§ (1) Where it is shown to the Commissioners that the amount of any annual payments to be made, or of any capital sum which has been paid, in pursuance of conditions attached to the grant of a new on-licence for securing to the public monopoly value under Section four of the Licensing Act, 1904, exceeds the amount which should reasonably be required having regard to the increase in the duty on the licence under this Act, the Commissioners may, after giving the justices by whom the conditions have been attached to the licence an opportunity of reporting to them on the matter, reduce in such manner as they think just the amount of any payment to be so made, or in cases where a capital sum has been paid allow such a reduction from the duty to be paid for the licence as they think just, having regard to the decrease of the monopoly value owing to the increase of the duty on the licence.
§ (2) Any amount by which the duty on the licence is reduced under this Section shall be deducted, in accordance with directions of the Treasury, from the next payment made out of the local taxation account to the council of the county or county borough who have had the benefit of the original capital sum paid, and the amount to be paid into the local taxation 1395 account on account of the proceeds of the duties on the licences for the sale of intoxicating liquor shall be reduced accordingly.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. CLAVELL SALTER
moved, in Subsection (1), after "paid" ["or of any capital sum which has been paid"] to insert the words "or of any other expenditure or any loss incurred by the applicant." The Committee will see that this Clause proposes to do bare justice to a class of persons to whom gross injustice would otherwise be done, namely, those licence holders who have bought and paid for their licences under the Act of 1904. If the State, after giving them these licences as being of a certain value, subject to a certain duty, were itself to diminish the value of those licences by increasing the duty, without giving the people any compensation, it would amount to a gross breach of faith. It is to meet that position of things that this Clause is introduced. It proposes that these people should have a certain amount of relief—I hope to deal with that point later—where they have purchased their licences by the payment of money. The point to which I wish to call attention is that the Clause is confined to those licence holders who have purchased their licences with money, either lump sums or annual payments, ignoring altogether those licence holder who have purchased their licences is money's worth by the surrender of old licences, or by submitting to additional onerous conditions. The purchase of a licence not merely by money, sometimes not at all by money, but by the surrender of other licences, is both an extremely common and an extremely beneficial practice.
I have in my band a paper with thirteen instances—not very frequent nowadays— of the granting of new licences since the Act of 1904. These were the conditions which were imposed in each of these cases: In the first case the payment of £5 a year and the surrender of an ale-house licence; in the next case the surrender of an ante 1869 beer-house, no money payment at all; in the third case the payment of £3,000 and the surrender of a licence: fourth, the payment of £400 forthwith and the surrender of an 1869 beer-house. The payment of £2,000 and the surrender of an ale-house licence comes next; then the payment of £20 and two beer-house licences to be surrendered before a certain date; the payment of 1396 £1,500 and the surrender of a beer-house licence and an ale-house licence. I come now to the first instance in this list of the payment of money alone. That was the payment of £4,000. The next case is the payment of £1,600 and the surrender of a beer-house licence; the payment of £400 and the surrender of a beer-house licence; the payment of £200 per annum and the surrender of a licence—that is the first instance of an annual payment—the payment of £1,100 (in three equal instalments) and the surrender of a licence. The last instance is the payment of £1,000. In the last case these onerous terms were altered by the confirming authority, who decreed that the applicant should have his licence for the payment of £750 and the surrender of another licence, the surrendered licence being taken as equivalent to £250.
In the thirteen instances I have given there are only two in which onerous covenants did not form a very large part of the consideration given. In several of them they formed the whole consideration. How will those very persons stand under this Sub-section? They will be entitled to this relief only in so far as they have paid money. Those who have paid little money, and perhaps surrendered valuable licences, will get a very small measure of relief. Those who have surrendered valuable licences and have paid no money will get no relief at all. Look at the case of two men who, under the Act of 1904, take new licences on the same day. One is called upon to pay £500; the other is called upon to surrender a licence valued at £500. Everyone will agree that the men give to the State an equal consideration for what they get. The man who has paid the £500 is entitled to relief. The man who has surrendered a licence worth £500 is excluded from benefit altogether. In the last case to which I referred where the confirming authority altered the terms, and said that the payment should be £750 in money, and the surrender of a licence in lieu of the payment of £1,000, the effect would be to reduce the right of the applicant to relief under this Sub-section. He would only be entitled to it in respect to the money paid. I cannot conceive that the Government can do anything less than accept this Amendment. I am not in love with the wording. I have had some difficulty in framing it. I daresay the wording can be improved; but I desire in proposing the change to provide for the man who has paid for his licence, and has given, value for it in meal or malt.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
The hon. and learned Gentleman said that he was not in love with the form of his Amendment. I am not astonished to hear that from him, because anything more vague or more unsatisfactory than to insert after the definite words "annual payments" or "capital sum" the words "or any other expenditure or any loss incurred by the applicant" could not well be imagined. I cannot conceive what the hon. Member wants to cover by his words. We cannot accept his Amendment, and I will give shortly the reasons why. We are dealing, as the hon. and learned Gentleman has said, with cases since the passing of the Act of 1904. Sums of money which have been exacted by way of monopoly value from persons to whom new licences have been granted. These sums of money have passed into the Local Taxation Account. We do not propose in this Clause at all to deal with anything but the money paid. The hon. and learned Gentleman says there is no reason why you should not take into account the surrender of licences. He knows perfectly well, and other Members of the Committee know, how this surrender of licences comes about. Some benches of magistrates have dealt much more leniently with applications for new licences than others. One very ordinary method, both since 1904 and before, to get, so to speak, at the hearts of the licensing justices was to say: "We will shut up one, two, or three public-houses elsewhere." The experience of those who have had to do with these matters, I think, might be summed up in this way: that those licences could not be regarded as valuable licences. They were houses sometimes in the same locality, but very often far away. If in the same locality the transaction was more or less in the nature of a transfer. In that event it would be an argument against the hon. and learned Gentleman. In most cases it was only a desire to get at the leniency of the magistrate that the offer to shut up public-houses which were not required in other districts was made. It might be said that these public-houses could be shut up under other provisions of the Act of 1904. That is quite true, but in the ordinary course of things they would not be closed. The magistrates are often inclined to grant a licence where they otherwise would not where these not very valuable licences, existing in other parts of the licensing district, are offered in exchange. I have heard the offer made to 1398 give up one, to give up two, to give up three public-houses.
How are you going to value these old houses surrendered, say, in the year 1905? I have never known in the course of my experience an argument of this kind put forward: "This house is worth £500; therefore reduce the monopoly value from £2,000 to £1,500." The hon. Member for Ayr told me that it would be easy to value these houses. But the tenants' account books are destroyed, and I do not know how, in many cases, you can get at the particulars. In any event the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman would, I think, affect only a very small number of public-houses, say, in this country, for this Sub-section cannot apply to Scotland or Ireland.
Next they are few in number, they will be difficult to trace and difficult to value; as I said, that was not on the ground they were surrendered. No argument was made upon the valuable character of the surrender. It was rather in the way of saying we will give up these houses and: you will have a smaller number of houses in the same locality, and you have this additional advantage, that you can extinguish these houses without paying compensation value out of the compensation rate. That was the argument that was; used to the licensing justices. "We have got certain licences, we will give them up. There is no question of misconduct, and you will not have to pay compensation out of the compensation rate, and the public fund will thereby benefit. I submit that, for all practical purposes, we have done all we can do in connection with this Clause. It is brought forward as a measure of justice to those people who are compelled to give this value. I have no doubt we shall consider on subsequent proposals of the Clause whether the terms we have offered are reasonable and just, but we cannot extend the operations of the Clause so as to deal with these cases where surrender has taken place. This Clause deals with cases where money payment has been made.
§ Sir EDWARD CARSON
I think it was somewhat amusing to hear the Solicitor-General referring to the vague and somewhat unsatisfactory nature of this Amendment. For anybody who has anything to say either with the drafting or the conduct of this Bill to reproach anyone for vagueness or uncertainty is rather amusing. It was hardly worth the right hon. Gentleman's while to deal with this Amendment in this way when he was 1399 going to give it an absolute refusal. He kenw what it meant, and if the Solicitor-General was sympathetic and was allowed a discretion he could easily get words to meet the views put forward by my hon. and learned Friend. I must say the conclusion of the Government on this matter is very extraordinary. They say that, having regard to the terms of the Act of 1904, and the terms that were exacted from holders of licences, it would be unfair to the people paying for new licences that they should be entirely burdened with this new taxation without some allowances being made. The Government admit that principle, and, therefore, they say to a man who has paid, say, a thousand pounds, "You are entitled to an abatement under this Section." But the Solicitor-General goes on and says, "While I admit the principle that if a man pays £1,000 he is entitled to get an abatement if, at the same time, upon the request of the magistrate, instead of paying £1,000, he extinguishes two or three or four licensed houses he will get nothing." How can the Government really stand over a position of that kind?
My hon. and learned Friend produced a case in which the monopoly value was fixed at £1,000, but was reduced to £750 and the extinguishing of a licence that was plainly valued for £250. Nothing could be more puerile than to come to this House and say, "We will allow for the money payment, but we will allow nothing for the house, which admittedly was worth something, and which we were compelled by the magistrate as a condition of granting the licence to extinguish before the new licence would be granted. That is a puerile position to take up, and it is not business. What are the objections of the Solicitor-General? "Oh," he says, "the offer to extinguish other licences is something to coax the magistrates." Does the Solicitor-General really and seriously say that a man throws away a thousand pounds worth of property to coax the magistrate? Are you going to talk of the administration of the law in this House as a question of coaxing the magistrate? I should like to hear the Solicitor-General go before a bench of magistrates, not in his position as Solicitor-General but as a poor, struggling counsel like myself, and say, "Gentlemen, or your worships," whichever you call them, I really forget, "I am prepared to pay what the Bench thinks proper, and in addition to that, with a view to coaxing you, I am prepared to surrender 1400 a number of houses." Why the thing is ludicrous. This whole thing is a matter of an Act of Parliament, enabling magistrates to make such conditions as they think proper. Instead of charging this amount of money for granting a licence to an hotel or whatever it may be, they think it far better in the administration of this Licensing Act, where you are going to set up a new licence, to make you extinguish two or three licences in that same district. On what principle the distinction is made between the payment of money and the extinction of those licences which is made a condition of an Act of Parliament is more than I can tell.
