on every occasion that this change of basis will be an advantage to the publican, and that he will pay less when he is put on compensation value than he has to pay on annual value. That will come before this Committee in a short time, and I think it may be that there will be some reason to think that this supposed concession is no concession at all; that the publican will be in no way better off on compensation value than he will be on annual value. However that may be, is it not better to have a regular graduated scale like this which is based upon some basis and principles throughout than to put people on one basis up to an arbitrary line, and to give them the option of another basis above that line? I venture to say that this scale that we submit to the Committee is both juster in its main lines and in its operations in respect to the trade than the impossible burden of taxation which the Government seeks to impose. It is also better for the trade, and it will remedy the grosser injustices in the Government scheme, with advantage to the trade and without any loss in the long run—but indeed with ultimate benefit—to the revenue.
§ Mr. COURTENAY WARNER
I would not in any way vote for such a scheme as has been proposed in this Amendment, because I think it has been very clearly shown by the Chancellor of the Duchy that it is quite an impossible substitute for the Government proposal. The revenue must be got somewhere, and we must increase the amount of taxation. At the same time, I should like to make some sort of plea for some modification, if it is possible, of this rather severe taxation, because I am one of those who feel that the trade is very heavily taxed, and, like many others, I do not want to see any injustice done. Of course, where there is further taxation there are always hard cases, and cases that press very severely. Where the taxation is such a large increase as at present I think there may be a good many hard cases. At the same time, I cannot agree at all with the arguments used on the other side. The argument put forward by the Front Bench was that it was an injustice to take the rental. That is the 1870 foundation of the licensing which has been going on for years and years. This is merely the old system continued. And we have a promise from the Government that it is to be altered when they have time to do it—perhaps next year. So that I do not think the argument is a fair one against the proposal. It is an argument against the whole system which has been going on for years and years. The arguments which have been put forward are almost all of them arguments that there should be no taxation at all. We cannot, knowing that money has to be raised—and nobody can—agree to such arguments as those. I must say that I cannot vote in any way for the proposals of the Opposition, nor for the suggestion of my hon. Friend behind me, though he recognises some of the facts that are patent and clear to all of us. At the same time, I hope the Chancellor will still have something to spare to relieve, certainly the small or the medium houses, so as to give some alleviation of this rather heavy increase of taxation. I certainly could not vote against the Government on a detail like this of the Budget. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes, it is a detail in view of the vastly more important parts of the Budget that hon. Gentlemen opposite have spent most of their time in opposing, and which are, I think, of more importance to the benefit of the country.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I rise for the purpose of asking a question, not of making a statement; because when I make a statement it is immediately challenged by the Government. I will therefore proceed by the Socratic method with what I have to say. When the House was in Committee, I ventured to express my indebtedness to the Chairman for bringing out a fact that had not heretofore been plainly stated; that the words "annual value" in the Clause affected the three Kingdoms. We then asked whether the Prime Minister was to be so understood when he stated, as we believed, that "annual value" was to be dealt with in Ireland according to Griffith's valuation. Both in the Clause and in the Amendment which we asked leave to move, the words "annual value" are the words employed. I now want to ask the Chancellor of the Duchy whether he adheres to his statement made upon September 3rd, 1909, that the words "annual value" only applied to Sub-section (1) of Clause 30, and whether the Prime Minister's words were or were not to be taken as governing Subsection (2) of the Clause? That is what 1871 he stated, according to the OFFICIAL REPORT, and according to all our recollections. If we are going to discuss this particular Schedule, which is what we were referred to when we were discussing the Clause, we are entitled to ask what is the meaning of the words "annual value" in the Schedule? That is a most important question. Controversy has existed upon it. I do not want to recall any unpleasant topic, but I do think we are entitled to know whether in this Schedule which the Government are proposing for the three Kingdoms they adhere to the declaration of the Chancellor of the Duchy made in Committee, that the words "annual value" of licensed premises—which are in the first portion of Schedule C—refers to a new method of valuation in Ireland, or does it refer, as we had hoped and believed from the Prime Minister's statement a day or two before—and as we were entitled to hope—that these words would continue to be understood in the sense of Griffith's valuation?
The words of the right hon. Gentleman are, of course, of great importance. He said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 10, No. 133, col. 784]:—The effect of this Sub-section (1), coupled with the Schednle-if the hon. and learned Member will examine the Bill he will find I am correct—will he to repeal that provision of the Act of 1880 which applies to Ireland a different basis of assessment for public-houses from that which is adopted now in England. That was very strongly objected to by the Irish Members, and the Prime Minister said he would not insist upon that provision in Ireland, and he consequently accepted an Amendment to that effect. Sub-section (2) is an entirely independent matter, and was not referred to by the Prime Minister in the undertaking he gave. I quite agree that in Ireland there may be special difficulties, not on the ground raised by the hon. and learned Member, but on the ground that so many of the premises there are mixed premises, and it would be a matter of some difficulty to assess what is their present value under a clause of this kind.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL (Sir Samuel Evans)
If I gather aright from the passage which the hon. Gentleman read it says that Sub-section (2) is an entirely different matter to Sub-section (1). That clearly is so, because the second Sub-section of Clause 30 merely provides for new valuation for the purposes of the Register. It is perfectly clear that the valuation for Ireland for the purpose of assessing the duties under the new Schedule will be exactly the same as the valuation is now—precisely the same. I need not remind the Committee of the words which we put into the Clause. The portion is italicised. That effect, so far as Ireland is concerned, is that there is absolutely no difference whatever in the method of ascertaining the 1872 valuation of licensed premises for the purposes of these duties and ascertaining the valuation for the purposes of the existing licence duties.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
The right hon. Gentleman has carefully abstained from answering my question. Sub-section (1) does not apply to public-houses at all. It simply declares that the valuation for other purposes shall be the valuation of the public-house—whatever that is. It is Sub-section (2) that deals with public-houses.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Well, can you give an answer to my question, which I put this way: Am I right in construing the Prime Minister's statement—his meaning—that the valuation of public-houses in Ireland will continue for all purposes—I am not dealing with any new Bill which may or may not be introduced—but is it the intention of the Government that the annual value for public-houses in Ireland shall continue to be calculated upon Griffith's valuation?
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
The point which we are dealing with is whether or not there is to be any different valuation of licensed premises in Ireland for the purposes of these new duties.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
I have answered the question, and will answer it again. The present valuation of premises in Ireland for the purpose of the present duty will be exactly the same as for the purposes of the new duties under the Schedule. The hon. and learned Gentleman makes a very positive statement.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
The hon. and learned Gentleman referred to Sub-section (1) of Clause 30, and said that it had nothing to do with public-houses at all. Let me read it for the purpose of showing how wrong the hon. and learned Member is, and for the purpose of reminding the 1873 Committee of the Amendment which we accepted to that Sub-section when we were dealing with it. "The annual value of any premises"—this is the Clause which the hon. and learned Member says has nothing to do with public-houses—"for the purposes of any duty charged in the First Schedule to this Act shall be determined in the same manner, and subject to the same conditions (including as respects licensed premises in Ireland the provisions of Sub-section (7) of Section 43 of the Inland Revenue Act of 1880) as the annual value of the premises is determined for the purpose of a publican's licence, and in the determination of that value the duty on the licence is not to be allowed as a deduction." Yet the hon. and learned Member says that this Clause has nothing to do with public-houses.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
May I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman again to answer my question? It is a plain question, and it can be answered "Yes" or "No." Does the Government propose that public-houses in Ireland shall continue to be valued on the present system of Griffith's valuation?
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
If I left out the 20 per cent. the hon. and learned Member would catch me up, and he would have said I deliberately abstained from answering his question. The answer is perfectly clear, and it is that the method of valuation that exists in Ireland now will continue to exist for calculating the duties specified in the Schedule to this Bill.
§ Mr. E. A. GOULDING
I desire to add a few words of protest against the proposals of the Government in regard to these new duties. They are to my mind so grossly excessive as to be calculated to cause ruin to many deserving citizens. They will necessarily break up homes, and they will add largely to the unemployment which already exists in this country. Eight through this Debate the right hon. Gentleman in charge of this part of the Bill seems to have forgotten altogether the basis upon which these rates of taxation and licences are levied. Every man, who knows anything about these matters admits that the present basis is 1874 defective, and does a great deal of injustice. No doubt during the 100 years during which the present basis has been in force, custom and usage and the goodwill and determination of the bench of magistrates and the trade, have adapted that basis so as to minimise hardships, but when you come to enormously increased duties based upon that basis the inevitable result will be that this grievance will be enhanced and will become so oppressive as to be absolutely destructive to the individuals who have to pay. It must necessarily mean the closing of houses, but that difficulty in regard to public-houses is not the only one and stands not by itself. The Committee will recollect that during the last 12 years the rates on all sorts of property throughout the country have enormously increased, but in regard to the trade alone it has meant more than £2,000,000 a year. If you assume that taking £100 worth of property belonging to an ordinary trader and £100 worth of property belong to the licensed trade, the increase of rates on the ordinary trader's property has amounted to 48 per cent., while the increase of rates upon the licensed property is not less than 89 per cent. That is an enormous disparagement between the rates as borne by those who are holders of licensed property in this country, and it is so extravagant as not to escape the condemnation of all reasonable and just-minded men. But that is not all. The proposed increased duties which you are placing on this trade are deliberately put upon a trade which is well known to be failing. The consumption of liquor is decreasing, and is lessening by reason of the change in the habits of the people, who are spending their money in other directions than on liquor. Therefore, to this extent, the necessary result must be that some of these licensed houses will be inevitably crushed out. Not only do I consider that harsh and tyrannical, but—and I use the word measuredly—it is simply dishonest. It is dishonest, because the late Government in the Act of 1904 gave to the owners of these licences and of this licensed property little less than a freehold in that property. Further than that, this Liberal Government acknowledged that property of the trade, and in their proposals which they brought in last December the Government recognised the rights of the trade by saying that for 14 years they would give them a time limit, and they even went so far as to say that they were prepared to bargain with them for a further period of extension of that limit. The action of the Government in now 1875 bringing forward these proposals, which will have the tendency to crush out that particular trade or property, is, to my mind, absolutely dishonest. These duties are so excessive that they must inevitably have this dishonest effect. Take the case of the small man, and not the big man, and it is then that one realises what a change these duties are going to impose. Take a house of £100 valuation. At present they pay £30 duty, and that duty will be increased to £60. The duty in the case of a house of £200 is going to be increased from £35 to £112 10s., and the house of £400 paying £45 is going to be increased from £45 to £222 10s. [An HON. MEMBER: "Where did you get those figures?"]
§ Mr. GOULDING
I am taking half the annual value. I am talking of a house the value of which is £100. I say where the value is £100 the duty is to be half the annual value, which is £50 plus the extra amount put on for the value of the licence, which is not to be deducted. If you take £200, the Licence Duty was £35. You have half of that, to which you add the value of the licence, which is not deducted.
§ Mr. GOULDING
Then I wish the right hon. Gentleman had been more explicit when dealing in Clause 30, and in explaining what were the additional words put in which are taken into consideration when assessing the value, but even if the addition is not to be taken into consideration, the increase of the £30 duty is to be to £60, in the £40 duty to £112, and in the £45 duty to over £200. I ask any hon. Member what he would think if his rates on his house were to be increased by such an exorbitant amount as that? No man would tolerate it. It is a gross piece of tyranny; it is intended to crush the licensed man out, and to give no possible chance to licence holders. To my mind this tax, being such as it is, it can only mean prohibition and the actual closing down of public-houses in several cases, and that, to my thinking, is dishonest. No words and no explanation could remove from the mind of a man who has lived in and worked his public-house for years when he finds that that house is closed down, 1876 and when he finds himself driven out amongst the unemployed, the idea that such an act is a dishonest act. The Government by calling this a tax on licences have not got over the difficulty connected with the question. To my mind a tax does not become less unjust by calling it a licence duty, but, true to their Free Trade principles, they put what is nothing else than a tax upon home industry while they put no duty upon the beer coming in from abroad, which is a countervailing duty to enable the foreign importer to compete with the home producer in our home markets. The Government hope to gain revenue from this taxation, but I maintain they will not gain revenue from it. To the working man a glass of beer and a pipe of tobacco are to be regarded as among the necessaries of life. Just as some people require their cup of tea, so the ordinary working man looks upon his glass of beer and the smoke of his pipe as necessaries of life, and we have to consider their standard of living, and not to look forward to setting up a standard of living for them such as prevails in puritanical homes. You have to take the standard of life which exists in the homes of the working classes, and when you give them the opportunity they will show at the polls what they think of your idea of their domestic life. I do not believe that these proposals will even advance temperance, because men will not have their free will, their customs, and their habits changed in this manner. You cannot alter the habits of a free people in this way. They are accustomed to these things, and they are determined to have them. A working man who cannot get these things which are his daily commodity will neither do his work well nor be a pleasant man to live with at home. The result will be that many of the working classes, instead of denying themselves some of their beer and tobacco which they consume now, will, when that beer and tobacco becomes dearer under your proposals, spend more upon it, with the inevitable result that the family will be deprived of some of the necessaries of life, and will have to exist on a reduced standard of comfort in their homes. It is because I believe that by these proposals you are deliberately making one law for the rich and another for the poor, and at the same time imposing burdens on the working classes, that I oppose this Clause with all my heart. I venture to predict that the party opposite will rue the day they attempted to act according to the 1877 dictates of those tyrannical people who sit at their backs and supply the sinews of war to their party chests.
§ Mr. A. J. SHERWELL
I wish to enter my protest against the innuendoes which have become extremely common on the other side of the House, and which are as offensive as they are ill-founded. When I find hon. Members opposite who are directly and financially interested in the great brewing industry rising one after another in their places to indict this particular scheme of taxation I am conscious of no shock to my own mind. I do not suggest that it is inappropriate that hon. Members opposite should discuss this class of taxation, but may I say that I know of no hon. Member on this side of the House who, in his advocacy of temperance and licensing reform, from the point of view of financial interest, has not suffered because of that advocacy. I hope in the further discussion of this question that we may at least be free from those offensive innuendoes which have formed too prominent a feature in our discussions so far. In reference to the merits of this particular controversy the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Glasgow (Mr. Scott Dickson) made a very strong point in his indictment of this Schedule of the fact that he had heard no defence from the Government of the principle adopted in this scale. The right hon. Gentleman when he made that remark could not have listened attentively to the speech to which he was then replying, nor could he have had in mind the very detailed and lengthy discussion of this particular class of taxation to which we have been accustomed during the last few weeks. I plead guilty to having spoken for one hour during the Committee stage of this Bill in defence of this particular scale of taxation. I do not now propose to repeat the arguments which I used on that occasion, but whatever may be the merits or demerits of the line of argument adopted on this side of the House it is not true to suggest that no attempt has been made to defend this scale. When one comes to analyse the real gravity and weight of the indictment levelled against this Schedule, one is very much struck with the fact that practically the whole of the indictment is based upon exceptional cases. The hardship of those cases I have already freely recognised and pointed out.
If the instances which are so much emphasised by hon. Members opposite in- 1878 cluded any substantial proportion of the whole of the licences with which we are dealing one could understand the emphasis given to this particular argument. As a matter of fact the overwhelming number of houses are not of the dimensions nor of the high values suggested in the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite. One-half of the public-houses proper in England and Wales are less than £50 annual value; in Scotland 40 per cent. are under £50, and in the case of Ireland 95 per cent. of all the public-houses are also less than £50 annual value. So far as the large houses are concerned the proportion they represent of the total is numerically insignificant. The houses above £500 in England and Wales represent only 3 per cent. of all the public-houses in the country; in Scotland the houses of £500 annual value and upwards constitute less than 1 per cent. of all the public-houses in Scotland; and the houses of £500 and upwards annual value in Ireland cannot be expressed either in decimals or in fractions. In Ireland there are only six public-houses out of 17,000 which have an annual value of over £500. I think it is desirable, in a discussion of this kind, that some sense of proportion should be preserved in the distribution of the emphasis upon the various points of the indictment. I do not suggest that because the cases of hardship and of high rateable value are few that, therefore, they are a negligible quantity; on the contrary, I have pointed out from the beginning of these discussions that the adoption of a uniform percentage of 50 per cent. is unfair; but I am bound to say that the Government have gone a very considerable way to meet this hardship—in fact they have gone further than I suggested in a speech many weeks ago to remove cases of great severity by adopting an alternative in the case of public-houses of over £500 annual value. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Glasgow has quoted a number of Scotch cases, and he has based his argument upon the assumption of a uniform application of the 50 per cent. principle. I think the supporters of the Government have a perfect right to ask that when the incidence of this Schedule of taxation is discussed in this House some proper allowance should be made for the alternative option which the Government offer. The right hon. Gentleman said there is no annual compensation value in existence in Scotland or Ireland. Surely the right hon. Gentleman will not suggest to his licensed victualler friends for one 1879 moment that the essential principle of the annual compensation value, namely, the amount of trade done in the house, and the profits on that trade are not ascertainable quantities in the case of Scotland as in the case of England. Therefore, when we have figures of such weight and importance levelled at our heads as those which the right hon. Gentleman levelled this afternoon, we may fairly ask, in justice to the Government and in justice to those who defend this scheme, that in those estimates allowance should be made for the fact that alternative proposals are contained in the Government Bill. As I have several times pointed out, there are sure to be cases of hardship if you press this uniform scale right up and apply it to the higher values, but those who indict this Schedule on that ground ignore the distinct pledge and promise which the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave in his Budget speech that this 50 per cent. principle is provisional for this year only, and that when a new valuation takes place, if it is found that 50 per cent. is excessive, it will be reduced. [An HON. MEMBER: "When?"] When the valuation is made, for then the particulars of the valuation will be in possession of hon. Members of this House.
But, after all, the defects in the scheme are defects which concern what is numerically a very small proportion of the total number of public-houses in the Kingdom. I do not think you will find a single responsible representative of the brewing trade of the country who will admit that the aggregate burden which the Government propose to lay upon the trade is excessive, having regard to the exceptional character of the national needs. I have discussed this matter with many influential representatives of the brewing trade outside this House, and I have never met a single influential person who, in view of our exceptional financial need, admits that the amount the Government proposes to get by these taxes is excessive. Where they quarrel is in regard to the methods of distribution. But defects are inherent in any system where the basis is rental | or annual value which for the time being is accepted by the Government. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Glasgow indicts the Government because they base their Schedule on rental value, may I remind him that it is not for Members of his party to bring that as an indictment against the present Government, because the Leader of the 1880 Opposition, who, in 1904, proposed the compensation levy, deliberately accepted rental value as the basis of the compensation levy, and that basis is far more inequitable in its incidence in that instance than it is in the case of the Licence Duty. Therefore it comes with very ill grace from the right hon. Gentleman opposite to indict the Government for adopting a basis of taxation which has now been in force for over a century. I do not believe you will ever get rid of the anomalies in your licence taxation scale until you directly lay your taxation upon the actual amount of the trade done. As an humble individual I have done my best to enforce this doctrine from time to time. I hope that when the Government reconstruct their scheme of taxation—as I understand they propose to do alter the first year—when the new valuation is adopted and a new basis is being set up, they will endeavour to get rid of all these inequalities and anomalies in the only way which is possible, namely, by adjusting the weight of the taxation to the actual value of the trade done.
§ Mr. GEORGE YOUNGER
The hon. Gentleman opposite has made a very interesting speech, and there is no one in this House better acquainted with the facts than he is. There is, however, one important consideration which I think he has omitted to take into account, and it is, that whilst claiming for the Government some credit for the optional value which they are proposing to work upon after a year's time—and I think I may claim some credit for myself in that respect—he has forgotten to state that the Government have not yet placed us in possession of the information they are working upon, and we have not the slightest notion as to how that value is to be expressed or arrived at. We know the basis of valuation laid down in the Kennedy judgment and we know what it includes. We know also how compensation value is arrived at, but I have not yet heard how it is to be determined in the case of annual value. No one knows what the Government propose to do. I suppose they will proceed by Treasury Rules, but we ought to have those rules before us when we are dealing with this Schedule. We are proposing that 50 per cent. of the gross annual value shall be charged, at all events for the first year, upon every licence holder in England and Scotland, with the Griffith's valuation in Ireland plus 20 per cent. This is to be the basis, and 1881 yet we have not the slightest idea what relation that 50 per cent. bears to the ultimate annual compensation value. The lack of that information makes it extremely difficult to discuss this question, and it makes it particularly difficult to realise what the position of the large houses will be when that compensation value is arrived at. I am glad the hon. Gentleman stated that he had no desire to take more than a fair share out of the trade, and that he would apportion the charge to the compensation annual value so that it should not take out more than he mentioned in his speech. It seems to me, however, that we are left in complete ignorance as to what the percentage will be. With regard to the question put by the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. T. M. Healy), I do not think the Solicitor-General can have put the House in possession of the exact facts of the case. His reply, so far as it went, was accurate. Griffith's valuation, with 20 per cent. added, will be the basis for rating the Irish publican during the first year the Bill becomes an Act, but it will not be the basis in future years.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
The question was put to me as to what would be the basis in Ireland for the purposes of these new duties.
