§ (1) As from the thirtieth day of April, nineteen hundred and nine, there shall be charged, levied, and paid on motor spirit imported into Great Britain or Ireland a duty of Customs at the rate of threepence per gallon.
§ (2) As from the first day of June, nineteen hundred and nine, there shall be charged, levied, and paid on motor spirit made in Great Britain or Ireland an Excise Duty at the rate of threepence per gallon, and there shall be charged on a licence to be taken out annually by a manufacturer of motor spirit and by a dealer in, motor spirit an Excise Duty of one pound and an Excise Duty of five shillings respectively.
§ (3) Where a licence is taken out under this provision by a manufacturer of motor spirit it shall not be necessary for him to-obtain any further licence in respect of any still kept or used by him solely for the purpose of the manufacture or refinement of motor spirit.
§ (4) The provisions of Section ninety-eight of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876, which relate to the charging of duty at the time of the actual delivery of goods, shall apply to motor spirit as they apply to the specially excepted goods mentioned in that section.
§ (5) The Excise Duty on motor spirit may be charged in such manner and at such time during the process of the manufacture of motor spirit as the Commissioners may determine.
§ (6) Where motor spirit or any article in the manufacture or preparation of which any motor spirit has been used is exported from Great Britain or Ireland as merchandise, or shipped for use as ship's stores, and it is shown to the satisfaction of the Commissioners that the Excise Duty on motor spirit has been paid in respect of the motor spirit or in respect of the motor 827 spirit used, as the case may be, a drawback shall be allowed equal to the amount of duty paid in respect of the motor spirit, or in the case of an article in the manufacture or preparation of which motor spirit has been used, equal to the duty on the quantity of motor spirit which appears to the Treasury to have been used.
§ (7) Sections eight and nine of the Finance Act, 1901, as amended by Section two of the Revenue Act, 1903, shall apply with respect to the manufacture of and dealing in motor spirit as they apply with respect to the manufacture of saccharin, and any provisions of the Spirit Act, 1880, or any Acts amending that Act, may be applied by Regulations made in pursuance of this Sub-section to motor spirit.
§ (8) In this Part of the Act the expression "motor spirit" means any inflammable hydrocarbon (including any mixture of hydrocarbons and any liquid containing hydrocarbon) which is capable of being used for providing reasonably efficient motive power for a motor car, and the expression "manufacturer of motor spirit" includes a refiner of motor spirit and a person otherwise preparing motor spirit.
§ (9) The Commissioners may by regulations prescribe tests for the purpose of determining whether any inflammable hydrocarbon or mixture of hydrocarbons, or liquid containing hydrocarbon, is motor spirit within the meaning of this provision.
§ Sir F. BANBURY rose to move an Amendment of which he had given notice.
§ Mr. STEPHEN GWYNN
On a point of Order. I do not understand, Sir, why on Clause 63 I was not called upon to move my Amendment to leave out Sub-section (2).
Before the hon. Member for the City of London moves his Amendment, there is an Amendment in the name of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to leave out Sub-section (6) of Clause (54. The question is, "That the Sub-section stand part of the Clause."
Mr. G. D. FABER (York)
On a point of Order. Have we not already passed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Amendment to Clause 64, to leave out Section (6)?
§ Mr. COURTENAY WARNER
There is no point of Order. The hon. Member for the City of Galway could have got up in his place when he heard the Clause being put and claimed to move his Amendment. [Cries of "Order."] I am speaking on the point of Order. When the hon. Member heard the Clause put he could then have got up to move his Amendment. The Clause has now been carried.
§ Mr. GWYNN again rose.
We cannot possibly go back on Clause 63, which has been added to the Bill. That is obvious. The Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," was put, and if the hon. Member had listened he could then have made his remarks on that question. We are now on Clause 64.
It is obvious that we cannot go back on Clause 63. It is for hon. Members who desire to move Amendments, whether on the Paper or handed in on manuscript, to see that their Amendments are not passed over. Attention is frequently called to an Amendment which an hon. Member claims to come before the Amendment which is 829 called upon, and if an hon. Member fails to do so he may lose his opportunity. That is a responsibility which is properly left to hon. Members themselves. Then, when the question was being proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," the hon. Member still had his chance of claiming to move his Amendment, if he desired to do so, or of entering at large upon a discussion of the whole Clause; but no one rose either to claim to move an Amendment or to discuss the Clause, and it is now too late to go back upon the Clause. There was no intention of passing over the hon. Member. The same Amendment was down in the name of other hon. Members.
§ Mr. GWYNN
I must really move to report Progress, in order that this matter may be discussed. I listened particularly for my name to be called, and I submit respectfully that the speed at which the proceedings were taken left a man practically no chance of taking his place. I again ask for an explanation of the omission of my name when I was in my place to move my Amendment.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
May I make a suggestion to the Government? The hon. Member has not had an opportunity of moving his Amendment, and my suggestion is that the Government should allow the Clause to be recommitted in order that there may be a discussion of this matter.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I confess that I was rather surprised when there was no challenge to Clause 63, and that it was allowed to go through without debate. I really was so much taken by surprise that I thought there might have been some deliberate plot which I could not fathom. I am glad that the hon. and learned Member has made the suggestion, because I think that the matter ought to be discussed, and I will see what can be done 830 by way of providing an opportunity. It is quite clear that by the Rules of the House it is impossible to go back upon the Clause now, but I promise to give hon. Members a full opportunity for discussion.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN proceeded to put the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Amendment.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I have got an Amendment which I desire to move, and I only gave way because the hon. Member below the Gangway raised a point of Order.
§ Question proposed, "That the words of the Section to the word 'appears' stand part of the Clause."
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I previously asked who was moving the Amendment. Who is moving the omission of the Section?
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I moved it twice. I got up at the request of the hon. and learned Member to explain it, and then this point of Order intervened. A similar Amendment to that which I have moved was put down by an hon. Gentleman opposite. There is no objection to it. It does not matter at all whether this Sub-section is in or not. I am told by the officers that it is not of much consequence one way or the other, and it is not worth while detaining the Committee by discussing Sub-section (6). If hon. Members think it desirable to move it out, it would not interfere at all with the Bill.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
May I point out that the Amendment is out of order, and it makes nonsense of the Section. You put the Clause down to the word "appears."
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am much obliged. I presumed that was the reason. It shows the great difficulty in which we are placed. I do not think anybody in the House, not even the right hon. Gentleman, knows exactly where we are or what we are doing. I do not blame anybody except the Government, who keep us up to four o'clock and then expect us to start a controversial measure again at twelve o'clock. I really do not think it very much matters. They do not want the matter to be discussed, and do no want anybody to know anything about it. It really does not very much matter, and, it is to be hoped, in another place there will be a different 831 course. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has given no reason why this Sub-section should be omitted. I presume the Subsection was in for some reason, and I do not know why the Chancellor of the Exchequer should suddenly get up, and, without the slightest explanation, move this Motion. The Sub-section is rather a complicated one as far as I can see. It provides: "Where motor spirit…is exported from Great Britain or Ireland…and it is shown to the satisfaction of the Commissioners that the Excise Duty on motor spirit has been paid in respect of the motor spirit or in respect of the motor spirit used, as the case may be, a drawback shall be allowed…" That would seem to be rather a good Clause. I cannot conceive why it is omitted. I admit that I may not have interpreted the meaning of the Clause correctly. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) as to whether we ought to have some clear or definite explanation of the meaning of this Sub-section, why it was put in, and why it was omitted. We ought not merely to be content with the action of a Minister of the Crown in saying: "I beg leave to omit the Sub-section."
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I will first finish. I am not in any great hurry. It is not often that the right hon. Gentleman pays such attention to a Motion on this side. It is the astuteness of the right hon. Gentleman that I view with great suspicion when he readily accepts an Amendment moved from this side of the House. It must be put down in error by the hon. Member (Captain Craig). Therefore, I think we should have a full explanation upon the subject.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I really must demur to one general sweeping statement of the hon. Member that I do not pay any attention to Motions from the other side. On the contrary, very few Ministers have accepted more Amendments from the other side. I have been constantly accepting Amendments, and even from the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) I have accepted Amendments. I shall be very happy to explain to the Committee what this really means. I agree I did not explain before, as I did not expect it to be reached, but I can do so now. When we first of all imposed this 832 duty there was some doubt as to whether motor spirit made in the United Kingdom could be exported from bond. It was very necessary to protect that spirit manufactured in the United Kingdom, so that it should not have to pay the duty as if it was exported. We accepted this proviso to enable them to get a drawback, and therefore it would be exported free of duty. Now the Excise find it is not necessary at all. You cannot possibly treat motor spirit on the same lines as ordinary potable spirit. Therefore there is no need for any special provision. If it were necessary, in order to enable motor spirit to be exported without demand of duty, we would have stood by the Clause, but as it is not, therefore it is left out.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Take the case of a man going abroad who may have his own motor spirit. It is not a usual thing, but at all events they thought it was when they drew the Clause in this form. Now they do not think it is. Suppose we think it would be safer in the interests of the user of the spirit this Clause should remain in. It seems to me it is more in the interests of the subject that it should not be omitted.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that he was taken by surprise at having reached this portion of the Bill. I should think he was, and, what is more, he has contributed to a good many other people being surprised.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Something after half-past four o'clock this morning I made a protest against the way in which the Government were conducting business, and said it was utterly unreasonable and utterly unfair upon the Committee to keep them sitting until five o'clock and ask them to reassemble for important business at twelve o'clock. The Chancellor of the Exchequer told me there was no occasion to come down at twelve o'clock, as the Tobacco Clause would not be reached for some time. I come down at half-past twelve o'clock, and I find we are on the next Clause.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I never said anything of the kind. I am quite willing to refer for what I said to the pages of the OFFICIAL REPORT. I did say that the Resolutions would be put first, and they have been taken in the absence of the right hon. Gentleman because I carried out my 833 pledge. They were put first, and there was a discussion on them. It is no fault of mine at all that the Tobacco Duty has been reached.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
It is the result of the way in which the Government are conducting business. I have not got the words of the OFFICIAL REPORT, and I do not think they are available at present. I do not think there is any Report of what took place at half-past four o'clock this morning available. I left the House after the Chancellor of the Exchequer had just said that there would be no occasion for those who are interested in the Tobacco Duty to be here at twelve o'clock, because he was going to take the Resolutions first.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Yes, of course, the Chancellor of the Exchequer expected, as we all expected, and as was natural to except, that there would be some discussion on those Resolutions. In consequence of the exhaustion of the House—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear"]. It is all very well for Gentlemen of the party opposite, who come down in relays, and can go to bed and send for a few Cabinet Ministers, who have had their night's rest—it is all very well for them to interrupt when they know that the Opposition offered by a small party is conducted under circumstances of the greatest difficulty. I am astonished that, under these circumstances, the Chancellor of the Exchequer should have taken advantage of a situation which he himself did not expect or contemplate, to smuggle through the Committee unchallenged a Clause which he perfectly well knew it was the desire of the Opposition to challenge and to take the opinion of the Committee upon.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
The right hon. Gentleman knows what happened A few of my hon. Friends were here, the Resolutions were rapidly put; and the Clause was taken before my Friends understood what was taking place.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
Will the right hon. Gentleman tell me what I should have done? Does he think I ought to have wasted time?