The next objection the Solicitor-General makes is, he says how are you to value these licences? The Solicitor-General knows perfectly well that ever since the passing of the Act of 1904—and we are only dealing with cases that arose since—the owner of these houses have been obliged by the Act of Parliament to pay to the Compensation Fund a share of what they are entitled to upon being extinguished. He knows that, and he knows perfectly well if these houses have been extinguished otherwise than by surrender the share of the compensation money would have to be paid to them. And yet he comes forward to this Committee and says these houses have really no value at all. The matter is absolutely absurd. They would have to be compensated if the licence was taken away, but if they are voluntarily surrendered we are told that they have no value. The duties cast upon the Commissioners under this Bill are far more difficult than any duties cast by this Amendment. This is how we stand. A man is obliged to surrender a house which admittedly would be entitled to compensation if the licence was taken away, and yet the Solicitor-General wants us to believe that it cannot be turned into a money payment so as to give compensation under this Bill. The position taken up by the Government is an absolutely impossible one, and if you are going to allow these claims you must allow something else in lieu of payment which can be reduced to payment. There is no difficulty about it. That principle which has been admitted by the Government themselves governs this Amendment, and the Government ought to reconsider this matter and try and do as much justice to the man who has paid £1,000 and voluntarily surrendered his licence as the man who has paid in cash for the grant of a new licence.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I understand the point put by the right hon. Gentleman is as follows. A man has applied for a new licence which may have a value of £1,000 under the Act of 1904, and an annual value of £150. The magistrates, if they wished, might say to him, "you shall have this licence if you will pay £150 to the local funds." Or they may say to him, "You have three houses with a monopoly value of £150. Instead of asking you to pay £150 in cash year by year, we ask you to surrender three old licences of an equivalent value." The right hon. Gentleman says if the first alternative is adopted you allow £150 a year as a set-off against the new licence, and if the second alternative is adopted you allow nothing. I submit to him that there is also the surrender of the Licence Duty, which would otherwise have been charged on the three licences which would be surrendered. If those three houses, instead of being suppressed, had remained they would have to pay the increased Licence Duties chargeable under this Bill, and year after year there would have come a certain sum to the State. That sum disappears, although the whole trade of those three suppressed houses goesex hypothesito another house, or to other houses in the district. [Cries of "No."] At any rate, no Licence Duties are being paid in respect of those houses. Therefore, I submit that the State by this transaction does lose by the loss of the Licence Duty on the three houses, and, therefore, this payment may be regarded in some degree as an equivalent.
§ Mr. YOUNGER
The statement just made by the right hon. Gentleman is about the most extraordinary argument I have ever heard. I have the greatest respect for the ability of the right hon. Gentleman, but, if he is going to descend to this kind of thing, we shall have to give him up as a bad job. Surely those licences had their market value at the time?
§ Mr. YOUNGER
May I point out that three or four years ago the present Government were not dealing with this question in this particular way, and I do not think they are entitled to assume that these houses would have existed to-day. They might have been compensated, and, therefore, I do not think you are entitled to take this as a set off. The Solicitor-General said it would be difficult to value these houses, but I can see no difficulty at 1402 all, because if the value cannot be proved I do not suppose it will be allowed. If the people who surrender those licences cannot prove they had a particular value before the Commissioners, if they cannot bring evidence to show what the value was or books to show the turnover, I suppose they will not be allowed for. Surely they ought to be entitled to prove their case. It makes no difference whether you pay money, or pay in kind, because in either case you fulfil your obligations, and you are equally entitled to get the same allowance for the one as for the other. I can conceive other conditions arising. I can conceive a state of things under which the site of a new house might be required by a public authority for a public improvement, and I think that would be covered by my hon. Friend's Amendment. In this case I think the Government is acting unduly unfair. We have heard a great deal about the surrender of licences, and that some of them are not worth anything. We had a great deal of evidence upon that point before the Royal Commission, which rather favoured this principle, and it showed that many of these licences had a substantial value. I do not doubt that there are many cases in which they have very little value, but that is a question of proof. If you cannot prove that they have some value you will not get any deduction. I think, however, you ought to give them a chance of proving the value.
§ Mr. SAMUEL ROBERTS
This Clause deals with the case where the local authority has taken value for the monopoly value. These cases were omitted by the Government last autumn when they drew up their Licensing Bill. I ventured to bring the matter before the Government, and the Prime Minister immediately admitted that the case of post 1904 houses ought to be fairly met, and he brought in a new clause, which to a certain extent met the grievance. The monopoly value has been taken in one of three ways. In the first place it has been taken by the payment of a large sum of money, amounting sometimes to many thousands of pounds, and I know one case in which £9,000 was paid down. Secondly, by an annual payment; and thirdly by a payment which is provided for by the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend., viz., the surrender of other licences as part of the consideration, which certainly has a money value. But that does not quite exhaust the case. I have got here a list of the 1403 houses granted since the Act of 1904, and there are other considerations besides those which I have mentioned which entered into the contract. Hours of business have been restricted. There is value in that. If the licensee cannot sell during long hours of the day there is less profit. There are several cases where bars and taps have been prohibited. There is a value in that. There are other cases where Sunday trading has been entirely abolished. There is surely a value in that. Yet the right hon. Gentleman suggests that these people who have given consideration wholly or partially in these ways are not entitled to any consideration. I am really astonished. Here are houses where the Government has exacted what has been called the monopoly value, and now the Government says: "We must exact that monopoly value by increasing the Licence Duties." What does that mean? It means they are demanding that monopoly value twice over. These licences were granted on the grounds of public policy, and because they were required, and either in money or kind the monopoly value has been exacted. Now the Government says: "We do not mind whether the monopoly value has been paid or not, we are going to have it again." The very clear case where consideration in kind, and not exactly in money has been given is met by the Amendment, and I am really astonished the Government have not accepted it. I am quite sure they have not thought this matter out. There is a money consideration in the surrender of licences, the restriction of hours of sale, the abolition of Sunday selling, and in the fact that bars and taps are not allowed, and these matters ought to be taken into account by the Government. I hope the Government will after all accept the Amendment.
I sincerely sympathise with the learned Solicitor-General in having been left here to defend an absolutely indefensible case. He has worked hard all the evening, and it really is very cruel that those who, I should have thought, were more primarily responsible for these proposals should be otherwise employed, and that he should be left to defend a case which I venture to say any audience would regard as absolutely indefensible. I notice the Benches opposite are not very closely packed, and I must say the hon. and learned Gentleman and his friends are well advised to keep them as thin as possible. 1404 The Government in this case have no defence for their conduct at all. I do not think the hon. Gentleman who has just come in (Mr. Walter Rea) was in the House when the case was originally made. I will remind him what, broadly speaking, is the case made for this Amendment. The Government base all their proposals for this tax upon the existence of the monopoly value. They say that monopoly value was the creation of the State, and the State ought to have control of it. They are then brought face to face with the fact that there are a certain number of licensed premises which have no monopoly value. Their monopoly value has,ex hypothesi, been extinguished. Their owners have had to pay an equivalent for that monopoly value already, and these licences, therefore, in my judgment, ought not to come under the tax at all. If the justification for the Government proposal has the smallest logical foundation, we ought not to be occupied in trying to make a Clause dealing with these particular licence holders watertight. We ought to exclude them from the purview of it. If it is a tax upon monopoly value, it ought not to be put on people who, ex hypothesi, have got no monopoly value. That is the case for seeing these people, at all events, having paid the full monopoly value, are not taxed again, as if they had monopoly value.
The Clause proposes some allowance in favour of that part of the monopoly value which has been paid in cash. My hon. and learned Friend who moved the Amendment pointed out that part of the value given for the monopoly had very often not taken the form of cash but of surrender of licences, alteration of premises, and so forth. It is not denied by the Government, and it cannot be denied by any impartial person, that part of the consideration given for this monopoly value is of that description, and is not adequately measured by the cash consideration given; and what my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment asks for, and all he asks for, is that the true value given for the monopoly shall be taken into account, and not merely that fraction of it which has been paid in cash. Is it possible to find an equitable answer to a contention so simple and so plainly just as that my hon. and learned Friend has put forward? Two Members of the Government have spoken in defence of this precious arrangement. The learned Solicitor-General, if I remember rightly, used only one argument. That was a 1405 practical one—one based not on equity but on expediency. He said it may be true other things besides cash have been given for the monopoly value, but you cannot put a valuation upon those other things. He says: "How can you value a public-house which has been pulled down?" I listened with amazement to an admission from a Member of his Majesty's Government that there is anything in the world which cannot be valued. What are the 500 gentlemen they are going to appoint worth if they cannot value a public-house which has been pulled down? The learned Solicitor-General was taking his holiday while his still more learned brother was fighting the Land Clauses in the earlier part of the Bill, and, therefore, he does not know—
My admiration for the Solicitor-General and his powers of endurance and his unfailing courtesy and good temper, if not always for his logic, is even higher than it was before, but, if the learned Solicitor-General was present during all the Debates we had on the Land Clauses of the Bill, will he really get up and tell us the Government think there is anything in the word connected with land and buildings which these 500 gentlemen are not capable of valuing?
I forget how many things they have to value under the Land Clauses, They have to consider what the value of the land Is without the buildings on it, and what the land was when our ancestors went about clothed in woad, or whatever it was. They have to make out the basis on which, in their opinion, the valuation should proceed. And then we are told by the hon. and learned Gentleman that it is beyond the omniscience of these Gentlemen to tell us what was the value of a public-house pulled down four years ago. I am sure they would not find the smallest difficulty in adding to their labours with regard to the Land Tax this very small Increment Duty which would be thrown upon them by an attempt—perhaps an ineffectual attempt—to do some justice to these people who, by general admission, have paid for the right to avoid these taxes altogether, and have paid for the right to avoid the monopoly tax. That was the argument put forward by the learned Solicitor-General. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster had another argument which was still more astonishing. He said it is quite true that 1406 the surrender of public-house licences was port of the consideration for the monopoly value of the new licence, but, he added, that if these houses had not been surrendered they would still have been in existence, and would now be liable to the duty. Therefore, in his opinion, the Government are losing a duty which they would have had if these houses had not been surrendered! I understand that the right hon. Gentleman, even on reflection, thinks that that is a good argument. I have one or two observations to make upon it. Does he really think, or is it the contention of the Government that the tax they are now putting on public-houses exhausts their whole value? If the tax does not do that, evidently the Government are not losing the whole amount that would have been taken away, and, therefore, even if the argument holds, surely we are justified in asking for an allowance in respect of that which would not have been taken, for the years which have elapsed during which these new taxes would not have been on these public-houses had they remained in existence. But there is another point, and that is what is just to the people who are paying this monopoly value. I understand the right hon. Gentleman regrets that these public-houses are not in existence, because he has not the opportunity of taxing them, but, on the other hand, temperance reformers are in favour of the extinction of public-houses, and I am utterly unable to understand the position of the right hon. Gentleman in that respect. We have to consider in taxing these houses not only what the Government expect to get out of them, but what is due to the people who have paid the full monopoly value. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor-General did not argue the justice of the case. He argued that it was impracticable. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster took a different line.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I was not dealing with cases which are supposed to have actually happened; I was dealing entirely with the theoretical case laid before us toy the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Sir E. Carson).
That case was a practical case, but I have another case with which to deal, in which £1,000 was treated as the true amount to be paid for monopoly value for a new licence.
