§ (1) The duties of Customs payable on tobacco shall, as from the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and eleven, be reduced to the duties as would have been leviable thereon if the principal Act had not been passed.1535
§ (2) The Excise Duties payable on tobacco grown in Great Britain or Ireland shall, as from the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and eleven, be reduced by one-half.
§ (3) The rates of drawback on tobacco exported from Great Britain or Ireland or deposited in a King's warehouse shall, as from the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and eleven, be reduced in the case of imported tobacco to the rates set out in the First Schedule to the Finance Act, 1906, and in the case of tobacco grown in Great Britain or Ireland to one-half of the rates set out in Part III. of the Fourth Schedule to the principal Act.—[Major Archer-Shee.]
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Major ARCHER-SHEE
In regard to the Clause I am submitting, I should like first of all to call the attention of the House to the way in which this duty has been altered in the last few years. In 1898 the duty stood at 2s. 8d. per lb., and was raised in 1900 to 3s., and in 1909 it was increased to 3s. 8d. I believe this taxation of tobacco presses very hardly indeed upon the poorest class of the community. The taxation has now reached an amount something like 550 per cent. of the tobacco which is ordinarily smoked by working men. That is to say, the tax on £100 worth of tobacco ordinarily smoked by working men amounts to no less than £550. That taxation on one commodity is very excessive indeed. I object to it also from the point of view of the taxpayer, because it falls upon only one section of the community. That is to say, supposing we have an adult male population of 12,000,000, this Tobacco Tax falls upon only practically ten out of that twelve millions. Anywhere between one and two millions of the adult males of the country are the only ones who escape the taxation altogether. Therefore it is an unfortunate sort of tax, and I think it should not be as excessive as it is. But from the point of view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I would also urge its reduction. The amount of tobacco which has been imported for home consumption has fallen from 100,000,000 lbs. in 1908 to 98,000,000 lbs. in 1910. Although that 98,000,000 lbs. is an advance of 2,000,000 lbs. on that imported in 1909. yet at the same time it shows a very appreciable reduction from the amount which was imported before the extra tax of 8d. in the pound was imposed. In addition to that, 1536 the amount of tobacco on which a drawback was paid has fallen from 10,000,000 lbs. in 1908 to something like 9,000,000 lbs. in 1909, and under 8,000,000 lbs. in 1910, showing that the export trade has also been injured by this excessive taxation. The difference between the amounts in 1908 and 1910 on the amount exported upon which dawback was paid are equivalent to the difference on the amount imported for home consumption, and consequently the net amount paid on home consumption is, in the last year, almost the same as that retained for home consumption in 1908, namely 90,000,000 lbs. But it is some 70,000 lbs. less than that of the year 1908.
That shows most clearly that this excessive taxation upon tobacco has resulted in checking the consumption. I do not think the Chancellor of the Exchequer ever intended the tax to have that effect. I think in the year 1910, which was according to all accounts a prosperous trade year, under ordinary circumstances we might have expected that there would have been an increased consumption and not a consumption which is only equal to that of two years before. The importation of cigars also has fallen since this heavy taxation has been put on. Cigars imported from Cuba in 1908 amounted to 1,155,000 lbs. This was reduced in 1909, and fell to 983,000 lbs in 1910. That again shews that this tax has arrived at that point at which the tax-yielding capacity of the commodity has more than met the tax-bearing capacity of the community, and it shews from the point of view of the taxpayer that it is acting as a deterrent on consumption, and therefore ought to be reduced. [An HON. MEMBER: "Under Free Trade?"] Under Free Trade the foreigner does not pay a tax upon a commodity on which there is no competition in this country, as has frequently been explained. The tax has another bearing, and that is as regards its effect upon those engaged in the trade of manufacturing and retailing tobacco. As regards manufacturers it has been stated in answer to a question by the hon. Member (Mr. Harry Lawson) that the reduction of licences granted to manufacturers has fallen off by something like twenty-six during the last year, while the retail licenses, instead of having a normal annual increase of 4,500, have fallen at the end of the last year for which figures are given by something like 7,000. That shews, if you add the normal increase to the decrement during the last year, a reduction of something like 10,000.