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer might 834 have reserved to the Committee their opportunity of discussing a Clause of such importance to masses of our countrymen, which he knew it was our intention to challenge, and which he promised we should have an opportunity of challenging without coming down here at 12 o'clock.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
The right hon. Gentleman does not know what I have done? Then he ought to have informed himself. I have already given a pledge that there shall be a full opportunity of discussing the Clause.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
How are we to get the full opportunity on Report, when a Member can speak only once? In Committee, if the reply of the Government is unsatisfactory, Members can speak again; but on Report, in such circumstances, they are helpless.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
As I understand, the Chancellor of the Exchequer pledged himself to give us a full opportunity later on in the way I suggested, and I thought we were fairly met in the matter.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I do not know what the hon. and learned Gentleman thinks the Chancellor of the Exchequer has undertaken. If the right hon. Gentleman has undertaken to recommit the Hill in respect of this Clause I am perfectly satisfied.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
That was the question put to me, and I said that if that would meet the views of the Opposition I would arrange that it should be done.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
That was not what my hon. Friends understood. But we are very glad to hear it, and, if I may be permitted to do so, I take back what I have said. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has met us very fairly indeed on the point.
As regards the Sub-section which is nominally the subject of discussion, I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that he is advised that the Customs or Excise can make arrangements for all spirit of this kind to be kept in bond. If that satisfies the trade, I have nothing more to say; but I should have thought it might involve considerable interference with their business, which would be obviated by leaving the Clause as it is. I do not understand what the Government gain, or, indeed, that they claim to gain anything, by leaving out the Sub-section. 835 I do not think it ought to be omitted without some notice to the trade. It would be better to leave it in at this stage, and reconsider the matter, if necessary, on Report.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I do not think it really matters. The view of the Excise authorities is that it is unnecessary. I am told that it is infinitely more convenient for the traders that the spirit should be exported out of bond, and that is why we are omitting the Sub-section.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Keeping in the Sub-section would not prevent its being exported from bond; it would simply give the alternative. I think it would be better to keep it in.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Sir F. BANBURY moved, in Sub-section (6), to leave out the words "appears to the Treasury," and to insert instead thereof the words "is shown to the satisfaction of the Commissioners."
§ In a previous Clause the words "proved to the satisfaction of the Commissioners" are used, and I fail to see why the Treasury should be here brought in. The Commissioners should satisfy themselves. If you leave in the words "appears to the Treasury," there will be no occasion to have any inquiry to give the Treasury authority to say, "We think that this has not been paid; there is no obligation upon us to give any reason for our decision; therefore, we shall not allow you the benefit of the drawback." The Attorney-General may reply that it is not conceivable that any Chancellor of the Exchequer or any Treasury official would allow such a thing to be done. I submit that in an Act of Parliament we ought not to leave these things to a Department as though it were a heaven-sent institution, governed by angels. A Department is an ordinary human institution, governed by human beings, and sometimes, unfortunately, those human beings have ideas which seem to us on this side very extraordinary. I myself am not very much enamoured of Commissioners. I would have preferred myself to have had some legal appeal. I do not know whether there is an appeal under this Sub-section. May I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman a question? It applies equally whether my Amendment is accepted or not. Supposing the Treasury say that it does not appear 836 to them that these things have been done, will the motor spirit manufacturer have an appeal from the decision of the Treasury?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir William Robson) indicated dissent.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Then I think that is a very wrong position, because it really makes the Treasury the arbitrator in their own cause. They are the judges to say whether or not they shall give this drawback. I presume if there be no appeal from the Treasury there will be none from the Commissioners, who, I take it, are the Commisioners of Inland Revenue, though the latter have a certain amount of judicial spirit, and the manufacturer may expect more reasonable treatment from them than if the matter were left entirely to the Treasury, whose interest it is not to give this drawback. Moreover, if the words "is shown to the satisfaction of the Commissioners" are inserted, I think the Commissioners would be obliged to give reasons, and hear the manufacturers as to whether or not they have complied with the Act. Therefore there would be some sort of judicial inquiry which, unless the words are put in, will not occur. The Treasury may say, "You claim a drawback on the duty paid on the spirit, or on an equivalent amount on what you are going to export. It is true that under the Act of Parliament you are privileged to have that drawback, but certain things must be fulfilled. We have made certain regulations, and enclose you a form to fill up." The manufacturer replies, and the Treasury say, "It does not appear to the Treasury that the regulations and conditions have been complied with; therefore you will not receive the drawback." A request for an interview fails, and the Treasury finally conclude the matter by the dictum, "It appears to the Treasury—" Under these circumstances I think it very necessary that the Amendment should be accepted. I beg to move.
§ 1.0 P.M.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
In view of the decision of the Government, the discussion on the on. Baronet's Amendment is of a somewhat academic character. He raises points which do not involve any practical difficulty, even if the Sub-section remains. The hon. Baronet has failed to consider the ordinary official course of matters of this kind. First of all it is the Commissioners of Inland Revenue who, of course, have to deal with the Customs Duty, and, therefore, any claim for drawback made by 837 a manufacturer has to be to their satisfaction. Then the Treasury come in. They make the allowance of the drawback, acting on the information of the Commissioners, and in fulfilment of the Regulations they (the Treasury) have made. What happens is that the Treasury apply a scale of drawbacks on the amount which they are informed, or assured by the Commissioners, is the quantity of motor spirit used in the particular article which is the subject-matter of the claim. There is not, so far as I know, any appeal from the Treasury. It is so purely a matter of allowance that it is not one to make a matter of appeal.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am much obliged to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, for he has made the reason of the Government perfectly clear. It is reserved to the Treasury to say whether or not they shall accept the recommendation of the Commissioners that the drawback shall be paid. That is the meaning of the words in the Sub-section. If the Treasury are hard-up they will not accept the recommendation of the Commissioners. It will be the Swansea case over again. The Treasury will say to the recommendation of the Commissioners that the drawback should be paid, "We do not care twopence for the Act of Parliament; there is a clause that will allow us to be the supreme authority; we want money, and, therefore, we will stick to what we have got." I hope the Committee will accept my Amendment. It may turn out that on the Report stage the Clause will be omitted: as a matter of fact, the Clause is now in. I thank the hon. and learned Gentleman because he has completely let the cat out of the bag. I thought there was something of that sort in the meaning of the words; I am much obliged to him that he has so eminently justified my suspicions.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
I am rather afraid that this is one of those situations in which the two Front Benches are against the Back Benches. I hope we will not spend much time over this discussion, for two reasons. The first reason is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer did propose to cut the whole Sub-section out, and it was on my appeal and on the advice of the Treasury that he has consented to leave it in. Personally, I should not like that that concession should be used to delay the right hon. Gentleman for any length of time. My second reason is that, although at first sight I rather doubted 838 whether it would not have been better to have had this in the hands of the Commissioners of Customs instead of the Treasury, I find the Government are following precedent. I would remind my hon. Friend the Member for the City of what took place in connection with the Sugar Duties. There are two parallels: In the second, the one which deals with the provision as to the duty upon manufactured articles, it is provided that duty shall be charged in respect of such quantity of the article as shall appear to the Treasury to be used in the manufacture. Again, in the Schedule, when we come to the question of drawbacks on goods on which the drawback is allowed it is provided that drawbacks shall be paid equal to the duty which it appears to the satisfaction of the Treasury have been used in the manufacture or preparation of the goods. On these matters the Treasury can obtain the advice of the Customs authorities. Having had something to do with these matters, although I was not Chancellor of the Exchequer in those days, I know no provision which necessarily interferes with trade that works more smoothly than the drawbacks under these Regulations. I believe they have been granted in what may appear on an outside view to be very complicated cases without the slightest difficulty or friction, and to the satisfaction both of the Revenue authorities and the manufacturers and others concerned. In these circumstances I could not vote for the Amendment of my hon. Friend, and I hope he will not divide the Committee upon it.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I thought perhaps my Noble and learned Friend the Member for Marylebone might say something on this point. I should like to have the benefit of his experience and advice.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I was about to say something, but after what has fallen from my right hon. Friend on the Front Bench I will not proceed with it.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
When the two Front Benches combine it is an absolute certainty that the matter on which they combine is wrong. I remember once the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean was in a somewhat similar predicament to that in which I find myself now. He moved an Amendment, and he was told there were a great many precedents against him. The right hon. Gentleman replied he was unaware there were so many bad precedents in the House, and if there were so many bad precedents he was 839 against creating another. That is the feeling which animates me now. I have very great respect, if he will allow me to say so, for my right hon. Friend the Member for East Worcester, but when he combines with the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer I am not sure that the adage of the ex-gamekeeper does not obtain, I am quite sure if the Chancellor was sitting on this side of the House he would take up the position I am taking up now with much greater effect, and would use much more eloquent and powerful language. In the circumstances, however, as I am deserted, not only by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcester, but also by my Noble Friend, I am afraid there is no alternative but to withdraw, but I think it is a mistake. Does my Noble Friend think it is a mistake?
