HC Deb 27 March 1911 vol 23 cc895-6
Captain WARING

asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the method of assessing Licence Duty on the basis of alcoholic trade done has the approval of the licensed trade in Scotland as the fairest way of raising the money required; and whether, in view of the fact that the licensing law in Scotland has always differed from that which obtains in England, he will consider the advisability of adopting a different system of assessment in the present case?


As the hon. and gallant Gentleman is aware, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not prepared to propose any changes in the principles of assessment to Licence Duty until he has been able to consider the results of the revaluation now being carried out in accordance with Sub-section (2) of Section 44 of the Finance (1909–10) Act, 1910. With regard to the second part of the question, I am not quite sure whether the hon. and gallant Member refers to the law regulating the grant of licences by justices or to the law regulating the Excise duties; but, assuming that the reference is to the Excise law, I may remind him that the duties payable upon licences for public-houses in England and Scotland have been uniform, at all events since 1825, and it is only with regard to the off-licences, formerly granted to grocers in Scotland, that there has been a difference. One of the main objects of the Finance (1909–10) Act, 1910, was, as far as possible, to introduce uniformity in licensing taxation throughout the United Kingdom, and I do not think that a reversal of this policy can be adopted.


Will the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration the fact that the proposal in the question is approved not only by the temperance bodies, but by a large body of public opinion in Scotland, more especially in relation to the clubs?


Yes. I understand that is the view held by my right hon. Friend, but I do not think I can add anything to the answer I have already given.


Has the right hon. Gentleman considered that the new system virtually proposed in the question of the hon. and gallant Gentleman would enable the authority immediately to get at the difference between a licensed and any non-licensed house; is he also aware that a deputation of the licensed traders of Scot land, at their interview a fortnight ago, were able to inform his right hon. colleague that the whole of the licensed trading and public opinion in Scotland was in favour——


That is a long question; it had better be put down.


Will the right hon. Gentleman deal with Scotland alone, or will he, in this particular matter, deal with the United Kingdom as a whole?


I cannot tell: I cannot anticipate the statement which will be made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.