1537 It has been stated by independent manufacturers that their profits have fallen off very greatly owing to this tax, and they say the reason is that, as regards the working men's tobacco, the cheapest form which is sold at 3½d. an ounce, they have been able to shift the whole burden on to the shoulders of the consumer. That is, of course, what was, I presume, intended by the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he put the tax on. But it has had this curious effect as regards the more expensive forms of tobacco which are smoked by people who are better off, that the manufacturers have not been able to pass off the whole of the tax on to the shoulders of the consumers because owing to the higher price of the tobacco no coin of the realm exactly represents the tax, and the consequence is that the manufacturers have had to bear a very large portion of the tax. A great many of these manufacturers are feeling the pinch very severely, and some of them state that unless some remedy is granted, by some reduction of the tax, at any rate, they will undoubtedly have to cease their business. They point out that the only concern engaged in tobacco manufacturing which has shown a great profit in the last year has been the Imperial Tobacco Company, which is in the position of a trust in that it controls more than half the tobacco trade of the country. In their annual report it is stated:—This improvement, as compared with last year, was not due to the British trade, but largely to the Company's interest in undertakings operating abroad which yielded more profitable results.Therefore, from the point of view of the taxpayer, this tax is too high, because it is checking the consumption of tobacco. From the point of view of the manufacturer it is too high, because it is checking the manufacture of tobacco and causing grave concern to the large firms which cater for the public need. These results were not anticipated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who intended that the tax should be put upon the shoulders of the consumer. That has not been the case, and I believe the tax ought to be reduced to somewhere about its old level. The Chancellor of the Exchequer will say that he has received, owing to this taxation, about £1,700,000 extra into the Treasury. Although that is true, it must be recognised that if the tax had remained where it was, at the same level, owing to the increase of population and owing to the prosperous year last year, there is no doubt there would have been under ordinary circumstances a great increase in consumption, 1538 and, therefore, if the tax were reduced to the old level the amount lost to the revenue would not be £1,500,000, but probably not much more than £1,000,000.
The second part of the Clause deals with Excise. I propose that the Excise Duties should be reduced by a-half on tobacco grown in Great Britain and Ireland. That will not cause the revenue of the country to suffer to any great extent, at any rate at present. The amount of duty collected on tobacco was given in answer to a question put by the hon. Member (Mr. William Redmond) the other day at something like £20,000 odd. The loss of half that duty to the revenue would not be much in a Budget running into something like £200,000,000, and it would stimulate a young and nascent industry which is giving great employment, and which would give a great deal more employment in a country which very much wants employment. I do not want to argue this from the point of view of Protection, as, of course, I recognise the Government would not look at it from that point of view. I am quite sure that Nationalist Members will support the view I put for-ford that a young industry like this should be encouraged by every means in our power. It does not offend against the tenets of Free Trade in the very least, because we have it on very high authority that it is quite permissible to protect young industries until they are fully established, and I maintain that from a much more important point of view it does not offend against the tenets of common-sense. It could easily be altered and put back, or, at any rate, more restricted taxation could be put upon it, if it was found to be losing revenue and if we could not raise the revenue in any other way. From my point of view, at any rate, I think the case has been made clear for a reduction of the Tobacco Duties and for a reduction of Excise upon British and Irish grown tobacco.