Whether it was for six or seven or seventy or seven hundred years, surely it does not matter. I may be wrong, but I put this argument to the Committee: One thousand pounds was settled as the payment for the monopoly value of a new licence. That £1,000 was reduced to £750 because two or three other public-house licences had been suppressed. That is a plain case, in which the magistrates reduced the cash payment and accepted an equivalent reduction in licences suppressed. You are going to take into your account the statement that this man paid £1,000. I defy anybody to make out that that is an equitable transaction. But I do not think that the Government are influenced by considerations of equity in this case. I think I have exhausted the arguments which have been put forward. I submit you are putting a gross injustice on people who have no voting power. If these people had been numerous they would have been treated in a very different way, and I have no doubt that, if we had produced all the cases we could have done, the Members of the Government would have been found tumbling over one another in making concessions and announcements on every platform. The Solicitor-General seems to think that that is a strong statement. But we have put forward arguments which deserve an answer, and I would ask will anyone pretend that they have received an answer? No, Sir, the equities of the case are plain, and the practical difficulties are insignificant, and I am as amazed now as I was half an hour ago that the Government did not at once intimate their intention of accepting the Amendment put forward in a most reasonable form by my hon. Friend.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
I think the right hon. Gentleman was rather forgetting what took place in the year 1902 or 1903, when he hurled at us the charge that we were not dealing fairly and equitably because the number of people concerned were few and, therefore, did not consti- 1408 tute a large number of voters in this country. There is no foundation at all for any suggestion of that kind, and it comes, I think, with peculiarly bad grace from the Leader of the party which produced the Act of 1904, because their supporters, the brewers and publicans, on a celebrated deputation which was sent to a very high official, insisted, because they were their supporters in the country, on having that legislation passed. That is all I say with regard to that portion of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. It was not argument, and I do not say that my observation in answer to it is argument, but it was observation which called for the reply which I have made to it. Let me come to the part of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman which, avoiding political polemics, dealt with the particular Amendment, because, after all, that is our business to-day. The right hon. Gentleman is not so familiar with these cases as the right hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment, or as I am, and, therefore, he takes his figures second-hand. He used the instance of the £1,000, which he says was reduced either by the justices or quarter sessions down to £780, because three licences were given up. That is very likely to be the case, but it does not at all follow that the full monopoly value was there exacted by the licensing justices, but I think it quite conceivable that in that case there was a sort of rebate. What I want to know is this, will the right hon. Gentleman tell me what was supposed to be the value of the three licences given up? It does not follow that the justices certified, and that they did not do so means nothing. What was the value of the licences given up? That is the difficulty in this case, and that is why we say that it is difficult or impracticable to deal with it. We say that these cases are so few and so difficult and impracticable that we cannot deal with them. Surely that is not an injustice. There is: no prevision in this Bill to say that a gentleman has to value a thing he has never seen.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Mr. PRETYMAN
Has not the valuer, in order to ascertain site value, to deduct that part of the value which is due to a series of things which he cannot see and never has seen?
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
To get rid of interruption, I would ask whether it is fair to request anybody to put a value upon these so-called valuable licences which 1409 were surrendered? I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider the cases put by an hon. Gentleman who has a great interest in these questions. Here are things to value, the loss of a bar which never has even existed, the loss of a tap which never has been constructed, the loss of Sunday trade which has not been allowed or of some hours of business which the hon. Member says have been reduced, but they cannot have been reduced, as they could not apply to that particular case. These are old licences. Does the right hon. Gentleman say that he is able to answer questions as to the monopoly value for a house the hours of business of which were diminished from the ordinary hours to half a day, or as to the monopoly value exacted in respect of premises where the bar was prohibited? These are the cases put by the hon. Member behind him. It is impossible to value licences in such cases, and I make the statement again which I made at the beginning, that I have not heard of a single concrete case where the value of a single public-house which has been surrendered could be stated. We are dealing here justly and properly with those people who have been called upon to give up something in a business which has a monopoly value, and we are right in saying we will not go and investigate all these other matters when no case has been made showing that any real value has been given up.
§ Mr. CAVE
I should like the Committee to have before them the actual facts of the case referred to by my learned Friend. It was a case in Monmouthshire, and the entry in the official book of licensing statistics is this: "Nature of the licence: Ale-house, annual; conditions of grant: payment of £l,000." That is the way it was laid down by the Licensing Bench. Then, of course, the matter went for confirmation to the county committee, who have power to vary the order, and this is the entry: "Confirmed with the following variation in the conditions: (1) A beerhouse licence, which has not already been the subject of reference in the Division, to be surrendered without compensation. (2) Monopoly value to be £750." Can anyone doubt what is the meaning of that entry? The committee reduced the monopoly value claimed by £250, but on the condition that the applicant should find, acquire and surrender any beer-house licence in the division which had not already been the subject of a reference. If it does not mean that it means a par- 1410 ticular beer-house licence which had not already been the subject of reference. In other words, the county committee said this: "We think it worth £250 to the public to get rid of a beer-house licence."
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
Does the hon. and learned Gentleman say he is justified in stating that on this entry?
§ Mr. CAVE
Certainly. Everyone knows that beer-house licences are more difficult to get, and are compensated even on a higher scale than the ordinary full licence. The justices are very anxious to get rid of beer-houses, and they made it a condition that a beer-house should be surrendered, and if that were done they let off the applicant to the amount of £250, and of course without compensation for the beer-house. It is perfectly clear that this man was to bring in something worth £250 to the public, and for that consideration his monopoly value was reduced. It does not stop there. In the same book there are half a dozen cases of the same kind. In each case it is made a condition that a licensed house shall be surrendered. One is not without some knowledge of what that means. I have known many cases where, on an application for a new licence, the court or the bench said: "We think there are too many licences in this division already. If you will surrender one, two, or three licences, we do not care what it costs you, you shall have your new licence," and the man has gone and spent, in one case, £1,000 in buying an undesirable house. He gave that up without compensation at all. That man was exactly in the same position, and had the same claim, as if he had paid £1,000. It is true it did not go into the same fund. The monopoly value goes into the county fund, and the saving which he made to the public was a saving on the compensation fund. But it was a public benefit, because the effect was that the court had that sum more to spend on reducing licences. Two arguments are put forward against it.
The Chancellor of the Duchy said if a man gives up a beer-house or a licensed house we lose the Licence Duty on that, and that is sufficient return for the benefit which the man gives to the public. He answered himself, because he said when a beer-house or a licensed house is given up the trade goes to the other houses. But the result is to increase the annual value and the monopoly value of the other houses. Under this Bill you are taxing both the annual value and, in certain cases, the 1411 monopoly value, and therefore you get the benefit of that trade in one shape or another in duties on the other houses. The Solicitor-General said you cannot value a house that is given up, but you have, to begin with, the records. When a claim is made it is made by the man who has the information. It is his duty to make out his claim, and he will therefore furnish himself with all the facts of the case—the documents showing what he gave for the property which he gave up, what it cost him to acquire, or, if he did not acquire it in recent years, then what the value of it was. The hon. and learned Gentleman was bold enough to suggest that there is no case in which the duty is cast upon the valuers to value what they have not seen. I can refer to more than one Section where that duty is cast upon him. Take Clause 2, Subjection (4). That provides that where the owner of land proved that he has purchased the land within 20 years before 1909 you are to substitute for the site value of the land in 1909 the site value of the land 20 years ago. It is obvious that the valuer cannot have seen the land 20 years ago, yet he has to find out what was its value, and how much lie was to deduct for improvements existing 20 years ago, and what was the site value at that time. If a man could go through that process there could be no difficulty in going through the much simpler process of declaring, on facts easily ascertained, what was the value of a licensed house which is only given up to the public at some period within the last five years. I suggest that the case is wholly unanswered and unanswerable.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The hon. and learned Gentleman's case rests, to some extent, on a specific instance which he says proves the ease with which you can ascertain the value of a particular house when it is surrendered in part exchange for a new licence. He took the case of Monmouthshire, where the monopoly value of an annual ale house was estimated at £1,000 at first by the justices, and was confirmed with the variation that the monopoly value was £750, instead of £l,000, and that a certain house was to be surrendered in addition. He says that proves that that particular house was worth £250.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
Surely the hon. and learned Gentleman's argument was that for the purpose of this Amend- 1412 ment if you are to take into account the monopoly value of these premises, and the new licence we ought not to say really £750 but £1,000.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
That is precisely what I said, that, in the view of the confirming authority, for the purpose of monopoly value the house surrendered was worth £250, and that it can be valued on that basis on the assumption that £750, the price of the licence as fixed by the confirming authority, was equal to the £1,000, the price of the licence as fixed by the licensing justices. The confirming authority, the quarter sessions, frequently vary the price fixed for monopoly value by the licensing justices.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
On the very page opposite to the one where is the case that the hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to is that of an annual licence which was to be granted by the local justices for £400. It was confirmed, the monopoly value being £100, and it was to be in force for three years. That was a very considerable reduction. Then there are other cases, undoubtedly, in which the monopoly value has been increased, a payment of £100 fixed by the licensing authority being confirmed, and the monopoly value being increased to £150. There are other cases on the next page which have been similarly dealt with. It is perfectly clear that you cannot assume that the value of such licence can be arrived at by taking the cash sum fixed by the Licensing Authority, and deducting from it certain sums. These figures only show the absolute impossibility of valuing these things. There are such entries as "Billiard room not to be open to the public." Under the hon. Member's Amendment you would have to make a valuation in order to ascertain how much was to be deducted in respect of the billiard room not open to the public. There are dozens of minute conditions, such as "Premises to be closed one hour earlier at night," "No beer or spirits to be sold for consumption off the premises." It is perfectly impossible to value these things for the purposes of this Clause in view of the fact that the monoply value is only fixed for seven years.
§ Mr. F. E. SMITH
The Committee have witnessed the effects of two very agile minds in attempting to defend a wholly indefensible position. What has the Chancellor of the Duchy just said in reply to the quite unanswerable contention advanced by two hon. Friends behind me? He says that sometimes the confirming authority vary the price, and sometimes reduce it, and he instanced a case in which instead of an annual licence, which, of course carries with it the immensely valuable right of compensation, a three years' licence was given. The Chancellor of the Duchy actually put that forward as an adequate reply to the instances given by my hon. Friend. The arguments used by the Solicitor-General were even, if I may say so, more contemptible. What did the hon. and learned Gentleman say with reference to the point made by my hon. Friend? My hon. Friend said that the only reason why the same degree of attention was not given to the complaints on this point was that the votes were few. No one who has listened to the Debate will dissent from that. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that it did not follow that the full monopoly value ever is, in fact, exacted by the justices, and that under the terms of the 1904 Act the monopoly value is paid for. Was such an argument ever heard before? The provisions of the 1904 Act are that when the justices grant a new licence they may exact the monopoly value. In many cases the justices have exacted the monopoly value. They have demanded a certain money payment, and the consideration for that has been expressed by them as monopoly value. The Solicitor-General says that it does not follow that the monopoly value has been asked for. Those who have followed the proceedings of the licensing justices know that, using the best expert advice which valuers have been able to give them, they have done their best to arrive at the full monopoly value. The Solicitor-General asked, "Can you tell us the value of the licence given up? Does it follow that the justices at the time they exacted this monopoly value knew what the value of the licence given up was?" They had the best expert advice as to the value of the licence that was surrendered, and there is no doubt that they arrived at a very reliable estimate of its value. The Solicitor-General contended that it is wholly impracticable to make valuations of this kind and to make deductions that are proper to be made where certain business proceedings are being surrendered. But the whole sub- 1414 stratum of the procedure under Clause 30 is based on the practicability of such deductions being made. If they are not practicable then Clause 30 is not worth the paper that it is written on. The Solicitor-General asks "are you to value things you have not seen?" and this in presence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who spent at least two months in proving the possibility of valuing ungotten minerals. The Solicitor-General asked for a concrete case of ascertaining the value of a licence surrendered. There is no difficulty in multiplying such instances. There was a case in Gloucester of an ale-house. It was an annual renewal.