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
No; I rather agree myself that the Clause would be better if the Commissioners were put in here instead of the Treasury, as it appears to me, as the Clause stands, there will be two inquiries—one by the Treasury and another by the Commissioners. At the same time, after what an ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer said about the smooth working of the procedure, it does not appear to me to be a very grave matter—
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I must say my Noble Friend has filled me with astonishment. He believes the insertion of the words "to the satisfaction of the Commissioners" would be the right course to pursue, but, in deference to an ex-Chancellor, he is going to assent to something he believes to be wrong. I always thought my Noble Friend was above everything except principle. In deference to one of his leaders he has set principle at naught. The circumstances are so overwhelmingly confusing that I will not persist with the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Captain CRAIG moved to omit Subsection (7).
§ I move this Amendment in order to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer why it is necessary to make new regulations in regard to the storage and sale of motor spirit. I notice the section refers us to a section dealing with saccharine in the Finance Act of 1903, but when I turn to the Act of 1903 I find it refers us back to Section 9 of the Act of 1891, referring to Excise Duty on glucose, and saying that 840 it shall apply to saccharine, and that the Commissioners may make regulations under that Section as to the manufacture, storage, and warehousing of saccharine. I was under the impression that the Act which regulated the sale and storage of petrol was sufficiently stringent for all purposes of protection of the public, and also for protection when taking it out of bond. I should like to know what regulations it is considered necessary to impose upon the vendors of motor spirit. Have the regulations which hitherto existed proved inefficient or unsatisfactory, or is it because of this new duty now placed upon petrol that makes it necessary to put it into bond and to take it out the same as any other spirit? I cannot quite grasp the Sub-section, and would be glad of some explanation. I should like, also, to know what the regulations are to be. I take it that the regulations that apply to saccharine will also apply to petrol, and that, in addition, there are to be other regulations in regard to motor spirit.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
The reason why this provision is put in the present Act is to give the Commissioners of Customs and Excise power to control the dealers in and the manufacturers of motor spirit in the some way as they have power to control and regulate the manufacture of any other exciseable article. If an article is liable to Excise duty unless the Customs and Excise authorities have some control over the conditions under which it is manufactured and all the surroundings of the manufactory, it would be impossible to say whether something has escaped the notice of the Excise Officer or not, and has thus evaded the duty. The regulations which apply to the manufacture of beer, whisky, and other exciseable spirit are necessary in order to enable the excise authorities to deal with motor spirit in the same way.
§ Sir E. CARSON
Beading this Sub-section and the one which it is proposed to incorporate it strikes me as being a very extraordinary way of legislating. The right hon. Gentleman is quite wrong in-saying that this is a proposal merely to apply the Section to motor spirit.
§ Sir E. CARSON
This proposal goes a good deal further. What is the power which we are giving to the Treasury in this matter? We are dealing now with motor spirit, and all the elements which 841 are likely to exist after we have passed this Bill as to the manufacture and sale, and drawbacks, and uses to which motor spirit may be put. How are we going to regulate that? We are providing that it shall be done in the same way as the sale of sugar. It seems to me that you could not possibly have got a more inept Section to apply to the manufacture of motor spirit than that which you are applying to the manufacture of sugar. I cannot understand why the provision relating to spirits alone would not be quite sufficient as regards motor spirit. Let any hon. Member of the Committee just take up the Section we are incorporating and see whether he can form any idea as to what it is we are now asked to do. I have before me the eighth Section of the Finance Act of 1901, which provides that the Commissioners of Customs and Inland Revenue may jointly make regulations as to the delivery of and the use of molases by a licensed distiller without the payment of a duty or a drawback as allowed by the Act. Are the Government going to give the Commissioners of Inland Revenue power to make regulations as to the use of motor spirit? Are they going to have the same power as they have with regard to molasses and the manufacture of sugar? Here we are going to lay down by regulations that the Treasury and the Commissioners by joint regulations may adopt in any way they please the provisions as regards the use of molasses and sugar to the use and manufacture of motor spirit. What are the limitations which are going to be imposed upon the users of motor spirit? I do not think that any of the Sections I have mentioned apply to the manufacture of spirits.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
If the right hon. Gentleman will look further down the Clause he will see that the provisions of the Spirit Act of 1880 also apply.
§ Sir E. CARSON
That is just my point. The Spirit Act of 1880 has over 180 clauses, and it contains a long code of regulations as to the manufacture of spirits. Up to the present you have found that sufficient for your Excise and Customs and your drawbacks and everything else, and now you say that, as regards motor spirit, it has not only to come under the law as regards spirits, but for some reason or other it has also to come under the law as regards the manufacture of sugar. What the connection is between the manufacture of sugar and motor spirit I cannot understand. I should be glad if the right hon. Gentleman 842 would explain how these provisions are going to be applied. They may be very appropriate as regards saccharine, but they seem to me to have no application to motor spirit. Section 9 further provides that "the Commissioners of Inland Revenue may make regulations prohibiting the manufacture of glucose, saccharine, or invert sugar, except by persons holding a licence." Is it intended that regulations may be made to prevent people from manufacturing motor spirit without a licence? Besides taking power to apply the law relating to spirits and to sugar to the manufacture and sale of motor spirit, is it proposed to also apply all the conditions and regulations which apply to the manufacture of beer? I do not think the Government have the least idea what they are doing. In this one Clause they have simply bundled in two Sections of another Act of Parliament relating to entirely different manufactures, and you are allowing the Treasury as regards motor spirit to practically make any regulation they like as regards the manufacture or the uses to which motor spirit can be applied. This seems to me to be a very serious matter. When we ask what limitations are proposed, we are given no information whatever. The Spirit Act of 1880 contains at least half a dozen clauses setting up enormous penalties in relation to spirits, and apparently we are now giving the Treasury power to apply any one of these penalties to the manufacturers of motor spirit. I do not think a worse instance of legislation by reference could be found than this particular Sub-section under consideration. I defy any man to get up and tell us what it is we are really going to apply. Nobody could do it without at least a week's good hard work. We are creating a new tax, and every subject in the realm who is interested in it will be supposed to know the law. What information will he get from this Sub-section? It will be absolutely impossible for him to find out anything with regard to the particular manufacture in which he is interested. I make this very humble suggestion to the right hon. Gentleman: Instead of framing the Sub-section in this way, he should frame it by a reference to a schedule which would set out the parts of these Acts to which they are really going to refer. I say, as a lawyer who has to consider these Acts, that the thing is really becoming absolutely impossible. It takes hours and hours, and days sometimes, to go through every section of an Act containing perhaps 200 clauses, and to 843 which reference is made, in order to take care you do not omit a line here or a line there, to make out one of these new sections. When the draftsman proceeds to draft the section he has a note of all these various sections—he probably has a note before him now—and at the time you are framing your Act of Parliament you could easily set them out in a schedule, and it would be a far more business way. I believe it would take me a week's hard work to find out what this Sub-section means. You are applying to motor spirits a Bill relating to sugar, and sections referring to beer and spirits. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to spend the rest of to-day in telling us what the Sub-section means, and, when he has done that, I have no doubt he will have no difficulty on the Report stage in elaborating his argument into a schedule or a sub-section, so that the House and the subject may know where they are when they read the Act of Parliament.
Considerable alarm will be, caused throughout the country by what my hon. and learned Friend has just stated. Nearly every grocer's shop, nearly every hardware shop, and all those miscellaneous shops one finds in country places are at present able to take in a stock of petrol and sell it free from any red tape and take their profit of a penny or twozpence per gallon. According to his statement, all the machinery of the Customs Department will now be put into operation with regard to this ordinary class of spirits. He also makes the much more alarming statement that there will be the power to introduce new licences for the sale of motor spirits. Under what conditions do the Treasury propose to grant these new licences? Every small grocer will now have to make a special study of the Finance Act of 1901, Sectons 8 and 9, Section 2 of the Revenue Act, 1903, and provisions of the Spirit Act, 1880, and any Acts amending that Act? They will have to go through all those before they know whether they are complying with the law when they sell a gallon of ordinary motor spirit. This is one of the most extraordinary Resolutions in a comparatively simple business ever proposed in the House of Commons. There is, as I can see, very little difference in the danger arising from paraffin and motor spirits, and certainly very little difference in the trouble, and yet now, because a grocer happens to sell a little 844 motor spirit, he is to have a special licence. I suppose it will be a ten guinea licence, and will go with the house. A grocer in a country district perhaps only makes 10s. in six months by keeping a few gallons of petrol, but he keeps it, not because he hopes to make a big profit, but because every village likes to encourage visitors and motorists to its hotel. The authorities are to be allowed to make any regulations they please, and to start a new system of licences. I wonder how long these licences will be allowed to go on, and what the charge and conditions will be. Will they be held during good behaviour or will they be renewable annually? This innovation will affect the raw material of a big trade. One would have thought the taxation on each gallon of petrol to be used would have been sufficient; but over and above that there is to be this unknown quantity which yon cannot gauge in pounds, shillings, and pence. It is quite impossible for a man to tell, before he studies all these Acts, whether it will pay him at all to keep petrol. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his junior, who is temporarily in charge of the Bill, have treated the House and the country with discourtesy—if I may say so—in not giving some indication of the regulations intended to be made. Is the licence to be a ten-guinea licence, and is it to be renewable annually? These are questions which demand an answer. Unless a more satisfactory explanation is forthcoming I shall certainly go to a Division on this very important matter.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I am surprised that the Government have made no reply. I do not believe that any person who has read the Sub-section through will agree that this is the kind of legislation that should be placed on the Statute Book. I defy anybody to tell me what it really means. If one had time to wade through the statutes involved it might be possible to form some idea, but even then it would, I think, be very doubtful what this Subsection means. Surely it would be much better for the Government to accept the Amendment of my hon. Friend and bring up a proper section later on. I do not want to prolong the proceedings, but I do think we are entitled to be told by the Government exactly what the Sub-section means. Let us have some explanation in lucid language. Why they should ask the Committee to pass a sub-section which is unintelligible, without any explanation at all, passes my comprehension.
§ Mr. RENWICK
I want to ask a question. When I buy a gallon or two gallons of whisky—which I sometimes do—before it can be delivered to me the person carrying it has to be supplied with a permit, as he is liable at any moment to be stopped by an Excise officer, who demands where and to whom and from whom he is taking it. Will a similar regulation also apply to the sale of motor spirit? If so, how on earth can country people—how can country shopkeepers—get all these things signed? The right hon. Gentleman cannot have considered this matter. It is on a par with other Clauses of this Act. They have been put down without due consideration, and when we come to discuss them the occupants of the Treasury Bench seem to know nothing about them. Instead of answering our questions they move the Closure, and I suppose that that will be done in this case. Now I have put a pertinent and proper question, to which I claim to be entitled to an answer. That question is. Does this Clause carry with it the obligation which is imposed on people selling a gallon or more of whisky to have a written permit before it can be removed from the shop to the purchaser?