§ Mr. FELL
I beg to second the Motion. I had an opportunity, on the Second Reading of this Bill, of making a few remarks on the effect of the Tobacco Duties upon the retail trade. I fully endorse all that has been said by the hon. Member for Central Finsbury (Major Archer-Shee) as regards the hardship inflicted on the working classes by the increase that has taken place in the duties on their tobacco, which is to them one of the necessaries of life. It is a fact that, although there has been 1539 only a small reduction in the consumption of tobacco, the population has grown, and the wealth of the country has grown since the duties have been put up, and I would say that if the consumption had only stood still that would really show a reduction in the number of smokers as compared with two years ago. Therefore, if we are standing still in this matter we are really going back, because in a country where the population is increasing the consumption of one of the primary articles used by the people remains about the same. This shows that the Tobacco Duties have reached a stage at which they have become prohibitive to many people. I trust that at the earliest opportunity we shall have these Tobacco Duties reduced to the old rate at which they were standing formerly. With regard to retail shops, another point is that the capital which the sellers have to put into their businesses in order to carry the same stock is considerably larger than it was before the duties were raised. Many retailers have found it exceedingly difficult to get additional capital. They have either to decrease their stock or put further capital into the business. When they do that, they have a smaller sale of tobacco while employing larger capital. This operates in a two-fold way. They have less profit and larger capital on which to pay interest. It is not surprising, under those conditions, that the number of licences has decreased, and that a number of retailers have, I am sorry to say, been forced into the Bankruptcy Court.
I should like to make a few remarks in regard to Irish tobacco, in which I have taken great interest since I have been in this House. I have asked questions as to whether the growing of Irish tobacco could not be further facilitated. The Government granted a bonus of £6,000 a year to the growers of Irish tobacco. That bonus continues until 1913. It is, I believe, distributed among the growers of tobacco at something like £25 per acre which they cultivate. It is an expensive cultivation. Tobacco has to be grown on very rich soil, and the plants have to be greatly cared for. Where they do that they get a very good product in Ireland, as has been proved by the results last year. This is an increasing industry in Ireland; it reached over 80,000 lbs. last year. Although we have included in the new Clause the proposal that the Excise on English-grown tobacco should be equally reduced, I do not think it is suggested yet that the 1540 tobacco grown in England is for the purpose of smoking. It is for the purpose of making fumigation articles and things of that kind where nicotine is a useful element. In Ireland the case is different. The tobacco grown there is at the present time being smoked. They have skilled men over from America to teach them the best methods of growing it and treating it, and they are producing tobacco which, I believe, compares favourably with some of the other brands which are being sold in England. When you are re-introducing a thing like this against an established industry of such immense wealth as the tobacco industry, both as regards growers and manufacturers, there are difficulties. It is still harder for any industry to be revived after having been crushed out. That is the reason why I suggest that the very greatest assistance should be given to the industry, and that a helping hand should be held out. If it were a new industry people would not say, "It has been tried before, and died out." Tobacco-growing was a considerable industry in Ireland at one time, and it was crushed.
I remember the hon. Member for Galway giving a most pathetic account of how English soldiers, Dragoons I think, went out and grubbed up the tobacco plants which were growing in Ireland. I hope we shall do something not to grub up the plants, but to replant those devastated fields and re-introduce this industry. But you cannot introduce the industry and do the necessary advertising in order to bring the article into the market without capital. You cannot do that on the small bounty of £6,000 a year. I could understand that a great deal more than that would have to be spent on advertising if you are to acquire a reasonable market for Irish tobacco in England. Therefore, they must have greater assistance than is being given to them at the present time. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, when President of the Board of Trade said that the amount of assistance which they got then, namely, £6,000 a year, was considerably greater than the rebate or reduction asked by the Irish Members. He said they would only get £1,300 benefit by a reduction in the duty, whereas they were getting £6,000 for the bounty. We are asking a rebate of half the amount, and I believe at the present time Irish-grown tobacco is paying about £12,000 or £13,000 to the Government in Excise, so that if it was reduced by half it would exactly leave the amount given as bounty. But it would be given to them in a very much better way. It 1541 would be on the actual product. Last year the produce was 80,000 lbs., and the growers of that would have exactly the same assistance per pound. I believe if this were done, there would be a very rapid increase in the growing of tobacco in Ireland. If this clause had been in operation last year the loss to the revenue on the tobacco grown in Ireland would only have been £6,000. Supposing that ten times as much tobacco were grown and a great industry established, the loss would only amount to £60,000. What is that to the Exchequer, which is so lavish with money at the present time? I do not think it would be a permanent charge. It would only be required to establish the industry. If the Government would only pay that price out of its abounding revenue at the present time it would not be too much to pay for such an object. This country would not feel it, but the Irish people would, and English growers of tobacco for fumigation purposes would be helped. I strongly urge that a case has been shown for passing this Clause. If it is not economic, it is at any rate patriotic for us to try to introduce again an industry which we destroyed in Ireland some time ago.