There was some discussion apparently in court as to the price to be paid for the monopoly value. Ultimately it was settled that £400 was to be paid and there was to be an ante-1869 beer-house surrendered, and besides the beer-house another on-licence was surrendered in respect of other premises. Is anyone going to contend that the payment of £400 was not arrived at with regard to the fact that two other licences were being surrendered? Is there anyone who does not sit on the Treasury Bench who will contend that more than £400 would not have been exacted if these two licences were not being surrendered? Is there anyone not on the Treasury Bench who says that you cannot arrive approximately at the value of the two licences surrendered which were part of the consideration? Take another case, with which I am more familiar, a case at Bolton in Lancashire. It was the case of an annual ale-house, and here again there was considerable discussion at the time the licence was granted as to what might be the proper sum to exact from the grantee in consideration of it, because the neighbourhood was such that it was rightly supposed that the grant would be a valuable one. It was insisted that £1,500 should be paid, after considerably larger sums had been discussed in the course of the argument. Eventually it was compromised on the terms that £l,500 should be paid for the beer-house licence, and that a full beerhouse licence and a full ale-house licence should be surrendered. After considerable discussion as to the proper monopoly price, there was an abatement of the original proposal discussed between the parties, and discussed in admitted consideration of the circumstance that two licences were given up. Yet the Chancellor of the Duchy had the assurance to come here and say that no valuer could arrive at any approximation of the deduction. Let them go to Mr. 1415 Lumley and ask him, or go to any one of the valuers. The Government would have stood on consistent and defensible ground if they had said, "We make no deduction for monopoly value at all." They stand on ground that is neither consistent nor defensible, and which not one speaker on the other side of the House has made any attempt to defend, when they say, "We make an allowance for monopoly value, but we do not make allowance for mere concessions and payments on the part of the grantee, which would make the monopoly sum paid more than it would otherwise be."
§ Mr. JOHN S. AINSWORTH
I wish to state how the case appears to magistrates who are acting as the licensing authority. We all know that these applications are generally made where a new and populous district has grown up in consequence of the starting of new works, or something of that kind, and where there does not happen to be any licensed house at all. Of course, it is perfectly natural from the point of view of the trade that they should be anxious to open a house in the new district, where the population is increasing. In these circumstances, if the trade were to go to the justices and ask for a new licence, they know perfectly well that they would not get it. Therefore, and rightly from their point of view, in order to induce the magistrates to consider the possibility of granting a new licence, they offer to surrender a licence in a district where there are more licences than are required. But from the point of view of the licensing authority, the surrender of licences has nothing whatever to do with the question, and if a new licence is to be granted the case is dealt with entirely on its merits. When quarter sessions, as the court of appeal, value the property in a new licence the value of the cancelled licence has nothing whatever to do with the point in the minds of the magistrates who decide to grant the licence.
§ Mr. LUPTON
We have had a tremendous amount of eloquence and forensic skill in support of this Amendment, which really does not require any answer. You can always judge from the case put forward whether it is a good case or not, where it is a case put forward by men of skill, backed up by all the information of the interests concerned. We have listened to this Debate, and they have not put forward a single case to show that any single consideration has been given, in addition 1416 to the money, which had any value. It is quite true they have given licences which, from the point of view of the magistrates, it was a good thing to shut up, because they were supposed to be doing harm, but there has not been a shred of evidence to show that they were any good to those who gave them. I know that public-houses have been maintained for years and years at a loss in order that they might get some money out of them from fellow members of the trade. The mere fact that all this talent and all this knowledge has been addressing us for ever so long, and that they have not been able to put forward a single case to show that one sovereign's worth of value has been got out of their pockets in addition to the licence that has been paid for shows how futile all the eloquence has been.
§ Mr. SALTER
I am both disappointed and surprised that this Amendment, especially after the Debate that has taken place, has not been accepted by the Government. When I put it down I thought no fair answer could be made to it, and in my opinion no sort of answer has been made. In regard to the observation of the hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Ainsworth) that the value of the surrender licence does not concern the licensing justices, I entirely agree with what he has said. The money value does not, of course. The character of the increase and the public service rendered is what they think about. but it concerns the applicant. If he, as in the case referred to by my hon. and learned Friend, puts his hand in his pocket to the tune of a thousand pounds, and buys a house in order to surrender it, it concerns him, and it is a consideration given by him to the public in return for the licence which he is granted. If I may put aside the special argument of the Chancellor of the Duchy, which has been already dealt with, the only argument we have heard from the other side against this Amendment in the course of this long Debate is that these houses have no value, and that you cannot ascertain that value; and that it is imposssible to value certain other considerations such as the absence of a bar when there has been no bar, and Sunday trading when there has been none. That is the whole of the case that has been made.
§ Sir E. CARSON
Does not the Solicitor-General say that they would get the licence without a surrender?
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
That is not the point. The point is whether the surrender entered or not into the question of amount.
§ Mr. SALTER
Whether it is money or money's worth. If those houses have no value we have often heard that valueless houses are kept on for the purpose of surrender. If it is so then no relief would be given. As to the observation that you cannot value a house that has disappeared, the answer is that you can, and that it is done every day. I am nearly sure I have myself, as has everyone in my profession, had to do with the valuing of a business and of premises after the business has disappeared, and after the premises have been pulled down. In the case of street widenings and other improvements, the ascertainment of value often takes place after the premises have disappeared. The only point made against me is that it would be difficult,
§ perhaps impossible, to value some onerous covenants such as those to which the Solicitor-General referred. The answer to that is: If they were not susceptible to valuation, there would be no case for compensation. To say that a man who has put his hand in his pocket and bought a licence to surrender it in order to buy a new licence is now to be subjected to these new duties without compensation is simply a gross breach of faith on the part of the State. It is only done because these people are weak. I regret exceedingly that the Government have not accepted so obviously just and modest an Amendment, and I sincerely trust that considerable attention will be paid to the point outside.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 89; Noes, 179.1419
|Division No. 620.]||AYES.||[10.35 p.m.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fletcher, J, S.||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Foster, P. S.||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Renton, Leslie|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gretton, John||Renwick, George|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. G. (Winchester)||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edm'ds.)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hamilton, Marquess of||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Helmsley, Viscount||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hill, Sir Clement||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Stanier, Beville|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hunt, Rowland||Starkey, John R.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Joynson-Hicks, William||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Keswick, William||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Cave, George||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Lyttolton. Rt. Hon. Alfred||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Clive, Percy Archer||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Whitbread, S. Howard|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Magnus, Sir Philip||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Moore, William||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Morpeth, Viscount||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Young, Samuel|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Newdegate, F. A.||Younger, George|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Oddy, John James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||A. Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|Fell, Arthur||Peel, Hon. W. R. W.|
|Agnew, George William||Boulton, A. C. F.||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Branch James||Compton-Rickett, Sir J.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Bright, J. A.||Cooper, G. J.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Bryce, J. Annan||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Barker, Sir John||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Byles, William Pollard||Crooks, William|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Crossley, William J.|
|Beale, W. P.||Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Dalziel, Sir James Henry|
|Beauchamp, E.||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Clough, William||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)|
|Berridne, T. H. D.||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Duckworth, Sir James||Levy, Sir Maurice||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lewis, John Herbert||Robinson, S.|
|Elibank, Master of||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Erskine, David C.||Lupton, Arnold||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Esslemont, George Birnle||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Rowlands, J.|
|Everett. R. Lacey||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Falconer, James||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland).|
|Findlay, Alexander||Macpherson, J. T.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||M'Callum, John M.||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Seely. Colonel|
|Glendinnlng, R. G.||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester) Shaw,||Sir Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Glover, Thomas||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||M'Micking, Major G.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Maddison, Frederick||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Gulland, John W.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Massie, J.||Summerbell, T.|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Micklem, Nathaniel||Taylor, Theodore C (Radcliffe)|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Mond, A.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Morrell, Philip||Tomkinson, James|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Toulmin, George|
|Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Henry, Charles S.||Myer, Horatio||Verney, F. W.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Nicholls, George||Walters, John Tudor|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Waring, Walter|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Nussey, Sir Willans||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.)||Nuttall, Harry||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Partington, Oswald||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Pointer, J.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|King, Arthur John (Knutsford)||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Laidlaw. Robert||Radford, G. H.||Winfrey, R.|
|Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Rainy, A. Rolland||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Lambert, George||Rees, J. D.|
|Lamont, Norman||Ridsdale, E. A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Layland-Barrett, Sir Francis||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Lehmann, R. C.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
§ Mr. CAVE
moved, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "may" and to insert the word "shall" ["the Commissioners may, after giving the justices by whom the conditions have been attached to the licence an opportunity of reporting to them on the matter, reduce in such manner as they think just the amount of any payment to be so made "].
I expect the Government will accept this Amendment. The effect of the Clause as it stands is that where a licensee has paid the monopoly value for his licence that may be taken into account if the Commissioners think fit, but not otherwise; I want to provide that it shall be taken into account.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. CLAVELL SALTER
moved, in Subsection (1), to leave out the words "in such manner as they think just."