§ Mr. YOUNGER
I have no doubt the hon. and learned Gentleman misunderstood the hon. Member, but I listened most carefully, and he wanted to know how long the basis was going to continue. Was it to be a perpetual basis or not? He wanted to fasten on the Government the charge that, whilst they are for the first year continuing the existing system, which is a beneficial system for Ireland, they do not propose in the future to assess them in Ireland on any other basis than that of England and Scotland. They are going to level up the whole, and Ireland will have to pay much more—
§ Mr. YOUNGER
That is perfectly true, and there are such things as deals with the Irish party, and no doubt the hon. Member thinks he will be able to make the same deal in the new valuation as the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) has made on the present one. That, however, has nothing to do with the question. If the hon. Member will look at Clause 30, Subsection (2), he will see that the Act of Parliament will be brought in to fix the 1882 percentage you will have to pay, and, if Irishmen are able to get a lower percentage applied to their compensation value than we are, then it will not be very creditable to the Government. I do not propose to go into the question of on-licences, because I think that matter has been fully discussed. I disagree entirely with the fairness of the scale. I think it is a punitive scale. I do not doubt that many houses will be closed under an exceptional scale of this kind. I rather think the Chancellor of the Exchequer admitted that that will be the probable result It must be remembered that this scale not only deals with public-houses, but also with hotels and restaurants. This taxation, with the exception in Clause 31, covers the cases of hotels and restaurants, and, although there are modifications offered to them by that Clause, it is impossible to make out how the compensation value will be arrived at any more than one can tell how it will be arrived at in Scotland, and it is very difficult to know on what basis they will pay. A very powerful speech was made on behalf of the generous treatment of hotels by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for St. George's, Hanover-square (Mr. Lyttelton), and, in reply, the Prime Minister said:—I do not deny that hotels are a great public convenience, that they have the incidental advantage to which the right hon. Gentleman referred, and that they promote the amenities of social life, facilitate traffic, and induce foreigners to come to our shores; and provide a great deal of employment. That is not the question. The question is, do our proposals tax them excessively?No one would say a hotel paying £20 a year was excessively taxed, but what you have to consider is the total burden of taxation hotels have to bear, and not the mere Licence Duty. The supply of drink in a hotel is a mere auxiliary to business. They are obliged to supply drink or people will not come. The enormous commercial advantages we have gained by hotels in this country are overlooked, as is also the manner in which hotels are treated abroad compared with the manner with which they are treated in this country. I desire to bring to the notice of the Committee one or two figures which are interesting, and which will show what businesslike people like the Germans do in comparison with the action of doctrinaires opposite. In Germany they regard hotels as an essential element in the development and progress of their country. They therefore relieve them very largely of local taxation by taxing them as private houses. They place upon them the smallest 1883 Licence Duty, and do everything they can to encourage them, not only to increase their accommodation and their size, but also to put up travellers at the lowest posible prices. I am not going to deal with local hotels here, but I should like to give the Committee a very interesting instance of the difference between taxation on an important German hotel and the taxation on an hotel in England. I shall be very glad to give the names of the hotels to the right hon. Gentleman opposite, if he desires to have them, but I do not wish to state them publicly. An hotel of 115 rooms in a Bavarian city is taxed locally and Imperially for Licence Duty and everything else at £233 per annum, whilst an hotel in Leeds, with practically the same number of rooms, is taxed at £1,851 per annum, and upon that burden the Government propose by the present Bill to add £426, making £2,300 of taxation per annum, instead of £233, as in Germany. There is also a large English hotel, the taxation of which is £9,000 a year including the new Licence Duty. There are two hotels in Switzerland extremely well known to everybody, which together provide more accommodation than the English hotel, and the total taxation on them for all purposes is 20,000 francs a year, or £800 in our money.
It is notorious that the railway hotels of this country have been the means of bringing enormous numbers of people, enormous sums of money, and enormous orders to this country. I was told the other day of a striking case by the manager of the Midland Hotel, Manchester, which is one of the best known hotels in this country. A Mexican gentleman who used to come to the Savoy, London, go to Manchester and buy £4,000 or £5,000 worth of goods, and then go on to Berlin to complete his orders, found the Midland Hotel at Manchester so extremely comfortable that, instead of coming to the Savoy, he now goes direct to the Midland Hotel, and remains in Manchester a considerable time, buying £120,000 worth of goods there, and not buying any goods in Berlin at all. The attractions of the Midland Hotel have proved so great that he buys all his goods in Manchester. I mention that as evidence of the advantages which these hotels bring to the country, and I am astounded that the Government should endeavour to punish, as they are certainly punishing, hotels of that class. They ought to be encouraged and not discouraged. The whole scale is so excessive 1884 and so harsh that I am bound to say it is almost impossible to believe that the Government have not other and more sinister motives. They certainly cannot be doing it to get revenue, because they have already had experience of the effect of taxation on the trade, and, while at first they may get increased revenue, I am afraid in the end they will fail.
§ Mr. CHARLES ROBERTS
The matter has been discussed over and over again, and it is no use going into the general case for imposing some higher tax upon the monopoly value of the richer class of houses or of putting some extra burden upon the gin palaces of the great cities, but the whole attack from the other side of the House has been really concentrated on cases of the highest duties which have been put forward, and I do not think it has yet been recognised how far the concessions of the Government and the modifications which have been made in the previous Sections really ease the burdens on these higher class houses. That is the one point to which I wish to direct attention. One hon. Member opposite disclaimed the fact that there was any alliance between his side of the House and the liquor trade. There must be some debating alliance between the liquor trade and the lawyers in the House, because I find most of the instances given on the other side come from the brief which has been very naturally compiled for the use and service of hon. Members opposite. It has been very extensively quoted. I do not complain about it, because it is very convenient to have people to supply you with ammunition, but these cases have been quoted without the qualifications used in the brief. I find on page 69 the very cases of on-licence holders of Newcastle, and what hon. Members have been careful not to quote are the qualifications on page 64. It is there stated that whilst the figures show the situation clearly they are subject to certain qualifications, and do not take into consideration the optional alternative method of assessment of houses of over £700 in value. Then I turn to the 38 London houses, and I find no less than 28 of them are houses of over £500 annual value. These hard cases, therefore, are really being met to a very large extent by the introduction of the concession applicable to houses of over £500. In the case of the Newcastle houses you are given the annual profit, but you are not given the full particulars on which it is possible for me to calculate the annual compensation 1885 value. I can only form an estimate. I have had a good deal of practice in that, having seen compensation granted in at least 100 cases, and I am therefore able to form a tolerably fair estimate as to what the Licence Duty on the annual compensation value would be.
§ Mr. CHARLES ROBERTS
I do not think there is any real difficulty in finding out the annual compensation value of a house, seeing that the compensation value is capitalised on the ordinary number of years' purchase.
§ Mr. CHARLES ROBERTS
I cannot give you the definite figures. I can only give the maximum, which cannot possibly be, on even the most liberal scale, exceeded. Take the case of the house with a gross assessment of £1,000. The proposed licence is £500, but, according to the case quoted here, the profits are such that on the basis of annual value it is really impossible that it should be paying more than £100 at the outside. Thus they have multiplied the Licence Duty by five. I will take the case next of two hotels for which I have the trading figures. The annual value of these houses is in one case £735 and in the other £310. According to the figures put forward on the other side, based on the 50 per cent. annual value, the Licence Duty in one case would be £307 10s. and in the other case £155. I have worked out these two cases. I find the percentage of liquor sold is so very small that the new duty in the first case could not possibly be more than £24 10s., and in the second case it could not be more than 10 guineas. I admit that if you take 50 per cent. annual value the whole way up you will get, above the £500 limit, into a region where the duties are not applicable at all; but I say that the Government has, by the concessions it has made, really provided a remedy. When you come to look into the matter you find that the Licence Duty in nearly all these cases has been quoted on the authority of the "liquor brief," which itself admits that these excessive cases of Licence Duty are not really applicable, and should not be taken into account. I hope that in future we shall hear very little about them. Hon. 1886 Members have said, "You will crush down these houses." I do not believe you will, because the principle of this 50 per cent. annual value is at present often exceeded in the case of smaller houses, and if these will not be crushed out you certainly will not do it in the other cases. In the case of houses under £50 you are already taking 55, 56, and even 57 per cent. of the annual value, and it cannot be suggested that there is anything in these duties which will wipe out the small class of houses. Again, it is said you will cause unemployment. I think the liquor trade is a greater cause of unemployment in this country than probably anything else, and anything which will restrict what the Leader of the Opposition has called "the great and ever-present tragedy of drink" must create employment, and not cause unemployment. I wish hon. Members to remember a Return which was given us last year, and which showed that, under the existing working of the tied house system we had no fewer than 16,000 transfers every year. This means that with the present working of that system, in the case of something like 90,000 tied houses you turn out every year 16,000 of the tenants. There is a constant flow of tenants from one house to another, and it would be a benefit to all if the trade could be put in this respect on a better basis. At any rate I believe as a result there would be less unemployment in the trade itself.
§ Mr. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sherwell) began his speech, which, like all his speeches, was interesting, instructive, and moderate in tone, by making a very undeserved charge against my Friends on this side of the House. My hon. Friends are said to have accused Ministerialists of being politically assisted with funds by ardent, and even fanatical, teetotallers. Well, he deprecated such suggestions being thrown out either on one side or the other, by individuals or by bodies, who had special interests—sentimental or financial—in one direction or another, in legislation. I thought that was a most extraordinary charge to make, because the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster had accused us, not half an hour before the hon. Gentleman spoke, of being in political alliance with the trade. That is an allegation constantly made and always cheered by Ministerialists. But I think it was the hon. Member for South Salford 1887 who first spoke of the subventions of the cocoa manufacturers to Liberal Governments, and suggested that they would cease if the Government abandoned its present policy of temperance reform.
§ Mr. BELLOC
I said nothing about cocoa manufacturers. My point was that if you could have an audit of party funds you would see a very large proportion of those who support the Liberal Government were fanatical teetotallers.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
I understood the hon. Gentleman's observations to apply to the cocoa manufacturers. I take it now that he absolves them. It was not my intention to drag them in. I deprecate this interchange of charges. But let me say that the offenders in this respect are not those who sit on this side of the House. Within these walls and in the country and on every platform it is hon. Gentlemen opposite who make these charges, and it ill becomes them to read us lessons on this subject.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I must really repudiate any suggestion that what I said was in the least comparable with what fell from the hon. Member for Salford, and when the hon. Member made an observation across the floor of the House with regard to party funds, I immediately said I made no such accusation, and that I was speaking really of political alliances wholly irrespective of financial considerations.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
If the right hon. Gentleman thinks the charge he did make was of a much less severe character than that made against his own party by the hon. Member for Salford, I will not argue it with him. But I think the charges were on a par.
§ Mr. SHERWELL
We have had the admission of the right hon. Gentleman who sits for Central Glasgow of a political alliance with the trade.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
In what my right hon. Friend said I entirely concur. He said that if individuals were tyrannically used by any party in this House—if they were tyrannically used by hon. Gentlemen opposite—they were the persons in whose in- 1888 terests we should uplift our voices, and whose interests, moreover, we should try to safeguard against unjust attacks. I quite agree the whole point is: Is this an unjust attack or not? If it is an unjust attack, then I am proud to be one of those who are doing their best to repel it. I am not ashamed of anything I have said or that I am going to say, or that I may be likely to say at any future period on this point. If this be an unjust attack upon a legitimate trade, I am glad to be one of its defenders. The whole point we have to determine is whether this is or not an unjust attack, and I say that, on the showing of hon. Gentlemen who have lifted up their voices in favour of this scale of duties, it is an unjust attack. I do not count among those who lifted up their voices in favour of the scale the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, for he said nothing in defence of the scale. That was a part of the case which he very carefully put on one side. But the hon. Member for Huddersfield did say something in support of the scale. His defence was that if it proved to be unjust in practice, the Government were pledged to alter it. That is the most amazing defence of a Budget proposal I ever heard. It is the only defence which has so far been made, because the hon. Gentleman the Member for Lincoln, who last spoke, declared that the only part of the scale in which this tax operated unjustly was the higher part of the scale, and that, as regards the higher part of the scale, the injustice was adequately met by the provisions which the Government had put forward for introducing a different method of assessment. I have two answers to that defence. One is that the injustice is not confined to the higher part of the scale, and that even as far as the houses comprised in that part of the scale are concerned, there is really no adequate satisfaction to be derived from the alternative method which may be used. Is not one of the most fundamental canons of our taxation this: That when a man is heavily taxed, he should know what the tax is likely to amount to? I do not believe that anybody in England knows what the tax is likely to be if estimated on the alternative plan of the Government—the plan which is based on the compensation value. If the holders of licences in England are ignorant of the principle on which they are to be taxed, what about the holders of licences in Scotland and Ireland? I know that in Ireland the number of houses over £500 is not very great, but in Scotland it 1889 is, and probably, at this moment, the owners of these have not the smallest conception of what taxation is going to be levied upon them. That is not the thing of which we originally complained. I am now dealing with the remedy, and, if you can make that criticism of the remedy, what can be said in regard to the general complaint? How are we to gauge their sense of justice towards this particular industry? I do not think anything can be added to the admirable speech of my hon. Friend the Member for the Ayr Burghs upon the policy of not extending every kind of favour to those great hotels which do as much for certain classes of our international business as almost anything you could imagine. I do not think the Government have shown very great perception to that change. How are we going to get a sense of justice to this industry? When you consider the speeches and their Amendments to the Bill, no very great consideration has been shown to those institutions which are absolutely of international importance. As to the injustice, I quite agree gross cases of hardship are perhaps rather to be found amongst the restaurants and amongst the public-houses and beerhouses. It is really folly to say that the hardships of this tax are either remedied by the new system of assessment or confined to the central part of the scale. Just let me remind the House of how that stands. It seems, according to the table from which I am quoting, and which I believe is authentic, that from houses between £100 and £200 annual value £314,000 are now collected. Under this new duty £786,000 will be collected. Those are houses not at the top of the scale. Those are houses which get no relief from the flew system of assessment. Those are houses of the moderate type which I should suppose Gentlemen in this House regard as the very class they are entitled to see preserved. No man can tell me that it is not an enormous taxation upon a legitimate business. I agree with what fell from the Member for Salford that it would be a gross and unjust tax to the whole community. If this was a neutral trade, if it was concerned with the manufacture of cloth or pig iron, everybody would say it is intolerable, and it is oppressive in the highest degree, and no argument about monopolies created by the State would ever convince the ordinary member of the public that a monstrous fiscal injustice is not being done. If people are blind to that injustice it is wholly and solely be- 1890 cause the moral question intervenes—this national and most legitimate desire to increase the sobriety of the people. They are dazzled, as it were, by that idea, and lose all conception and sense of the ordinary equities of ordinary life. I cannot believe that that is right. I think it is discreditable to our whole legislative system that such a thing should be tolerated. Let it be remembered that when we talk of the effect of this taxation upon the smaller houses we are only repeating what the Prime Minister himself has said. In saying he did not believe that any houses would be squeezed out by this tax the hon. Member for Lincoln directly contradicted the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister anticipated that the result of this taxation would be to destroy the living of many of those persons who now carry on this trade. On that anticipation the right hon. Gentleman based the fiscal prophecy that the yield of this tax would diminish in future years. In face of that it is futile for hon. Members to say they do not now believe and hope that the effect of this method of raising revenue for "Dreadnoughts" is to destroy the living of a large number of men. Even those who, like the hon. Member for Huddersfield, are prepared to give a very qualified defence to this proposal, surely forget how serious must the injury be in the course of the very first year to those houses below £500, in the case of which no escape is possible under this Bill. The Government contemplate, the Member for Huddersfield contemplates, and I daresay other Members in the House contemplate, that experience may prove after a year that the scale under this Bill is iniquitous in its magnitude. Then they said they would alter it. Very good; but how about the people who have paid this iniquitous tax in the meantime? To many of them it must mean ruin, to many others it must mean borrowing money which would hang like a millstone round their neck, injure their wives and families, hamper them in their business, and embitter their lives. Does any Gentleman laugh at that picture, or think it is exaggerated? It is certainly not ludicrous, and I am not conscious that I have exaggerated it. I do not believe I have exaggerated. I think that is the effect of what will occur in a great many cases. Can the Committee forget that at the very moment when they are throwing this enormous burden upon a particular class of traders they are really doing practically nothing to interfere with those who are 1891 rival traders in the same kind of commodity either at home or abroad? I am not going to argue how far this tax on licences is going to be thrown upon the public in the form of increased cost of beer. I understand that the Government have been quite inconsistent on this subject, and have spoken with two voices. Sometimes they say the whole duty must be paid by the licensee and sometimes they say the licensee will be able to throw it on the consumer. I do not intend to argue that matter, except to say that if it is thrown on the consumer then it does amount to an additional and exceptional taxation on British-made beer. I will not deal with or press that point, but there is another point we have discussed in Committee more than once, and that is the question of clubs. Is it not quite plain that when you are putting an oppressive tax upon one form of machinery for selling liquor and leaving another very little affected by your proposals you are committing an additional injustice of a very special kind? I do not see how you are to defend it. The right hon. Gentleman complains of some figures given by my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield in the excellent speech with which he opened this Debate, and in which my hon. Friend said that among the burdens thrown on the trade is the amount of compensation they have to pay for compensation levied under the Act of 1904. The right hon. Gentleman opposite would not admit the force of that argument. He said, "Not at all. That money was paid as an insurance, in order to give security to this particular kind of trade, and should not be regarded as a burden." I can understand that argument if it gives security, and it did give security at the date when the present Government came into office. I do not think it ought to have been counted as a burden on the trade until those new projects of legislation were forced on the attention of the country. To compel people to go on paying security and to take away their security at the same time seems to be a proceeding left to the financial ingenuity of right hon. Gentlemen opposite. That reminds me of one point, which shall be the last of the arguments I shall put before the Committee. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Huddersfield pointed out that it was inconsistent—I think he used the word ungracious—for Gentlemen sitting on this side of the House to criticise the system of payment according to annual value, because, said 1892 the hon. Member for Huddersfield, payment according to annual value was the principle adopted in the Act of 1904. Well, does not the Committee see that a principle may be anomalous and yet may be tolerable if either the object for which the money is levied be one beneficial for those on whom it is levied, as under the Act of 1904, or else that the amount to be levied on that anomalous scale is not very large? It is when you get levying enormous sums, not for the benefit of persons for whom it is levied but on a scale of injustice, that then the full magnitude of those anomalies come about and they become the immediate and direct cause of hardships which are absolutely intolerable, and which might well have been included when the whole scale on which the money was to be levied is of a much smaller or more moderate kind. No one would ever defend Mr. Gladstone's scale of 1880. The only defence I have ever heard anybody put-forward is that, although the scale of 1880 was bad, it was better than that for which it was substituted. In this imperfect world that must be taken as a defence so-far as it goes, but because we were quite ready to admit the scale is anomalous it is no attack at all on what we ourselves did in 1904, nor is it any answer to the comments or criticisms which we make on the gross injustice of the present proposals of the Government. In an excellent speech of high principle delivered early in the afternoon by the Member for Salford he explained that he objected to any tax which arbitrarily singled out special industries for exceptional burdens, and it was on that ground that he was to vote against the present proposals of the Government. I absolutely agree with that hon. Gentleman, though I am amazed he favoured us with his silence on other parts of the Budget which seemed at least as much open to the particular form of criticism as that we are now discussing. At all events, I quite agree that the principle is sound, and I agree that the principle is violated in this Clause. You have chosen a special section of the community, not because they are specially able to pay, but, on the contrary, because prejudice has existed against them owing to the particular trade they are engaged in. That is grossly unjust, grossly unfair, and it does not become less unjust or less unfair, but, in my opinion, it becomes much more shocking to anybody who really tries to look at these things impartially when he discovers, perhaps unconsciously to the very people on 1893 whom the tax is imposed, that it is imposed under the guise of morality. Nothing is so injurious to public morality as actions of this sort done under the cloak of morality. I think in that respect this is the worst tax of the whole Budget. Other taxes there are which are open to criticism, but no tax is at once so plainly and obviously unjust to those on whom it is imposed, no other tax has this hypocritical veil thrown around it to disguise its naked hideousness, as this tax which has been put on because the trade is unpopular, and which they would never dare to put on if it had not been for that accidental circumstance. These are reasons, in my opinion, more than adequate for the vote which I shall give in favour of the Amendment.
§ Mr. HORATIO BOTTOMLEY
I have been wondering all the afternoon whether any voice was going to be raised in reference to the incidence of these taxes in so far as they affect that not unimportant portion of the British dominions called London, and inasmuch as whatever be their merits and their justification, as to which we have heard both sides now ad nauseam, and inasmuch as they mean beyond any question absolute ruin and disaster to a large portion of the persons engaged in the licensing trade of London, I ask myself where are the London Members to-day and what are they doing? There was a time when we had one or two London Members whose voices were occasionally heard in an independent strain. There was the hon. Member for West Ham (Mr. Masterman) and the hon. Member for Camberwell (Dr. Macnamara), who both paid the penalty for their independence by being relegated to a subordinate position on the Treasury Bench, where the mischief they can do in future will be perpetrated on one or other of the public Departments, and not upon the party machine. To-day, so far as London Members are concerned, all has been silence. I think the Committee may reasonably give its attention to the terrible incidence of this Schedule so far as the London licensed victuallers are concerned. The hon. Member (Mr. Sherwell) fell into the illusion which seems to permeate the minds of so many Gentlemen in regard to this Bill. When the inherent injustice and impracticability of this tax became manifest, the Government, by an adroit concession, which means practically nothing to the ordinary licensed victualler, said, "We will make an exception in favour 1894 of the man whose premises are over £500 a year." Premises over £500 a year are an insignificant number. In London they do not number 1,000 out of some 7,000 or 8,000 licence holders. It is the little man, who is at present paying his £30, £40, £50 a year, who will be called upon to pay this £250 a year, who is looking with dismay and serious and grave apprehension at this burden, which means the closing of his premises in a large number of cases. I know that that argument does not appeal to the Chancellor of the Duchy, because that is one of the indirect objects of the Schedule. In my own Constituency the licensed premises are the centres of the social and local life, and but for them athletic clubs, musical clubs, societies of all kinds which have no habitation, and against whom there has not been one charge of misconduct for years past, could not exist. In the scale of offences which came before our criminal courts the licensed victualler comes out on top in the way of good conduct and immunity from offence. To these men, who to-day find the utmost difficulty in getting anything like a living out of their business, this tax means ruin.