Mr. WILLIAM REDMOND
I desire to address a few words to the House on this subject, because it is one in which I have taken a great deal of interest for many years. In the first place, I thank the hon. Gentleman (Major Archer-Shee) for having given us the opportunity of considering this matter in relation to Ireland. With regard to the scope of the new Clause moved by the hon. Member, I do not desire to say much, but generally speaking I think I am in agreement with everything he has said. It is only the portion of the new Clause with reference to Ireland that I desire particularly to deal. I would like very much, if I could, to impress on Members of the House, and especially on new Members who have not heard any discussion on this subject before, that this is a matter of very great and real importance to the Irish people, and I believe it may become also one of great importance to the English people. We all know from the figures presented year by year prove what an enormous trade the tobacco trade is in this country. I think everyone will agree that if it could be possible to produce not only in Ireland, but in Great Britain as well, a portion of the tobacco consumed in such large quantities, it would be an immense industry which would be the means of giving very great employ- 1542 ment to tens of thousands of people, many of whom have no employment at the present time. I know of no subject on which there is a greater amount of ignorance prevailing than on the subject of tobacco-growing. The average person you speak to on the matter will, if he does not laugh at the whole affair, say that it is impossible for tobacco to be grown under the gloomy skies of this country. Any expert can tell you that that is not the case at all. Tobacco can be grown here in England very well, and particularly it can be grown in Ireland. For a long time past it has been proved that Ireland is a country well suited for the growing of tobacco. I do not mean to detain the House by going into the history of this question, but I may say that at the beginning of last century the tobacco industry in Ireland was really a very considerable one, and it was growing rapidly. A large amount of land in Ireland, and particularly in the south was under tobacco cultivation, large employment was given, and there was every prospect of its becoming a still larger industry. It is interesting to recall how first of all tobacco planting took place in Ireland. A number of people from county Wexford emigrated to the United States in the ordinary way. Numbers of them went to Virginia, got into the tobacco business, and learned the business of tobacco planting. Many of them returned to Ireland, having done well, and they commenced growing tobacco there. They found they could do so successfully. That was really the commencement of the tobacco industry at the commencement of last century in Ireland.
It seems an astonishing thing that such a comparatively short time ago as 1831 this House should deliberately pass an Act of Parliament for the purpose of suppressing a growing industry, the tobacco industry, in Ireland; and yet that is the fact. A report is in the Library which any hon. Member can consult of a Parliamentary Committee which sat to inquire into this subject in the year 1830, and all the evidence given before that Committee can be read. I defy anyone reading the proceedings and Report of that Committee to come to any other conclusion than that the tobacco industry was suppressed in Ireland simply and solely in the interest of certain tobacco traders in Great Britain. It was proved that the industry gave employment in Ireland, that tobacco could be grown there, that the industry was spreading rapidly, and the only conclusion that can be come to was that the evidence 1543 given by tobacco traders here was such that it influenced the Committee to report in favour of suppressing the trade. It was said that tobacco-raising in Ireland was interfering with trade here; it was alleged that there was some smuggling, and that the tobacco trade in this country was inconvenienced by the trade in Ireland. At any rate, in the following year, in spite of the protest of every Irish Member present—I suppose that, strictly speaking, there were none who could be called Nationalists in the present sense of the word—but in face of the opposition of every single Irish Member, many of them Conservative Lords, this Bill was passed in 1831, and tobacco-growing was made a crime in Ireland, and people were subjected themselves to very severe penalties if they grew it. Surely at this time of day everybody will agree it was a quite unjustifiable proceeding. In the part of Ireland where I was raised, the county of Wexford, I remember as a small boy watching with surprise farmers in their backyards with little patches here and there growing tobacco plants very successfully. The practice, though given up on the farms, had still continued in that small way through all these years, and it was still being demonstrated that tobacco could be grown in Ireland, and that people were growing it in small quantities.