This is the first of a series of Amendments which it will be, no doubt, conve- 1420 nient for the Committee to take together. It proposes that the Commissioners shall be required in every case to allow the amount of the increased duty and not to have a discretion to make such allowance as they please, or no allowance if they think fit. The Amendment would make the Clause run in this way. Where the Commissioners, after giving the justices an opportunity of reporting to them on the matter, reduce the amount of any payment to be so made by the amount of the additional Licence Duty imposed by this Act, or in case where a capital sum is paid allow reduction from the duty to be paid for the licence equal to the annual equivalent of the capital sum so paid. The Committee will see that the only relief proposed to be granted to the unfortunate persons who have purchased licences from the State, is that the Commissioners are empowered if they think fit to make some reduction of the Licence Duty. My contention is that it is the absolute right of the licensee, as between himself and the State, in these cases to receive back from 1421 the State the equivalent of what he has paid in the extra Licence Duty. I venture to say that the monopoly value of the premises must be diminished at least by the amount of the new Licence Duty to be imposed. It may perhaps further be diminished, but it must diminish it by that figure. You grant a man a licence with a certain Licence Duty, and then that licence remaining the same, and conferring precisely the same privilege it conferred before, you charge the man for the same privilege £50 a year more than he paid before, and that must reduce the monopoly value by £50 a year. If that is so, it follows that justice requires that that man shall be allowed £50 a year, and not that you shall be content by merely investing the Commissioners with power to allow him what they may think fit and proper. My hon. and learned Friend is going to move that there shall be an appeal to the Commissioners. If he is unsuccessful that is an additional reason why a rule should be laid down that the Commissioners should do justice in every case. I beg to move.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
I understand that this is the first of a series of Amendments to be moved with the object of making it obligatory on the Commissioners to allow the whole of this duty. The hon. and learned Member said he wanted the Commissioners to do justice. So do we. They do not move in the matter until the monopoly value has been fixed. Where the monopoly value has been fixed as an annual payment they may reduce that payment, and there is nothing to say that they shall not reduce it by the full amount. The other case is where the capital sum is fixed, and there they can either reduce it or reduce the duty in respect of it. The amount, however, must be left to the discretion of the Commissioners, and we cannot draw a hard and fast rule within which they will be confined. The hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned an appeal in connection with this Clause. That point will be raised by a subsequent Amendment, and I will deal with it when it is brought forward.
Really the Government in refusing this Amendment are giving away the whole of the case for this tax. It has been recommended to us on the ground that this is a State monopoly and that the tax is a toll to be taken from those monopolists who are not traders in the ordinary sense, but traders protected 1422 from competition by unnatural restrictions, and therefore it is only fair that the profits which they get should pay toll to the community which grants them these special privileges. I understand that that is the whole argument, and that there is no other argument except that. Now my hon. Friend brings forward an Amendment making it compulsory on the Commissioners to take the Government defence of their own tax seriously, and treat it as a real justification for the tax and not to leave it to a discretion which is not only unfair, but is absolutely, as far as I can see without precedent. That is the way the Clause stands. My hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Clavell Salter) suggests that these people should not be taxed on monopoly value, and, rightly, because they have got no monopoly value. The monopoly value has gone in their case. Then why are they to have an extra tax put upon them? The hon. Gentleman must know that is the ground on which we support this Amendment. Why did he not deal with it in his reply? I am sure it was suggested in my hon. and learned Friend's argument, and, at all events, it seems to me evident. You are treating the trade now as if it was an exceptional trade. It is not an exceptional trade. These people are now situated like any other traders with no monopoly value. They get nothing from the State; they are just like traders in any other commodity. Very well, why do you tax them? You have not the smallest right to specially tax them. All my hon. Friend asks is that the principle of the Government should be embodied in the Government's Bill, and I do not understand why they refuse. The hon. and learned Gentleman said he could not grant it; but he did not give a single argument for not granting it, and the Bill is now open to the charge that it leaves an absolutely undirected, unfettered, and unguided discretion to these Commissioners, not telling them what is meant, but asking them out of their inner consciences to come to some conclusion as to what is meant. That is the first charge to which the Clause is open. Secondly, it is open to the charge that it does not carry out clearly and specifically the principles of the Government themselves. I do earnestly wish the learned Gentleman would tell us on what principle the Government think it right to tax an industry or a trader who has no monopoly, as if, in fact, he had a monopoly, and how he thinks it 1423 right to extend a tax, the whole justification of which is that it is a monopoly tax to those who, from the very nature of the case, and the very conditions by which they carry on their trade, have been deliberately deprived by the community of that monopoly other licence holders enjoy. That is the argument, and that has not been met at all.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
I think it is as much as I can do to deal with the arguments of the hon. Gentlemen who move their Amendments. The argument put now by the right hon. Gentleman was not put by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Clavell Salter). No one can say that the monopoly value fixed by the justices remains at the same sum. Supposing the justices had fixed it at £250 five years ago, you cannot say that this year that £250 represents necessarily the value of the monopoly enjoyed by the owner of the licensed premises. Take a big mining village. There is a public-house and a fine
§ hotel licensed in that village. The monopoly value is fixed at so-and-so with a sort of idea that the increase in the place will be at a certain rate. It is found the increase is much more rapid, and no one can say the real value of the monopoly is represented by the monopoly value fixed by the justices. That is one case. The other case is the capital value. What are you to do there? Are you to take from that every year until it has exhausted the amount of the increased duty? I do not know how it is to be done. These are matters which will have to be considered by the Commissioners. I have never said that the claims put forward by the right hon. Gentleman ought never to be allowed, but it is impossible to lay down hard and fast lines, as that may make it impossible for the Commissioners to do the justice which the right hon. Gentleman desires.
§ Question put, "That those words stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 182; Noes, 95.1425
|Division No. 621.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Lupton, Arnold|
|Agnew, George William||Evans, Sir S. T.||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Everett, R. Lacey||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Falconer, J.||Macdonald J. R. (Leicester)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Findlay, Alexander||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Fullerton, Hugh||Macpherson, J. T.|
|Barker, Sir John||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||M'Callum, John M.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Glendinning, R. G.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Glover, Thomas||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)|
|Beale, W. P.||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Gulland, John W.||M'Micking, Major G.|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. George)||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Maddison, Frederick|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Massie, J.|
|Bright, J. A.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Micklem, Nathaniel|
|Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Haworth, Arthur A.||Mond, A.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hedges, A. Paget||Money, L. G. Chiozza|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Henry, Charles S.||Morrell, Philip|
|Byles, William Pollard||Higham, John Sharp||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Cerr-Gomm, H. W.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Holland, Sir William Henry||Myer, Horatio|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.)||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)|
|Clough, William||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Nicholls, George|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Hudson, Walter||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncasterl|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Illingworth, Percy H.||Nussey, Sir Willans|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Nuttall, Harry|
|Cooper, G. J.||Jardine, Sir J.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron, (Glasgow)||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Corbett, C H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Jones, Leil (Appleby)||Partington, Oswald|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Jowett, F. W.||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Cooks, William||Kekewich, Sir George||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Crossley, William J.||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Pointer, J.|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Laidlaw, Robert||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Lambert, George||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Lamont, Norman||Radford, G. H.|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Layland-Barrett, Sir Francis||Rainy, A. Holland|
|Duckworth, Sir James||Lehmann, R. C.||Rees, J. D.|
|Duncan, C (Barrow-in-Furness)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Elibank, Master of||Lewis, John Herbert||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Erskine, David C.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Stanger, H. Y.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Strachey, Sir Edward||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Robinson, S.||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Summerbell, T.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Roe, Sir Thomas||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Rose, Sir Charles Day||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Rowlands, J.||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Tomkinson, James||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Toulmin, George||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Winfrey, R.|
|Seely, Colonel||Verney, F. W.||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Shaw, Sir Charles E. (Stafford)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Silcock, Thomas Ball||Walters, John Tudor||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Simon, John Allsebrook||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)||Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Aiex, F||Fletcher, J. S.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Foster, P. S.||Peel, Hon. W. R. W.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Randies, Sir John Scurrah|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Lond.)||Gretton, John||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Renton, Leslie|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds)||Renwick, George|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. G. (Winchester)||Hamilton, Marquess of||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Bull, Sir William James||Healy, Timothy Michael||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Helmsley, Viscount||Stanier, Beville|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hill, Sir Clement||Starkey, John R.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hills, J. W.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Cave, George||Hunt, Rowland||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Joynson-Hicks, William||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Keswick, William||Valentia, Viscount|
|Clive, Percy Archer||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Whitbread, S. Howard|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||MacCaw, Wm J. MacGeagh||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Moore, William||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Morpeth, Viscount||Younger, George|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Newdegate, F. A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Clavell Salter and Mr. S. Roberts.|
|Fell, Arthur||Oddy, John James|
§ Mr. CAVE
moved, in Sub-section (1) to leave out the words "they think" ["in such manner as they think just"], and to insert the words "shall be."
This is a case where under the Bill the Commissioners, that is, the taxing authority, are to determine the amount of the tax and how much is to be taken from the maximum Licence Duty. You cannot leave it to the Government, that is, the taxing authority, without appeal, to say how much the tax is to be. I suggest that on the principles already conceded on other Amendments, there must be an appeal allowed to some independent authority against the decision of what is really the taxing authority. The sums involved are considerable. I have had two cases among others. One firm has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer stating that their clients, at a general licensing meet- 1426 ing held at Chesterfield, in February, 1906, were granted for a provisional licence for a fully licensed public-house, subject to the payment of a monopoly value of £6,500. They ask whether under the proposed increase of duty they will be treated in the same way as those who have not paid any monopoly value, or whether they will receive some consideration for the large sum paid by them. The Chancellor of the Exchequer will have to answer by saying there will be such consideration if the Commissioners think fit to allow it. The other case is a letter from one of the well-known trust companies which carry on certain houses without regard to profit. This was a new licence under the 1904 Act. The term of the licence was V years, the monopoly value £2,500, and the licensees agreed to pay that charge on consideration that the Licence Duty was 1427 £40. Under the Finance Bill the duty will be half the annual value. The question is whether the licensee will, under Clause 33, get a rebate of say £110, or are there loopholes in the Clause which would enable the Commissioners arbitrarily to make a rebate of some lesser sum or even to allow no rebate at all. Of course, the answer is in the affirmative. Under the Clause as it stands, the Commissioners may allow a lesser sum or no rebate at all. I press the point, that the Commissioners, representing the Government, ought not to be the judges in the case. I do not care what appeal or impartial tribunal you substitute, but that decision ought not to be final, and the person taxed ought to have recourse to some other authority.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
The cases which have to be determined by the Commissioners under this Clause are not likely to be very large in number. No doubt questions of some difficulty will arise. It is true also that there are very considerable sums involved here. I am inclined on behalf of the Government to accept the Amendment on one condition. I ought to protect myself by stating that the acceptance of the Amendment shall not in any sense be used in order to press the Government to give an appeal under Clause 32. I do not think there will be many appeals. Probably there will be none, but lest anyone should think himself hardly treated by not having the right of appeal I think we must accept the Amendment. I presume the appeal which the hon. and learned Gentleman wants is to the High Court.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I wish to ask the Solicitor-General whether he is aware of the fact that the Irish Party have given notice of an Amendment to reject the Clause. The reason why I ask the question is this, I understand that this matter has been very carefully considered by the Irish Members. A very important concession has been made by the Government as regards the new licences granted under the Act of 1904, and the hon. and learned member (Mr. Cave) has now succeeded in securing the right of appeal. The question I wish to ask the Solicitor-General is this: Does Clause 33 of this Bill apply to Ireland in any sense? I cannot conceive that it does, because the Act of 1904 does not apply to Ireland. You are giving the English new licences a very important concession, and all new licences granted in our country since 1902 must be in the same 1428 position as new licences granted in England under the Act of 1904, and there must be this appeal. I will sit down if I am told this: this Section does apply to Ireland.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
We are told that the section for the regulation, of which the Irish Party gave notice, does not apply to Ireland. My hon. Friend the Member for Newry (Mr. Mooney) has given notice to omit this entire section; but it is a section of concessions, a section by which the man who has got a new licence is to have an abatement of duty by reason of the fact that he is in a less strong position under the Act of 1904 than he would be if he had an absolutely new licence. I want you to apply the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman above the Gangway, and to give usquoadthe new licences granted under our Act of 1902 the same right as you are giving to Englishmen under the Act of 1904. Of course, we only exist to be taxed, and the English only exist to have concessions made to them. You are giving under this Clause every English licence holder who has taken the limited licence under the Act of 1904 a reduction of duty. But take the hotel-keeper under the Act of 1902 in Ireland. He cannot have a public bar, and he must provide accommodation for travellers to the extent of ten bedrooms. The deprivation of a public bar in itself is recognised in Mr. Gladstone's Act of 1880 as a ground for reduction of duty.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
On a point of order, is the hon. Member in order in discussing an amendment of the licensing law in Ireland on an Amendment as to cases which affect England alone?