§ Mr. WATSON RUTHERFORD
I join in protesting against the form of this Clause. Why, in dealing with the question of motor spirit, should we be referred to legislation which has been adopted in regard to saccharine? What has saccharine to do with motor spirit? We all know that with regard to saccharine it is an article exceedingly valuable, even in very small quantities. The duty is very high, and the result is that most drastic and careful precautions have been taken in order to protect the Inland Revenue. But how can that be applied to motor spirit? It must be out of place to apply to a Clause dealing with motor spirit regulations which affect an article like saccharine. It is altogether out of place. It is exceedingly embarrassing; the provisions are altogether too drastic; they are most arbitrary. The restrictions which are to be embodied in the regulations have for their object to enable the Inland Revenue Commissioners to make practically what regulations they like. How has this thing operated in other countries—in Austria, in Galicia, for instance? There has been an attempt within the last two or three years by the Standard Oil Company, and other companies associated with it, to get hold of a monopoly in motor spirit and petrol. The same thing has happened in Roumania 846 and Russia, but those Governments nave passed legislation with a view of preventing the monopoly. They have succeeded in that so far as Austria and Roumania are concerned. There they have succeeded in preventing those terrible monopolies which have done so much harm to business. The effect of this Sub-section and the legislation which it involves, and of the regulations which are going to be made, will probably be this, that these monopolies which are at present fixed on the motor spirit trade of this country will be crystallised and increased and imposed on the public in far severer terms. To-day there is hardly a little country town in the United Kingdom which is not suffering from the effects of this monopoly in connection with motor spirit. There may be one or two motor spirit sellers in the towns, but as a rule nobody else can get hold of the article. Any attempt to break down that monopoly in the interests of the public will be impossible if these regulations come into force. I confess I look upon this Clause, and particularly upon this Sub-section, as one of the most stupid things which this Government has done, and I join with my hon. Friend in strongly protesting against this.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
The real answer need not necessarily occupy—as suggested by the right hon. and learned Gentleman—the remainder of the afternoon. This applies the two Acts—1901 and 1880—to the manufacture of motor spirit. Where regulations are made by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue they have to be published in the Government "Gazette." These regulations have been in operation for very many years, and there has been no sort of complaint on the part of the trading community as to the way they are framed or are carried out. They are the result of long experience, and they have worked to the satisfaction of the trade and successfully for the protection of the revenue. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Renwick) wanted to know whether it would not be a very great hardship to apply to the dealer in motor spirit a regulation which applies to the dealer in ordinary spirits. I have never heard, and I do not think the hon. Gentleman has ever heard, a complaint on the part of the dealer in ordinary spirit that the power to see whether what he is carrying has or has not paid duty has ever been abused. I think unquestionably the same power ought to be given in the case of motor spirit to the Revenue officer who thinks that motor spirit is being 847 used which has been obtained illegally—that is to say, has not paid duty. The same absence of abuse and of complaint, I am perfectly certain, will be present after these regulations have been in force for two or three years in the case of motor spirit as in the case of other dutiable articles.
§ Mr. J. H. CAMPBELL
The right hon. Gentleman opposite has entirely missed the point and substance of the question which was raised by my right hon. and learned Friend beside me. The objection is not that this Clause enables regulations to be made—that is not the objection. Of course, once you impose a tax upon a particular commodity it is necessary to give some authority power to make regulations and to see that the tax is not evaded, and there has been no attack or criticism made upon the operation of the Sub-section which authorises the making of regulations. The point of the attack is this, that the regulations are to be made to carry out the provisions of innumerable Acts of Parliament which are made to apply in this case without definition, limitation, or condition of any kind, and it is no answer whatever—it is mere evasion—for the right hon. Gentleman in reply to that to say, "Oh, regulations must be made." There is, as I say, no objection to the making of regulations, but the point of the attack upon this Sub-section is that it enables the body to whom is to be entrusted the duty of making regulations to make them for the purpose of putting into effect the provisions of innumerable Acts of Parliament. Surely it would be a revelation to the country to know that in the case of this industry in motor spirit, which is now becoming the common concern of small traders of every kind in our small towns throughout the country—a revelation to them to know that not merely are they prevented from carrying on that trade in future, unless they hold a licence, the conditions, tenure, and cost of which are unknown to them, but, over and above all that, they must carry on this trade subject to the unlimited power of the Customs and Excise authorities to put into force as against them the previsions of innumerable Acts of Parliament, 848 some of them containing over 200 Clauses, and many of them not even specified in this Sub-section. Surely this will be an intolerable state of affairs to persons who have already embarked their industry and capital in this particular line of business. Let me remind the right hon. Gentleman of the objections, the growing objections, that have been made on all sides of this House against this method of legislation by reference. Take the case of the Irish local Government Act of 1898, which was an Act of Parliament which practically codified innumerable Statutes which at that time were in existence in Ireland regulating the control of local affairs. That Act contained only 120 Clauses, but, having regard to the amount of legislation dealt with, the course adopted was to set out in elaborate schedules the Acts of Parliament which were interfered with, specifying the sections which were to be overruled and specifying the sections the applicability of which still remained. The result has been that that Act of Parliament has been carried through with very little friction and difficulty, and persons entrusted with the administration of it, when they want to know what are the provisions of the existing legislation applicable, have to turn to these schedules. But what are the unfortunate dealers in the motor spirit trade to do in order to ascertain their liabilities?
It will not be sufficient for them to read these Acts of Parliament, because it lies in the power of the Customs and Excise authorities to pick out any one of the Sections of any one of these Acts and to say that that particular Section is to apply to this particular trade, so that the conditions under which this industry has to be carried on in future will be absolutely intolerable. Take, for example, under the Spirits Act of 1880, the elaborate provisions for branding the casks in which the material is sold and for the inspection and visits of the Excise official, the elaborate provisions for permits and passes when any of this spirit is going to be sent from the place in which it is stored—is it the intention of the Government to take power to apply all these without notice to those engaged in this industry at any moment, and that, at any particular period of time, any one of these sets of embarrassing regulations are to be imposed upon the trade? Of course, in the case of the spirit trade, it was all right, because the whole thing was put into an Act of Parliament, and any persons occupied in the particular trade had only to look at the Statute and then he found his 849 rights and obligations and penalties described; but as regards this trade, which I think promises to be one of the greatest industries of this country, men are to be ask to carry it on not with the knowledge that there is a specified programme of conditions attached to their industry, and under which they are to carry it on. There should be at least a definite intimation to them of what their privileges and liabilities are, but the whole thing is to be hung up in a state of suspense, so that at any moment of time or at any particular stage of this industry some new restrictions and conditions are to be imposed by virtue of incorporation in the regulations of some one or more of the provisions of innumerable Acts of Parliament. Unquestionably the same power ought to remain, in the case of motor spirit, with the revenue officer who thinks that motor spirit is being used which has been obtained illegally—that is without paying duty. The same absence of complaint, it is perfectly certain, will be present after these Regulations have been in force two or three years in the case of motor spirit. The thing is impossible. It is probably inevitable owing to the result of the action of the Government in crowding into this Finance Bill provisions of policy which it will take many Acts of Parliament to carry out. But that is really no answer. They are responsible for that. I certainly think the Committee is entitled to get some better explanation than has been given in reference to the meaning and effect of this Clause. It is absolutely illusory. It is deceiving the Committee to tell them that of course you must have regulations whenever you impose a tax. No one denies that, and of course there must be authority to make these regulations, but that is wholly ignoring the point of the attack, which is that, while we do not challenge the necessity for regulations, what we do challenge is that the regulations are to be made for the purpose of applying provisions of any sort to be found in the Spirits Act of 1880, and the other Acts of Parliament referred to in this Sub-section as well as of other Acts amending the Spirits Act of 1880. At least the persons engaged in the trade are entitled to say they ought not to be left in that state of uncertainty and doubt. Did any hon. Member, until he heard the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, know that it was intended in the future to require every small dealer in villages and towns who sold a gallon of motor spirit to take out a licence? Does any 850 hon. Member know what will have to be paid for that licence?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
If the right hon. Gentleman will look at the first Sub-section of the Clause he will find it all.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
And the penalties to be attached for evasion or any attempt at evasion of the Act of 1880? I do not believe you will. Nothing the right hon. Gentleman has said has attempted to get rid of the real objection to the Sub-section, which is that you are imposing upon these people a series of Acts of Parliament which are not to come into force as a whole, and of which they cannot, by reading, understand the nature and extent of the liabilities as the ordinary dealer in spirits to-day can do. We are to be left in a state of suspense and doubt as to what particular section, at the discretion of the Commissioners of Excise or Inland Revenue, may be applied to suit their particular industry. It will be impossible to carry on that trade under these particular conditions, and the result will be to materially interfere with, and prejudice, an industry which already has attracted an enormous amount of capital to it and an enormous amount of employment, and which, in the future, under these provisions, will be carried on under irritating conditions and in uncertainty which must necessarily in the end seriously prejudice the industry.