It is more than twelve years ago since I introduced a Bill in this House for the purpose of repealing the Act of 1831 and allowing tobacco to be grown legally. Every Member in this House knows what an extremely difficult thing it is for a private Member to pass practically without the help of the Government an Act of his own. For ten years this Bill was introduced without success, but in 1907 I succeeded in doing something which I really do think was unique—at any rate, I am rather proud of it: I succeeded in getting every single one of the 103 Irish Members, the extreme representatives of the Orange constituencies, as well as the Members on these benches, representing the Nationalist party, to sign a memorial to the late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman in favour of the passage of this Bill legalising tobacco-growing in Ireland. I presented it to him, and asked him what he would do, and when he saw that every single Irish Member's name was attached to this document he said there was nothing else to be done but to pass the Act, because when Ireland asks unanimously for anything she is bound to get it. The Act 1544 was passed and became law. Another Act was passed afterwards legalising tobacco-growing in Scotland, and I believe it is legal to be grown in England as well. Though a special Act was not passed, provision was made for growing tobacco in England as well as in Scotland and Ireland. The Department of Agriculture in Ireland about ten years ago commenced experiments of tobacco-growing in Ireland. They spent a considerable sum of money, and got several plots of land, put up curing barns, got an expert authority from Virginia to instruct the people and generally superintend the work.
Year after year this work of experiment was so successful that the Government of the day were attracted by it, and I remember that the hon. Gentleman who is sitting below me now, the Member for the city of York (Mr. Butcher), who is interested in Ireland although he is a very strong Conservative, went with me to the late Lord Ritchie and told him what had been done, and the success that had been achieved. He was interested in the matter, and agreed, for experimental purposes, that a rebate of 1s. a pound should be given on tobacco grown in Ireland. That was before the legalising Act of 1907 was passed. We are very grateful, also, for that recognition. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcester (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) when subsequently Chancellor of the Exchequer continued that rebate. Then the Tobacco Act was passed. When the present Chancellor of the Exchequer came into power, he said he did not think this matter of rebate was a satisfactory way of dealing with the question. He said that Irish tobacco should pay the full duty, but that he recognised that what had been done by the Conservative administration ought to be continued by him, and said that instead of the rebate they would arrange for an annual grant for five years, I think, of £6,000. Under that arrangement the Irish grown tobacco has paid the full duty ever since; but as a set off the £6,000 under the direction of the Department of Agriculture is distributed for the benefit of the growers. Now the hon. Member for Finsbury (Major Archer-Shee). in his new Clause, proposes, in lieu of anything in the shape of a grant or bonus, to encourage Irish tobacco growing, that the duty on Irish and British-grown tobacco shall be only half what it is upon imported tobacco. I can say with regard to that that I myself, on more than one occasion in this House, proposed to have a reduction 1545 of the duty on Irish grown tobacco, Some hon. Gentlemen here agreed with me and voted with me, but my experience in the matter has led me to believe that it is not practicable under present circumstances—I wish it were—to expect that you will ever arrive at a satisfactory encouragement of this industry in Ireland on the lines of getting a reduction of duty. I very much wish that it could be done, but I have come to the conclusion that it is impracticable. I do not think that this Government will do it, and I cannot help reflecting that when the late Government were in power they made no such proposals. We had to pay the full duty. They gave us a shilling of it back again, no doubt by way of rebate, but that was really very much like the arrangement that exists under the present Government who are giving us a bonus, but still making us pay the full duty. Therefore, though I entirely sympathise with the suggestion of the hon. Member for Fins-bury, I am afraid that I must describe it as impracticable, not only from the point of view of the present Government, because we know they will not do it, but of his own Government when in power.