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
That begs the question. We were told that every one of these Licensing Clauses applied to Ireland. You will remember it was you, Sir, who brought out the fact that Clause 30, which we all supposed did not apply to Ireland, applies to the three Kingdoms, although, in fact, it refers in the same way to the Act of 1904.
I certainly do not see myself that this can apply to Ireland. I understand that it is an adjustment of the payment which has to be made, under the Act of 1904, for new licences. I understand that no such payment exists in Ireland. I am so unfamiliar with matters in Ireland that I am not sure on the point, but if this only applies to England I do not see how Ireland is affected.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
That was our chief argument on Clause 30. You will find in that Clause that one of the things to be taken into account by the Commissioners is Section 2 of the Act of 1904, and we argued upon that that this Section could not apply to Ireland. "Oh!" said the hon. Gentleman, "the register is to apply to the whole country." Of course, if you tell me that in your opinion I am wrong, I will wait until the Sub-section is put, and then move a rider to the Sub-section providing that new licences granted under the Act of 1902 shall be entitled to the same rebate as if they were new licences granted under the Act of 1904. If that be your ruling I am quite content with it.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
This section deals only with the amount—whether it be the capital or the annual sum—which has been reserved for monopoly value in England in cases where licences were granted under the Act of 1904. Where there is such a monopoly value the Commissioner can make a deduction on the sum, or a deduction in respect of the duty. There is no such thing in Ireland as the monopoly value which is spoken of in this Section. This Section cannot and does not apply to Ireland.
On Section (2) of Clause 30 it was specifically stated that the new valuation there is to apply to Ireland, but in this instance this Section cannot apply to Ireland.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
The monopoly value, which does not exist in Ireland, is to be taken in Ireland as an ingredient for the purpose of valuation.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Here is the Sub-section: "It shall be the duty of the Commissioners, as soon as may be, to prepare, and to keep corrected, a register as respects all fully licensed premises and beer-houses respectively of the amount which would be payable as compensation in respect of the premises under Subsection (1) of Section 2 of the Licensing Act, 1904."
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
"The premises were premises in respect of which compensation was payable under that Act, and of the sum which is to be treated for the purposes of this Act as the annual equivalent of that amount…" So you are 1430 going to treat in Ireland the monopoly value as being in existence for the purpose of valuation under Clause 30. My only request is this: If you are going to reduce the monopoly value in England as a ground for saying that they shall pay a less Licence Duty, then I say that persons in Ireland who hold equally a licence which is of less value than the licence granted previous to 1902 in the same way should have a reduction of their amount. For the moment, I am very glad of the acceptance by the Government of the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Cave), and when we come to the end of the Clause I trust I shall be allowed to move that the same reduction shall be granted to all persons who hold licences as allowed by the Act of 1902.
§ Question, "That the words 'they think' stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.
§ Question, "That the words 'shall be' be there inserted," put and agreed to."
§ Amendments made: In Sub-section (1) leave out the words "they think" ["for the licence as they think just"] and insert the words "shall be."—[Mr. Cave.]
§ At the end of Sub-section (1) insert the words "but any decision of the Commissioners as to the reduction to be made under this provision shall be subject to the like appeal as that to which the determination by the Inland Revenue Commission of the amount to be paid for compensation under Sub-section (2) of Section 2 of the Licensing Act, 1904, is subject under that Act."—[Mr. Cave.]
§ Mr. W. R. PEEL
moved to leave out Sub-section (2).
This Amendment is on behalf of the London County Council, but it applies toother local bodies all over the country. The Committee will remember that under a previous clause a reduction is made in the Licence Duties where payments in respect of monopoly value have been made by order of the magistrates under Sub-section (4) of Section 4 of the Licensing Act of 1904. The money so paid has been paid 1431 over to the local authorities and spent during the last four years. The amount is not, perhaps, a very large sum all over the country compared with the very large amount of money which has been spent on the Budget this year, but at the same time it is a substantial amount. In London, for instance, in 1908, it amounted to £7,580. Under the proposals of this Sub-section any amount by which the licensees are given reductions in their payments in consequence of these payments for monopoly value, is to be deducted from the amounts paid to the Local Taxation Account, and handed over to the municipality. In other words, the State is going to take back from the municipalities money which they have already obtained under the Act of 1904 and which they have spent. The Solicitor-General shakes his head, but this Subsection is retrospective. The question has been placed before the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and in reply to a deputation which waited on him on 10th July last, the Chancellor said:—This is rather a question of policy. There are one or two districts in London, and I am afraid there is one in Wales, where the mere fact that the monopoly value of the new licences went in reduction of rates formed an inducement to the magistrates to grant new licences. It was thought desirable to deprive the local authorities of that inducement, and that is the reason, not because it amounts to anything, for it comes to a very small sum over the whole country, hut it was thought very undesirable that that additional inducement should be given to magistrates to grant new licences. There was one very bad case in Wales, I am sorry to say, where licences were granted, and huge sums of money paid, the real inducement being that the rates were being reduced by that means. It was thought desirable that the contribution should be Imperial, and not local, and that is the reason. The sum is not a very large one; the sum that goes to the Exchequer throughout the whole Kingdom is comparatively small; but the mischief must be an incredibly great one in many localities.It is very bard that local authorities in England should be penalised because the Chancellor of the Exchequer knows a very bad case in Wales. We ought not to be punished for Welsh iniquities. I understood that Wales was the centre of all the virtues. Again, though the Chancellor of the Exchequer says it is only a small amount, that is no reason why the local authorities, which have been so badly treated by the right hon. Gentleman in other ways, and suffer very heavily under this Budget, should actually have to repay money they have already spent. It is quite clear that this Clause will be retrospective, and that retrospective effect is the only effect it will have. It will have no effect at all as regards the future; therefore, the objection of the Chancellor of the Exchequer falls to the ground. This 1432 money having been collected and spent, it can have no influence on the morals of either magistrates or local authorities as regards the future. They will not be able to exact any sums of money in future in respect of monopoly value, because the whole of the monopoly value is taken under the new licences, and even if they did, it would be no use, because the money would be paid to the local authorities, and the next year the amount would be deducted. They will not take the trouble to pay over money which is to be withdrawn the following year. On these grounds I hope the Sub-section will be omitted. It is a piece of retrospective robbery, to which I feel sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not be a party.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
This is a somewhat complicated matter, but I will endeavour to explain it briefly to the Committee. Under the Act of 1904 local authorities are required to make charges representing the monopoly value of new licences granted by them. These new payments go into the Local Taxation Fund, and go back to the local authorities. It was proposed in Clause 67 of this Bill that in future the payments should go to the Treasury. There are many disadvantages in local authorities profiting by what may amount in some cases to the sale of new licences. There are many objections to the present practice, into which I do not propose to enter now; they will properly arise on Clause 67. When these payments go to the Exchequer, the Exchequer will, of course, make the necessary arrangements as between the monopoly value payments en the one hand, and the Licence Duty on the other, in order to carry out the purposes of this Clause. That is quite simple. Now there comes in the question: What is to happen where the local authority, instead of charging an annual sum has charged a lump sum, a capital sum—some local authorities have charged sums of £2,000. £3,000, and £4,000—for what are ostensibly annual licences—for they cannot be annual licences, in fact, where there is the evident expectation of renewal in consequence of these large payments. What was clearly the intention of the framers of the Act of 1904 has been defeated. The question is: What is to occur in these particular cases in respect of the allowances to be made from the annual Licence Duty in respect of their monopoly value? Clearly those people who have found these large sums are to be entitled to a reduction in their Licence 1433 Duty? That is the purpose of the Clause. They will probably pay no Licence Duty. Have the Treasury to lose that sum for the benefit of the local authorities who have sold the licences for the figures given? That is a simple question. Where you have the local authority the licensing justices, who have carried out merely the intention of the Act of 1904, and have charged an annual sum, then the Treasury will not be the loser; but where a capital sum has been charged the Treasury will lose the whole of the Licence Duty from that house. It is thought that it is only fair and just that where the central authority loses any Licence Duty because the local authority charged a large capital sum, a corresponding deduction should be made, not from past, but future payments to that authority from the Local Taxation Account. The hon. Member speaking on behalf of the London County Council asks: "Why should London suffer for others?" The county of Glamorgan has been particularly conspicuous in this matter. Why, it is asked, should London, which has not been so conspicuous, suffer? London will not suffer. London has carried out this provision of the Act of 1904 in accordance with the intentions of the Act. I have here a list of new licences which have been granted in London. They are almost all annual, or for two or perhaps three years. There was one in 1905 granted for five years. It is now coming to an end. The only lump sum which has been received was £5,000 for the Anglo-French Exhibition, and that was really an annual payment, because the exhibition was licensed for one year. In those circumstances London will not suffer in any degree. The fears of the hon. Member are groundless. This Sub-section merely carries out what is plain justice as between the central and local authorities.
§ Mr. J. S. HARMOOD-BANNER
I cannot understand the explanation which has been given. It seems to me contrary to the principles of justice and right dealing. The result of the imposition of these new duties will be to affect the monopoly value of the licences referred to. But instead of the licence holder having his monopoly based upon a low licence, he has property for which he is paying an annual sum, or has paid a capital sum, based on a high licence.
The Government say they do not wish to see any injustice done, and they say to the licensee what we deprived you of by high licences we are going to return to 1434 you. But who is going to get the benefit of these high licences? The Government money is going into the pocket of the Treasury, and they say we will reimburse the licensee out of the pocket of the taxpayer and the municipality. I wish to protect the ratepayer. I think the Government are committing vicarious charity. They are going to pocket the high licences, and they are going to pay compensation to the sufferers in consequence of these high licences, by taking the money from the municipality and from the ratepayers. Those who are deprived of the increased Licence Duty are to be the persons who are to provide the compensation for what I would almost call the robbery committed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer upon the man who purchased the monopoly. I cannot conceive that that is a right principle.