The fact is that the small licensed victualler cannot pay this tax, and it seems to me that there is an obligation on the Government to show that he can. Does not the Government itself admit that there is something wrong about the whole thing? The Leader of the Opposition has emphasised the fact of the novel introduction into our fiscal system of imposing a burden with the hall-mark on it at its inception of suspicion and doubt as to its fairness and its equity. I have never read of any tax being imposed and being vouched for by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in such a manner as to throw suspicion on its equity, and even on its temporary existence. If the Government says that perhaps this 50 per cent. may work hardly on the small man, why could they not wait for a year and impose the tax on a new basis? If the Licensing Bill of last year had passed the Government would have had to wait not only for a year, but for all time. Had that Bill passed there would have been no further taxation for the trade in this year's Budget, or for 14 or 21 years to come. I am not going to argue the ethics of this tax. It is admitted by the Government that it has something more than a fiscal purpose. It is admitted that one of its objects is to close public-houses, but whereas under the Act of the Leader of 1895 the Opposition the tendency was to close the lower class houses, the tendency here is to close the better class houses, so that this is the new policy of the Government—to close the better class houses and to perpetuate the inferior houses. The more one considers it the more one sees the hopeless muddle into which we are getting by the introduction of moral legislation into a fiscal measure. This proposal means, not only the doom of the Bill, but the doom of the Government. There are very few Members on this side of the House who, if they said on this floor what they say outside, do not in their heart of hearts believe that whatever merits there may be in the Budget are counteracted in the public estimation by this proposal, and who do not shudder at the prospect, in a few weeks' time perhaps, of having to go before their constituents and justify the infliction of a monstrous injustice upon a law-abiding and ever-increasingly respectable section of the community. From the point of view of the London Members, I protest against a large section of my own Constituents being deprived of their livelihood. The position of London is so
§ unique, the assessment is so high, that a man may be paying on an infinitely higher assessment than a man doing an infinitely greater trade in some other centre of the country. It is monstrously unjust that there should be no provision made for him. If it were Ireland, his case would be entertained at once. If the London Members would only unite, as the Irish Members have united, to put the case of London, free from party politics, on the mere ground of bread-and-butter politics, to the Government, they could insist upon having these iniquitous clauses taken out of the Bill so far as London is concerned, and incidentally they could do that which perhaps is unworthy of consideration in a moral atmosphere of this kind—they could save their seats, almost everyone of which they will deservedly lose.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 199; Noes, 84.1897
|Division No. 767.]||AYES.||[6.30 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Hart-Davies, T.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hedges, A. Paget|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Cory, Sir Clifford John||Henry, Charles S.|
|Armitage, R.||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Higham, John Sharp|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Crossley, William J.||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.|
|Astbury, John Meir||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Hodge, John|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Duckworth, Sir James||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Barker, Sir John||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Hutton, Alfred Eddison|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Hyde, Clarendon G.|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Elibank, Master of||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel|
|Beale, W. P.||Erskine, David C.||Jackson, R. S.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Essex, R. W.||Jardine, Sir J.|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Esslemont, George Birnie||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Evans, Sir S. T.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Everett, R. Lacey||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Ferens, T. R.||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Fuller, John Michael F.||Lamont, Norman|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Fullerton, Hugh||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Branch, James||Gill, A. H.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)|
|Brigg, John||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Glendinning, R. G.||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Byles, William Pollard||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Lupton, Arnold|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Lynch, H. B.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Gulland, John W.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Clough, William||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||M'Callum, John M.|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Marnham, F. J.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighshire)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Massie, J.||Robinson, S.||Verney, F. W.|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Vivian, Henry|
|Mond, A.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Walters, John Tudor|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Morrell, Philip||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Myer, Horatio||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Napier, T. B.||Seaverns, J. H.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Seddon, J.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Norman, Sir Henry||Seely, Colonel||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Nuttall, Harry||Shaw, Sir Charles E. (Stafford)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Sherwell, Arthur James||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Sloan, Thomas Henry||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Stanger, H. Y.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)||Steadman, W. C.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Pointer, J.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras S.)|
|Pollard, Dr. G. H.||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Strachey, Sir Edward||Winfrey, R.|
|Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Rainy, A. Rolland||Summerbell, T.|
|Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Rees, J. D.||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||M'Arthur, Charles|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Fletcher, J. S.||Moore, William|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Foster, P. S.||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gardner, Ernest||Nield, Herbert|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gretton, John||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Haddock, George B.||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Hamilton, Marquess of||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Renwick, George|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Heaton, John Henniker||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Helmsley, Viscount||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hill, Sir Clement||Snowden, P.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hills, J. W.||Stanier, Beville|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hunt, Rowland||Starkey, John R.|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Jowett, F. W.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Kerry, Earl of||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Keswick, William||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Doughty, Sir George||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)||Young, Samuel|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Younger, George|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)|
|Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lowe, Sir Francis William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. H. W. Forster and Lord Balcarres.|
|Fell, Arthur||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words 'A duty equal to,' stand part of the Schedule."1898
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 191; Noes, 142.1901
|Division No. 768.]||AYES.||[6.36 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Brigg, John|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Beale, W. P.||Burns, Rt. Hon. John|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Beauchamp, E.||Byles, William Pollard|
|Armitage, R.||Beck, A. Cecil||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Cawley, Sir Frederick|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Channing, Sir Francis Allston|
|Astbury, John Meir||Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Clough, William|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Black, Arthur W.||Cobbold, Felix Thornley|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Boulton, A. C. F.||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Caring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Bowerman, C. W.||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Barker, Sir John||Branch, James||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighshire)|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Jackson, R. S.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Jardine, Sir J.||Robinson, S.|
|Crossley, William J.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Jowett, F. W.||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Kekewich, Sir George||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Duckworth, Sir James||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Laidlaw, Robert||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Lamont, Norman||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Seddon, J.|
|Elibank, Master of||Lehmann, R. C.||Seely, Colonel|
|Erskine, David C.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Shackleton, David James|
|Essex, R. W.||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Shaw, Sir Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Levy, Sir Maurice||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Lewis, John Herbert||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Lupton, Arnold||Snowden, P.|
|Ferens, T. R.||Lynch, H. B.||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Steadman, W. C.|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||M'Callum, John M.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Gill, A. H.||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Marnham, F. J.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Massie, J.||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Verney, F. W.|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Mond, A.||Vivian, Henry|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Gulland, John W.||Morrell, Philip||Walters, John Tudor|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Myer, Horatio||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Napier, T. B.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Norman, Sir Henry||Watt, Henry A.|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Nuttall, Harry||Weir, James Galloway|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Parker, James (Halifax)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Henry, Charles S.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Higham, John Sharp||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Pease, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Saff. Wald.)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Pointer, J.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Hodge, John||Pollard, Dr. G. H.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Rainy, A. Holland||Winfrey, R.|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Rees, J. D.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Captain|
|Hyde, Clarendon G.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Norton and Sir E. Strachey.|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Cullinan, J.||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Ambrose, Robert||Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-shire)||Helmsley, Viscount|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Dillon, John||Hill, Sir Clement|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Doughty, Sir George||Hills, J. W.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hunt, Rowland|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Faber, George Denison (York)||Jordan, Jeremiah|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Joyce, Michael|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Fell, Arthur||Kavanagh, Walter M.|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Keating, M.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Ffrench, Peter||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Field, William||Kerry, Earl of|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Keswick, William|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Fletcher, J. S.||Kilbride, Denis|
|Boland, John||Flynn, James Christopher||Kimber, Sir Henry|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Foster, P. S.||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Gardner, Ernest||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Ginnell, L.||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Gretton, John||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Lundon, T.|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Handock, George B.||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Hamilton, Marquess of||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Harrington, Timothy||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Harris, Frederick Leverton||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Hazleton, Richard||M'Arthur, Charles|
|Crean, Eugene||Healy, Timothy Michael||M'Kean, John|
|Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Sheehy, David|
|Mooney, J. J.||Parkes, Ebenezer||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Moore, William||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Stanier, Beville|
|Morrison-Bell, Captain||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Starkey, John R.|
|Muldoon, John||Philips, John (Longford, S.)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Murnaghan, George||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Summerbell, T.|
|Murphy, John (Kerry, E.)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Ratcliff, Major R. F.||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)|
|Nield, Herbert||Reddy, M.||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Nolan, Joseph||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid.)|
|Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Redmond, William (Clare)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Remnant, James Farquharson||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Renwick, George||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Young, Samuel|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Roche, Augustine (Cork)||Younger, George|
|O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|O'Malley, William||Salter, Arthur Clavell||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. H. W. Forster and Lord Balcarres.|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Scanlan, Thomas|
|O'Shee, James John||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND moved, in Scale 2 (C), Retailers' On-Licences (Spirits—Publican's Licence), after the words "subject to" ["half the annual value of the licensed premises subject to"], to insert the words "in the case of England and Scotland."
§ The Amendment which I have risen to move raises the whole question of the relation of Ireland to the new taxes. There will be a further Amendment to insert, after "half," "and in the case of Ireland one-third." The object of the Amendment, therefore, is to provide that instead of half the annual value in Ireland it shall be one-third the annual value. This Amendment really raises the whole question of the relation of Ireland to these taxes, and while I do not intend to delay the House more than a very few minutes, at the same time it will be necessary to make allusion, not merely to the question of the annual value, but also to the other serious question that affects Ireland, namely, the minimum limit, as to which we have a specific Amendment on the Paper a little lower down. If the minimum limit were abolished even, or if it were seriously altered, it would not in our opinion meet the case of Ireland. It certainly would not meet the case of grievances in the great cities of Belfast, Dublin, or Cork. The Prime Minister, speaking on the question, made allusion recently to the fact that there were only 900 houses in Ireland above £50 valuation. Let me call his attention to the fact that in Belfast there are 643 houses altogether, and 343 of those houses are above £50 valuation, and under the Bill as it stands a sum of £12,000 additional taxation will be put upon those houses. The case of Belfast is an exceptional case. Recently there has been a revaluation in Belfast, and it is the only city in Ireland that has been so revalued, although a revaluation has commenced in Dublin. The 1902 revaluation which came into effect in 1901 in Belfast raised the valuation of these houses from £27,000 to £60,000, and the local taxation paid by the owners of these houses was raised by that valuation front £9,000 to £20,000. The Licence Duty paid by them was raised from £9,000 to £13,600. That is to say, that valuation put increased taxes upon the licensed houses of Belfast to the extent of £15,600, and now on top of that this Bill comes along and proposes to put on £12,000 more—that is to say, £27,600 new taxes upon the licence holders of Belfast. That is an enormous impost. Fifty-four per cent. of all the houses of Belfast will be severely hit by it, and I have received information from those who have the best reason to speak with authority on the matter to the effect that under the operations of this Bill as it stands one-third of the houses will be entirely extinguished. Let me just give the Prime Minister a few individual cases in Belfast. I have a list here of a great many cases, but I will only read out two or three. The first is the case of a house the present valuation of which is £725. The present licence is £43, and the new licence will be £269. In the next case the valuation is £4130, the present licence is £40, and the new licence £215. In the next the valuation is £440, the present Licence Duty £40, and the new tax £220. I have a list here of 20 or 30 sample cases of this kind, showing that under the Bill as it stands a new tax will be put upon these houses which I do not think anybody would seriously defend as just or proper.
§ My case is that these instances of injustice and oppression would not be met simply by a diminution in the minimum scale, and the only way really to meet the case in a city like Belfast is by the Government amending the Bill first by reducing the annual value from one-half to one-third, as we propose in this Amendment, 1903 and in addition to that dealing with the minimum limit in the way that we propose. What I said with reference to Belfast is in a modified way true of the City of Dublin, although the City of Dublin has not been as yet fully revalued. It is true also of the City of Cork; and I think that the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister will admit that to inflict an injustice of this character on these great cities would be a proceeding foreign, I hope, entirely from the intention of the Government. Therefore I press upon the right hon. Gentleman the first Amendment which I am now moving, namely, to reduce the annual value for the purpose of assessment from one-half the annual value to one-third. Now let me deal for a moment with the question of the minimum limit, because these are the two points on which the connection of Ireland with these taxes is really concerned, and it would be for the convenience of the right hon. Gentleman, and certainly for the convenience of the House and of the Irish Members, if he would tell us generally what his attitude will be on the Irish part of this case. The right hon. Gentleman has admitted that the minimum limit as defined in this Bill is not suitable to Ireland. The hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sherwell), who is an authority upon all these matters, and who has put the Irish Members under great obligations to him for the trouble he has taken in this matter, and for the assistance he has given to us, for which I beg to return our thanks, has published a number of statistics of the most important and unanswerable character. For instance, he shows that taking the minimum limit as described in the Bill as applying to Ireland in towns of less than 2,000 inhabitants there would be 64 per cent. of the houses dealt with in Ireland, whereas there would only be 4 per cent. of the houses dealt with in England and 5 per cent. in Scotland, and in towns running from 2,000 to 5,000 inhabitants the number of houses affected by the minimum limit in the Bill would be 74 per cent. in Ireland and only 15 per cent. in Scotland and 19 per cent. in England. In towns: of from 5,000 to 10,000 inhabitants the proportions of houses affected would be 84 per cent. in Ireland, 28 per cent. in Scotland, and 32 per cent. in England; and in towns of from 10,000 to 50,000 inhabitants there would be 90 per cent. of the houses dealt with in Ireland, and in Scotland 35 per cent. and in England 34 per cent. Therefore, it is manifest, without going beyond 1904 these figures, that the licence scale as provided in the Bill—whether it is suitable for England or not or for Scotland I do not know—but, so far as Ireland is concerned, is manifestly unsuitable. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, I am glad to say, admitted that recently, but he resisted the claim I put forward that the only way of meeting the injustice was the total abolition of the minimum limit as far as Ireland is concerned, and he has put an Amendment on the Paper to reduce the minimum limit in the case of Ireland by 50 per cent. I assure him, and I have gone most carefully into this with all sorts and conditions of men, that that Amendment does not meet our grievances.
§ Take the case of the City of Cork. There are 500 houses in Cork. Two hundred of these 500 houses are only licensed to-day at £4 10s., and the remaining 300 are all licensed at, in or about, £6 or £6 10s. Under the minimum limit, even reduced by 50 per cent., as proposed by the Government Amendment, these houses will be all raised to £15. It will be admitted that that is an increase in the Licence Duty which is not justified by the facts or the circumstances. The same thing is true of the City of Dublin, and, as I pointed out, in the City of Belfast, and I urge upon the Prime Minister most strongly that he should go further and accept our proposal for the abolition of the minimum limit. When the right hon. Gentleman announced on the last occasion that he was going to make a concession to Ireland to the extent of 50 per cent. of the minimum limit under the Bill, he was instantly as sailed by the Leader of the Opposition for making the concession for the purpose of buying Irish votes. Does the House remember the statement of the Leader of the Opposition last night when he asked, "Why have they taken off the Cider Duty? Why have they not given way to the Irish Members? It is because they know how the Irish Members are going to vote. They have given way in the case of cider because they are uncertain how the Members interested in cider districts are going to vote." If the Prime Minister makes the concession to Ireland to-night I hope the Leader of the Opposition will not get up and say that it is for the purpose of getting Irish votes. It would be inconsistent with his statement last night that the Government know how we are going to vote on every occasion. I ask the Prime Minister—and I am sure he is too experienced in these matters to be affected—not to be influenced in the smallest degree by this 1905 type of banter across the House. If there is any odium to be incurred by the Government in going out of their way to differentiate between the case of Ireland and England, they will not incur a bit more odium by doing the thing thoroughly than by doing the thing in a half-hearted way. Let them have the courage of their convictions in this matter. If they think we have no justice in our case, let them refuse our case altogether. I put that to them frankly. If they do not think we have got a fair case, let them reject it. If they think we have a fair case, let them not meet us in a half-hearted way for the purpose of trying to buy off attacks of hon. Members above the Gangway. Having said so much, I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be able to allay the intense anxiety which exists in Ireland upon this matter and announce a concession that will give some hope of protection to the people who are threatened.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
On the last occasion on which we discussed this matter, when I announced that the Government, so far as Ireland was concerned, proposed a reduction of the minimum, I was accused, as the hon. and learned Gentleman has reminded us, of something in the nature, I will not say a corrupt, but a sinister, bargain with the Irish party. Well, it has been a singularly unfruitful one so far as our proceedings recently are concerned. I have followed the Division Lists very closely, and my impression is that during the whole of last week the hon. and learned Gentleman and his Friends voted steadily against us. [An HON. MEMBER: "Some of them."] The great majority of them.
In the very Division which has just taken place I think the whole body of those Members went into the Lobby against us; so I think that the right hon. Gentleman, even with his acute and suspicious imagination, and who became yesterday transparently angry in reference to the Cider Duty, will see that, so far, there has not been much encouragement to renew on a larger scale those sinister, electoral, political bargains. Therefore I ask the Committee to believe me when I say, speaking on behalf of the Government, that we address ourselves to this question—perhaps I am making a large draft on the credulity of hon. Gentlemen opposite—with a single-minded eye to its real merits. The hon. and learned 1906 Gentleman has proposed an Amendment which would actually reduce the 50 per cent. to 33 per cent. in the case of Ireland. That is a proposition which—I am sure he will anticipate what I am going to say—the Government cannot possibly accept. I think there must be, for many reasons, a uniform duty; and, even if it were not so, the proposal of the hon. and learned Gentleman amounts to this, that, as regards the larger number, I think I may say the vast majority of Irish licences, it would lower the rate of duty which has been paid ever since the year 1880. Of course that is quite inconsistent with the object of this Bill, which is to raise revenue, and, therefore, a proposal of the kind suggested by the hon. and learned Member cannot be accepted. Let me point out that 95 per cent. of Irish licensed houses are under £50 annual value. As regards houses which are not of a higher annual value than £50, the scale proposed by the Bill is substantially the same as the scale under the existing law. Therefore, Ireland, as regards 95 per cent. of its, houses, is not really hit by the scale at all, or hit very inappreciably, and only in such cases as the hon. and learned Gentleman has spoken of. In case of the larger class of houses, in a city like Belfast, the conditions are much more analogous to those of English and Scotch industrial centres than in perhaps any other part of Ireland. I am going to admit, and I have admitted on previous occasions, that the real grievance that Ireland would suffer under the proposals of this Bill would be the grievance of raising the scale of duty on the same minimum. It is not the duty, as I have pointed out—because in 95 per cent. of the cases the duty is substantially unchanged—which causes the grievance. It is owing to the character of the trade and the social and economic conditions in which it is carried on, and the application of what I may call the British minimum would raise the scale of taxation in regard to a vast mass of Irish licensed houses. The hon. and learned Gentleman quoted some figures compiled by and published by my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield, who, I think, has rendered very great service in the elucidation of this problem. Everybody knows that the hon. Member for Huddersfield is an ardent political temperance reformer, and that he, at any rate, is not in any sinister relationship with the Irish party, whatever maybe the case with the Government, who are always under some suspicion.
1907 The hon. and learned Member for Waterford quoted some striking figures, and may I put before the Committee other figures equally striking and which tend in the same direction. The proportion of low value public-houses is enormously higher in Ireland than in England or Scotland, and the figures which I am about to give, I think, will show that. If you take, the annual value of under £20, in England the percentage is 12, in Scotland 8, and in Ireland no less than 75 per cent. Take the annual value of under £50, in England it is 49 per cent.; Scotland, 42 per cent.; and in Ireland no less than 95 per cent. Moreover, this is another distinguishing feature in the Irish case: The lowest annual value in Ireland, unlike what is commonly the case in England or Scotland, are to be found alike in the rural and urban districts, while in Great Britain, for the most part, they are confined to the rural districts. Here, again, I will trouble the Committee with two or three figures. The number of houses of the annual value of under £20 in areas where the population is 10,000 or upwards are as follows: In England, 431 towns, 370 houses; Scotland, 39 towns, 41 houses; in Ireland, 21 towns, and no less than 959 houses. These figures give an average of one house per town in England and Scotland, as compared with no less than 45 per town in Ireland. The more the matter is investigated the more I think every fair-minded man will be disposed to come to the conclusion, which, after going into the matter very carefully, we have done, that the different conditions require consideration. These conditions arise partly from the system of valuation which has so long prevailed in Ireland, and partly from the fact that the trade in Ireland is a mixed trade, and that the houses in which the business is carried on are not public-houses in the sense in which that term is used either in England or Scotland. They are more in the nature of general stores where other commodities are sold, and often sold in greater quantities and with much more profit to the retailer than the actual sale of drink brings in. Taking all these circumstances into account, and all these very striking figures which I have quoted, it is impossible to come to the conclusion that we should apply the same minimum to Ireland as to England and Scotland; it would be doing a great injustice, and would be ignoring entirely the marked and, I would add, fundamental difference between the social conditions of 1908 the two countries. It is upon these grounds, and these grounds only, that the Government have come to the conclusion that it is impossible, as I announced a few weeks ago, after full investigation of the matter, to apply the same minimum to Ireland as to England and Scotland. The question is what shall we do; what will meet the justice of the case?
The hon. and learned Gentleman suggests that there should be no minimum at all. As I said when I spoke a few weeks ago, we cannot assent to that. We think there ought to be, a minimum, a proper, reasonable and just minimum, for the same reason as we apply a minimum in England and Scotland. The question is what ought the minimum to be. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy has on the Paper an Amendment reducing the minimum which we propose for England and Scotland by 50 per cent. That is a very large concession, and certainly we hope that it will meet all the necessities of the case; but I think as regards certain classes of public-houses and certain areas of population in Ireland that the conditions which obtain in that country should be considered. Cork is a very exceptional case indeed. There is no other case like it, and I rather demur to Cork being taken as an illustration. The minimum of 50 per cent. would really mean as regards the great bulk of houses under £50 that there would be no change at all. The minimum would not have the effect of forcing up the taxation of these houses. The hon. and learned Gentleman has put down an Amendment proposing that £5 should be the minimum, but his proposal would have the same effect as regards the great majority of these houses. I should be disposed to accept his suggestion for a fixed minimum of £5 as regards houses in areas up to a population not exceeding 10,000. There are very few indeed of these. When you get to the urban areas of Ireland where the population exceeds 10,000, then, I think, different considerations do come in, and we might very well fix the scale of duty at the figure of £7 10s. That would give you, as regards the rural areas and all the urban areas with a population not exceeding 10,000, a fixed duty of £5, which, I think, would correspond pretty accurately with the Government proposal of 50 per cent., and would give you the fixed duty of £7 10s., which is very considerably lower than the duty would be in either England or Scotland, or any part of Great Britain, while it does at the same time, to some extent, correspond 1909 with the altered social conditions of Ireland. I believe that an Amendment of that sort would be a very real and substantial one, and would remove the whole core and substance of the Irish grievance. The hon. and learned Gentleman and his colleagues are quite right in pressing forward the interests of their own country in reference to this particular class of tradesmen in order that they may be placed on a footing of substantial equality with their fellow tradesmen in England and Scotland.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I understand an Amendment will be moved by someone representing the Government to make an addition to the hon. and learned Gentlemen's Amendment. I do not agree, if I may say so, either with the criticisms which have been made by the Leader of the Opposition or with some of the observations which have been made by the hon. and learned Gentleman himself in regard to the treatment of Ireland in this matter. The Leader of the Opposition thinks, or suspects at any rate, that for a purpose which I will not again describe we are showing some favour to Ireland. I do not think we are. You cannot get mathematical equality, but, more or less, we get some kind of equality in the treatment of the two countries, whose social conditions and systems of valuation are entirely distinct. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Waterford, when, last night, I refused, and rightly refused, to deal with the case of small breweries in Ireland on a different footing from the case of the small brewer in England and Scotland, said: "Oh, you will not remedy an admitted grievance in Ireland, because England and Scotland stand in the way." That was not the case. We dealt out perfectly even justice to Ireland in the case of the small breweries. That was our object. That was our intention, and that I believe to be the effect. And in the same way we have tried to do equal justice by removing what would be the injustice and inequality if the minimum were to pass without qualification.