§ 2.0 P.M.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I may perhaps relieve the anxiety and even soothe the indignation of the right hon. Gentleman by calling attention to an Act of the late Government, namely, 3 Edward VII., cap. 21. In Section 22 he will see that the Commissioners of Inland Revenue or the Commissioners of Customs may proceed to make regulations. I do not think the provisions of this Sub-section are any wider than the power to make regulations in the Act I have quoted.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
In that case I should like to know why that rubric is not put into the Bill. The rubric is 3 Edward VII., cap. 46. Where are we on this Clause? The right hon. Gentleman gets up in order to soothe the indignation of an 851 ex-Law Officer of the Crown, and I suppose also to expose his ignorance, and supplies him with the Sugar Convention Act as a means of interpreting this Sub-section.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
That is not what I said. I merely referred the right hon. Gentleman to a practice which had been indulged in by the late Government as a precedent which at all events he, I thought, would not complain of us for following.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Then, if it is necessary to understand the Sugar Convention Act for the purpose of understanding this petrol business, why did you not put the rubric in of 3 Edward VII., cap. 21, instead of 3 Edward VII., cap. 46? Now, for the first time, we are told that every little man who sells motor spirit is to get this Sugar Convention Act in order to understand the trade in petrol. Yesterday you provided for the destruction of the whisky industry in Ireland, and sent it across to Germany. To-day we are engaged in putting the whole of this trade in the hands of the Standard Oil Company of America. Yesterday we made a present of millions of trade to the Germans. To-day we are making a present of millions of trade to Rockefeller and Company. The English, as a rule, are a most practical people, and wherever trade and business are concerned I never cease admiring the way they look after affairs. But here you have a new industry springing up, which it should be the business of the Government, so to speak, to dandle on its knee, and just as the manufacture is beginning to grow, down comes the British Government, and for the purpose of getting a revenue of £30,000 or £40,000 a year they hand the whole thing over to America. How is this business to be started in this country? You have an American monopoly with £200,000,000 of capital behind it. They will have no difficulty, of course. They are ready for it. They are on the warpath. Their knives are out. They are not hampered with these restrictions and regulation; but take the men who are about in lawyers to understand the Sugar Convention; but take the men who are about in their little distilleries where this motor spirit is created and where chemists are engaged in trying to make new forms of light explosive. It is the first time in British history that before an industry is 10 years old down comes the Treasury to strangle it. At all events, in the name of heaven, why should not the common 852 man be able to understand the tax? Has that ever been the practice in the history of this country on the part of the draftsman of a taxing statute dealing with a new matter which has never been dealt with before, and which even the ex-Attorney-General cannot understand? What is the proposal if you wish to understand this Clause? In order that the common workman who makes motor spirit may understand the Clause imposing a tax for the first time he must refer to the Finance Act of 1901, the Revenue Act of 1903, the Spirit Act of 1880, and the Sugar Convention Act. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University made an appeal to the Government in this matter. He said that this is a new industry, and that the Government are not merely imposing a tax on motor spirit, but on every person who sells it. The Government are treating this as ordinary spirit. The right hon. Gentleman pointed out that in the case of ordinary spirit, which is an intoxicant, you have since the days of Charles I. gradually imposed taxes and restrictions under Acts which are somewhat difficult to interpret. That has been done because spirit was supposed to be a deleterious commodity. But what has the motor industry done that it should be treated in this way? Has it filled the lunatic asylums and the gaols? [An HON. MEMBER: "It has filled the graveyards."] Does the hon. Member wish to stop the industry? If that is his proposal I can understand it. Everybody got on very well before the motor car was invented. But I am dealing with this proposal as it affects a new industry. Motor spirit may be very obnoxious when used in connection with motor cars, but other kinds of new industries may arise out of the discovery of new explosives. The Government say in regard to all these matters, "We will put them all in the same category as spirits, and we will impose every duty on them that we impose on spirits." I ask the English people: Is that the way foreign countries have gone about it? When we-asked the Government about the taxes on land the Chancellor of the Exchequer got up and quoted the percentage charged in the different countries of Europe. He has not told us what is done in foreign countries in this matter. This industry came from France. We owe it to the genius and brightness of the French people. Have the French Government gone about it in this way? Nothing of the kind. Therefore, for the first time, in the interest of foreigners you are 853 imposing these restrictions upon a trade which has not yet been ten years in existence. I venture to say that if every other trade had been treated in a similar way the industries of which you are so proud would not be in existence. I am in favour of doubling the tax on motor cars, but I would not put a farthing on motor spirit. The two things stand upon an absolutely different plane. Remember that all over the country experiments are going on in regard to distillation. I ask any Member of the House who has given attention to the subject whether he can understand what is meant by "motor spirit means any inflammable hydrocarbon"? You have taken the whole gamut of possibility and taxed it in advance. Of all the extraordinary things which a British draftsman has ever invented, I think one of the strangest is the proposal to apply to motor spirit the rules which apply with respect to the manufacture of saccharine and molasses. Will any person tell me what are the rules connected with the manufacture of saccharine? You are practically garrotting this new industry, and driving the people of this country to American and French manufacturers. You have the materials in your own country for building up this industry, and yet you are imposing an unpleasant, difficult and crushing series of restrictions connected with the spirit trade from which every foreigner is absolutely free. I know that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be more in favour of doubling the tax on motor cars than putting a duty on motor spirit. I believe this Clause has not been considered. The proof of that is to be found in the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer put down an Amendment to strike out Sub-section (6). Before we pass a statute strangling a new industry, ought we not to have some information as to what is going on in foreign countries? The Chancellor of the Exchequer has told us nothing of the kind. He has told the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University that if he wants to understand the new duty he must go to the Sugar Convention. To raise a few pounds of revenue by this means seems to me a most foolish and improvident act in view of the fact that the amount so raised will be insignificant compared with the possibilities of trade in connection with this industry.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
This Clause contains provisions with respect to manufacturers and dealers. I shall refer first to the case of dealers. Remember the 854 dealer's licence is going to apply to every small shop in every village where motor spirit is sold. The Financial Secretary says that there is a precedent for it in the Saccharine Act. There is no such precedent in that Act. Section 9 says that the Commissioners of Inland Revenue may make regulations prohibiting the manufacture of glucose and saccharine except by persons holding a licence. There is not a word about dealer.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
Under the Saccharine Act the Customs have no power to make any regulations at all regarding dealers' licences, because there are no dealers' licences. They have power to make regulations regarding spirits, and they do it. There is a lot of these regulations. Here are two describing what these unfortunate men have to do. By Clause 97 of the Spirit Act of 1880 every dealer and retailer must, in accordance with prescribed regulations, make an entry in writing, signed by him, of every building, room, place, fixed cask, vessel, and utensil intended to be used by him for keeping spirits, distinguishing each place or thing by a separate letter or number. That is a pleasant prospect for the little village shopkeeper. We go on—where the strength of any spirits forming part of the stock of a retailer or dealer cannot be ascertained by Syke's hydrometer—what does the village shopkeeper know about Syke's hydrometer?—the dealer or retailer must, on; being so required by an officer, cause the quantity and strength of the spirits to be legibly marked outside the cask or vessel containing it. If he does not do that, the spirits are forfeited, and he is liable to a fine of £50. Now, with regard to the manufacturer, the last speaker (Mr. T. M. Healy) was quite right when he said that there is in this country a small industry, but a growing industry, the actual manufacture of motor spirit. I am very sorry that the Lord Advocate is not here, because it is in the Lord Advocate's Constituency 855 that a large part of the motor spirit made in this country is manufactured. It is made in Linlithgowshire from Scotch shale. The output, roughly, is 500,000 gallons per year. Taking that at threepence, all that the right hon. Gentleman will get is £6,250, and in order to collect that sum he is going to have all these fresh absurd restrictions upon the manufacture of motor spirits. That is most unwise, and will greatly discourage an industry which might become of considerable importance, and it is done in order to recover a sum which is ludicrously inadequate. Ever since 1st of June the manufacturer has been paying threepence duty on every gallon of motor spirit that has gone out. The manufacturer has to pay this duty; he has got to keep a cash balance with the collector in order to account for the duty payable in advance; and not only that, but the collector may actually demand bonds for security. I have here a case of one firm being asked to give a bond for over £1,000, and they have had to do it. "As an illustration," the writer says, "I may mention my own firm, besides keeping a balance in cash in the collector's hands, have had to deposit security with the Commissioners to the extent of £1,100." That is from one firm, and you are going to collect £6,250 in all in duty. The thing is perfectly ludicrous. I do not believe that the Government have ever considered this Clause, and I am quite sure that when they do consider it even they will see the necessity for introducing some modification.
Mr. STANLEY WILSON
The right hon. Gentleman on the Front Opposition Bench, the hon. Member for Louth, and my hon. Friend who has just spoken, have shown conclusively the utter absurdity of the position. The Financial Secretary has made some effort to reply, but has not explained the situation at all. He has not explained what the Sub-section means. The position is most unsatisfactory. We find ourselves in the usual position of having the Government unable to explain what their own Bill means. It would be a good thing for the Government to reconsider their decision and to withdraw this Sub-section. To make out what it means one has to look at the Sugar Convention Act and at Spirit Acts innumerable. I do not know whether, under some of these Spirit Acts, the owner of a motor car will not have to carry a pass to show 856 that he has paid duty on the spirits contained in his car. As far as I can see, it is quite possible that an Excise officer will have the right to stop a motorist and ask him to show his pass to prove that the spirit in the car has paid duty. This would, if possible, be an even more absurd result than those which have already been pointed out. There are many chemists in this country who sell benzine in small quantities. Benzine is a motor spirit. Will these chemists have to have a licence in order to sell the small quantities of benzine which they sell in all parts of the country? As far as I can see, under this Sub-section every one of them will have to have a licence. It is absolutely absurd that a regulation which applies to saccharine should be made to apply to motor spirit. I cannot understand why these saccharine regulations were selected. I suppose the reason is to facilitate the Government, who said, "Here are some regulations. We may as well apply them to motor spirits; they will do as well as anything else; they will save us the trouble of drafting fresh regulations." The Government ought to more fully define their real intentions, and in order to give them an opportunity of reconsidering their determination, and in view of the serious situation which arises in various parts of the country. I move that you, Sir, report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.
§ Lord BALCARRES
My hon. Friend (Mr. Mitchell-Thomson) has produced a document showing that cash advances and securities are demanded by the Customs and Excise from the manufacturers of spirits. He quoted the terms of that document, which I believe could be placed in the hands of the Treasury, but at the present moment he is not in a position to give the firm's name. The Commissioners of Customs and Excise insist on cash accounts being kept in the collector's office, and I want to know whether, under the Resolution passed on 20th April, power is taken to demand these advances? Not only did the local Commissioners demand the cash balance to be in their hands against the manufacturer, but they have also demanded that securities to the extent of £1,100 should be placed in Government hands. I want to know why that is done, and on what authority it is done. It is clearly not done under the Act of 1903. Is it done under the Saccharine Acts, and, if it is done by statutory authority, what is the object of placing this rather serious burden upon these manufacturers? It cer 857 tainly is a genuine inconvenience upon a firm of recognised status, very well known and very well established. I presume there is statutory authority for this practice, and I should be glad to know what it is. It is rather a hardship on a new industry, for it is a new industry, though this is an old firm, that the Customs and Excise should demand these cash advances and securities. I think the right hon. Gentleman ought to reconsider whether it is just, in relation to this or any other industry, that this burden should be imposed.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
The Noble Lord referred to a document which I have not seen. I do not know the circumstances of the case, but if they are put before me I will make inquiry and communicate with this firm.