The hon. Member is discussing what we have already passed in the first Sub-section. We are discussing not the application of the original capital sum, but where such capital sum has been paid an adjustment of an annual sum to correspond to it.
§ Mr. HARMOOD-BANNER
I venture to say that this Clause deals with the way in which the money is to be recouped. It is to be deducted from the next payment made to the local taxation account. I object to the recoupment being taken from the next payment to the local taxation account. I say the Government ought to pay the recoupment themselves, and that they are wrong to take it from the municipality. I do not question the fact that the sufferer should be recouped. What I do question is the right to take it out of the payment to local taxation account of the council of a county or county borough. The profit is going into the pocket of the Treasury, while the loss is to be borne by the municipality. I object to that. The municipality are deprived of any of the increased Licence Duty, and they are to recoup the sufferers. It is an extraordinary transaction that the Treasury should get the profits and place the losses on the ratepayers.
The hon. Member is not carrying out my ruling; he seems to be arguing upon the whole question. It is only where the capital sum is paid that this Sub-section applies, and that is the only point in order on the Sub-section.
§ Mr. HARMOOD-BANNER
I regret I did not keep within your ruling, but I 1435 object to the ratepayers paying instead of the Treasury. This Clause takes the payment to be made for compensation out of the Local Taxation Account, and I protest in the name of the ratepayers against the Government doing this extraordinary mean act of taking the profits and then throwing the burden for compensation upon the municipality.
§ Mr. WALTER GUINNESS
The Chancellor of the Duchy says that this is of common daily occurence. It seems to me that it is an absolute injustice upon the ratepayers. This money has been raised in good faith and spent in good faith, and it is unjust to rake this matter up after two or three years have elapsed and ask present ratepayers to pay all this money from which they have enjoyed no benefit. The Chancellor of the Duchy said that London would not suffer owing to the fact that London charged it on the annual value and net on the capital basis. I do not think that my hon. Friend moved this Amendment from the point of view of London alone. He carefully stated that it was a matter of injustice to all local authorities. When the time comes we shall probably object strongly to Clause 67 as well. Many of us strongly resent the idea that licences have been granted by local justices from motives of cupidity regardless of the interests of the district. After all, the local authorities who get the benefit do not giant the licences, because they are granted by the justices. If the temperance argument used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the deputation of the London County Council is sound, then the Government can well afford to drop this retrospective action. The Sub-section deals only with licences already granted. It is unworthy of the Government to inflict this injustice on local authorities, because they can afford to forego this small repayment to the Local Taxation Account out of the enormous sums they are going to get by these higher licence duties. The recovery from monopoly value is only to be allowed to balance the largely increased payment made direct to the State by the licence holders.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer practically stated that there was no money in this, and I am quite certain that there is no temperance in this Sub-section either. It is quite an unsound principle to throw the burden on the present ratepayers to repay all the money spent by their predecessors. The sound principle is for each year to pay its own 1436 burden. It is quite unjust to penalise the ratepayers of to-day because their predecessors trusted to Parliament not to go back on its own word. We hear every year the advantages of local option, and that each district should be in a position to restrict licences. In a district where the justices have thought fit to grant new licences and charge the monopoly value that district should be allowed to decide what is in its own interest. It is most unfair to fine ratepayers because the licensing justices choose to use their discretion. In former years it was not necessary to raise the full amount of local expenditure from the rates, and there is a strong feeling growing up that Imperial charges are being thrown on the local rates. There is a tendency to put more and more work on local authorities for Imperial services, and to make no grants in aid. Clauses such as this will do a great deal to encourage that opinion. If the Government wish to induce local authorities to look on this Bill with favour, and to accept the concessions they have made, they certainly ought to do away with this hardship of paying at the present time this monopoly value which has relieved the rates in the past. If they do that measure of justice, they will take away one of the strongest objections of the local authorities.
§ Mr. BARNARD
I think there is a great deal more fuss being made about this than necessary. I do not think there will probably be more than a dozen cases in the whole country that will really come under the description given. I understand you stereotype the present licence money which goes to the local authorities, and that in future you will give to each the equivalent of the amount they have hitherto been receiving. Are you going to deduct these sums from that portion of the Local Taxation Account belonging to the particular districts in which the particular licences have been granted, or are you going to take it from the whole Local Taxation Account?
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The Clause says so—"Any amount by which the duty on the licence is reduced under this section shall be deducted, in accordance with directions of the Treasury, from the next payment made out of the Local Taxation Account to the council of the county or county borough who have had the benefit of the original capital sum paid."
§ Mr. BARNARD
The amount will be calculated and deducted from their parti- 1437 cular portion. There have not been half-a-dozen cases which have occurred in the South of England since the Act of 1904. Although it may be a point of principle, it does not affect many cases.
§ Question put, "That Sub-section (2) stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 157; Noes, 85.1439
|Division No. 622.]||AYES.||[11.59 p.m.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Haworth, Arthur A.||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Hedges, A. Paget||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Henry, Charles S.||Robinson, S.|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Higham, John Sharp||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Barker, Sir John||Holland, Sir William Henry||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Barnard, E. B.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Barnes, G. N.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Rowlands, J.|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick B.)||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Beale, W. P.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Jowett, F. W.||Seely, Colonel|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Shaw, Sir Charles Edward|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Laidlaw, Robert||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Bright, J. A.||Lambert, George||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Lamont, Norman||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Lehmann, R. C||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Byles, William Pollard||Levy, Sir Maurice||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Lewis, John Herbert||Summerbell, T.|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Lupton, Arnold||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Lyell, Charles Henry||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Clough, William||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Tomkinson, James|
|Cooper, G. J.||M'Laren, Rt. Hon. Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Toulmin, George|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Maddison, Frederick||Verney, F. W.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Walsh, Stephen|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Crooks, William||Massie, J.||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Crossley, William J.||Masterman, C. F. G.||Waring, Walter|
|Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Micklem, Nathaniel||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Mond, A.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Morrell, Philip||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Duckworth, Sir James||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Watt, Henry A.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C (Kincard.)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Elibank, Master of||Myer, Horatio||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Nicholls, George||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Falconer, James||Nussey, Sir Willans||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Findlay, Alexander||Nuttall, Harry||Wilson, P. W. (St Pancras, S.)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Partington, Oswald||Winfrey, R.|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Glover, Thomas||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Gretton, John||Pointer, Joseph|
|Gulland, John W.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Radford, G. H.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. P.||Carlile, E. Hildred||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S.W.)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Castlereagh, Viscount||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Colliding, Edward Alfred|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Clive, Percy Archer||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Hamilton, Marquess of|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford)|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. G. (Winchester)||Courthope, G. Loyd||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Healy, Maurice (Cork)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Healy, T. M. (Louth, North)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Dairymple, Viscount||Helmsley, Viscount|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hill, Sir Clement|
|Bull, Sir William James||Faber, George Denison (York)||Hills, J. W.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Fell, Arthur||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Fletcher, J. S.||Hunt, Rowland|
|Joynson-Hicks, William||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Pretyman, Ernest George||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Kerry, Earl of||Randles, Sir John Scurrah||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Keswick, William||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Valentia, Viscount|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Remnant, James Farquharson||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Renton, Leslie||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham)||Renwick, George||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)||Younger, George|
|Moore, William||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Morpeth, Viscount||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Morrison-Bell, Captain||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||Stanier, Beville||Peel and Mr. Walter Guinness.|
|Oddy, John James||Starkey, John R|
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I had intended to move a provision that, "In Ireland where any licence holder has caused any other licence to be extinguished, or has been required by the licensing authority to pay any sum or submit to any condition for the grant, transfer, or renewal of his licence, the Commissioners shall, in any reduction of the Licence Duty, take into account the circumstances under which such grant, transfer, or renewal was made." I think it extraordinary that the Government in this Clause should have entirely omitted the consideration of Ireland. Under the Act of 1902 a limited form of licence exists in Ireland, where a man cannot have a drinking bar and is obliged to provide accommodation for travellers. The Government do not take that into account, although such a man, having no bar, should pay a less sum than he otherwise would. When a man applies for the transfer of a licence the licensing justices say, "You have a seven-day licence. We will only give you a six-day licence." Or in Dublin they may say, "You have a seven-day licence, and you are entitled to keep open for two or three hours in the day, but you must never open for bonâ fide travellers." There are excursion days, and people come in in batches by train for processions and other things of that kind, and the licensing authority very justly say, "You must not open under these exceptional circumstances. But the licensing authority is not able to impose these conditions on one in 500 cases, because it is only when a man comes up for the renewal of his licence that these conditions can be imposed. Therefore side by side and in the same street you may have two or three licences subject to conditions and two or three licences absolutely free. It seems to me that that man is in an exactly analogous position to the case contemplated by the Government under this Clause. The Government draftsmen will 1440 not take the trouble, or do not want to put the Minister to the burden of having to learn the case of our country. I am not such a fool as to blame the Minister, but the draftsman ought to take these matters into account. Here you are legislating for England, and you say the English limited licence holder shall have an advantage. I say give me the same advantage for the Irish limited licence holder, and at once I am told it is not in order on the Clause. I think it most unjust that we should have to bring up these points when the Ministry ought to take them into account, just as yesterday we had to point out that there was no appeal given either to Ireland or Scotland, and the Ministry at once said they would deal with that in a new Clause. A private Member is charged with taking up the time of the House if he performs the duty which has not been discharged by the draftsman. All the licences under the Act of 1902 practically are cases in which a man has a limitation. He has not, to use the words of the Act, fully licensed premises. He cannot do as he pleases. That is one case. I saw the late Recorder of Dublin requiring a man to extinguish two licences, and he required the lodgment of £600 paid to the Clerk of the Crown to be kept, so to speak, in bond until he was ready to extinguish some other licence.
If you turn to the Select Committee on the Irish licensing question you will find that that Committee approved of the practice. The man who has paid for the licence this enormous amount finds himself in exactly the same position as the man who is under different conditions. He has extinguished a previous licence, and he has done something for the reduction of the liquor traffic, and yet that man is to be treated in the same spirit as the other licensee. I do think that it ought not to be necessary to bring these cases before the Government in this House. They ought to be advised of them by their own officers. I protest against this Clause 1441 on the ground that it is not adequate. I do not dispute that it does not apply to Ireland, but I contend that it ought to include Ireland. You are giving English licence holders an advantage. I do not say that the advantage I claim for Ireland is exactly of the same kind as you are giving in England, but I say that something analogous ought to be given. I do not say that the words I have proposed to insert would fit perfectly. I am only striving to get for my own country what you have given to your own. I think it is most unfortunate that these matters are not attended to by the Government draftsman.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
This Clause does not apply to Ireland at all, and nobody knows that better than the hon. and learned Member for Louth (Mr. T. M. Healy). He has attempted to frame an Amendment for the purpose of including Ireland. I warned him that he could not frame one in order to do that, and if the hon. and learned Gentleman with his long experience in this House cannot do it, no one can do it. The truth of the matter is that the speech he has just made is not a House of Commons speech at all. For some reason or other he desires the views he has expressed to be known in some other quarter. From the beginning to the end of the discussion of this Clause there has been no Amendment suggested, and if the hon. and learned Member went into the Lobby to vote against the Clause he would not have more than one to follow him.