§ Mr. J. H. CAMPBELL
While on this side we gladly welcome any concession, thankful for the smallest mercies in the case of a Budget of this kind, no matter what the motives which prompted the concession were, at the same time, speaking for myself, I decline to be any party either 1910 to asking for or accepting a concession which all publicans are entitled to, whether in England, or Ireland, or Scotland, so long as that concession is confined to Ireland. The concession of the right hon. Gentleman, which he has foreshadowed, he has sought to justify on two grounds, and I think I will demonstrate to the House in a very few minutes that on neither of the grounds which he has thought to base this concession upon can any case whatever be made that will hold water for one minute. As I understand, the right hon. Gentleman has sought to discriminate, and thinks there is a case calling for discrimination, in favour of publicans in Ireland for two reasons—first, by reason of the system of valuation which prevails there; and second, owing to the nature and systems of the trade. With regard to both of those I will, I think, satisfy the House that the Irish publican has been always the spoilt child of licensing legislation. Let me take in the first place this question of the annual valuation. Now, there is no doubt whatever that the vast majority of the public-houses in Ireland are very lowly rated and very lowly valued. I start with that admission, and when I explain to the House how that has come about, and what is the reason of it, they will see at once that so far from justifying a discrimination in favour of Ireland, it shows that as a result of the system of valuation that has been in force the Irish publican ever since 1880 has been in a position of tremendous advantage as compared with his brother either in England or in Scotland.
What has been the methods for ascertaining the annual valuation of public-houses in Ireland on which hitherto the duties have been based and assessed? Under the Acts of 1880, the Customs and Inland Revenue Act of that year, and I have verified this matter by reference to "Hansard," I find that when the Bill was originally introduced in 1880 by Mr. Gladstone it contained no exemption in favour of Ireland, and the system of valuation upon which Licensing Duties under that Act were to be assessed was to be uniform all over the United Kingdom. But in the course of Committee discussion in 1880 the case was made on behalf of Ireland that owing to the fact that there was so much mixed trading in Ireland, Ireland was entitled to a different system of valuation for the purpose of assessing the Licensing Duties, and it was in consequence of the very case which was then made, and the case which 1911 is now being utilised, doing duty twice over, as to the existence of this system of mixed trading, that Mr. Gladstone ultimately gave way and introduced an Amendment as regards valuation in Ireland which is to be found in the 43rd Section of the 43 Vict., cap. 14, Inland Revenue and Customs Act of 1880. Shortly put, that meant that Griffith's valuation was to prevail for the purpose of ascertaining the annual value of licensed premises, and that the total valuation of the licensed houses for the purpose of assessing the duty was not to exceed the amount of that valuation plus 20 per cent. It did not say it was to amount to that, but that that was to be the maximum, and that concession was made as the future basis for ascertaining licensing duties in Ireland on the very ground of the case that is now put forward by the right hon. Gentleman as justifying this fresh and further concession. In so far as Ireland was entitled to any concession by reason of her mixed trading she got that in 1880, and she has had the advantage of it ever since, and it is absurd that should now be put forward as a reason for giving a further concession. That whole grievance which was alleged to arise as to mixed trading was fully provided for by the provisions of the Section I have referred to.
That is not the whole of the case as regards preferential treatment to Ireland. It is as the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) pointed out, and as the Prime Minister has stated, quite true that as compared with Scotland and as compared with England the average valuation of the Irish public-houses is exceedingly low, but that is entirely due to the fact I have pointed out, that Ireland has had since 1880 the benefit of a special system of valuation for itself, and if you had valued public-houses in England and public-houses in Scotland on the same principle on which they are valued in Ireland you would have had the same average rate of valuation prevailing. But I am pointing out that it is perfectly ludicrous to try and make a case for Ireland excluding Scotland and England from it on the ground of the existing low valuation in Ireland, which in itself was the result of a concession gained in 1880, and which Ireland has enjoyed ever since. That does not exhaust the whole of the case. Up to four years ago, although that was the prescribed method of valuation, so tender 1912 were the valuation authorities in dealing with Irish public-houses that they were going on an entirely wrong legal method and basis, with the result that they were allowing publicans all over Ireland to escape even under this Section with a valuation that was something like 40 per cent. lower than it legally ought to be. That question came up for determination about four years ago for the first time in a case from Belfast, and the result of the decision of the Court of Appeal in Ireland is this, that it decided that ever since 1880 the system of valuation that was adopted and which purported to be carried out in pursuance of this Section was entirely wrong, and that the Irish publican had been allowed to escape with a valuation that was something like 40 per cent. or 30 per cent. below what it ought to be. The reason of that was that the valuation authorities in making out the annual valuation under this Act of 1880 did not take into account the fact that the premises had a licence attached. They merely valued the premises as an ordinary building without a licence, and in 1905 it was decided for the first time that all that was wrong, and that from 1880 to 1905 the publican had been escaping a substantial percentage of valuation.
There again the Irish publican had a tremendous advantage, and he is enjoying that advantage still all over Ireland except in the City of Belfast, because unfortunately no change can be made and no correction can be made in the mistake that has prevailed since 1880, unless and until there is a general revaluation. There has been no general revaluation except in Belfast. There is one at present supposed to be going on in Dublin. It has been going on for five or six years, but how long it will continue before anything emerges I know not. But in Dublin and all over the rest of Ireland, except in Belfast, the publicans are still enjoying not merely the low valuation prescribed in their favour in the Act of 1880, but the reduced valuation resulting from the wrong application of the principle ever since that Act was passed. Therefore I say if you take it on the question of valuation it is perfectly ludicrous to suggest that you can make a case for Ireland. The very lowness of the valuation of Ireland is itself an advantage, and a tremendous one, the Irish publican has enjoyed as against his colleague in Scotland or in England. I am not arguing for one moment against this concession.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
I want this concession. I am not in the least arguing against it, but if it is to be a concession it should be given to every publican, whether he carries on his trade in Ireland or Scotland or England, and the object of what I have already said is to point out that if the publicans of Ireland are entitled to this concession, then it is a fortiori a case for the publican in Scotland and in England.
That does not nearly exhaust the advantages which the Irish publican has as compared with his Scotch brother, or a publican carrying on business in England. In this country it has been always contended, at least by hon. Gentlemen opposite, that there is no property in the licences of publicans in this country, and it has been suggested that that is the result of the decision in the case of Sharpe v. Wakefield. Sharpe v. Wakefield has no authority or application to Ireland; and I am not sure that hon. Members who represent English constituencies are alive to this fact, that in Ireland it has been decided that a publican has a property in his licence, and is entitled to transfer that property regardless of the existing number of public-houses, and that he is entitled to have his licence renewed regardless of the existing number of public-houses. The essential difference in the law of Ireland as compared with England is this, that the justices in England can kill a licence at their discretion either on renewal or transfer, but in Ireland it is impossible for them to do that. They can only refuse to renew or to transfer either in consequence of the misconduct of a man or the unsuitability of the premises. Therefore the Irish publican has a huge monopoly in his business. He has a real property and a real monopoly, and that distinguishes him again from the publican in England or in Scotland. Rut he is in a still stronger position as regards monopoly, because in 1902 this House passed an Act under which from that date the granting of any new licences in Ireland was prohibited. The result of that has been immeasurably to enhance the monopoly of the existing licence-holders. I should like to know what enormous value there would be attaching to licensed property in England or Scotland if the House of Commons passed a law declaring that no additional licences were to be granted? That, however, is the case in Ireland. In all these points the Irish publican is in a posi- 1914 tion of tremendous strength and advantage as compared with his coleagues in England or in Scotland.
Now take the other ground on which the Prime Minister sought to justify the granting of this concession to Ireland to the exclusion of Scotland and England. If any hon. Member opposite would propose the extension of the concession to England and Scotland I would gladly vote with him, but I shall not vote for a concession to any single portion of the United Kingdom, particularly so long as it is based on arguments which are directly in conflict with the existing facts. The second ground on which it was sought to justify this concession was the existence of mixed trading in Ireland. I wonder how hon. Gentlemen opposite, who are strong friends of temperance, are going to deal with that? There could be no more vicious system of carrying on the business of a publican than the system of mixed trading as it prevails in Ireland. The immediate effect of this concession will be to place a premium upon small public-houses, with ill-fitted and unsuitable premises, and I would ask the hon. Members for Appleby (Mr. Leif Jones), Lincoln (Mr. C. Roberts), and Huddersfield (Mr. Sherwell), whether, as temperance reformers, they are going to support a proposition which will place a premium on premises where the business is carried on under a system of mixed trading as this proposal will do? It is justified on that ground alone. I have received urgent requests during the past week from religious communities without distinction in Ireland asking me to appeal to this Committee not to give the proposed privilege to such a system.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman divide against it? If so, I will gladly vote with him.
§ Mr. J. H. CAMPBELL
I intend to divide against it; and I hope I shall have the same response from the hon. Members for Lincoln and Huddersfield as I have received from the hon. Member for the Appleby Division.
§ Mr. SHERWELL
As far as I am concerned, I may say at once that I propose to act on the principle which has received such forcible expression on the other side, that this is a fiscal and not a temperance matter.
§ Mr. J. H. CAMPBELL
I rather suspected that. I have noticed that some temperance reformers seem to be divided in their position between what I may call 1915 "social temperance" and "political intemperance," and they usually make the selection in favour of the latter. All I can say is that I do not think much value can be attached to the hon. Member's temperance profession if he is going to vote for a proposal to give direct preferential treatment to public-houses carried on under a system which causes the greatest amount of temptation, misery, and drunkenness at home, and, moreover, to do that in the case of houses which have been enjoying ever since 1880 a distinct preference at the hands of the Legislature as compared with similar establishments in England and Scotland. When the position of affairs in Ireland is compared with that which prevails in England and Scotland, hon. Members often forget the admittedly excessive and extravagant number of houses that exist in Ireland. The total number of public-houses in Ireland is 17,000, of which 7,000 are valued at less than £10 a year; whereas the total number of houses in Scotland is 6,000. So that instead of passing legislation which would succeed in replacing a substantial number of those small, badly equipped premises, unsuitable in themselves and unsuitable by reason of the mixed trading carried on, the Government are going to perpetuate their existence by encouraging them, and giving them preferential treatment in the matter of taxation.
§ Mr. J. H. CAMPBELL
No. The hon. and learned Member knows as well as any man that there is no one in this House or out of it who has a stronger view as to the inequity or injustice of confiscating the property of any man or of any class without compensation. I am not arguing this case at all with the object of depriving Ireland of this concession, so long as it is extended under similar conditions to similar people in England and Scotland; but I will be no party to asking the Committee under false pretences to make a concession to Ireland. I am not suggesting that the condition of the average publican in Ireland is worse than that of the average publican in Scotland or in England. It is nothing of the kind. For the reasons I have given it is, and has been ever since 1880, infinitely better. The Irish publican has a more valuable property in his licence; he has paid less duty, he has had a lower valua- 1916 tion, and advantages have been extended to him which have been denied to the publican in Scotland and in England. I appeal to those Members who are prepared—not like the hon. Member for Huddersfield, but like the hon. Member for the Appleby Division—to put principle above politics or party, to do this justice to the temperance cause in Ireland, and not to handicap it by doing something unnaturally to preserve and to perpetuate the system which at present prevails. Nothing could be more deplorable in the interests of temperance than the existence of such a vast number of lowly rated, poor, badly equipped, and unsuitable premises for the carrying on of this business. What I should have liked to have seen as a concession would have been something based on the lines of the recommendation of the Royal Commission on the Licensing Laws, namely, some provision by which, if the publican in Ireland separated the portion of his premises on which the licensed trade was carried on from the portion connected with the general business, an exemption might be given in respect of the rating of the portion devoted to the licensed trade. So long as that is not done, and the Government, under the plea of justice, fair play, and equal treatment all round, give a distinct preference to Ireland, and support it on the two grounds put forward by the Prime Minister, it will take a good deal more argument than he adduced to induce me to believe that this is not part and parcel of the political deal under which hon. Members from Ireland a month ago thought they were quite safe in going home and entrusting the fortunes of the trade to right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench. I do not want to be in the least misunderstood. No matter on what ground the concession was put, no matter how liberal or illiberal it was, I would gladly welcome it in a Budget of this kind; but I do not ask for, and will not be a party to obtaining for, Ireland any concession which is denied to England and Scotland, if I am satisfied, as I am, in my heart and conscience, that the circumstances and conditions of the trade in Ireland do not require that it should obtain that concession by way of preference over men engaged in the same trade in Scotland or in England.
§ Mr. JOHN DILLON
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has just delivered one of the most extraordinary speeches I have ever heard in this House. The Prime Minister proposed to make a con- 1917 cession, which, as he most truthfully stated, was no special favour to Ireland at all, but an attempt to place the people of Ireland engaged in this particular trade on an equality with men similarly engaged in England, taking into consideration the different social circumstances of the trade. How is it met by the right hon. and learned Member? He gets up and delivers a ferocious philippic, rejecting and repudiating this concession because it is a concesson to Ireland. I hope his friends and supporters in Ireland will take note of his words to-night. The organ in Dublin which chiefly supports the party of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has been attacking the Irish Nationalist leaders with the greatest ferocity for the last three months for not obtaining these concessions, and much larger concessions, for the publican of Ireland. The offer—as I shall show just now—goes a long part, but not the whole of the way, towards doing what we consider fair justice. The "Irish Times" has been clamouring for this, and then the representative of the Unionist party starts up in his place, and delivers one of the most ferocious and one of the most unjust attacks that I have ever listened to in this House. Let me criticise some of his statements for a moment. He commenced by giving a grossly untruthful and false statement of the Irish case.
§ Mr. DILLON
Generally. Then, in the fury of his zeal to prove his case, namely, that the Irish publican was the spoilt child of licensing legislation, he urged that if you were going to do even-handed justice between the Irish and the English publican, you ought to double the tax on the Irish publican. Because the Irish publican has been the spoilt child of licensing legislation, therefore, instead of making this concession to Ireland, the true policy, the right hon. Gentleman urged, ought to have been to put 50 per cent. on the tax, or to double it. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will justify his position in Ireland. Let me take two or three of the propositions the right hon. Gentleman took in the fury of his headlong zeal. First of all, he declared that the monopoly value was more valuable in Ireland than in England and Scotland. He said it was more valuable; then, almost within five minutes, he described the enormous multiplication of licences; that there are 17,000 licences in Ireland with a dwindling population of four and a quarter millions, 1918 whilst in Scotland, with a larger population, there are only 6,000 licences. Can the right hon. Gentleman not see the contradiction in his own speech? The monopoly value of one of the 17,000 licences in Ireland is greater than the monopoly value of one in 6,000 in Scotland with a larger population and many times the wealth of Ireland! I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman that there has grown up in Ireland an outrageous multiplication of licences. Under whose Government? Under the control of the British Government in Ireland, and confirmed by this House. When hon. Gentlemen like the hon. Members for Appleby or Lincoln, or other enthusiasts for social reform and temperance legislation, lecture us in this House, allow me to tell them that we in Ireland are years ahead of the people of this country in temperance legislation. If the control of this House had been removed from Ireland, I venture to say that Ireland would have been a model to the whole of the rest of the United Kingdom in the matter of temperance legislation! What has been the record of Ireland in the matter of temperance legislation? Year after year we have brought Bills into this House and passed them or voted for them. A great majority of Irish Members have supported them. These Bills have been obstructed and killed by this House. It is only after years of effort that the Sunday Closing and other Bills for Ireland were passed. Permit me to say to the temperance advocates opposite—I fully recognise the broad and generous method of criticism in which the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sherwell) has approached this question—that the worst possible way to promote temperance feeling in Ireland is to do gross injustice, and to legislate ignorantly in these matters without any reference to the peculiar circumstances of the case.
What was the next thing the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Trinity College said? He said that the giving of this concession to Ireland to the small publican as compared to the larger men—this lowering of the minimum—was calculated to increase, perpetuate, and intensify the enormous evil of the existence of these small houses. Therefore, as a moralist, and a man in communication with all the religious societies in Ireland, particularly those who object to play golf on Sunday, he objects to the perpetuation of this evil in Ireland. What does he say in the next sentence? "If you will only consent to extend the evil to Scotland and 1919 England I will support it." There is an example of the logical consistency of the hon. and learned Gentleman! So eager, so overwhelming is his zeal to deny this partial concession to Ireland, which undoubtedly removes a considerable part of the grievance which we have been protesting against, that he upsets himself, and falls head over heels in his furious efforts. The Prime Minister described this concession accurately. It is not a special concession to Ireland. It is an attempt to place Ireland in this one respect on a footing of equality with Great Britain. We have heard a great deal of furious rhetoric about the injustice which is going to be inflicted on Ireland by this Budget. I, myself, think there is injustice going to be inflicted upon Ireland. The amount of money which is to be taken out of Ireland has been estimated at £2,000,000 a year. I think that is a grotesque exaggeration. I think a great evil has been done to our cause from the beginning of this prolonged fight that we have been trying to maintain for justice under this Budget to Ireland by the grotesque and monstrous exaggeration which has done service in Ireland as to the effect of the Budget. I believe that the money taken out of Ireland by this Budget will be much nearer a quarter of that sum. For my own part, my chief objection to the Budget is not the amount of money that is to be taken out of Ireland, but the fact that this Budget has been drafted with a sole eye to the conditions of England. To propose to take the money that is to be taken from Ireland under the circumstances is cruel injustice and inequality. Actually under the provisions of this Budget, drafted, as usual, solely and only with a view to the social conditions of England, you propose to take from Ireland a large sum of money. In doing so you are going against a very fundamental principle of taxation, and inflicting the maximum of injustice and hardship upon small sections of the community in Ireland, and on individuals, to obtain a minimum of revenue. Take the case of the Whisky Tax and these licences. I believe that the amount of revenue that you will get from these two taxes is exceedingly small—smaller even than the amount estimated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer—but the amount of injury you will do in Ireland is enormous. The amount of cruelty you will inflict upon individuals, if the Bill remains as originally drafted, is almost incredible. That is my main objection to the system of 1920 the incidence of these taxes upon Ireland. These Licence Duties are an extreme example of the effects to which I have just alluded. You draft a Bill which applies the same scale to Ireland as to England.
The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Trinity College has committed himself to the principle that in dealing with Ireland justice is to be met by applying exactly the same rule and regulation to one as to the other. That gives away the entire case for the overtaxation of Ireland which we have been fighting in this House for years. We have always maintained—what the Royal Commission, after a full investigation, confirmed—that all the injustice of overtaxation upon Ireland has been inflicted by that very system of applying exactly the same scale in your taxes to Ireland as to England without inquiring into the different conditions of the two peoples. That is what is done under the scale of the Licence Duties, though the proposal now put forward by the Prime Minister, I must say, to a very large extent has done away that inequality. I deeply regret the Prime Minister has not seen his way to consent to accept the proposition in the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Waterford. The scale of higher licences in Ireland should be one-third instead of one-half. The Prime Minister in his answer pointed out, which was quite true, that 05 per cent. of the houses in Ireland are under £50 in value, and would not be unjustly affected by the scale. It is the remaining 5 per cent.—although perhaps they are comparatively few—that we are speaking for, and the Prime Minister's words are cold comfort to them, for they will be cruelly hit by the higher Licence Duty. I still hold something ought to be done to lighten the grievance which these men, who are chiefly publicans in Dublin and Belfast, suffer. I would suggest that the Government should extend the principle to Ireland that they have adopted in their concession to the City of London. If they will give us in Ireland a figure which would correspond, taking into account the difference in the two countries, to the £500 valuation in London, it would, I think, meet the case. The amount could be fixed at, perhaps, £150 or £200. Now I come to the concession offered by the Prime Minister. It does not, of course, go the whole way of what has been asked by the hon. Member for Waterford. It will be foolish, and I do not propose to do it, to crawl upon my stomach to the Prime 1921 Minister for this concession. On the other hand, I think that it is very bad Parliamentary tactics to deny when you are met in a fair way. The concession is a very large and substantial one. Let us take this concession from the point of view of the number of people to whom it applies, and from another point of view to which I, in spite of the religion and the religious feeling of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Trinity College, attach importance, and that is the need some of those people have of consideration, and I say that, judged by either of those two criterions, these concessions are most valuable because in the first place they apply to a vast number of the publicans in Ireland who would be most severely hit by the original proposal as it stood. In the old scale as applied to Ireland some of the publicans in Cork, for instance, were this concession not made, would be advanced from £6 to £35—that is, nearly sixfold; others from £8 to £35, which is more than fourfold. Now the sudden increase of a tax fourfold on poor men is manifestly unjust and cruel. I know that the City of Cork would have been affected by an increase of £647,000 on the original minimum, whereas some of the English cities about the size of Cork, in reference to which I made some investigation, would be only affected in quite a trivial manner. Therefore I say that this concession, while it does not go the whole way that we felt justified in urging it should go, is still a very substantial concession, and looked at from the point of view of a number of our people to whom it brings relief it is a concession that we ought to thankfully recognise, and it must necessarily modify our attitude towards these Licensing Duties to a large extent. We shall be bound to divide upon this Amendment, and I sincerely hope that at a later stage the Government may see their way to extend some relief to the larger licence-holders on the basis of the relief that is to be given to the City of London. But, speaking here for the Irish Parliamentary party, as I am entitled to do, I heartily thank the Prime Minister for the valuable concession he has given in this very important matter, and I think it will be found to-morrow that I am speaking not only for the Irish Nationalist party, but also that I am speaking the views of the Irish Unionist party.