§ Lord BALCARRES
The letter was sent to my hon. Friend, who left the House to verify the date of the Resolution, and in his absence I could not give the name of the firm. But I asked the right hon. Gentleman whether there is any statutory authority in respect of this demand upon the manufacturers of motor spirits, whether the firm be old-established or new.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I cannot answer the question off-hand. If the Noble Lord will communicate the facts to me I will endeavour to satisfy him on the point.
§ Sir CHARLES ROSE
I cannot say what are the special powers for demanding this money. Dealers can take spirits out of bond if they choose on giving a certain guarantee, and I think that in a month or so they are supposed to adjust the duty.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
This is the most extraordinary method of legislation ever contemplated or that has ever come under my notice. This Section applies the Acts of 1901 and of 1880, and now we hear for the first time from the Secretary to the Treasury that it applies the Sugar Convention Act. If you turn to the Revenue Act of 1903, you find that Section 9 of the Finance Act of 1901, which relates to the Excise Duties on glucose, applies to saccharine. This Bill applies the saccharine regulation to petrol. Therefore you have to find out the law affecting glucose before you can find out the law as to petrol. It is the glucose Clause which apparently in future is to affect motor petrol. That is to be found in the Act of 1901. I presume 858 that it is under the glucose Clause that power to insist on the payment of money in advance is being given. Here is Section 9: "The Commissioners of Inland Revenue may make regulations prohibiting the manufacture of glucose, saccharine, or invert sugar, except by persons holding a licence, and having made entry for the purpose, and for fixing the date of expiration of the licence, and also for regulating the manufacture of glucose, with a view to securing and collecting the Excise Duty imposed by this Act, and may by those regulations apply any enactments relating to the Excise Duty or drawback on beer, and to brewers of beer, to the Excise Duty and drawback on glucose, and to manufacturers of glucose; and if any person acts in contravention of, or fails to comply with, any of those regulations, the article in respect of which the offence is committed shall be forfeited, and the person committing the offence shall be liable in respect of each offence to an Excise penalty of £50."
Fancy a British Government dealing with an industry like this, and making it subject to all the revenue restrictions as regards beer, because glucose goes back to beer, and you have to trace this thing through this long series of generations before you can find out the extraordinary powers which the Government are taking. In other words, they have now got by this Section without the knowledge of the House of Commons, or without anybody understanding it, without any of the motor dealers in England knowing anything about it or any poor man along the road, with a little notice-board above his door, "Shell motor spirit sold here," knowing anything about it, to put persons engaged in this industry in the same position as the sellers of beer, brewers of beer, and the makers and sellers of glucose. That is considered honest and fair drafting. I cannot understand the spirit in which draftsmen set about this kind of thing, and that is why I always say with regard to these matters it is unsafe to have the Liberal party in power when regulations of this kind are being made, because when the Liberal party are in opposition the Tory party dare not put these things in a Bill. They dare not, because this is simply an effort of a few grasping officials who are thinking of nothing except collecting revenue, thinking nothing of the manufactures of the country or the public convenience, and who are thinking about nothing except the question of revenue, just as a highwayman would consider what was the best part of 859 a road at which he could rob you or the most convenient place at which he could put a blunderbuss at your head. That is the spirit in which Treasury officials act. Now we know this question of motor spirit is to be under the same regulations as glucose, invert sugar, and beer, and every regulation and licence that can be imposed by Treasury restriction upon those men can be imposed on the sellers of petrol. Sykes' hydrometer can, of course, only be used in the case of spirits, but the Treasury may prescribe something new, perhaps costing £50, for motormen. Instead of Sykes' hydrometer you may have Smith's lactometer for dealing with petrol. That is within their power; but you have always the satisfaction of knowing that these are the great, high-minded officials of the Government who never do wrong, and who ought really to have aureoles and nimbuses round their heads. I protest against the system. It is wrong; and the only result will be that you will throw a great industry into the hands of Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Company.
There is one thing which strikes me as the vexatious part of the whole thing, and that is that a permit would be necessary, say, if motor spirit were being carried from a small shop at the corner of a road to a motor which, perhaps, had broken down. The Secretary to the Treasury has just stated that there have been no complaints with regard to other spirits as to the carrying of spirits, but in that case the duty is 14s. 9d. per gallon, while in this case it is only 3d. Surely all those vexations are not to be imposed. [Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE indicated a negative.] The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hobhouse) distinctly stated it would be necessary for small grocers in small country towns to have this elaborate system of permits.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
There is no intention at all of applying that provision with regard to permits in cases of that kind.
§ Mr. RENWICK
In the case of whisky there must be a permit for a gallon. Unless some safeguard is put in the Bill undoubtedly the same regulation will apply as the Financial Secretary told us it would apply. If the right hon. Gentleman means it shall not apply, let him put a Clause in the Bill to that effect.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I suggest to hon. Members that it would be very undesirable to put all kind of restrictions of that kind in an Act of Parliament dealing with regulations of this kind. I am perfectly certain there will not be on the part of the officers any desire to do anything except what is absolutely essential for the safeguarding of the revenue. We are raising this revenue not altogether for Treasury purposes, but for local purposes, so that if the officers were over inclined to view their duties partially I think in this case they will take a strictly impartial view of it for the reason that they are really standing between the localities and those engaged in the business. I do not think there will be any apprehension that they will use their powers vexatiously, and all the regulations will be subject to examination. We cannot introduce all kinds of restrictions on general regulations of that kind.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
Some hon. Gentlemen have profound distrust of the officials, but I have been associated with them, and I do not share that distrust. I have thought, on many points in this Bill, there were matters the Government proposed to leave to official discretion which were not fit matters for official discretion, but must be subject to appeal to the High Courts, but I do not think that this particular case is on a par with them. The cases I mean were those in which the Government had, in deference to our continual representations, granted the right of appeal to the courts of law. I think the Government have got themselves into somewhat unnecessary trouble on this subject by the most complicated system of reference to regulations which were framed for a quite different kind of duty, and to which many of them are inapplicable. They have laid themselves open to all the allegations and charges and suspicions, and, let me say, fears, which have been expressed by hon. Members on these benches. For my part I am convinced that it is better for traders that a certain latitude should be left to the officials in these matters than that we should try to draw the line too tightly in an Act of Parliament. I take note of the right hon. Gentleman's (Mr. Lloyd-George) observation that to attempt to embody in the Act of Parliament all the regulations which are to bind officials would be a very unfortunate precedent. I have no doubt when we have occasion to demand his sup 861 port, when positions are reversed, he will be ready to accord that confidence in the officials of the Customs and Excise which he now holds, and that he will defend against any attacks from the Opposition of that day the manner in which they exercise their discretion and the advisability of trusting to that discretion. I have heard only a small part of the discussion, therefore I cannot cover all the ground. Speaking, however, from such general experience as I have had, and from a consideration of the precedents, I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer must look into the practice of the Commissioners on the present occasion. I am certain that in a large number of cases it is a great convenience to the trader that he should be allowed to give bond or that bond should be exacted from him, but I understand that in the specific case put by my hon. Friend (Mr. Mitchell-Thomson) the trader is asked, in the first place, to keep a cash balance; in the second place, to give bond in addition to keeping a cash balance; and, in the third place, to give bond out of all proportion to the amount of duty he can possibly be called upon to pay. [Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE made an observation across the Table which was inaudible in the Gallery.] That is not the impression left by the communication of the officials on the mind of the correspondent whose letter my hon. Friend has read. If the Commissioners have their attention directed to these matters, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer gives instructions that in safeguarding the revenue they are to allow the utmost elasticity possible to traders of every kind, the inevitable friction of levying the tax will be reduced to a minimum. The regulations, if correctly represented in the letter referred to by my hon. Friend, show that somebody has misunderstood his duty, and is thinking a great deal too much about a little revenue and a great deal too little about a considerable trade. That is the worst thing that can happen in the administration of a duty of this kind. The first consideration to be impressed upon officials is that duties, especially new duties, should be worked with the least possible interference with trade, even if it involves some leakage in the initial stage. When they are worked in that way, so as to satisfy the needs of traders who are fulfilling the requirements of the revenue, then you may begin to watch carefully for any leakages and stop the holes through which they occur. It is a great mistake in initiating a tax of this 862 kind to be so anxious to prevent the possibility of the smallest leakage at the very beginning that you cause great hardship, inconvenience, and disturbance to a number of traders who would never attempt to defraud the revenue. From the nature of the tax there is the maximum of inconvenience for the minimum of revenue. You have to control the whole of the supply, while you desire to tax only a portion, and even of the portion you tax a part is to have a rebate. Personally, I am not animated by the spirit of distrust of Treasury officials which animates the hon. and learned Member for North Louth.
§ Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
No doubt he would retort that, having been one of those Treasury officials, I am naturally prejudiced, and that he would no sooner trust me than anyone else. At any rate, I am not prepared to say that you should put the whole of these regulations in the Bill, or that it is not necessary in matters of this kind to allow a reasonable discretion to the officials who have to administer the Act.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
While I quite accept the Chancellor of the Exchequer's statement that he believes his Department will act fairly, will he present these regulations to Parliament, or make some rule giving Parliament some control over them? If you insist upon all the intricate regulations which apply to spirits and beer you will simply destroy the public convenience. Take a small Irish village. Do you suppose that a man, for the sake of the two or three pounds he may make out of petrol in a year, will be bothered in this way? He will simply say it is not worth while. In one aspect this has become of enormous importance to Ireland. Americans come over, with their motors; they travel luxuriously all over the country, and spend lavishly wherever they go. The modern American travels like a duke. What will be the result of these regulations? Suppose such a tourist is suddenly hung up at a wayside village, perhaps on a Sunday, when the telegraph office is closed, and he cannot telegraph for a supply of petrol to be brought; he may be kept there until Monday morning. As long as they could deal in petrol as a non-excisable commodity these country shopmen kept a stock, although it was at considerable risk of fire, because assurance companies will not 863 insure these people if they keep petrol. Like the decent fellows they are, however, just to oblige the wayfarer along the road, they have laid in a dozen or so tins of this stuff, although they may not sell a tin in a week. These men will not subject themselves to these regulations. It is not as though you were dealing with the towns and large villages of England. If it once becomes known to tourists that there is a difficulty in getting petrol they will stay out of the country, and the people will lose the benefit arising from the tourist traffic. The whole tax is a mistake. It is put on at the wrong time, when we have not had experience. I say, double the tax on motor cars. I beg the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reconsider the whole question of the Petrol Tax. The question of the insurance of these villagers is a very important one. On the top of this disability you are adopting the regulations of
§ the Sugar Convention. It is perfectly ridiculous.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Did I ever say the contrary? If the hon. Gentleman says I have ever made any attacks on these gentlemen he is mistaken. I never have. I am no fool.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 140; Noes, 75.865
|Division No. 728.]||AYES.||[3.0 p.m.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pointer, J.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-sh.)||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Barker, Sir John||Hart-Davies, T.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Haworth, Arthur A.||Rees, J. D.|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Hedges, A. Paget||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Helme, Norval Watson||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoin)|
|Bennett, E. N.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Henry, Charles S.||Robinson, S.|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Higham, John Sharp||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Branch, James||Hodge, John||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Brigg, John||Holt, Richard Durning||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Bright, J. A.||Hooper, A. G.||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Idris, T. H. W.||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Jenkins, J.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Scarisbrick, Sir T. T. L.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Kekewich, Sir George||Seely, Colonel|
|Cleland, J. W.||Kelley, George D.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Cleugh, William||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Laidlaw, Robert||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)||Snowden, P.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Lamont, Norman||Steadman, W. C.|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lehmann, R. C.||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Cox, Harold||Lover, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Cross, Alexander||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Tomkinson, James|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||M'Callum, John M.||Toulmin, George|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Verney, F. W.|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Waring, Walter|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Mallet, Charles E.||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Markham, Arthur Basil||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Elibank, Master of||Marnham, F. J.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Essex, R. W.||Massie, J.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Menzies, Sir Walter||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Findlay, Alexander||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Myer, Horatio||Winfrey, R.|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Nicholls, George||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Gibson, J. P.||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Gill, A. H.||Nuttall, Harry||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Gulland, John W.||Partington, Oswald|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Gardner, Ernest||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Gretton, John||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Hamilton, Marquess of||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Baring, Captain Hon. G. (Winchester)||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Healy, Timothy Michael||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Renton, Leslie|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hill, Sir Clement||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hills, J. W.||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hunt, Rowland||Stanier, Beville|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Joyce, Michael||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Starkey, John R.|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lundon, T.||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Duffy, William J.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Morpeth, Viscount||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Wortley, Ft. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Fell, Arthur||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Younger, George|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Forster, Henry William||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Captain|
|Foster, P. S.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Craig and Mr. Renwick.|
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. A. FELL
This is the first opportunity I have had of speaking to-day, but my observations will not be long. May I commence them by saying I am obliged to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the courtesy he has shown with reference to the Tobacco Duty, on which I had two important Amendments that I was very anxious to move. I am informed that the Chancellor has agreed to give us an opportunity of discussing this Clause, and will move to recommit it in due course. That will give me an opportunity of moving the Amendments I have put upon the Paper at a latter stage.
§ Mr. FELL
No, but I wish to thank the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what he was good enough to say, and I think it is due to the House that I should apologise for not having been here to move substantial Amendments which I had put upon the Paper. In moving the omission of this Clause I should like to point out that it provides that there shall be charged on all motor spirit made in Great Britain or Ireland an Excise Duty at the rate of 3d. per gallon. There are exemptions from this duty and some of them are of a very important character. One important exemption divides the duty by one-half. I deny that this duty is a duty upon motor cars. It is a duty imposed upon petrol, and there may be other articles that come 866 within that description besides motor spirit. Since May last that duty has been paid by all liquid, no matter to what purpose it may have been put. It is used in a large number of manufacturing processes and it is used for lighting purposes. Certain people will be able to get the duty repaid to them. We all know that in connection with a tax of this kind you obtain a considerable amount more in duty than the Bill intended. There are many persons who use petrol for various purposes, and who pay the duty, and who will not have the opportunity of getting it back; the amount will be small, and they will not consider it worth their while. There will also be the difficulty that the vendors of petrol will have to employ much larger capital in consequence of this tax. If a man has to employ extra capital in order to pay this duty he will sell the petrol plus the duty and the interest on the extra capital employed. As a matter of fact, petrol has been raised 4d. per gallon so as to cover the duty of 3d. and the interest on the capital employed in keeping a stock. All petrol coming into this country will have to pay duty of a penny for whatever purpose it may be used. This is a tax on locomotion; that is a very serious thing. We are engaged in the Development Bill and in other Bills facilitating locomotion in one way or another, and now we are trying to impede locomotion by this tax. In order to show how this tax will hamper locomotion I may refer to the London General Omnibus Company. It is assumed that the total yield from these taxes on omnibuses at 1½d. will be £60,000, and the amount that will 867 fall upon the London General Omnibus Company will be £38,000—more than half the whole duty. I am not a shareholder and I have no interest in the company, but I know people who are shareholders. The shares of £200 have fallen greatly, and there has been a most unfortunate loss on account of the tremendous drop in profits. And now it is proposed to put upon this company an additional tax of £38,000 per annum. It is a serious thing for the middle class in London who make hundreds of millions of journeys in these omnibuses, because it is the consumer or passenger who will in the end have to pay, that this tax should be thrown upon them, and that their travelling should be made more expensive. That may be the result of it. These omnibuses are competing against tramways and other methods of transit, and to put a tax of this kind upon them will be most prejudicial. I think it is not the interest of the House of Commons ever to attack a great corporation like this, which is performing an immense service to London. That is a very serious thing, and it must prejudice the future development of the motor industry and motor omnibuses. Those companies will not be able to raise their capital on such good terms. The profits are so small now that it is questionable whether they will be able to stand this tax, and they will be unable to provide more economical methods of locomotion. This is not a tax which at this time the House of Commons ought to adopt. From the very first a clear distinction has been drawn between the duty on motor cars and the tax on petrol. No doubt private motor cars are a luxury, although, in my opinion, they are fast becoming a necessity. Some modifications are required with regard to the Petrol Tax. I have heard it said that this tax will probably be abandoned. I should like to know if the Chancellor of the Exchequer has formed any estimate of the expense of employing officials to make the calculations and to test the statements which will be supplied by the various users as to the use to which they have put motor spirit? I think he will find that those expenses will be extremely heavy, and will be likely to take away the benefits which are expected from this tax. This is an injudicious tax to place upon this industry, and it will not produce a large sum.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I wish to draw the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to certain matters affecting Ireland 868 by incorporating the Spirit Act of 1880. The provisions of this Act in Ireland are much more severe. For instance, in regard to the hawking or selling or receiving of spirits there is no power in Ireland, as there is in England, for the mitigation of fines. There are several sections in the Act which lay down a minimum which is only applicable to Ireland. For instance, for receiving motor spirit improperly sold there is a fine of £100, with a provision that if the fine is not paid the person convicted may be imprisoned with hard labour. In Ireland the section enacts that the imprisonment shall be not less than two months and not more than six months. When you come to the removal and hawking of spirits, while there is power to mitigate the fine in England, in Ireland it is provided that the sum shall be not less than £10, and in default hard labour not less than one month and not more than six months. The fine for hawking is not less than £6. I suppose in 1880, when the Spirit Act was passed, probably there was a good deal of illicit distilling going on in Ireland, and, therefore, it was considered necessary to make the law more drastic as regards Ireland than England, but surely the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not wish to make that distinction in regard to the sale and manufacture of motor spirit. Is the right hon. Gentleman in these small villages and towns in Ireland going to lay down minimum penalties of this kind? We have given power by a stroke of the pen to incorporate 200 clauses of an Act of Parliament. You are asking for powers to apply to the sale of motor spirit in Ireland, laws which were passed to apply only to illicit distillation of spirits. I do hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will undertake not to make those sections applicable to the sale of motor spirit. This seems to me to be tyrannical, because people have become accustomed to selling motor spirit. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give an undertaking in the Regulations that are being made not to draw any distinction between England and Ireland in this matter.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I am very much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for calling my attention to this matter. I do not think there is any justification for drawing any disinction between England and Ireland in that respect. I accept his interpretation of the matter, and I shall certainly see that no distinction is drawn so far as punishment is concerned between Ireland and this country. With regard to 869 the criticisms directed to the tax itself by the hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell), I think he will agree that a good deal of the ground for his criticism is taken away from under his feet by the fact that the money is to be applied to the purpose of road improvement—and road improvement for motor traffic—in laying the dust and generally making the roads safer for motorists and pedestrians. If this had been proposed purely for the sake of raising revenue, there might have been a good deal to be said for the criticisms of the hon. Member, but on the whole motorists have a very good bargain, and I think his criticism is less justified than it otherwise would be. He criticised the tax as one which would not only be paid by ordinary motors, but by commercial vehicles as well. I think there is far more road tearing by commercial vehicles than by ordinary motors. The hon. Member talked of motor omnibus traffic as if it were purely a matter affecting London streets. That is not the case. The motor omnibus has become more and more a vehicle for transport, not merely in the suburbs, but in the country districts round towns. They run five, ten, and fifteen miles, and they are run sometimes in connection with the railway service. They are often also used to compete against railways, and it does seem rather hard on railway companies which are rated very highly for the purpose of keeping up the highways which are torn up by these motor omnibuses and commercial vehicles. They are taking away the trade of the railways to a very serious extent; and the railway companies have to pay higher highway rates in consequence.
The hon. Member says we ought to let the commercial vehicles off altogether. Would that be fair as between them and the railway companies? They ought to contribute something towards the cost of the highways, seeing what the railway companies are paying. Railway companies do not use the highways, and still they have to pay, and their rates have gone up enormously. It is quite a serious matter to railway companies. Their rates are going up year by year, and they have risen very rapidly during the last few years, because the roads are torn up by motor traffic. I am sure the hon. Member will agree that, taking a circuit about 30 or 40 miles round London, the damage done by ordinary motors is very much less than that done by motor omnibuses and commercial vehicles. Is it unfair to say 870 they must contribute something, not towards the general expenses of the Government, but towards a fund for the maintenance of the roads? Owners of commercial vehicles who object to that, and wish to cast the whole cost upon others, including the railway companies, whose business they are at the same time taking away, take a very mean view of their responsibility. It is a just and a fair tax, and, on the whole, a desirable tax, considering the purpose to which it is to be applied.