§ Mr. JAMES CAMPBELL
I am not at all satisfied with the response given by the Solicitor-General. I am greatly puzzled to find out where we stand in this matter. Why should not the Clause apply to Ireland? What is there to be found in the Section itself which excludes Ireland? I have considerable experience in the administration of the licensing laws in Ireland, and I was amazed when we came to Clause 30 of the Bill to be told that Subsection (2) was intended to apply to Ireland. Members of the Nationalist Party went home after Sub-section (1) had been passed under the delusion that they had obtained a marvellous concession for their country? We were told in the course of the Debate that Sub-section (2) of Section 30 is intended to apply to Ireland, although on the face of it it would seem not to apply, because it applies a principle of compensation hitherto unknown in that country, namely, the principle of compensation on 1442 the annual compensation value under the Act of 1904, which, admittedly, has no application to Ireland. But the Solicitor-General has told us that Sub-section (2) of Section 30 is intended to apply to Ireland. If that is so, why should the provisions of the Section now under discussion not apply? There is nothing in the terms of it to exclude Ireland. Since 1902 new licences can only be granted in Inland under special and exceptional conditions. The practice in Dublin has been, since 1902, to require any applicant for a new licence to lodge a sum of money, which is either applied to the extinction of an existing licence, or is kept in reserve by the licensing authority for the purpose of extinguishing licences when opportunity arises. That is precisely the system which I understand is in force with the licence holder in England.
§ Mr. JAMES CAMPBELL
Then this Section is unmeaning, because wherever an applicant has been asked by the licensing authority to pay a sum of money on condition of getting a new licence, and such sum of money is in excess of the value of the licence he is getting, this Section takes power to refund to him either portion of the money that the licensing authority has called on him to advance or else recoup him by reducing his Licence Duty.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
You are quite wrong. You omitted to read the words "annual payment for securing to the public the monopoly value under Section 4 of the Licensing Act, 1904." That could not by any possibility refer to Ireland, and nobody can pretend to think that it does.
§ Mr. JAMES CAMPBELL
That is not convincing in any shape or form, because those are precisely the words used in connection with the register to be created under Sub-section (2) of Section 30 which has already been passed by this House, and which we are told is to be applied in Ireland. I am not disputing that in the exact form and phraseology of this Section it may be said that the words used suggest that it is not applicable to Ireland. But exactly the same form and the same phraseology are to be found in Clause 30 which we have already passed, and which we are told, on the authority of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, is to be made applicable to Ireland. While I concede that the phraseology of the Subsection now under discussion is not prim â 1443 facie applicable to Ireland in the state of affairs existing there, nevertheless the phraseology is no more peculiar as regards Ireland than the phraseology of Clause 30. What I wish to emphasise is that the grievance from which it is alleged certain licence holders in England are suffering, or may suffer by reason of being called upon to pay an amount that is excessive, having regard to the new contemplated duty, is the very same grievance which exists in the case of Ireland, particularly in regard to licences granted since the Act of 1902. The hon. and learned Member for Louth has pointed out that in the case of these new licences granted since the Act of 1902, the applicant has been compelled either to extinguish an existing licence or lodge, with the licensing authority a sum of money to be applied by the authority to the extinguishing of a licence whenever an opportunity arose. It was the settled practice of the late Recorder, and it has been more or less adopted by his successor, on the occasion of the application for a new licence, to require the applicant, as a condition precedent to getting a new licence, that he should expend a large sum of money in extinguishing an existing licence or, if no such licence was available, to deposit a sum of money which could be used for the purpose of buying up any licence available in the market.
The condition of the new licence holder in Ireland since 1902 is precisely the same as that of the licence holder in England. If you consider that you require this Subsection to remedy the grievance of the licence holder in England, either by returning a portion of the money he advanced, or by relieving him of a portion of the new duty, I cannot for the life of me see why that should not be extended to Ireland in the case of persons who are in precisely the same position. I think we ought to have some more information as to what is the exact position of the new licence holders in Ireland. I confess if I were asked tomorrow to advise what their position is I should be completely at a loss. I do not think the publicans of Ireland will be content to accept the position of the hon. and learned Gentleman on the subject, I think they would prefer to get the opinion of lawyers acquainted with Irish procedure and practice, and I can say with perfect candour if, when this Bill became law, I were called upon to advise is to the position of the licence holders in Ireland under this Sub-section, I should be completely at a loss what opinion to give. 1444 The monopoly value, the cardinal principle of this Section, has been already determined by this House to be a principle in determining the value of the Licence Duty in Ireland. Therefore, I respectfully suggest to the Government that they ought to consider between this and the Report stage whether they cannot by some convenient words make the provisions of this Clause applicable to cases in Ireland identical with the cases in England. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that his pleasantries will not at all relieve the minds of the publicans as to their position.
§ Mr. F. E. SMITH
I desire to make one observation upon the reply, if I may dignify it by that description for want of a better one, of the Solicitor-General to the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. T. M. Healy). It is perfectly true this Clause does not apply to Ireland, but when the Solicitor-General says that he is prepared to give advice to the clients of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Campbell) in Ireland on the Irish aspects of the Finance Bill, while no one can dispute his ability to advise anyone as to the laws of England and Wales, I do not think it in the least likely that any very large number in Ireland would be willing to pay that remuneration which he would require. I do not think he would dispute that himself. The Solicitor-General made a further observation in reference to the hon. and learned Member for Louth. He said that the observations made by him had not been directed to this House, Out had been directed to the country in Ireland. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. T. M. Healy), in the hearing of the whole House, has for a past two or three days waged a fight on this Bill which I think all Members in this House have watched with very great admiration indeed. To say-that the hon. and learned Member was addressing his arguments to the country is the one lapse from good humour the Solicitor-General has made, and I can only say that it was an unnecessary and grotesque discourtesy.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
When we are engaged in discussing a taxing Bill I think personalities and imputations might be omitted. I never take into account the jealousies of Welsh Members. I never consider whether or not the hon. and learned Gentleman ought to be Chancellor of the Exchequer. I rejoice in his good fortune, and am delighted at his success. I often assisted the hon. Gentleman when he was 1445 a humble Member below the Gangway, and now that he has achieved a great and eminent position I approach him in a proper spirit. I submit that he is giving English licence holders under particular conditions a concession which I claim for my countrymen under analogous conditions. I quite agree that the Government have so framed this Clause that it is difficult to move as regards Ireland an absolutely relevant Amendment. But does that prevent me from complaining that you have so drafted the Clause that you have entirely omitted from your account a country which you yourselves say is over-taxed? Within the last twelve months licence holders in Dublin have been compelled, in order to satisfy the licensing authority, to spend hundreds of pounds on premises for which they have already paid thousands of pounds. When a man has been compelled by a public authority to pay a certain sum of money, such as under the Act of 1904 an English publican has been compelled to pay, why does not the Government give the same redress in Ireland as in England? Is it any answer to say, "We do not know anything about your country; you are jealous of one another. You should not be here when the rest have run away." If an English question were raised the Solicitor-General would say, "We will take it into account on the Report stage." What licence has he for saying that Ireland is not relevant to this Clause, and that of it no notice shall be taken? I have brought forward a case well worthy of consideration. Let the Attorney-General or the Solicitor-General for Ireland get up. This ought
§ to be their job. Let them argue with me any question either of law or of practice. Neither of them would dare to meet me with impertinence. I have moved this Amendment; I will renew it as a new clause or on the Report stage; and if the Solicitor-General thinks he gains any advantage by these replies at this hour of the morning, we shall submit to his observations in the best frame of 'mind we can. But we will take the means, as far as in us lies, of paying back the spirit in which the observations have been addressed to us.
§ Sir SAMUEL EVANS
The hon. and learned Gentleman, in the speech that he has just made, is very unjust indeed. He says that when I was a Member below the Gangway that he assisted me—
§ Sir S. EVANS
If the hon. and learned Member brings forward at the proper time and place an Amendment dealing with the state of affairs in Ireland, he will see no unreadiness or unwillingness on my part to deal with it.
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 141; Noes, 57.1447
|Division No. 623.]||AYES.||[12.45 a.m.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Higham, John Sharp|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Crossley, William J.||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Barker, Sir John||Duckworth, Sir James||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Duncan, C (Barrow-in-Furness)||Jowett, F. W.|
|Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick B.)||Elibank, Master of||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)|
|Beale, W. P.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Beauchamp, E.||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Lambert, George|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Everett, R. Lacey||Lamont, Norman|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Falconer, James||Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Findlay, Alexander||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Bright, J. A.||Fullerton, Hugh||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire)||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Lupton, Arnold|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Glendinning, R. G.||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Glover, Thomas||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Gulland, John W.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||M'Laren, Rt. Hon. Sir C. B. (Leicester)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Harvey, A. G. C (Rochdale)||M'Laren, H. D. (Staffordshire, W.)|
|Clough, William||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Maddison, Frederick|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Haworth, Arthur A.||Markham, Arthur Basil|
|Cooper, G. J.||Hedges, A. Paget||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Henry, Charles S.||Massie, J.|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Verney, F. W.|
|Micklem, Nathaniel||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Mond, A.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Walters, John Tudor|
|Morrell, Philip||Rose, Sir Charles Day||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Waring, Walter|
|Myer, Horatio||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Seely, Colonel||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Nicholls, George||Shaw, Sir Charles Edward||Watt, Henry A.|
|Nussey, Sir Willans||Sherwell, Arthur James||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Nuttall, Harry||Silcock, Thomas Ball||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Wiles, Thomas|
|Partington, Oswald||Stanger, H. Y.||Williamson, Sir Archibald)|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Strachey, Sir Edward||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Summerbell, T.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Pointer, Joseph||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Winfrey, R.|
|Rainy, A. Rolland||Tomkinson, James||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Rendall, Athelstan||Toulmin, George|
|Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Robinson, S.||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edm'ds.)||Peel, Hon. Wm. Robert Wellesley|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Hamilton, Marquess of||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Renwick, George|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Healy, T. M. (Louth, North)||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Helmsley, Viscount||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hill, Sir Clement||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hunt, Rowland||Stanier Beville|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Joynson-Hicks, William||Starkey, John R.|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Kerry, Earl of||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Morpeth, Viscount||Younger, George|
|Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S.W.)||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Viscount|
|Gretton, John||Oddy, John James||Valentia and Lord Edmund Talbot.|
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again to-morrow (Thursday).
§ ADJOURNMENT—Resolved, That this House do now adjourn—[Mr. Joseph Pease.]
§ Adjourned accordingly at Eleven minutes before One o'clock.