§ Mr. G. FETHERSTONHAUGH
In addition to the advantages that my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dublin University said were possessed by the Irish licensed trade, he might have added that they are certainly well represented in this House—so well represented that many of the Members of the party below the Gangway who support the cause of the Irish licensed trade here by their votes and by their speeches would in reality be in favour of temperance measures were it not that they were afraid of the power of the drink trade behind them. One can understand the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) advocating the cause of the Irish publican when one remembers that in a town in his constituency where there are 92 public-houses the population is something like 1,100. Considering these circumstances, one can understand his impassioned advocacy of the Irish publican, and his resistance of what he considers might be an injustice to him. The result of the concession that the Government has foreshadowed means virtually that 95 per cent. of the publicans in Ireland will pay no increased taxation whatsoever. The English publican will have to pay under this Bill. It appears to me that the English publican will have to pay enormously increased taxation, whereas under the concession of the Government the Irish publican will be very much as he is at present. There are in Ireland 17,393 public-houses. That is at least 10,000 too many. Of these 17,393 as many as 7,190 are at the minimum valuation—that is, houses valued from £10 down to, I daresay, a few shillings. Mot one of these will be affected by the present Schedule, and very few of those of the higher valuation. It may be that the circumstances of Ireland are somewhat different as regards this licensed trade, but I have never been able to see where the difference has not been altogether in favour of the Irish publican, and, so far from the Irish publican being entitled to any favour or remission of duty as compared with the English and Scotch publican, I personally am prepared to go to the length of saying that the taxation ought to be increased in place of decreased in Ireland. The Irish publican has got off all these years, and he is likely to get off many more years, from paying anything at all in respect of the licence. He paid duty upon the mere valuation of the walls of the structure without taking into account anything whatever for the value of the licence. Licensed public-houses in Ireland in many 1923 cases are valued at practically nominal figures, and pay "duty upon practically nominal figures. In addition to their having the privilege of paying duty upon practically nominal figures, they enjoy another privilege that the English and Scotch publican have not at all. The Irish publican is virtually sure of, and indeed cannot be refused, renewal or transfer. By the decision of our courts he is given the very thing about which we heard so much last Session in the Licensing Act that the English publican does not possess. He has an absolute right of renewal and an absolute right of transfer without reference to the existing number of public-houses, and therefore we have no machinery for the diminution of public-houses. You find 20 or 30 public-houses in a small village, and there is no power on the part of the justices to reduce them in any way. On the other hand, there is no power to increase them under the Act of 1902. Therefore the publican in Ireland is in the happy position that he has a freehold of tenure of his licence and he has the privilege of a purely nominal scale of valuation in respect of that licence. When I heard the Prime Minister giving his two reasons as to why a difference should apply to Ireland as regards licences to that which prevails in this country, I was struck with great surprise, for the reasons seemed to me to tender in exactly the opposite direction. The publican has escaped taxation in Ireland, and has paid nothing like the same rate which is paid here, and the reason given for that was because the business was carried on in Ireland as a mixed business, and that therefore it would not be fair to tax the publicans upon the value of the premises, taking into account the amount of the trade done. I venture to say not half the publicans in Ireland carry on a mixed trade, but are purely and simply publicans, yet they escape from being taxed, and now it is proposed to put them on a very much more favourable scale by exempting them from any increased duty under this Act, although it has to be paid by the publicans in Scotland and England. Having regard to the grossly excessive number of publicans in Ireland, it would have been quite proper to apply to them the same duties as would apply to England and Scotland, and if the result was to get rid of a number of the poorer and more wretched of these 17,393 houses I think it would be doing one of the greatest services to Ireland that any Government has ever done.
§ Mr. WILLIAM REDMOND
I must say I have listened with a great deal of regret to the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down, because I feel that the cause of temperance which he has at heart is not likely to be helped at all in Ireland by speeches such as the one he has just delivered. I do not think it is possible to help the temperance movement in Ireland by doing anything which is glaringly unjust, and I must say as one who has taken some little part in measures directed towards temperance in this House, that the proposal of the Government as it stands does do very great injustice, and in my opinion would not promote the temperance movement; and I will tell you why. I do not deny, I never have and never shall deny, that in my opinion, and I believe the same is the opinion of a great many Members of all shades of politics, there are a great deal too many public-houses both in Ireland and in this country. I think myself that any well-considered and equitable plan that might be proposed for a real reduction of the number of licensed houses would command a good deal of support even from those who are not supposed to be deeply interested in the temperance movement. Any such scheme would have to be well thought out; it would have to be equitable and it would have in certain cases to be accompanied by some scheme of compensation, and, above all, it would have to be a scheme which would mete out equal justice and fair play between rich and poor in the trade. As far as I have been able to ascertain, the effect of the Schedule as it stands would be to punish or to place a burden not only upon the wealthy publican, but upon the poor publican, but there would be this difference, the Schedule as it stands would inflict a fine upon the rich publican, but he would survive; it would inflict a fine upon the poor publican, and it would at the same time wipe him completely out of existence.
That in my opinion is very unfair. If you are going to approach this question of the reduction of licences fairly you should not simply make up your mind to do away with the licences of the poor people, and leave those who are wealthy and well-to-do to survive. That is why I am glad the Prime Minister has made this concession, because I believe it is only an act of justice, and I am certain that if the Schedule remained as it stands on the Paper it would work a great injustice, and would not promote the cause of temperance. I see the head of the temperance 1925 party in this House sitting opposite, and I think he will do me the justice of admitting that on more than one occasion I have differed from some of my colleagues on this question. For this reason I hope he will be able to attach some weight to what I say. I sincerely declare that the question of reduction of licences in Ireland or in this country could not be satisfactorily dealt with under the terms of this Budget as provided in the Schedule. I hope when the time comes for this question to be generally considered it will be dealt with in a fair, all round, equitable way, and that men will not be put out of existence and deprived of their means of livelihood simply because they are poor. I hope the time will soon come when the whole of the question will be dealt with in Ireland as well as in this country. I know it is the fashion for certain people to say that the Nationalist party in this House is almost entirely controlled and influenced by the trade in Ireland.
§ Mr. WILLIAM REDMOND
That is a confirmation of my statement, but I beg to give that assertion a most emphatic contradiction and I do not believe it is true to any extent. I know it is absolutely untrue as far as a great number of my colleagues are concerned. We are very much alive in Ireland to the necessity for the promotion of temperance, and whenever I hear any of my colleagues saying, with swelling breasts, "We are proud of our Guinness," I have no hesitation in saying that I am not proud of Guinness, either in Ireland or in the House of Lords, for probably he is engaged at this moment in chopping up our Irish Land Bill. As far as I am concerned, I say with all due respect that just as you have too much Rothschild in this country, we have too much Guinness in Ireland, and I hope the day will speedily come when the Irish people will be able to shake themselves absolutely free from the black grip of Guinness in Ireland, and, when they do that, they will shake themselves absolutely free of many of the things that oppress them and keep them down, and they will thus promote liberty and the progress of their country. I say that as one who has no particular feeling of prejudice or bigotry in the matter at all. The people who are well educated and well fed know how to take care of themselves, and they may do as they like, but there are many people in Ireland, as there are in this country, who need a little en- 1926 couragement and a little help to guard and protect themselves against what is always an ever-besetting evil and temptation in the land. In my opinion, much harm as landlordism and alien rule has done in Ireland, the Guinnesses and Jamesons have, in my opinion, done a great deal of harm also, and because I support this change in the Budget and plead for the poor people in the trade and protest against their exclusion, I must not be taken in any way as departing from those principles which I have more than once enunciated in this House, for the advocacy of which I have been abused, attacked, threatened, and intimidated. I still maintain those principles, and I can tell the hon. Member opposite that I hope, upon a proper occasion and under fitting circumstances, to promote those principles in an equitable way, and I shall be ready to back them in this House. In the meantime I am not proud of Guinness, neither am I afraid of him.
§ Mr. HUGH BARRIE
I have listened with extreme pleasure to the hon. Member for Clare on those occasions when he has given us one of those delightful and proper temperance addresses. The hon. Member, however, up to a certain point supports temperance measures, but he is very apt to desert them when a crucial moment comes.
§ Mr. WILLIAM REDMOND
Will the hon. Member state when I deserted, and whether it is not a fact that it was largely through the work which my colleagues and I did that the Early Saturday Closing Bill was passed and the Sunday Closing Bill was made a permanent Act of Parliament?
§ Mr. HUGH BARRIE
I am glad to respond to the request of the hon. Member, and I am dealing with the particular Bill to which he refers. He did give that measure praiseworthy support up to a certain point, but when finally the surrender engineered by the hon. Member for South Tyrone was made which weakened the Bill so seriously, the hon. Member himself will not dispute that he advocated the acceptance of that surrender.
§ Mr. WILLIAM REDMOND
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but, as he has put this question, he will perhaps allow me to answer it. What occurred was this. The Bill proposed to do three things, and because the hon. Gentleman could not get more he was anxious to have the Bill sacrified altogether. We compromised the matter and made the Sunday 1927 Closing Bill a permanent Act as well as early closing on a Saturday. If the hon. Member had had his way none of these things would have been done at all.
§ Mr. HUGH BARRIE
I do not agree with the history of the transaction which the hon. Member for East Clare has given to the Committee, and I think that all temperance friends in Ireland regret exceedingly that that Bill was so greatly weakened. I ask the Committee to remember what happened as regards this question of mixed trading only a brief year ago in this House. At the final stages of the Bill we found the Government ready and willing to capitulate to the Nationalist demand.
§ Mr. HUGH BARRIE
The point I was referring to has a particular bearing upon the Amendment with which we are dealing, because it will be within your recollection, Mr. Deputy-Chairman, that the Prime Minister gave as a reason for the concession he made this afternoon that the existence of mixed trade in Ireland was a reason for making the concession, whereas all temperance advocates in Ireland say that is a reason likely to lead to an exactly opposite course. I am glad to find the hon. Member for Appleby (Mr. Leif Jones) agrees with me when I make that statement. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Herbert Samuel) will agree with me when I say that in the Bill last year he yielded to the plea of the mixed trader and allowed him to continue to serve children. What has been the result? Seven publicans in Ireland have suddenly become mixed traders. There are glaring cases in Ireland which have sprung up during the last few months. I mention that as evidence of the perniciousness of the doctrine enunciated by the Prime Minister. I regret the concession given. I am satisfied it will clog the wheels of temperance reform in Ireland for many more years. I agree with every word said by my hon. and learned colleague, who has long been an advocate of all temperance measures. He knows the evil done by the 17,000 public-houses, which 1928 are really the curse of Ireland. We regret that, instead of getting some help under this Finance Bill, to most of the provisions of which I am utterly opposed, we are to have the power of the small public-houses for evil continued. There was one remark made this afternoon with which I beg to differ, and that is that there is a large element of goodwill in the smaller class of public-houses. So far as I know, many of the public-houses doing a mixed trade would suffer very little if they lost their licence, and, because of that, I regret exceedingly that the concession has been made to the Nationalist demand. Every religious community, including the leaders of the Roman Catholic community, every temperance society, and all societies leading in social work in the great cities of Ireland, have protested against Ireland receiving exceptional treatment from the Government in this respect, and I hope it is not yet too late for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to realise that the concession is being made in the strongest opposition to the most influential public bodies working for social reform in Ireland.
§ Mr. T. SCANLAN
I venture to say that the hon. Member who has just sat down, in the remarks he has made neither represents the Roman Catholics of Ireland nor any other religious body, even in his own constituency. He may represent certain temperance societies within his constituency and the particular organisation which was responsible for his election as a Member of this House, but I must protest against his pretence of representing the Roman Catholic community in his own constituency or in any other part of Ireland. I most heartily support the Amendment on the Paper in its full sense, without regard to the concession which the Prime Minister has announced. I agree with the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Dillon) that it would be foolish for any Member representing an Irish constituency to look a gift-horse in the mouth or to fail to recognise when a substantial concession is made that there is something for which to be grateful, and to the extent to which the proposals of the Prime Minister is a concession to Ireland I am grateful, but I regret very much to state that this concession is practically valueless to the Constituency which I represent. I cannot support the Amendment proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) for reasons which I have heard given by one of the London Members—I think the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Bottomley)—who objected to this Finance 1929 Bill because the Government were incorporating moral principles in a fiscal measure. I take it the ground on which my colleagues and I oppose this Schedule is this: the Government have failed to take note of the moral aspect of this proposal in so far as it regards off-licence holders in Ireland. I do not say the Government are acting with anything like malice. I certainly absolve them from that, but at the same time, like hon. Gentlemen who sit on the opposite side of the Gangway, they are absolutely ignorant of the condition of affairs in Ireland.
I was amazed to hear the Prime Minister say that in his view the proposed tax would not hit at all 95 per cent. of the licence holders in Ireland. I speak, not only as representing my own Constituency, but with a certain knowledge of the general condition of affairs in Ireland, and I say that, in making such a statement, neither the Prime Minister nor any of his henchmen have any conception of the position of affairs in a large number of Irish constituencies, of which the Constituency I represent (Sligo) is typical. The population of the principal town in my Constituency happens to be 10,800. The additional 800, which takes us above the 10,000 limit, is due to the arrangements of the Prime Minister nor any of his hench-board which is responsible for industrial schools and for the insane population of a number of counties as well as part of the county I represent. There are in the immediate vicinity of Sligo and within the urban area, owing to the operation of these boards, a population of about 1,000. It will thus be seen that there is a peculiar hardship on the licence holders of Sligo. The population, in so far as it is an effective population, considered from the point of view from the holder of a licence, is under 10,000. Yet the licensed traders in Sligo, on account of the operation of certain boards in Ireland, who are responsible for placing within the unban area about 1,000 people, are to be mulcted in the heavy penalties which attached to an urban community the population of which is above 10,000. I wish to give the Committee a few figures. The number of licences in the town of Sligo is 80, and in those so small is the volume of trade transacted that to 74 the minimum would apply. The Licence Duty paid at the present moment by the whole of the publicans in this urban community is £836. If the new duty has to be paid by them, the amount would be £1,742, an increase of £906, or 108 per cent. 1930 If the Committee will look at it in another way they will find that if even the £5 limit were applied the amount which the Government would derive by way of revenue would be £958 as compared with £836. In other words there would be an increase of £122, or 14 per cent., on the amount derived under the present system of taxation. But if the concession which has been announced by the Prime Minister is applied, and if the £7 10s. limit is applied to Sligo, the amount which will be derived will show an increase on the present system of taxation of exactly 21 per cent. How can it be maintained by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, as representing the Prime Minister, that this is just to licence-holders who are living on the bare limits of subsistence at the present time. That must be evident from the fact that they are doing so small an amount of trade that not more than 6 per cent. would get above the minimum scale. Can it be said there is here no real hardship for which the right hon. Gentleman is responsible? I appeal with confidence to the Government to redress the peculiar grievances which the licensed traders in Sligo must suffer from, even if the grievance is redressed to the extent of making the minimum limit £7 10s. I say the placing the limit as high as £7 10s. in the case of this town, with a population of slightly over 10,000, is not meting out justice to them, and, as the Government have not yet committed themselves on paper to the concession, I suggest that the case might be met either by keeping the limit at £5 or by stipulating that the increased limit of £7 10s. shall only apply to town populations of 20,000 and upwards. I think the Chancellor of the Duchy will admit that here there is a very real grievance. I do not believe that any hon. Member of this House would suggest that an injustice of this kind could be committed with any show of decency in the name of temperance. In the principal town of the constituency which I represent, I venture to say we have temperance reformers who are doing far more real work for temperance than the bodies to which the right hon. Member for Dublin University (Mr. Campbell) and the last speaker referred. I assert that the work of temperance will not be promoted by inflicting an injustice of this kind. I therefore ask the Government to seriously consider, in view of the fact that they say they do not wish to subject the licence-holders of Ireland to peculiar 1931 injustice they cannot either keep the minimum at £5 or stipulate in the amending Clause that the new minimum of £7 10s. shall apply only to places where the population is 10,000 and upwards.
§ Mr. MOORE
I notice when hon. Members below the Gangway speak very loudly on questions of this sort they talk about the injustice to Ireland; they speak of the grievance as an Irish grievance. My suggestion is that with them, in a case like this, Ireland means the Irish publican and nothing else—absolutely nothing—else. Hon. Members complain that we have said that they are under the domination of the trade. The hon. Member for West Clare denies that, but I may be allowed to have my own opinion, and that opinion, in which I believe all my colleagues concur, is that there is no party in this House so absolutely influenced by the licensing trade as the party to which hon. Members below the Gangway belong. I know a Protestant town in the North of Ireland—I thank God it is an industrious and prosperous town—in which there are only 27 publicans, and out of those 27 24 belong to the political faith represented by hon. Members below the Gangway. As a matter of fact, hon. Members appear here not so much in the interests of Ireland as in the interests of those who profess their political faith. The hon. Member for West Clare told us that he hoped in the next Parliament to take part in temperance legislation. Yes, but in the meantime he has made his peace with the publicans in his division, who threatened him, for he said himself he was intimidated by them, and that they threatened the withdrawal of their support. And now this great temperance reformer hopes to be in the next Parliament, having killed the publicans protest in his division by saying he is in favour of this special reduction in the interests of licensed houses. The Government are very anxious to avoid by-elections, but I am afraid that this step they are now taking will cause at least one resignation I will ask what will be the position of the Vice-President of the Board of Agriculture (Mr. Russell) when he learns from to-morrow morning's papers that the Government have made another surrender to the Irish publican. He survived the surrender made last year by allowing children to be taken into Irish public-houses while they were excluded from English bars, and be has so far survived the action of the 1932 Postmaster-General in kicking out a postmistress in favour of a Nationalist publican. I want to know what the Ulster Liberal party are going to do on this question. I do not see any of them here. They were loud in their denunciations of the publican. I am satisfied they will do all they can to avoid a Division, but I trust that one will be insisted upon, so that we may know how far they are willing to ratify this surrender by a temperance Government to the publican's interest. Probably they will abstain from voting. In that case I trust that their absence will be noted and commented upon.
The whole policy of the Government is a concession to the Irish publican interests. They dare not do it in England, because English temperance friends would get up against them. They do it in Ireland because the friends of Ireland would get up and applaud it. The Prime Minister suggested that if there was a bargain he had heard very little about it. The Member for East Cork got up and plaintively wailed that they had been very good sup porters of the Government, and had voted for the Land Clauses all through the Budget, and were being badly treated when they came to the liquor part. My hon. Friends and I are opposing the special concessions to Irish publicans, concessions not granted to the ordinary publican in the rest of the United Kingdom. We are representing a very great force in the North of Ireland, which is entirely opposed to this unfair discrimination, and which I can only infer is made for political reasons and expediency. When the hon. Member who last spoke—a Gentleman who has lived in Scotland, where he practices an honourable profession with great success and ability—tells my friends and myself that we are ignorant of the state of the country in which we live, I think that is carrying even Parliamentary imagination to a very considerable extent. My hon. Friends and I will vote for this Amendment, and oppose any concession which this Government makes under such very discreditable methods.
§ Mr. T. L. CORBETT
I desire briefly and earnestly to join my colleagues in the appeal they have made to the Government. The hon. Member for North Sligo said that the hon. Member for North Londonderry knew nothing of the religious sentiment of Ireland. I think I would rather trust the Member for North Londonderry than the Member for North Sligo as to 1933 knowing something of what the religious sentiment is in Ireland. In the Church to which I have no doubt the hon. Member belongs, and every other church I believe throughout the North, South, and West of Ireland, there is only one feeling of very earnest support for the principle that we have been endeavouring to advocate tonight. We have had many surrenders by the present Government, but never one more absolutely cynical than the surrender made to the Nationalist party by the Prime Minister, and by his colleagues upon that Bench, who must, I am sure, feel deeply in their hearts how shamefully they and the cause which they profess to believe has been betrayed. The Nationalist party have been captured by the trade, and the Government have been captured by the Nationalist party. That is the beginning and the end of the whole shameful transaction. But the country will understand perhaps to-morrow what everyone in the House of Commons, to whatever party he belongs, understands to-night.
§ Mr. JOSEPH DEVLIN
I should indeed be very happy if I could join in the universal appreciation of the concession which the Government has made in response to the appeal made from these benches, but I confess, as a representative of the City of Belfast, that I am not at all satisfied with the concessions which have been made by the right hon. Gentleman. I think it is universally admitted, even by Members of the Liberal party itself, that this is not only a Budget but a Temperance Bill; that it is not only a financial measure, but that it is an instrument by which the present Government and the Liberal party expect to revenge themselves upon the trade in England for the attitude the trade adopted on the Licensing Bill last year. I have no concern with those party politics. It may be good business and good politics, or it may be bad politics, to use the Budget of this year for the purpose of paying back the publicans and the brewers for the opposition they extended to the Liberal party when the Liberal party proposed the Licensing Bill last year. I do not see why cities like Belfast and Dublin should suffer, and why publicans of those cities should suffer. Why should this obnoxious imposition render the position of the traders in those communities almost intolerable because the Liberal party want to pay back their opponents who fought them on the English Licensing Bill? The Constituency I represent has been hardly 1934 hit by this Budget. There are a number of traders in the City of Belfast who will be practically ruined if those proposals of the Government are carried into effect. I would like to give the House a few instances of how those new Licence Duties would work out in Belfast. I have heard the case of one public-house in that city which pays a licence of £50. If the Budget proposals of the Government are carried that house will pay £215. Another house which now pays £40 will have to pay £220, and another house which pays £40 will have to pay £205. I have the names and addresses of the publicans and their licensed houses. There are nearly 40 or 50 in that city. To my knowledge a great number of those publicans are making about £350 to £400 a year. You propose to raise their Licence Duty by £150. I would like to know what justification the Government can offer for robbing a man of £150 when he is only making £400. There seems to be a feeling, as I stated last night, that a publican is a human outcast and that he is engaged in some nefarious pursuit. The tax the publican pays sometimes provides the salaries of even Cabinet Ministers. The Government are taking advantage of a Budget of this character for the purpose of practically robbing the publicans in those two cities I have mentioned, and confiscating the property which those traders own. It is also said that the publican is a person who practically lifts all the profits he gets without working for it. I do not know any trade in the United Kingdom or in Ireland where the traders have so hard to work, where they have to work under such harrowing conditions, and where they have longer hours. The publican rises at seven o'clock in the morning and works till 11 at night in the tied houses in Ireland. He has to be ever watchful as to the conditions under which his business is carried on. He has to pay big Licence Duties, and he has to pay large salaries to those who are assisting him in his business, and, out of public-houses and out of the sale of drink, a large proportion of the revenue of this country is secured. I cannot for the life of me see why temperance principles cannot be consistent with justice to this class, and I do not think any high morality can be inspired by a desire to rob honest traders of what rightly belongs to them.