I am asked by the hon. Gentleman below me who is greatly interested in this matter what my proposal is. My proposal is, and I think most of the Irish Members will agree with me, that if the Secretary to the Treasury gets up and tells us, as in all probability he will, that the Government, because of their Free Trade sympathies, and for other reasons, are not prepared to accept this Clause, he should say that the good work of encouraging this industry which was commenced by Lord Ritchie, and carried on by the hon. Member for East Worcestershire, and also by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, shall be continued, and that this Irish industry, which has been increasing every year since it was started, shall not be allowed to lapse for want of proper encouragement. We have been getting £6,000 a year. In two years that arrangement will come to an end, and I want the Secretary to the Treasury to tell us what we may expect by way of new arrangement at the end of these two years? I think the matter is pressing for this reason; the industry under this encouragement has got on so well that it is now in a position to develop very rapidly and very largely. The principal tobacco growers are already, I believe, to go into the thing on a large commercial scale. A company on business lines will probably 1546 be started, the sale of the tobacco generally would be greatly increased, and an increased amount of employment would be given. But we cannot expect that to take place if at the end of two years the present arrangement will come to an end, and the growers do not know what to expect then. I think it a reasonable thing to ask the Government to give some undertaking that at the end of two years this wonderful experiment shall not be allowed to lapse for want of proper encouragement.
The Secretary to the Treasury will probably tell us that for the future the whole thing is to be under the control of the Development Commission. According to the constitution of the Development Commission it was specially set out that among other objects on which it might spend money was the cultivation of tobacco, and I have been told that we are to look to the Development Commission. We are very glad to look to them. We believe they will help us; but I believe we are entitled to get from the Secretary to the Treasury, as I believe we would get it from the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he was here, because he assured me that personally he was deeply interested in this industry—some assurance that the Government will make such representations to the Development Commissioners as will ensure that they will take proper steps, and that nothing will be done again to choke off this industry. And now a few words as to how the matter stands at the present time. I was speaking to one of the principal growers in Ireland—Colonel Everard, from the county of Meath—in the House. He has a small company of his own. I asked him how was his industry going on, and said, "You have not started a company?" "No," he said, "I have not. I am doing all the growing and manufacturing of my own tobacco. I have a small factory in Dublin, with fifty hands employed." I asked him, "How are you doing?" He put his hand in his pocket by way of reply, and took out the week's returns sent from Dublin while he was in London. From this week's return it was apparent that the average business done by him in Irish-grown and manufactured tobacco, sold and raised by him on his own twenty-four acres alone, amounted to a sale of between £400 and £500 worth a week. He assured me that he was not only selling it in Ireland, but that there was a demand for it from abroad, that he was selling it to other countries, and that the demand was so 1547 increasing that he was not in present circumstances able to cope with it; that the thing was worth developing, and that all he needed was some assurance that for the future the encouragement should be given. There are only 120 acres on which tobacco is grown in Ireland at present, yet on that small amount of land hundreds of people are being employed. I have succeeded in getting one or two Englishmen to be kind enough to look into the matter themselves. I had the opportunity of taking over an English Member of Parliament among others who were especially interested in labour and the employment of the people. It is a perfect revelation to go to one of those tobacco farms and to see the industry which has been created. In one part alone, with a little over twenty acres, there are 130 men, women, and children, boys, and girls, who are busily employed. Colonel Everard, Lieutenant of the County of Meath, is engaged in tobacco cultivation, and in the neighbourhood emigration has been stopped because of the employment given to the whole of the people by the tobacco industry. The employment which Colonel Everard affords in tobacco-growing comes at the most useful period of the year. When all the crops have been sown, and while there is a general slackness in the demand for labour until the harvest time comes at the end of August and in September, this industry still continues to afford employment, and is busy. There is the planting, which takes place in May, and from May on to August all these people are engaged in the fields. I assure hon. Members here, whatever their opinions may be about general Irish political questions, that this is a matter of the vastest interest to all parties in Ireland, and in advocating this industry I am associated with Gentlemen of all shades of politics. Some of the growers and farmers are strict supporters of the Nationalist party, while other growers who are giving employment belong to the extreme following of the Conservative party; so that those interested in the growing of tobacco represent all shades of politics, and Members on both sides of this House may take it from me that it does not involve any breach of political principle or party principle at all.