It is suggested we might put the tax on the motors themselves. I am not sure that the owners of these motor omnibuses and vehicles would be very much better pleased. I doubt it. It is as broad as it is long, and I am not sure the division is not a fair one. You tax the vehicle more or less for its weight and capacity, and you also get at the vehicle which makes the most use of the road. There is no better test of the use made of the road than the petrol. You may have a man with a 50 or 60 horse-power motor which he uses very rarely. He pays on the size of his car. You may, on the other hand, have a man with a 14 horse-power car who uses it a good deal, travelling tens of thousands of miles in the course of the year; and, by this combination of the Petrol Tax and the tax on motors, you get at the man who uses the roads and make him pay for it. The hon. Member asked me how much it will cost to collect the tax. It will, including rebates and everything, probably cost about £30,000. We are receiving altogether £375,000 out of it; and it is a growing tax. Take France, which, I suppose, has been the pioneer in the matter of motors. There is just as heavy a tax there. You cannot go through France without paying almost four times as much in dues for your petrol. The contribution paid by motorists is an exceedingly heavy one, and yet it has not interfered with the motor industry there. The industry has been very prosperous in France. I do not think those who are motorists will consider this is an unfair contribution by them. It is the only way in which you can get a contribution from them. A highway rate does not get at the motorist: he may be registered in London and tear up the roads from hare to John o' Groats. You cannot get at him by a highway rate. The only way is by this tax.
§ Mr. JOHN O'CONNOR
I have listened with great interest to the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I think it was a reasonable speech to address to 871 this Committee. I go a very long way with the right hon. Gentleman, and I have heard it stated by those in this House who have authority to speak for the motorists of the United Kingdom that they do not object to the tax as it is proposed; they are prepared to pay what is necessary to enable the local authorities to keep up the roads and to repair the damage which they do. I go with the Chancellor of the Exchequer so far, and, further, I go with him in his statement in regard to heavy motor vehicles, that it is a reasonable thing to say that those who use the roads should pay for them. I believe those who use these heavy vehicles on the roads are willing to pay for the damage they do. But there was one portion of the speech of the hon. Member for Great Yarmouth (Mr. Fell) to which the right hon. Gentleman gave no answer. The hon. Member made it clear that this half-tax was going to destroy a new and growing business—the motor omnibus business of London. These London motor omnibuses do not use country roads; they only use the London roads, and for that they pay rates and taxes. The motor omnibus of London pays a hackney carriage rate, and it thus pays for the upkeep of the roads. Now what is going to be done to this growing business? You are going to impose on it a double tax by calling upon it to pay for the upkeep of roads which these buses never use.
It has been made abundantly clear that this is going to destroy a new business. It will impose on one of the largest omnibus companies in London no less a charge than £38,000 per annum! Will it be believed that this very company on its trading for the past year has suffered a loss of £70,000? If you add a further £38,000 to that, what is to become of the London General Omnibus Company, whose £100 shares a few years ago were quoted at £200 and now only stand at £38 or £39? Of course it must go, and with it will go the two millions of capital invested in it and in the amalgamated companies. The shareholders in the joint companies will lose all this money. They cannot help it. They cannot retrieve their position. They cannot, like the brewer, the whisky distiller and the publican, shift their burden on to the shoulders of the public, for they are confronted in all directions with the competition of the underground railways which have been constructed during the last few years. It is an utter impossibility for them to think for a single moment of putting up their fares. They must regulate their 872 charges according to the fares imposed by the underground railways. And what is to become of the public whom they serve? It has been stated by one of the hon. Members for Manchester, who has an official connection as solicitor with these joint companies, that they serve four millions of people every year. What is to become of the convenience of these four million people if these joint companies go to the wall? It may be said they can use the horse omnibuses or the underground railways. But they have selected the motor omnibuses as their means of locomotion because it suits their convenience. Why are they to be subjected to inconvenience? I say it is not good statesmanship for any Government—I do not care what Government it may be—to bring in legislation which, in the first place, will destroy a growing business, and, in the second place, will incommode millions of people. I think the hon. Member for Great Yarmouth has made good his case. I do most seriously ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether this is not a case in which, for commercial reasons, and for the sake of the convenience of the public, he would do well to reconsider his proposal to place a half-tax upon the petrol used by the motor omnibuses which convenience so many people? Is it wise to impose a tax of 1½d. per gallon in view of the fact that the inevitable result will be the destruction of a growing business? The hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Joynson-Hicks), in the course of his speech, stated that the accountants of his company made it out that the loss to them per mile would be.3 of 1d.; and in order to corroborate this I asked the accountant of a small but fairly prosperous company what would be the loss to them of 1½d. per gallon, and he said one-third of a penny per mile, so that you have the smallest and largest companies engaged in this traffic in London actually making it about the same figure. The loss of one-third of a penny per mile would be such a loss to them that they could not set aside anything for depreciation, and they could not restore their plant as it became worn. For this reason this accountant told me that the tax of 1½d. per gal-on would mean their extinction as a company. They serve 120,000 passengers per week, and I submit that a good case has been made for asking the Chancellor in the interest of a new business and in the interest of the millions served by that business to consider whether this tax ought not to be abolished altogether.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE rose in his place and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."874
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 146; Noes, 78.875
|Division No. 729.]||AYES.||[3.50 p.m.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Guiland, John W.||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Rees, J. D.|
|Barker, Sir John||Hedges, A. Paget||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Helme, Norval Watson||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Robinson, S.|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Henry, Charles S.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Bennett, E. N.||Higham, John Sharp||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Hodge, John||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Holt, Richard Durning||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hooper, A. G.||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Branch, James||Horniman, Emslie John||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Brigg, John||Howard, John Geoffrey||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Bright, J. A.||Idris, T. H. W.||Scarisbrick, Sir T. T. L.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jackson, R. S.||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Seely, Colonel|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Kekewich, Sir George||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Cleland, J. W.||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Clough, William||Laidlaw, Robert||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Lamont, Norman||Snowden, P.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lehmann, R. C.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Cooper, G. J.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Corbet, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lupton, Arnold||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Cox, Harold||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Cross, Alexander||Maclean, Donald||Thorne G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||M'Callum, John M.||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Toulmin, George|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Verney, F. W.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||M'Micking, Major G.||Waring, Walter|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Mallet, Charles E.||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Marnham, F. J.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Massie, J.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Watt, Henry A.|
|Elibank, Master of||Molteno, Percy Alport||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Essex, R. W.||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Myer, Horatio||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Norman, Sir Henry||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Nuttall, Harry||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Findlay, Alexander||Parker, James (Halifax)||Winfrey, R.|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Parington, Oswald||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Gibson, J. P.||Pirie, Duncan V.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Gill, A. H.||Pointer, J.|
|Glendinning, R. G.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Duffy, William J.||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)|
|Anson, Sir William Reyneil||Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Faber, George Denison (York)||Lowe, Sir Francis William|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)|
|Baring, Captain Hon. G. (Winchester)||Fell, Arthur||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Fletcher, J. S.||M'Arthur, Charles|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Forster, Henry William||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Foster, P. S.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Gardner, Ernest||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hamilton, Marquess of||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Hart-Davies, T.||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r)||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Nannetti, Joseph P|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Clyde, J. A.||Hills, J. W.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Hunt, Rowland||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Joyce, Michael||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Kilbride, Denis||Reddy, M.|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||Kimber, Sir Henry||Renton, Leslie|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Starkey, John R.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Ronaldshay, Earl of||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)||Younger, George|
|Salter, Arthur Clavell||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Stanier, Beville||Valentia, Viscount||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Gretton and Mr. Renwick.|
|Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."876
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 164; Noes, 58.877
|Division No. 730.]||AYES.||[3.57 p.m.|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Hedges, A. Paget||Pointer, J.|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Helme, Norval Watson||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Barker, Sir John||Henry, Charles S.||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Higham, John Sharp||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Bennett, E. N.||Hodge, John||Reddy, M.|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Holt, Richard Durning||Rees, J. D|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Hooper, A. G.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Horniman, Emslie John||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Robinson, S.|
|Branch, James||Idris, T. H. W.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Brigg, John||Jackson, R. S.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Bright, J. A.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Joyce, Michael||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Kekewich, Sir George||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Kilbride, Denis||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Cleland, J. W.||Laidlaw, Robert||Scarisbrick, Sir T. T. L.|
|Clough, William||Lamont, Norman||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Lehmann, R. C.||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Seely, Colonel|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Cooper, G. J.||Lundon, T.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Lupton, Arnold||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Lynch, A. (Clare, W.)||Snowden, P.|
|Cox, Harold||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Steadman, W. C.|
|Cress, Alexander||Maclean, Donald||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.)||M'Callum, John M.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Duffy, William J.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||M'Micking, Major G.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Mallet, Charles E.||Tomkinson, James|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Marnham, F. J.||Toulmin, George|
|Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall)||Massie, J.||Verney, F. W.|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Menzies, Sir Walter||Waring, Walter|
|Elibank, Master of||Molteno, Percy Alport||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Essex, R. W.||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Myer, Horatio||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Nannetti, Joseph P.||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Findlay, Alexander||Norman, Sir Henry||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Nuttall, Harry'||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Gibson, J. P.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Gill, A. H.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Winfrey, R.|
|Glendinning, R. G.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Gulland, John W.||Partington, Oswald||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Fletcher, J. S.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Clyde, J. Avon||Forster, Henry William|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.||Foster, P. S.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Gardner, Ernest|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Hamilton, Marquess of|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Craik, Sir Henry||Healy, Maurice (Cork)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Healy, Timothy (Michael)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Durcan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)||Hill, Sir Clement|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Ratcliff, Major R. F.||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Renton, Leslie||Valentia, Viscount|
|Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Renwick, George||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Lowe, Sir Francis William||Ronaldshay, Earl of||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|M'Arthur, Charles||Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)||Younger, George|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Mooney, J. J.||Stanler, Beville|
|Morpeth, Viscount||Starkey, John R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. G. D. Faber and Mr. Fell.|
|Morrison-Bell, Captain||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.