It has also been alleged against the licensed trade in Ireland that they are the enemies of temperance. Only last year or the year before, voluntarily, the publicans of Ireland consented to Sunday 1935 closing and early Saturday closing, and to have the houses in Dublin, Belfast, and, I think, Cork, closed at 10 o'clock on Saturday night and closed from two to seven, instead of two to five, on Sundays. The late hours in the large cities in Ireland are the best time that the publicans have for their trade, and yet they conceded it in the cause of temperance. They also conceded the two hours on Sunday from five to seven, and, after having cut down their hours, and, after having, as in the case of Belfast, imposed large additions in the form of local taxes, and in additional Licence Duty under the valuation scheme some nine years ago, you proceed now to put on an additional impost of £150 a year to the Licence Duty already paid and to all the other limitations under which the trade suffers, and I think it is most unfair and most indefensible. Take the case of the City of Belfast, in which I am primarily interested. Nine years ago a new principle was introduced into the valuation of public-houses in that city. For the first time what is called in England monopoly value was added in the assessment of Licence Duties, and this new principle has made the position of the trade in Belfast absolutely intolerable. On account of it the local rates on public-houses rose from £9,000 in 1900 to £20,000 in 1906. The Licence Duty rose from £9,000 in 1900 to £13,000 in 1906, and the present Budget will so affect the publicans in that city that their duty will be raised to £27,000 after this measure passes, if it does pass. The result of this will be that nearly a third of these better class houses in Belfast will practically disappear. I do
§ not see why the publicans in these large cities of Dublin and Belfast should be victimised because of any political differences which exist between publicans in Great Britain and the Liberal party. You have a right in the game of politics to revenge yourselves on your enemies, but the publicans in Ireland have had neither hand nor part in the controversies over the Licensing Bill of last year. The limitations and restrictions under which they suffer at present are greater in Ireland than they are in England and Scotland. The burden of the new valuation in the City of Belfast has made it impossible almost for traders to carry on their avocation with a very modest profit, and now you propose to take that profit away from them. It makes me regret once more the association of Ireland and England. We not only suffer from the fiscal relationship of a poor country being bound to a rich one, but we are now going to suffer because of your political and temperance divisions here in England. I again protest, and say that while I quite recognise that the concession made to the smaller traders by the Prime Minister is a substantial concession, it is not a concession to the decently conducted houses, and to the publicans in the large cities who have paid large sums for these houses. The proposals of the Government as they stand are confiscatory so far as these publicans are concerned, and I at all events express that measure of my dissatisfaction.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 64; Noes, 196.1937
|Division No. 769.]||AYES.||[9.2 p.m.|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Keating, M.||O'Malley, William|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Kettle, Thomas Michael||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.)||O'Shee, James John|
|Crean, Eugene||Lundon, T.||Philips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Cullinan, J.||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Devlin, Joseph||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Dillon, John||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Reddy, M.|
|Fell, Arthur||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Arthur, Charles||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Field, William||M'Kean, John||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Meagher, Michael||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Mooney, J. J.||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Gardner, Ernest||Muldoon, John||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Ginnell, L.||Murnaghan, George||Sheehy, David|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Stanier, Beville|
|Harrington, Timothy||Nolan, Joseph||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Hazleton, Richard||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Young, Samuel|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary Mid)|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Patrick O'Brien and Mr. Boland.|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|[...]nagh, Walter M.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Gill, A. H.||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Alden, Percy||Glendinning, R. G.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Rees, J. D.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gulland, John W.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Armitage, R.||Haddock, George B.||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Ashley, W. W.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Astbury, John Heir||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Hart-Davies, T.||Robinson, S.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Hedges, A. Paget||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Barnes, G. N.||Helme, Norval Watson||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Henry, Charles S.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Higham, John Sharp||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Beale, W. P.||Hill, Sir Clement||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Hobart, Sir Robert||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Hodge, John||Seely, Colonel|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Holland, Sir William Henry||Shackleton, David James|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Horniman, Emslie John||Shaw, Sir Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Hutton, Afred Eddison||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Branch, James||Hyde, Clarendon G.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)|
|Brigg, John||Illingworth, Percy H.||Snowden, P.|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Jackson, R. S.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Jardine, Sir J.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Jowett, F. W.||Summerbell, T.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Kekewich, Sir George||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Laidlaw, Robert||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Clough, William||Lamont, Norman||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Toulmin, George|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Lehmann, R. C.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Verney, F. W.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lewis, John Herbert||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Long, Rt. Hon. Waiter (Dublin, S.)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lupton, Arnold||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||M'Callum, John M.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Marnham, F. J.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Mond, A.||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Duckworth, Sir James||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Myer, Horatio||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Napier, T. B.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Elibank, Master of||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Erskine, David C.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Essex, R. W.||Norman, Sir Henry||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Norton, Captain Cecil William||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Nuttall, Harry||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Winfrey, R.|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Findlay, Alexander||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Pointer, J.|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Pollard, Dr. G. H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Moore and Mr. Lonsdale.|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
§ Mr. W. PEARCE
I beg to move, after the word "premises," to insert the words "except in the County of London, where, until the new register be established, the duty shall be equal to a third of the annual value."
I think the Committee are generally agreed that London on the basis of annual value is in an exceptional position. I 1938 think I can show that that is so from the position taken up by the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself. When talking of annual value the right hon. Gentleman said that he doubted if annual value over the country represented real value. In London itself annual value approximates to real value, and, if that is true, it is quite evident that on the Government 1939 scale London will pay a great deal more in proportion than the rest of the country. One of the most striking arguments used by my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sherwell) was that, although annual value was not satisfactory as a basis, there being so many licences throughout the Kingdom under £60, it was not a matter of very great moment. But in London 4,752 full licences are of £331 average value, and, therefore, the contention of the hon. Member for Huddersfield came to me as a London Member with very cold comfort. There are figures fortunately issued by the London County Council which show, without question, what 50 per cent. of the annual value will mean on full licences in London. Without deduction this would amount to £836,000. Under the old scale London paid not quite £200,000, so that about £640,000 would fall to the share of London. Surely the House will agree that that is an enormous and unfair proportion. The Chancellor of the Duchy in making a concession, for which I thank him, admitted the case of London very largely by allowing houses of £500 annual value to compound from one-third of their compensation value. He estimates that throughout the country this concession amounts to £300,000. I am at a loss to know how these figures have been arrived at. I only wish they were like the figures that I have been able to obtain from London County Council papers. I should like to ask him how his estimate has been arrived at. Is it on the basis that every one of these houses can or will compound? "What division of the compensation value has he taken? Is it 11, 12, or 15 years? From all the inquiries I have made in London among large brewers I can find nothing approaching £300,000 as the amount that will be conceded under this head. I do think that the Government have very much unwittingly exaggerated the effect of this concession, which I, for one, do not think goes far enough. Be that as it may it only affects one-fifth of the fully-licensed houses in London. There are 4,472 fully-licensed houses in London—995 are above £500, which leaves 3,747 houses which for the first year—and it is the first year only I deal with—would be assessed at 50 per cent. of their annual value. I am quite sure that this will produce in their cases a very much larger sum, and I must confess as a London Member that I have been greatly disappointed that the Government, as they 1940 must recognise that there is a real grievance on the part of London as well as of the rest of the country, have not been able to meet us in the matter; and I, therefore, have felt it my duty to move the Amendment which stands in my name.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
This Amendment, in the first place, is open to the objection which I had to raise to a previous Amendment this evening, namely, that if adopted it would actually lower the amount of Licence Duty payable by certain public-houses below their present rates. For in London, as elsewhere, there is a certain number of public-houses which do now pay Licence Duty upon half their rateable value. Apart from that it is undoubtedly the case that London stands in a somewhat different position from the country as a whole, because of the very large proportion of highly valued houses in London. To some extent that was met by the Bill as introduced, which said, in the case of all houses above £700, of which there is a very large proportion in London, the licence owner in occupation might be assessed on the compensation value instead of the annual value. That would have made a very large difference in the case of a very large number of big houses in London, which, nevertheless, did a small trade in spite of their being built on expensive sites. The Bill proposed that they should pay upon half the annual compensation value instead of half the annual value, but representations were made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that this was inadequate, and that there was a much larger number of houses below £700 which stood in much the same position, and, in their case, half the compensation value was too high. My right hon. Friend then made a second concession, very largely to meet the case of London. He said that all houses over £500 a year annual value should have the right of being charged on the compensation value, and, instead of paying Licence Duty equal to half the compensation value, they were only to pay Licence Duty equal to one-third. The hon. Member (Mr. Pearce) asked how much is that concession worth in pounds sterling, and how has the estimate been arrived at. The estimate is calculated by the Board of Customs and Excise, and it has been found in times past, and I think it will be found now, that the officials of that Department of the Treasury are remarkably accurate in their forecasts of the estimates of taxa- 1941 tion. [Mr. T. M. HEALY: "Oh, oh."] Can the hon. and learned Gentleman give any illustration of cases in which a Chancellor of the Exchequer has made Budget estimates on the authority of these officials which have been inaccurate to any large extent?
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
In which the estimate of a Chancellor of the Exchequer made on their authority have been to any large extent falsified?
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Why does the right hon. Gentleman propose that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should lay before us a revised estimate?
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
Is the hon. and learned Member aware that while this Bill has been passing through the House a considerable number of the taxes have been altered? Many concessions have been made on different taxes, and the Mineral Rights Duty has been substituted for the tax on ungotten minerals. These facts alone would account for the difference in the estimated yield of the Budget at present as compared with the estimated yield when the Bill was introduced, and if the hon. Member had only considered for a moment—
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
Chancellors of the Exchequer of both parties have year after year from this Bench borne testimony to the skill with which estimates of revenue have been framed, and although I should be sorry to suggest, in a matter of this sort, where the elements are impossible of exact ascertainment that the estimate would be right to a shilling, there is no reason to suppose that the estimate that has been formed that this concession would cost about £200,000 to the country as a whole, of which about one-half would go to the benefit of London, is in any way far from the mark. I will point out further that next year it is to be hoped all the public-houses in London will be assessed on compensation value, and a further benefit will probably arise to a very large proportion of the public-houses in London 1942 from that cause. I may conclude by saying that if the hon. Member had left out all the houses above £500 which get the benefit of assessment on compensation value; if he had left out all the houses below £100 in respect of which the increase of duty is very small; and if he had limited himself to houses between £100 and £500, and then had proposed to decrease from half the annual value to one-third, the loss in that case would have been another £160,000. In the present state of the revenue, and needing as the hon. Member is aware a, considerable increase of revenue for the purposes of Government, the Government cannot accept such a large reduction of the revenue as that.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I hope that the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Pearce) will not suppose for a moment that a man like myself, who is seeking to get concessions for Ireland, is opposed to concessions for London. The contrary is the case. In making the demands which we have made for Ireland, is opposed to concessions for have fought the case, it is supposed that we have some connection with the liquor trade. I have no more connection with the liquor trade than I have with the leather trade; but I have come to the conclusion in the course of some small experience that the burdens that have been laid on the publicans are hardly justifiable. I believe that the drink trade is a diminishing one; I further believe that the values have already been extracted before the publican gets a look in—that is to say, you have allowed a state of things to exist in which before the publican can buy a public-house he has to put up two, three, four, and five thousand pounds as its value; you have allowed him to invest in what is a legal investment, and then you drop down upon him and say that you must have this extra tax because this is an unpopular trade. If it be the fact that the trade is unpopular, that is a reason why any man of honesty should stand up and ask that justice should be done to it. It is very easy to stand up for charity, it is very easy to stand up for religion, but it is only when you stand up, as now, for common justice that you are considered to be in favour of drunkards and lunatic asylums, and all the other rot and nonsense. I unhesitatingly say that it is no more just to extract these large revenues from the present day publican—it might have been all right in the time of Charles I. when this monopoly was created—than to lay an embargo on the Bank of England Stock. It 1943 might have been very good a century, or even two centuries ago, to propose this taxation, but in the meantime these institutions have passed into many hands; their values have been divided, yet all the time the Government are saying, "The vices have broad backs, I can get revenue off them; I can get nothing off the virtues." I know London within a quarter of a mile of this House, and I do not know very much more about it, but I fully believe that this attempted exaction will turn out, so far as London and the three Kingdoms are concerned, to be an absolute mistake. The Chancellor of the Duchy referred to the estimates of the officials of the Treasury and to their accuracy, but they have been dealing with normal conditions. When Mr. Gladstone proposed this Budget it was like Patterson's calculator, and they really could not lose an ounce. But you are dealing here with absolutely new conditions. I am in favour of fitting the back to the burden, but I think it is wrong to seize upon a trade like this because it happens to be unpopular, and suddenly clap two or three or four times the value upon it. I think that is what is being done in the case of London and in the case of the whole country. Remember this, that you have living in London a population I believe larger than that of Scotland, and much larger than that of Ireland—an intense population, with what we in Ireland call an amount of custom that you cannot expect anywhere else. Nevertheless, I, for my part, would gladly support this Amendment, because I believe that the Londoners are just as much entitled to call for relief as the men of Orkney or Connemara, with their scattered populations.
I would beg English Members to remember that while we do not oppose concessions to them, I would certainly deplore the spirit that has been shown tonight by some Irish Members above the Gangway in references which they made some two or three hours ago. I have not been effusive in my compliments to the Government, and I remain a strenuous opponent of the licence proposals. I will say this, that whenever we get into close quarters with the Prime Minister we always find him most approachable. I do not think a higher compliment could be paid to any man than to say that his ears have always been open to our representations. I have no hesitation in saying, after what has been stated in this quarter of the House, that this is, I will not say bare 1944 justice, but an effort to take a heavy burden off the backs of poor men. I would not be a dog in the manger as regards London, and I should be very glad indeed to see this Committee meeting its case, and also the case of England and Scotland, because I believe they all want to be met. I believe these valuations have been jumbled together, and I think it would be an excellent thing if it were proposed that they should remain in existence only for a brief period. We cannot expect a man like the Prime Minister, who has the burden of this Empire upon his shoulders, to pay attention to every detail. We cannot expect that; I do not expect it. It is only when his inquisitors are going about trying to collect revenue, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and others in the Revenue Department are only too glad to seize on any apparent source of Revenue, but in my opinion, I say it solemnly, this is not a great or a growing source of revenue. It is a restricted source of revenue. I rejoice at it, because of the virtues involved in the fact that it is a restricted source of revenue. I see in the Amendment the words are used "until the new register be established." We were told by the Government that there was to be a new register for the three Kingdoms, but to-day we have been informed that it is not to apply to the three Kingdoms. Yet a London Member, assuming that it did apply to the three Kingdoms, thought it necessary in his Amendment to use the words "until the new register be established." I want to know whether I am not right in saying that the Amendment is correctly framed in reference to the new register? The hon. Gentleman opposite is right, because he is now only asking for temporary relief, and I want to know what is to be the condition of London, England, Scotland, and Ireland when this register has been completed? I do not want to diminish the value on any concession that may be proposed, but I want an estimate on behalf of the United Kingdom when we are told by the right hon. Gentleman opposite that the officials of the Treasury never go astray in their calculations.
I want to know—and you can take it either way, either a farthing or a thousand pounds—upon what basis is the estimate of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to either the revised Estimate which we are to get for the Report stage or the estimate that has been made for the purposes of the Budget. It is essential that we should know the basis of the Govern- 1945 ment's calculation, because how can you propose to make remission for one part of the country or another part until you know what is the deficit that has got to be met? Here is the statement made by the Chancellor of the Duchy on 3rd July, referring to the case of London. He said: "It affects a very large proportion of the houses in London"—that is, the new valuation—"and no insignificant portion of the houses throughout the United Kingdom." Now that is the United Kingdom, I understand, of Great Britain and Ireland, and not the United Kingdom of England and Scotland, because, of course, the distinction might be drawn. I interrupted him at the time, and put the very question so as to bring out the matter. I asked, "Is the right hon. Gentleman speaking of the three Kingdoms?" because I was in doubt which of the three Kingdoms he was referring to. Here is his answer—
I do not quite see how this bears on the Amendment we are dealing with, which is confined entirely to London. The hon. Member is really speaking about Ireland.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I have not mentioned Ireland. However, I am most anxious to observe your ruling. What I am anxious to bring out is this: What is the estimate which the right hon. Gentleman makes of these taxes on London under what is called the existing state of things, and under what the hon. Gentleman opposite calls the new register. If he will answer me that question I shall then be able to form my own judgment and make my own calculation as to the effect in other parts of the United Kingdom. I heard the figure pronounced by the right hon. Gentleman as to the difference it would make in London. Now, if I am right, this Amendment only applies until the new register is established. That is the opinion of the hon. Gentleman opposite of his own Amendment. If the Amendment were carried, what is the amount of loss to the revenue estimated for London alone?
§ Mr. THOMAS LOUGH
I hope that in supporting this Amendment no suggestion may be made that I am opposed to anything that might tend in any way to contribute to the advance of the cause of temperance. Therefore, if I say a few words in support of the Amendment, I hope none of my hon. Friends who are deeply interested in that great cause will think I am deserting, even for a moment, a principle 1946 to which I am just as much attached as they are. I would like to say also, although I represent a London constituency, so far as I know no publican there has ever voted for me. I have always had to face the publicans and fight the publicans, and if I have to fight them again on this or any other question I do not think I will be in any worse position than I was before. Notwithstanding these few observations, I cannot help joining with my hon. Friend, to whom we are much indebted, in the protest he has made against these Licence Duties being applied to London without some consideration for the case there. In every fiscal Bill where there is a proposal of this kind brought before this House I am strongly of opinion that the interests of the people of London are very inadequately considered.
Just let me give a figure which has fallen from the lips of the right hon. Gentleman who is in charge of this Bill, to show how this case stands. It was the last observation he made. I will put it to the Committee, and then they will see how the matter stands. My right hon. Friend thought he was disposing of this matter when he said it will cost £150,000, besides the £150,000 that may be lost in London under the concession that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already made. That is the defence of the Government against this proposal. Let us examine the figures, and I am going to accept the outside statement of my right hon. Friend. Now where are we supposing that statement is true? At present there is levied £200,000, Duties in London amounting to £200,000, and the Government propose to exact in London £838,000. [THE CHANCELLOR OF THE DUCHY dissented.] I rely on the figures of the hon. Member, who is a safe and cautious man, and has gone into this matter carefully, and has made his statement with the greatest moderation. Let the Government prove that the figures are wrong, and I will say with great respect to my right hon. Friend that it is really unfair to give an answer in an aside across the House, especially to a figure that has been already given in the Debates. The new duties will produce £836,000—that is our calculation. We ask that they should be reduced £300,000, leaving them £536,000—that is, 150 per cent. more than the Licence Duties are producing in London at present. Instead of £200,000 that London is paying to-day my hon. Friend says we are willing to give £536,000. Now I, say that he opened his mouth very wide when he made that offer. It is more than any other part 1947 of the country will contribute—that is, 150 per cent. What will the new taxes be? I understand that the duties altogether will produce something like two millions, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer expects to get a million and a half from the increased duties. Let me suppose he gets two millions. Doubling the London contribution at present would mean £400,000. My hon. Friend says he will give £536,000, and therefore you see that this Amendment is not conceived in any narrow spirit. It does not refuse to the Government a proper contribution from London, but only asks the Government to consider specially the case of London. I ask the Committee to support my hon. Friend in the appeal which he has made. We had from the Prime Minister a most interesting speech dealing with a grievance in one part of the United Kingdom, and he promised to meet the difficulty. There are as many people in London as there are in Ireland; there are grievances as keenly felt by the population of London as any grievance in Ireland, and I appeal to my right hon. Friend to say whether he will not do something to meet this obvious injustice in London. In Ireland the difficulty arose from the fact that the valuation of public-houses did not correspond to the general average of the valuation of public-houses over the United Kingdom. My hon. Friends opposite, with their usual eloquence, persistence, and other Parliamentary arts, pressed that point on the Committee. They said: "We do not want anything unfair; we only want the special case of our locality considered. That special case is that our average value differs from the general average, and, therefore, your taxes will not press fairly." The Prime Minister replied that that was a point which, in a spirit of justice, must be considered, and he promised to meet the difficulty. I say precisely the same thing about London. The difficulty in London arises from the fact that the general average of the houses here is not the average over the rest of the country. The great proportion are not cheap houses at a low valuation, and that is the reason why a great injustice will be inflicted on London if something is not done. My guiding light in all these Debates is the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sherwell), and I should not have had heart enough to speak in support of this Amendment except for the fact that I find an absolute defence for the course we are taking in the excellent speech delivered 1948 by my hon. Friend this afternoon. He said, and the Prime Minister admitted the justice of his figures, that the present scheme presses with undue harshness, on houses that are highly valued, especially on houses of £300 or £400 per year. In London the average valuation is over £300. Can any other part of the country be shown where such a condition of things exists? That fact shows that it would be a monstrous thing if we did not bring the case forward. In illustration of the gravity of the position, I will quote a figure given by the Leader of the Opposition. The right hon. Gentleman stated that if we confined ourselves to houses between £100 and £200 value the tax on those houses would be increased from £300,000 to over £700,000 a year. The hon. Member for Huddersfield, in reply to a question of mine, said that the figure was roughly correct. He admits the grievance of the larger houses, and that is the London grievance; but he, in effect, said, "Let London wait; let us bend our neck under this wrong until next year or the year after, and then when the valuation is finished the Government will do justice." My hon. Friend is a man of short Parliamentary experience. Where will we be when the valuation is completed? It is never too early to carry out a just principle. I would ask my right hon. Friend to be guided by the spirit of the Member for Huddersfield's remarks, and not by his precise suggestion. Let him admit that the tax on these highly-valued houses is quite unjust, and not invite London or, if he likes, any other part of the country to bear it even while the valuations are being made.
I think the answer given to the Amendment is very inadequate. Generally my right hon. Friend has a good deal to say for himself, but the obvious justice of the case was so great that to-night he was in difficulty. He said that his first objection to accepting the Amendment was that it would actually lower the duty in certain cases, and he compared that answer with regard to the London houses to the answer which he had given earlier in the afternoon referring to the whole country.
§ Mr. LOUGH
But, this afternoon, when he put the answer forward with great vigour, it was because it applied to a large number of cases. There is all the difference in the world between the two. Here and there in London there might be a house where the duty would be reduced; 1949 but on that point I would say to my right hon. Friend that the day may come when he will be Chancellor of the Exchequer, and if then he manages to reduce an odd tax or duty, it will be a thing of which he need not be ashamed. The whole pride of the Government appears to be in increasing burdens. The right hon. Gentleman admits that his answer does not do, as far as London is concerned, however true it may be in regard to the rest of the country. There will be very few cases in which, if the Amendment were accepted, the duty would be reduced. On the general average, we should pay 150 per cent. more in London, whereas the rest of the country is asked to pay only 100 per cent. more. I will, therefore, ask my right hon. Friend to try and find a better argument next time he speaks. He then fell back on the familiar point with all Governments, namely, that the Amendment is badly drawn. If the right hon. Gentleman will meet the case of London in any way, we will accept his proposal. We will do as the Irish did. Although we would like our own Amendment, we will take anything we can get and be thankful. We are a most grateful people in London, but we get very little to go on with.