It is a serious matter, it is one of the greatest interest, and it is one which involves what we in Ireland want almost as much as anything else, namely, the 1548 opportunity of giving the people a living, and enabling them to support their families. The Chief Secretary (Mr. Birrell) who visited one of these farms a few months ago can bear out what I say. It is perfectly wonderful the impetus which is given to agriculture by this industry. There is this further to be said—the tobacco produced is perfectly good. When I go into the smoking room I see Irish tobacco on sale in the form of cigarettes and cigars, and pipe tobacco is successfully grown. Of course, it takes a long time to bring an industry like this to such a pitch of perfection that it can compete with the old established tobacco industries of Cuba and America. Still, the article is good and the people are satisfied with it, and tobacco smoking, after all is a matter of taste. You get a certain kind of tobacco or a certain brand of cigar which may satisfy certain people, but which does not those who have become accustomed to a particular kind of tobacco. It is a matter of taste. Those who have given this tobacco in Ireland an opportunity of being tested are satisfied with the results. Some of the growers are extremely wealthy men, and without saying anything disparaging of them, they are not the class of men likely to sacrifice themselves too much for the sake of an industry, nor would they smoke Irish tobacco, and encourage their friends to do so, if it were not a good article. I can assure you it is good; I can assure you the demand for it is increasing, and there is no reason in the world with fair encouragement why this industry should not be developed to an enormous extent. We are not asking the Treasury to make any great sacrifice. Why? According to the figures given me last year the duty paid on Irish-grown tobacco taken out of bond was £11,000. That sum does not represent the total amount which will be paid, because it is only the sum which has been paid upon the tobacco taken out of bond.
This sum of £11,000 on tobacco, taken out of bond has gone into the pockets of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury, and, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman need not be afraid that the Treasury chest of this country is going to lose; on the contrary, the more tobacco is grown the more will go in the shape of duty into the Treasury. We are not asking the right hon. Gentleman to make any sacrifice. I may be told after all that it is not a practicable thing, that it is not a feasible thing, that it is entirely out of date, to suggest that an industry should 1549 be bolstered up; that if it cannot exist on its own merits it is absurd to say that the State is to pay for maintaining an industry that cannot stand by itself. In some matters I entirely agree with Protection, though, broadly speaking of course, I think the vast majority of people are in entire sympathy with those who believe in Free Trade as regards food and the necessities of the masses of the people. But I desire to say that while I quite agree that no industry can be expected to receive support from the Government if it cannot exist on its own merits, yet I do not think that the industry of Irish tobacco-growing can by any means be described in that way. Nobody interested in that industry would come to the Government for help if they did not see clearly before them the day when it will stand alone, and compete successfully with similar industries across the seas. We do not ask for perpetual protection in this matter; all we ask is, and it is a fair and reasonable thing, that this industry should receive encouragement. It was put down wantonly and deliberately by the Act of this House; it was crushed out by the Government, and we are anxious now to resuscitate it in order to give our people employment. Is it unfair or inconsistent with the principle of Free Trade that we should come to the Government and say that this industry, having been suppressed in Ireland, we claim as a matter of right that we should be assisted to get it going again. I am assured by the tobacco growers that their experience of last year alone and of the year before, but especially of last year, is such as to encourage them to believe, if they are allowed to go on and get a continuance of this help for a sufficient period, that they will be well able to compete with the industry in America and elsewhere.