§ Mr. LOUGH
I have shown that, notwithstanding any participation that London may have in the general concession we shall pay a great deal more than any other part of the country. If no precise proposal is made to-night we ought, at any rate, to receive some promise from the Government that the matter shall be considered. In view of the speech of the hon. Member for Huddersfield—and I am sure that the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. C. Roberts), that leading representative of temperance, if he spoke would agree that the proposal of the Government will work unfairly in regard to public-houses of high valuation—let the right hon. Gentleman promise to consider the matter. I should be glad if he would allow such a promise to apply to the whole country. Why should we not have a promise made with regard to houses of £200 or £300 instead of £500? The proposal at present is to exact a duty equal to half the valuation. Why not make it one-third or one-fourth? It only means substituting one word for another. It is almost as easy as winking. I never knew anything so simple or came across an instance where it was so easy for the Government to do right. 1950 I hope, therefore, they will not persist in doing what I think is wrong. I believe, then, that London has been very hardly treated, and I do press my right hon. Friend to reconsider the somewhat unsympathetic answer which he has given to us, and see whether he cannot do something in the nature suggested.
§ Mr. J. F. REMNANT
I do not propose to take up the time of the Committee for more than a few minutes, but as a London Member I would like to say a few words in support of the Amendment which is now before the House. May I, in doing so, first of all congratulate the right hon. Gentleman for the excellent response that ha has made to the call to the other side to speak up for London.
§ Mr. REMNANT
Why did you not come and speak before? It has escaped the attention of the Committee that in dealing with London, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he was taking part in the Bill, with reference to the present assessments of the houses in London, admitted that London houses were assessed to nearly their full value. At the same time he called attention to the fact that the vast majority of the houses throughout the country were not, in his opinion, assessed to anything like what they should be. He put it at 50 per cent. of their proper value. See what that means? It is proposed to let this present condition of affairs run, so that London will be paying its proper amount under the Bill, whereas the houses outside London will be only paying 50 per cent. of the amount they ought to pay—that is, assuming the Chancellor of the Exchequer is anything like right. So that London, in a double degree, has a very serious grievance against the Government. I believe that the Solicitor-General, who had charge of the Licensing Bill and this Bill, must admit that London calls for special treatment from the hands of the Government with reference to this tax. I have a lot of facts and cases, which I will not weary the House with, though, if only we had the proper time to deal with this important question, the House ought to have those facts. I would only call attention to two or three cases in reference to the way in which the breweries themselves will be hit by this tax. In the case of the Cannon breweries something like £35,000 to £36,000 additional taxation will be paid. I am not forgetting the duty which their tied houses 1951 will have to pay. If the right hon. Gentleman doubts the facts he can have them. Meux's breweries will pay between £25,000 and £26,000 additional.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
Is the hon. Member taking into account the concession allowed to London with respect to the £500 houses?
§ Mr. REMNANT
Yes, and the figures that I have given are rather under than over the mark. London will pay £800,000 instead of the present £200,000. That surely ought to show that London calls for special treatment at the hands of the present Government. What I object to, however, is the tone of the right hon. Gentleman in dealing with this important matter. He might have summed up the whole of his speech in two lines, which are, I think, well known to everybody in this House:—I should not love honour ne'er so well,Lov'd I not vengeance more.It is that which has permeated all his speeches all the way through, and which has created this great distrust of the Government in dealing with this very important matter. I appeal to the Solicitor-General, if not too late, to introduce, if it is possible, some provision whereby London will be safeguarded until all licensed premises throughout the country can be put on a proper basis. I am quite sure if he does that he will only be doing an act of justice.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
A very considerable sum is involved in this, that we should lose by way of revenue, and we cannot, therefore, accept the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Tower Hamlets (Mr. Pearce). I do think that the case of London can probably be dealt with separately from the case of other parts of the country. It is perfectly true that there is a considerable number of houses in London ranging in annual value from £100 to £200, from £200 to £300, from £300 to £400, and so on; but in no case, so far as I am able to understand, can you say that there is a difference in London with reference to any particular individual public-house that you could not specify with reference to any public-house in the provinces. I do not think that it is safe ground to go upon to say that London will have its duties increased from £200,000 to £800,000. I submit that is not a proper test as to whether or not hardship is caused to a particular owner or a particular public-house. I do 1952 not think it is a fair or a proper test to aggregate the whole of the duty that you get from all the public-houses in London. You should look at each individual case, and if there is hardship you ought to try to meet it. So far as I understand the matter, there is not a single case in London of an ordinary public-house—I am not talking about music-halls—which is aimed at by this Amendment that you could not parallel in other parts of the country. My hon. Friend moved his Amendment in a very reasonable speech, but he has cast his net very much too wide. There may be—I do not say whether there is or not—a great deal to be said for reducing the £500 still further, but not by this Amendment. I want to indicate to my hon. Friend, to my right hon. Friend who followed him, and to the Committee that this Amendment cannot possibly be accepted, because—
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
I am dealing with this particular Amendment, because I do not think you could possibly deal with the matter by way of compromise. I have already said that you cannot, differentiate between the case of London and the provinces. If anything is to be done—I do not say it will be or should be done—it is a matter for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but I am perfectly certain it cannot properly be done here. I would like to tell the Committee in a few sentences that the effect of the Amendment in the case of houses of the annual value of under £50 would be to actually reduce the present duty. I do not know whether hon. Members appreciate that fact. It is perfectly true. You must take the Amendment with all its bearings. Comparatively speaking, there is not a very large number of these houses. Nevertheless, the effect of the Amendment would be to lower the present duty of a house between £40 and £50, and whose present duty is £20, to £16 3s. 4d. I am perfectly certain the hon. Gentleman does not mean that at all. Let me take another category—a class of houses the annual value of which ranges from £50 to £100. Of these there is a very considerable number—314 according to the best estimate. The present duty in respect of these houses is £25 for each house. There is no difference between a £51 house and a £99 house. Assuming for a moment that these 314 houses are between £50 and £75, that is the lower part of the scale, you would 1953 actually be, by the acceptance of this Amendment, reducing the duty at present paid in respect of every one of these houses. Assuming that all these 314 houses were about £75, then the result would be that the duty would remain still what it is at present, £23 6s. 8d. I am sure my hon. Friends would not justify the Amendment on these grounds in respect of these houses. Now let us take the case of houses of £50 and from £50 to £100. This whole question must be brought down to one of figures. You have about 1,200 houses in London with an annual value of between £100 and £200. The present duty in respect of these houses is £30. Does anyone say when we are called upon to provide all this money that £30 is an excess duty for every house the annual value of which is £150? The present duty is £30, the duty which would be allowed to be imposed by this Amendment on a valuation of £100 would be £33 6s. 8d. Would my hon. Friend suggest that £3 6s. 8d. is a sufficient increase in duty to be put upon a £100 house in London? I am perfectly certain they would not say that.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
The hon. and learned Member is not always relevant when he speaks in Committee; he is still less relevant when he interrupts. I am trying to deal seriously with this matter. Take a £150 house—the mean between £100 and £200. The present duty on that house is £30. According to the Amendment you are only to increase it to £50. Again I think I would be right in suggesting that an increase from £30 to £50 is not too much. After £200 the duty allowed by the Amendment would be £62 12s. 4d., and when we come to houses up to £300 the figures are similar. They bear a little harder as you go up in the scale, but I submit to the Committee I have shown that the Amendment which my hon. Friends have put upon the Paper will not do. I repeat what I said: the net is cast a great deal too wide, and whatever the result of an appeal by them would be with reference to the reduction of the £500 limit I submit to them that the Amendment which they have placed before the Committee is one which the Government could not possibly accept.
§ Mr. BOTTOMLEY
With great respect, what does the hon. and learned Solicitor-General know about London public-houses? He told the Committee as far as his opinion goes that there has been no 1954 special case made out for London as comparable with other parts of the country. Now I respectfully ask him what has been the source of his information? I respectfully ask him whether he has ever been inside a public-house in London in his life? I do not ask him to admit that he has publicly, but I assume he has not. I am quite certain the hon. and learned Gentleman has not consulted any representative of the London trade, and I am afraid he has not consulted any of his supporters representing London constituencies. [An HON. MEMBER: "The figures are indisputable."] The figures are indisputable, says the hon. Member, but when the hon. Member analyses literally the figures of the Amendment, and says that in some cases, literally it is true, it might cause a slight reduction upon the smaller houses if he forgets that in the aggregate the result of the Amendment if accepted would be to bring in a very considerable increase to the Exchequer. Secondly, he forgets that the London publican has to pay much higher rates, much higher wages, and has much heavier burdens in every way when compared with publicans in other parts of the country, and that is the foundation of the claim which the London members put forward for special concessions to London. The circumstances relating to assessment are exceptionally heavy in regard to London, and if it should happen that under this Amendment some of the smaller publicans should receive a little reduction on the Licence Duty, which they are at present paying, are they not well entitled to it when you consider the heavier burdens that rest upon them? But looking at it in the aggregate, does the Solicitor-General dispute the fact that this Amendment would bring to the Chancellor of the Exchequer a very considerable increase in Licence Duty, and, if that is so, surely it should be sufficient for his purpose. I wish now to refer to the attitude taken up by the Chancellor of the Duchy in response to the appeal made by the Mover of the Amendment. He had to admit that the position of the London publican is one of some hardship as compared with the provincial publican, but he would not admit that the raising of the Licence Duty from £20 or £30 a year, or from £60 a year to £100 or £200 a year is a hardship. He would not admit that represents a very serious and almost fatal burden upon his industry. The Chancellor of the Duchy cannot deny it, 1955 but he says we want the money, and he says that under the provision with regard to £500 we are giving London £150,000, and if we accepted this Amendment we would have to give away another £150,000. Assuming both those propositions to be true, it means, roughly, a concession of £300,000 to the London licensed victuallers. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster says we cannot afford it. If we can afford to give £500,000 to the wealthy landed proprietors, surely we can afford to give £300,000 out of our estimated new revenue to the struggling licensed victuallers. The Chancellor of the Duchy has repeated almost verbatim what he said on a somewhat similar Amendment on one of the clauses before the Committee. First of all, he says this proposal will involve a loss to the revenue of £300,000 a year. We have been clamouring for weeks to check that calculation, which, we are told, has been prepared by certain Revenue officials whose accuracy cannot be disputed. The right hon. Gentleman said:—Licensed houses which have a value of over £500 may be assessed on their compensation value, and instead of paying one-half of the compensation yearly they will only be required to pay one-third. This concession, according to the estimate of the Board of Customs and Excise, involves a loss of £300,000.Why cannot that estimate be produced? If we can see the estimate we shall then see how it is going to be brought about. I think it is unfair to the Committee that documents so vital should not be produced. The case of the smaller man is infinitely more urgent than that of the large one, so far as London is concerned. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster further stated that:—In the case of many houses in London of £200, £300, and £400 annual value, some reduction of the Licence Duty payable will be found to accrue to them under this new basis of valuation.The right hon. Gentleman tells us he already knows that the duty he is putting upon London this year is higher than it should be and higher than it will be. Is that not a reason for some concession upon this Amendment? It is not the custom when Amendments come from certain quarters of the House to follow their exact phraseology, and I am sure the hon. Member who moved this Amendment would not object to some modification of his words. What we say is that, having regard to the difference in the basis of assessment in London compared with the rest of the country, the licensed victualler is on a different footing to the licensed victuallers in any other part of the country. We do not often ask for anything for London, and 1956 this is about the first time that several London Members have been able to get up and speak with the same voice. There are forty-two London Members on this side of the House, and we have only to go into the Lobby together to bring about the defeat of the Government. We are not all here, but we are here in sufficient strength to convince the right hon. Gentleman that we feel keenly on this subject. Even if it does mean taking £300,000 out of this immense new revenue we can afford it. It almost makes one a Tariff Reformer when one hears we cannot afford a paltry £300,000 to do justice to a vast mass of struggling tradesmen, who have not a single champion so far as I can make out on this side of the House, and who have under necessity had to make some kind of political alliance with another section of the House. London to-night speaks with one voice on this matter. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] I warn any representative of London who does not agree with that sentiment not to give ocular demonstration of the inaccuracy of my statements. Let him be nameless. As far as I know, London is speaking with one voice on this matter. The vast majority, at any rate, of the London Members on this side and the other side of the House are. The Chancellor of the Exchequer admits our grievance. Do not let it go forth that this great Free Trade Government, admitting the grievance and the injustice, and admitting that they have a vastly increased revenue in any event coming from the London trade, cannot afford to do justice even to a publican.
§ Mr. CLAUDE HAY
The justice of the case of the London publican has been made so clear, and has been so well established, that no further argument on behalf of it is necessary; but, apart from the question of the justice of his case you have to consider the effect of the tax imposed by the Government upon the London ratepayer. I believe no one who has studied the subject would deny that the effect of this tax must be to reduce the rateable value of the public-houses throughout London. Those public-houses are assessed for the rates of London at something over £2,000,000; and if there is a 10 per cent. fall in the value of those houses, you impose upon the whole of the ratepayers of London an increased burden. I do not know whether that is the intention of the Government, but I believe that the practical result of their proposal will be that, instead of punishing the publican 1957 because he sells alcoholic liquors, you will be punishing every ratepayer of London, including all the teetotalers of the Metropolis. The hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Bottomley) put the case well. He said the London publican had far larger expenses than those in other parts of the country, and that in a large number of cases the business was conducted honourably by small men who only earn a living by great stress of work and by conducting a legitimate trade in the best possible manner. I believe it was the hon. Member for Islington who interrupted the hon. Member and said that all London was not in favour of this Amendment. He will find when he returns to his constituents that he has made a very great error. I believe, with some knowledge of men of all sections and of all opinions throughout London, that in this matter it is not merely a question of the publican's right, but of common honesty to all Londoners, and, above all, to the members of a trade, to conduct their business in the most honourable fashion.
§ Mr. J. McD. HENDERSON
This Debate might have been very much curtailed if the suggestion made to reduce the figure from £500 to £200 had been adopted with reference to the assessment compensation value. Why should a house of over £500 have the benefit of this valuation and the one of £490 not have it? That the valuation would reduce the rate of duty is admitted, and therefore for 12 months there is going to be a very heavy injustice done to someone. But the present rate of 50 per cent. has no real relationship to the takings of the house. You may find houses in Sunderland or Newcastle or other big manufacturing towns of a rental value of £60 which might be actually doing more trade than a house in London assessed at £400. How can you justify a case like that? I have taken out the figures of four or five houses, and have estimated the percentage of their takings. In the first case the duty was £80 and the percentage of takings 11½ in others the percentages were 6½ per cent., 9½ per cent., 7 per cent., and 6 per cent. As my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield said, there is only one way of arriving at a fair duty upon public-houses, and that must be based upon their trade facilities. Until you can get that you will never have anything that is not anomalous. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his Budget speech, said they intended to find out what the compensation value was and would translate it in the terms of annual value. I do not 1958 know how we are going to do it. I have a very shrewd guess that the effect of that must necessarily be to reduce it below 50 per cent. of the annual value. If that is so, then we are deliberately charging somebody for one twelve months or until this value is obtained more than ought to be paid. Does the House observe for a moment how ridiculously this would work out? There is nothing to justify it, and the only remedy I think is to reduce the £500 limit down to £100 or £200. All these duties are questions of amount. It is no justification for a tax to say that if we give in to logic and justice we lose so much money. That is not an argument at all. Either a tax is justifiable or not justifiable. We are all agreed that the present rates are too small. I do not think the Amendment of my hon. Friend will do. I cannot support it. It is really a question of quantum, and certainly the Government are losing a great opportunity if they do not do something to meet the main objection. The point I wish to bring out is that the one-third for London will not do. I appeal to the Government, and I say that they will find the passage of those duties far more easy if they will agree to give all public-houses with rents over £150 the advantage that they are now going to give to those over £500. The number over £500 is comparatively small. The number between £100 and £500 is very large, and it is those that will suffer. Take a simple case of a man with a rent of £450. That man at the present time is paying £50 duty. To jump that man from £50 to £245 is really too much. To jump a man from £50 to £100 is stiff enough, but to jump from £50 to £150 or £200 or £245 is too hard. I ask the Government to promise that they will consider the bringing of public-houses into line to such a point as will not entail any substantial rise in the present amount of the duty.
§ Mr. IVOR GUEST
The burden of the taxes on the community by this Bill is very heavy, but may I remind the Committee that we are now discussing only one of the forms of taxation proposed by this Finance Bill. If the increase is heavy on the licensed property, it is heavy on other forms of property as well. It is admitted on this side of the House that all forms of property have to bear a share of the increase. One of the facts in connection with the present Bill is the possibility—indeed the expectancy—of obtaining concessions from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. If the Chancellor of the 1959 Exchequer believed the proposals to be an irreducible minimum, I daresay a good many of those Amendments would never have been put forward.
I rose to say a word or two on the subject of sectional concessions. Here we have the London Members demanding a concession for their constituents. That is a very natural attitude to take up. But as I think the Committee represent the whole country we should be unwise if we paid undue attention to what, after all, is a sectional demand. I admit they have not been the originators of these sectional demands. Ireland has been in the van. Ireland, indeed, has initiated and familiarised the House with the idea that taxation should be regarded, not as how it falls upon the individual taxpayer, but how it falls upon the county or the town which they have in their mind. Once we admit that we have, in our financial scheme, to consider the relative ability of communities to contribute, and not the relative ability of individuals to contribute, we shall get on to very doubtful ground indeed. But an expression which fell from the hon. Member (Mr. Bottomley) really brought me to my feet. He said it was a great pity that as the Government had only a limited amount of money to give away they gave all the money, apparently, that they had at their disposal to the landed interest, and had forgotten the claims of London. The two positions are really totally different. In the first place, the hon. Member's demand is for a district. Our demand was for a class. His demand is that certain individuals in the district should be treated differently from similar individuals in other districts. Our demand was that all individual Income Tax payers should be treated upon the same basis. That is all we ask. In proof that our demand was not sectional, I would draw the hon. Member's attention to the fact that he, in common with others, was circularised by the trade on this subject, and the favourable replies to that circular came, not from one particular district or one particular class of individuals. It was supported by people of all shades of opinion, representing all sorts of constituencies identified with very different interests.
§ Mr. BOTTOMLEY
I understand the hon. Member to say that the reason of that concession was that the particular incidence of the Income Tax pressed harshly on a particular section of the community owing to special circumstances. That is exactly my point.
§ Mr. IVOR GUEST
The point was that these particular payers of Income Tax were assessed at a figure which did not represent their real interest. It was an overwhelming claim, and naturally the Chancellor of the Exchequer acceded to our request. I feel that the Government would be getting into deep water if they were to admit that the various sectional interests were entitled to special relief. I think the Amendment should be resisted.
§ Mr. CHARLES ROBERTS
The hon. Member for the Holborn Division (Mr. Remnant) quoted the case of the burden which would fall on Meux's and the Cannon breweries in consequence of this taxation, and he was challenged by the Chancellor of the Duchy, who asked whether these figures did or did not take into account the question of the alternative assessment. I have the statement of the figures here. On page 64 it is explicitly stated that these figures are subject to certain qualifications, and that they do not take into account the optional assessment. That qualification has been taken into account in all these cases of hardship which are brought up. For instance, the hon. Member for West Aberdeen (Mr. J. McD. Henderson) apparently thought he had confuted me by quoting the case where the house of £310 annual value only paid on my figures Licence Duty of ten guineas. But if that house were situated in London it would still pay merely Licence Duty of ten guineas. Under Clause 31, Sub-section (1) that hotel would have got the advantage of the concession. In this way I venture to think that the value of the concessions has not been properly appreciated, and they affect the London case very much indeed. As a matter of fact, London profits far more than any other part of the country. There are 743 public-houses there above the value of £500, and if there is any advantage in their being assessed on their trade London will undoubtedly get it. That is to say, one-sixth of the public-houses in London are going to be assessed on the basis of the alcoholic trade, and I think that is a very considerable advantage for London to secure. After all, in London houses are very valuable. The cheapest houses you can get for compensation purposes average over £3,000. If anybody chooses to take a walk in the East End and see gin palace after gin palace now paying an absolutely inadequate licence revenue, I venture to think 1961 that he will not quarrel with the Government in standing firm, and asking that they should pay a very much higher proportion of the monopoly profits which are piled up because of the fact that the State restricts the number of public-houses, and that in proportion to population the houses in London are very restricted in number. The claim for London rests on two points. It rests on the assumption that all the houses are assessed up to the hilt. It is admitted that they are not assessed up to the hilt in the provinces. That is one of the grounds on which this abatement is justified. I have taken the advice of an expert in rating matters. I asked him to take the value as given for compensation purposes of 56 London houses. He knew the rateable value of the houses after the loss of the licences. I asked him to find, according to the ordinary practice of the assessment committees, the proper assessment. It turned out that at all events these houses were assessed 40 per cent. below what they ought to have been assessed at. That is in London, where they are supposed to be assessed up to the hilt. If you took that over the whole of London their rateable value would be £900,000 below what they ought to be assessed. (Mr. LEA: "Absurd."] These are the figures of a very high expert. In that case the London ratepayer is losing about £300,000 a year. The reason hon. Members laugh is that the trade value of these houses, portion of which you have got to take in for rating purposes, is very much above the rateable value. Hon. Members ask for a year's grace.
§ Mr. CHARLES ROBERTS
On the ground that if the duties were shifted on to the new basis, the basis of alcoholic trade done, the London houses would get a very great advantage. Are they quite so sure about that? I am not. Taking the minimum values of London houses as they are shown for the purpose of compensation, I do not see how you can possibly put the licence value, what is called the compensation value—that is to say, the value of these houses apart from site and structure and tenants' goodwill—below £25,000,000, and 33 per cent. of that would bring it up to £800,000. After all, I am not going very far wrong in my estimate of the site values of London houses as compared with the 1962 estimate given by Mr. Edward Buxton at the time of the Royal Commission. I therefore believe that it is wrong to say that the London houses are assessed up to the hilt. I believe that they are assessed under the mark. In the provinces I know that they are assessed a great deal below even the point that has been reached in London, and if they do get this change, which would be juster no doubt in individual cases, I do not believe that the revenue would suffer as far as I can see, and, therefore, I do not really see that they have got any ground for making this claim for a year's delay. In London and in the country around London the trade can well afford to pay this tax, and it is a just tax to demand. I do not believe that there is any ground for making this concession.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
I do not intend to enter into the discussion as to whether the London publicans are more or less deserving of assistance or special treatment than the Irish. I confess that if I were to give my opinion on that point I might dissent from the views of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. I rise on a much more general topic. There was an arrangement made between the Gentlemen on this side of the House and the Government last week that the Debate should end on Wednesday. We did the best we could to make a calculation as to the time we should wish to occupy—we regard ourselves, justly or unjustly, as the natural critics of the Government—and as to how long we should require to take; and we hoped to be able, and I think would have been able, to finish the discussion by Wednesday; and I am sure that everybody who has watched the course of the Debate yesterday and to-day will admit that the amount of time taken up by my hon. Friends behind me and on this bench has been a mere fraction of the time occupied by other Members of the House. I need not say I do not question the right of every Member. I do not make the smallest criticism. I rise merely to defend my Friends and myself from an accusation of bad faith, when it became clear, and rapidly became clear, to me that it was quite impossible to finish on Wednesday. How can you do it?
We have not been allowed to get to the beer licences, to the population limit, to the question of the grocers, or to the minimum, and we have not been allowed to touch tobacco. It is now practically eleven o'clock on the Tuesday night. All 1963 these things, which are of the first importance and of the most controversial character, are now to be got, it appears, in the course of to-night and to-morrow. Everything that my friends and I could have done has been done to carry out the arrangement, and I am sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer will admit that our speeches have been brief. They really have not been many, and if it becomes realy impossible—and I think it is quite impossible to carry out this arrangement—I throw myself upon the general sentiment of the House, and I ask whether anyone on this bench, or any hon. Members on the benches behind me, are responsible for the circumstances in which we find ourselves. I content myself with that statement, and I am quite sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer will think I am not going beyond my duty. I have made my conscience clear in the matter, and I can do no more.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd-George)
I quite agree with every word that has fallen from the right hon. Gentleman as to the arrangement having been strictly carried out. There has been a real endeavour made by the Opposition not merely to adhere to the law, but the spirit of the undertaking. I have not been present, but I am speaking from what my colleagues have told me of what has occurred during the past few days. I may say I sympathise with the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition in what he said about getting through the Schedule before to-morrow evening. I do not think, whatever happens, that the right hon. Gentleman and his supporters are in the slightest degree responsible for any failure. If there be a failure I shall take it that there is not the slightest reason for holding the right hon. Gentleman and his supporters responsible for it. I think they have very strictly adhered to the arrangement which was made. I understand that the time has not been occupied in the past two days by Members of the Opposition in anything like the proportion it has been occupied by other hon. Members. At the same time, I would point out that it was all criticism of the Government and their proposals, and it was none the less effective because
§ it did not come from supporters of the Leader of the Opposition. It was really very effective criticism, and was by no means confined to Ireland. It was criticism of a very general character, and I am not sure whether it was confined to the United Kingdom—at any rate, I think it was generally in support of the Opposition. All I can say is that I hope to be able to make a statement to-morrow night, and I trust we may now be able to take a Division on the Amendment before the Committee. Those who support it have stated their views at considerable length. I can only respond to the appeal of the Leader of the Opposition by making another appeal, and that is that we should make a real effort to get through by to-morrow night. I think the Leader of the Opposition will find it better and more convenient that we should do so, and that it will meet the general views of everybody that we should come to a conclusion by to-morrow night. Otherwise, it would disarrange the business, and really would be very inconvenient to the majority of Members, in fact to Members on both sides of the House. For the moment I shall simply say that whatever happens to-morrow night the Opposition ought to be absolved from having brought about any further delay. I do appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition and those who support him to do their level best to bring the business in Committee to a conclusion, and if they find they cannot do so it might be possible to reserve one or two points either for the Report stage or for recommittal. I just make that suggestion, and I do not want an immediate answer. There is tobacco—suppose we were unable to get through tobacco. The suggestion was made that the Tobacco Clause, which was passed through inadvertence on a Friday, might be recommitted. Then we might pass it to-morrow, and we could go back on it on recommittal. It is only a kind of suggestion I am making, and at the same time giving them a full opportunity of criticising all those features which they object to, and which they think should be debated in the House.
§ Question put, "That these words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 78; Noes, 201.1967
|Division No. 770.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Ashley, W. W.||Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Land.)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Balcarres, Lord||Banbury, Sir Frederick George|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Baldwin, Stanley||Banner, John S. Harmood.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Gretton, John||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Hamilton, Marquess of||Randies, Sir John Scurrah|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Renwick, George|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hill, Sir Clement||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hills, J. W.||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hunt, Rowland||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Kerry, Earl of||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Keswick, William||Stanier, Beville|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Starkey, John R.|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Fell, Arthur||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||M'Arthur, Charles||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Younger, George|
|Forster, Henry William||Myer, Horatio|
|Foster, P. S.||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. W. Pearce and Mr. Cecil Lea.|
|Gardner, Ernest||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Elibank, Master of||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Alden, Percy||Erskine, David C.||Lupton, Arnold|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Essex, R. W.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Esslemont, George Birnie||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Armitage, R.||Evans, Sir S. T.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Everett, R. Lacey||M'Callum, John M.|
|Astbury, John Meir||Ferens, T. R.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Findlay, Alexander||Marnham, F. J.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Massie, J.|
|Barker, Sir John||Fuller, John Michael F.||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Fullerton, Hugh||Middlebrook, William|
|Barnes, G. N.||Gill, A. H.||Mond, A.|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Montgomery, H. G.|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Glendinning, R. G.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Morrell, Philip|
|Beale, W. P.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Napier, T. B.|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Gulland, John W.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hedges, A. Paget||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Branch, James||Helme, Norval Watson||Pointer, J.|
|Brigg, John||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Pollard, Dr. G. H.|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Henry, Charles S.||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Higham, John Sharp||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Hobart, Sir Robert||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Rees, J. D.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Hodge, John||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Holland, Sir William Henry||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Clough, William||Hyde, Clarendon G.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornlay||Illingworth, Percy H.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Jackson, R. S.||Robinson, S.|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Jardine, Sir J.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Cooper, G. J.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Jowett, F. W.||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Kekewich, Sir George||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Cowan, W. H.||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Laidlaw, Robert||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)||Seddon, J.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Lamont, Norman||Seely, Colonel|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Shackleton, David James|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Lehmann, R. C.||Shaw, Sir Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Duckworth, Sir James||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Sloan, Thomas Henry||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Wiles, Thomas|
|Steadman, W. C.||Verney, F. W.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||Walker, H. de R. (Leicester)||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Summerbell, T.||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)||Waterlow, D. S.||Winfrey, R.|
|Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Thomasson, Franklin||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Captain|
|Toulmin, George||Whitehead, Rowland||Norton and Sir E. Strachey.|
|Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
§ Mr. JOHN GRETTON moved, in Scale 2—C.—Retailers' On-Licences, Spirits (Publican's Licence), to leave out the words, "subject to the minimum duty payable under Scale 3." This minimum duty is a new device introduced into the Finance Bill for the first time. Of course there is a fixed minimum duty in each class of licence. The Government now propose to set up a sliding scale of duty according to the population of the district or township. This is undoubtedly a new principle. We have not yet heard from the Government their reasons for introducing this sliding scale. There is only one reason I can imagine, and that is that the proposal has been brought forward at the instance of those extreme temperance advocates who sit behind the Government, who desire to stamp out, by means of this Budget, a very large number of the smaller licensed houses of the kingdom. That is undoubtedly the effect that this minimum scale wil produce. I should like to know why a licensed house in a town of 10,000 inhabitants is to pay a minimum duty of £15, where a similar house that happens to be in an urban district of 100,000 inhabitants—both houses being of the same value and doing the same trade—pays a minimum duty of £35. On what principle of justice or of right or wrong, or of public policy, can that vast difference in the minimum duty be justified? It is quite clear that the Government mean to do away with a very large number of the smaller houses in the country. The hon. Member for Lincolnshire said in the earlier portion of the evening that the new taxes were only abnormal and excessive in the case of the larger houses. He must have forgotten the proposals about the minimum duty, and I should like to point out how, in one or two cases, this minimum duty will work.
§ Let me take, for instance, the district of Halifax. That large district has over 100,000 inhabitants. One part is thickly populated, but another is entirely a country district, which happens to be included in the urban area. On one side of the border there are two little public- 1968 houses which are serving the country district, and these little country public-houses will have to pay a minimum duty of £35, while at present they are merely paying £4 10s.; the result here is to increase the tax by £30, and these little houses have also to contribute, not to the rural rates, but to the urban rates. The same thing will happen in the case of a little country village I know, which has four public-houses which come within the urban area. Their licence duty will be increased from £4 10s. to £35. The Government themselves recognise these anomalies, because they have put down Amendments to make special exceptions in some districts, which shows that the Government recognise that their proposals are calculated to work very great injustice in such cases. Their proposal will work great injustice in the vast majority of the districts all over the country. We hear of the gin palaces and hole-and-corner drinking dens, but these little public-houses are well conducted places and are under complete police supervision. It means getting rid of them under the Act of 1904 as being superfluous. They are little houses where small clubs meet for the convenience of the men in the district, where they talk over the events of the day. There is no drunkenness there, and the trade is done mostly over the bar counter. These little houses are a source of very great convenience in those districts, and they make very small profits. They administer to the amenities and the comforts of life where they are not too numerous. This, in my opinion, is one of the most oppressive parts of the whole Budget. Up to the present the Government have not made out any case for this proposal, and it should be resisted by every means in the power of the House.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
I have an Amendment lower down on the Paper which carries out the same idea as this proposal, and when I put it down I felt a certain amount of confidence that we should obtain a concession in regard to it, 1969 notwithstanding the fact that the Secretary to the Treasury told us that no concessions would be allowed. I feel a certain amount of courage in this matter, because I see that there is an Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool, which has for its object the extension of the principle of this Amendment to Ireland. As there have been one or two concessions to Ireland already, I hope that in this case the Government will meet us on this point. I maintain that this minimum duty is quite a novel proposition, and one which is entirely uncalled for. It is also unnecessary, and will give rise to some of the most flagrant anomalies we have ever seen in this country. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has put forward the astounding proposition, that because the licensed victualler is already heavily taxed it does not matter about taxing him a little more. That is the principle upon which the Government are proceeding. They believe that to take a little more out of the rapidly diminishing profits of the publican will make very little difference. What is the motive of the Government in maintaining this minimum duty? Is it a portion of the vindictive policy they have put forward or is it really intended to obtain more revenue? In view of the injury it will do, and the anomalies it will create, the small revenue it will raise will hardly compensate for the difficulties which must ensue. My Amendment had for its object the omission of the scale itself. I do not quarrel so much with the minimum portion of scale at £5, £10 or £15, but when you come to the later proposals in the scale in urban areas with a population of 50,000 and 100,000 the scale is open to a great deal of objection. I take particular interest in this matter, because my constituency, Maidstone, is one which, in the number of its inhabitants, comes within the category of the scale. A very flagrant anomaly might arise in regard to this scale. Take two houses, both rated at £30, one situated within and the other just outside the borough boundary, whereas the one inside the boundary will be compelled to pay £20, its competitor outside the boundary will only have to pay £15. There can, under no circumstances, be any defence for this difference. The result of the scale will be to abolish a great many of the beer-houses. I have no doubt the hon. Member for the Appleby division 1970 would like to see them abolished altogether, but, because he has tyrannical ideas, I do not see why we should share them. I do not agree that all beer drinking is immoral.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
I apologise; I was dealing with my own Amendment. I sincerely hope the right hon. Gentleman, when he comes to answer, will give some justification for the establishment of the minimum.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The hon. Member suggests that it is a wholly novel proposal and a rather absurd invention of the Government that the duties public-houses pay ought, in any degree, to vary in accordance with the size of the town in which they happen to be situated. That is far from being the case. The Licensing Act of 1872 laid down a scale of rateable values for new public-houses in towns, and declared that no licences should be granted in future to any building in any town unless at a fixed rateable value. Consequently a duty corresponding to that rateable value should be exacted from any new public-house in every such town. In a town of under 10,000 inhabitants the public-house cannot be of less than £15 annual value—if licensed since 1872; between 10,000 and 100,000, it cannot be less than £30, and over 100,000 it cannot be less than £50; and duty in all cases increases correspondingly. There is, too, a scale: for beerhouses; but I need not go into that, as the matter does not arise on this Amendment. You have more recently—in the Licensing Act of 1902, dealing with Ireland—adopted the same principle, and it was reaffirmed in the Act of 1908, so that the principle of dealing with public-houses with reference to the size of the town in which they are situated is by no means a new one. The House is familiar with the fact that wherever you go difficulties of this kind always arise, and a public-house just outside a borough boundary may pay a much lower duty than one 40 yards off which happens to be within the boundary.
My hon. Friend asks why these provisions have been inserted in the Bill at all. Let me remind the Committee that the Finance Bill is very tender of the small public-house in rural districts. The duty in their case is practically untouched, a difference of about 2s. only being made, and that is 1971 because the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his Budget speech, declared that he did not consider that these houses were in a position to pay higher taxation, and he did not deem it fair or just to impose any additional burden on them. But if that is so with regard to small houses in the country districts, it is not the case with regard to the smaller public-houses in the big towns. The duty they now pay is very inadequate in proportion to the trade done by them, and we have not thought it was expedient from the point of view of revenue or just to exempt these small public-houses from any increase of licence duties, although we do propose to exempt the corresponding class of houses in rural districts. Having, however, decided that they should not be exempted, we did not think it just to charge them all the same increasing duty, no matter what is the size of the town in which they happen to be situated. In a small country town a public-house cannot afford to pay the same duty as one in a great city with a population of over 100,000. Consequently we found it necessary to apply a scale, and the scale we propose has been carefully framed in view of the general circumstances of the different areas. We submit it with confidence to the Committee as a just scale. We think £35 quite high enough for the minimum in the larger towns. We are not quite so hard on publicans as the hon. Member seems inclined to think. This proposal is the complement to the exemption of small public-houses in the rural districts, and if it were not possible to have a proposal such as this it would be necessary to apply a higher Licence Duty to small public-houses all round, no matter where they may be situated.
§ Mr. J. D. REES
What about the public-house in an area which is nominally urban but really rural, in an area attached to a small county town, but very much larger than that occupied by the town? So far as I can make out no provision is made in favour of a house so situated.
It seems to me that a working man requires two public-houses—one where he works and the other where he lives. I do not find jeers when I make those remarks to my working men. The working man has very often to go a long way to his work. In town he cannot carry his dinner with him because he has no place where he can leave it. In the country he can put it down by the side of the hedge. 1972 In a town he cannot, in bad weather, take his dinner in a handkerchief like the rural workman and put it down on the pavement, therefore he must get his dinner somewhere. Speaking from experience, I say the working man in a large town, when he goes into a public-house to get his dinner, gets with it half a pint of ale and a screw of tobacco for sixpence. The working man gets his dinner there very comfortably, and he gets it between the hours of 12 and 2. You have, therefore, to get into the public-house in town a very large number of men in a short period, and therefore it is distinctly a different class of house to that which is in what is called a residential neighbourhood. When the man returns from his work he may want to have a drink of non-intoxicating liquor. At all events, between the hours of 6 and 11 o'clock he can get all he requires. He may want friendship, he may want warmth, he may even want lavatory accommodation. The public-house, it cannot be denied, meets all these wants. A good many working men in poor districts in a large town have not got the comforts they can get in the public-house. The working man may want a warm fire and a comrade to talk to. Therefore you require two public-houses for working men in each town. I am rather familiar with the wants of working men. When they return to their home they do not want to walk a mile or a very long distance to get the refreshment they require. When the Government places a post office in a district they do not consider whether it will be a profitable establishment or not in that district. It, is a necessity, and I maintain that the public-house is also a necessity. It may not be profitable to the man who owns it.
At the same time the public-house is a necessity for the people, and you have no right to handicap the smaller houses in a large town by heavy taxation. The working man of the poorer class—a very much poorer class than those who come here—require some place to which they need not walk a very long distance in order to obtain what they want. They have to walk three or four miles to their work and they want a public-house convenient to their residences. There are public-houses in large towns which are very seriously affected by this taxation. They will be wiped out entirely by the effect of this taxation. They may be compelled to go further to a house they do not care to go to at all. There are 1973 just as many classes, socially, among the working men as there are among gentlemen. It is not always convenient for working men to associate with other working men. A ganger will not associate with the men he is ganger over. Stevedores, porters, engineers, sailors, artisans, and members of Parliament will not associate together. You have to have public-houses of all classess in order to suit the convenience of customers who want to visit those places and not associate with men who are not of the same social degree. By this minimum duty you are inflicting, without doubt, a very grave injustice upon the lower class of working men.
Mr. G. D. FABER (York)
We have been occupied to-day in imposing upon on-licence holders an enormous duty of half their annual value. Is not that sufficient for one day's work? It has been well said that appetite comes with eating, and I am afraid nothing will satisfy the cormorant like appetite of the Government. They are not satisfied with raising this additional taxation, but they are driving them to desperation by imposing this minimum duty upon them. I would ask the Committee to try to realise what will be done by the imposition of this minimum duty on licensed houses. According to a table given to me—and I have no reason to doubt its accuracy—there are 5,768 fully-licensed houses in this country whose very existence will be imperilled by this minimum duty. These houses may be classified in this way: 104 under £10; between £10 and £15, 307; between £15 and £20, 1,144; between £20 and £25, 907; between £25 and £30, 1,078; between £30 and £40, 1,161; between £40 and £50, 940. Is it justice that the existence of these houses should be imperilled? Since the Act of 1904 was passed these houses have been paying their quota to the compensation fund. What are the Government proposing
§ to do? While these houses are paying into the compensation fund at one fell swoop they may be wiped out of existence. Surely, however undesirable you may think the licensed trade to be, those connected with it deserve common justice. On 10th June the Prime Minister must have had the minimum scale in his mind when he said: "The Chancellor of the Exchequer is perfectly justified in regard to the liquor licence duties in considering whether the effect may not be to discourage the growth and, indeed, the existence of some of the worst class of houses." By the worst class of houses, the Prime Minister must have meant the smallest class of houses. As a matter of course, houses which are bad disappear on account of the conduct of the men who manage them. The Chancellor of the Exchequer must have thought that he was justified in putting out of existence the smallest class of houses. That class deserve justice as much as any other class of house in this country. Under Mr. Gladstone's Act there was no duty higher than £4 10s., and now you are finally parting company with that limit. In boroughs with over 100,000 population you are going to have a minimum of no less than £35, or nine times Mr. Gladstone's limit. I sometimes fear that it is impossible any longer to appeal in this House for justice to the licensed trade. There is a wider bar of justice. To that bar I appeal. Although your ears may be deaf, the ears of the outside public are not. If you cannot see the injustice there is a public outside that can.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 180; Noes, 65.1975
|Division No. 771.]||AYES.||[11.45 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Clough, William|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Cobbold, Felix Thornley|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Berridge, T. H. D.||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Cooper, G. J.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Black, Arthur W.||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Armitage, R.||Boulton, A. C. F.||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Bowerman, C. W.||Cory, Sir Clifford John|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Branch, James||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Brigg, John||Cowan, W. H.|
|Barker, Sir John||Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Crossley, William J.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Dalziel, Sir James Henry|
|Barnes, G. N.||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst (Leeds, N.)||Byles, William Pollard||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Beale, W. P.||Cawley, Sir Frederick||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Duckworth, Sir James|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Laidlaw, Robert||Robinson, S.|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Elibank, Master of||Lament, Norman||Roc, Sir Thomas|
|Erskine, David C.||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Essex, R. W.||Lehmann, R. C.||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Lewis, John Herbert||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Lupton, Arnold||Scott, A. H. (Ashfon-under-Lyne)|
|Findlay, Alexander||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Seddon, J.|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Seely, Colonel|
|Fullerton, Hugh||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Shackleton, David James|
|Gill, A. H.||M'Laren, Rt. Hon. Sir C. B. (Leices.)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Marnham, F. J.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Massie, J.||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Summerbell, T.|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Middlebrook, William||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Gulland, John W.||Mond, A.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Montgomery, H. G.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Worrell, Philip||Toulmin, George|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r.)||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Verney, F. W.|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Norman, Sir Henry||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nuttall, Harry||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Henry, Charles S.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Watt, Henry A.|
|Hodge, John||Pointer, Joseph||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Pollard, Dr.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Hope, John Deans (File, West)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Horniman, Erslie John||Priestiey, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Hyde, Clarendon||Rees, J. D.||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Ridsdale, E. A.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Winfrey, R.|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Jowett, F. W.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Captain|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Norton and Sir Edward Strachey.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Fell, Arthur||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Randies, Sir John Scurrah|
|Ashley, W. W.||Fletcher, J. S.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Balcarres, Lord||Forster, Henry William||Renwick, George|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W.)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gardner, Ernest||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Karris, Frederick Leverton||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Stanier, Beville|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Helmsley, Viscount||Starkey, John R.|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hill, Sir Clement||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hills, J. W.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hunt, Rowland||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Kerry, Earl of||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Keswick, William||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. Charles Scott||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Doughty, Sir George||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Gretton and Viscount Castlereagh.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. H. A. WATT
In view of the speech made this afternoon from the Government Bench, I think it is quite hopeless to get any concessions from the Government, and therefore I do not propose to move the Amendment which stands in my name on the Paper. I commend that to the Chancellor of the Duchy for the Report stage.
§ Mr. SAMUEL ROBERTS moved, in C. (Retailers' Licences), to leave out the words "a duty equal to a third of the annual value of the licensed premises, subject to the minimum duty payable under Scale 3," and to insert instead thereof "duty specified in Scale 4."
§ I suggest to the Government at this stage that they should report Progress.1977
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
It was arranged a considerable time ago that every effort would be made to finish this stage of the Bill by to-morrow night, and if that is understood, and subject to that proviso, I will consent to report Progress. If it is more convenient to hon. Members to report Progress now, the Government will have no objection to that course being taken. It was agreed that the House should not sit later than 12 o'clock, on the understanding that the Debate is finished to-morrow night.
§ Mr. H. W. FORSTER
That has been generally understood on these benches, and the right hon. Gentleman may take it as understood.
§ Mr. WILLIAM REDMOND
May I ask when it is likely opportunity will be given to us to discuss the Tobacco Duties.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, a few minutes ago, said if the Tobacco Duty was not discussed to-morrow an opportunity might be found for the recommittal of that Clause as suggested originally. We have every hope that the Clause, as well as the remainder of the Schedule and other Schedules that still remain, may be disposed of by a reasonable hour to-morrow night.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again to-morrow (Wednesday).