We do not ask for perpetual protection, but we ask that there shall be encouragement for a sufficient time to enable this industry to be re-started in Ireland. That is the request which I make with the greatest respect and confidence, not only to Members of the Government, but to all Members of the House. I believe I shall not make the appeal in vain, because I remember that the right, hon. Gentleman the Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Chaplin), who was for long a Member for Lincolnshire, took favourable part in a Debate on the subject not very long ago. Do not for goodness sake sacrifice this promising and real attempt to any squabble about Free Trade. I do not care whether hon. 1550 Members on this side of the House encourage Tariff Reform, or whether hon. Gentlemen opposite are inclined to look with hesitation on this question, because it might involve some departure from the spirit of Free Trade. I do not want either Free Trade, Protection, or the question of Tariff Reform to be mixed up with this Irish tobacco industry at all. I appeal to Members on all sides with confidence, because this is a matter of fairness. The industry was put down by the British Government most unfairly, and an opportunity has now arrived for reviving it; and I appeal with confidence to the House to show their sympathy in this matter. I am afraid that I cannot see my way to supporting the proposal of the hon. Gentleman, although I sympathise with him, because what I want, after all, is to try and get something done; but under his proposal nothing can be done, and I appeal to the Secretary to the Treasury, for the sake of the development of the industry, to continue to give it encouragement.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
As one who has for many years been deeply interested in the restarting of this tobacco industry in Ireland, I desire to associate myself with every word that has been said by the hon. Member for Clare (Mr. W. Redmond), first of all, as to the importance to Ireland of encouraging tobacco growing; and, secondly, as to the absolute necessity there is that the Government should give some definite assurances to enable that industry to go forward. Certain things have been proved. First, that tobacco can be grown in Ireland, and quite smokeable tobacco; and, secondly, it is proved that it can be done with commercial success, with reasonable encouragement from the Government of the day, in order to resuscitate the industry. Thirdly, it is an undoubted fact that the employment given by the growing and curing and the preparation of the tobacco for the market, is exceedingly large. Of my own knowledge, I can corroborate what the hon. Member has said, that on the estate of Colonel Everard, in Meath, emigration has absolutely stopped owing to the large amount of employment afforded by this industry. The hon. Member for Clare has really understated the case rather than overstated the case
§ Mr. BUTCHER
The hon. Gentleman is in a very uncontroversial mood; I will not dispute that. As a matter of fact, the tobacco industry in Ireland has not only 1551 been once suppressed by Parliament, but it has been twice suppressed. In the time of Cromwell there was a large tobacco industry, but in the early years of the reign of Charles II. it was absolutely suppressed, and it was made criminal to grow tobacco, the Preamble of the Act which was passed setting forth that it was necessary to suppress the tobacco growing in Ireland because it was injuring "our plantations in Virginia." The industry was crushed out in the reign of Charles II. In the early part of the nineteenth century the ban was removed for a short time, and the industry continued until 1821, when, for the second time in its history, it was crushed out. If ever there was a strong case for encouraging and reviving an industry, which would be flourishing at this moment but for the misdeeds of this House, it is in the present instance. I have said enough to impress upon the right hon. Gentleman and hon. Members the importance of continuing the encouragement which is at present afforded by the Government, and that this encouragement should not come to a close at the end of two years. How can you expect men to invest large sums of money in factories and in organising the means of distribution if they have no certainty that the help which the industry receives will be continued? I am sure that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on those benches feel the importance of that. The most remarkable fact of all is that you here have a matter on which Irishmen of every shade of opinion are unanimous. It is not often that occurs. But it has occurred in this case, and therefore you have the unanimous demand in Ireland to help them in an industry which will do great good to the Irish people, and to carry out a policy which, if properly initiated and pursued, far from doing harm to the British Government and the British taxpayer, would do great good, because it would set up a more prosperous, a more contented, and a more successful Ireland than we have seen up to the present time.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. BAIRD
I should like to refer to one branch of this subject which I had hoped to deal with in an Amendment which I placed on the Paper. Owing, however, to the arbitrary manner in which this question is being treated by the Government, that Amendment is quite certain not to be reached. I trust I shall be in order in dealing with the same question on the 1552 Motion now before the House, and that is the question of cigar manufacture. When the original Finance Bill of 1909 was being brought in, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hobhouse) put the case for the cigar manufacturers in very admirable language. Dealing with the subject, he said:—The hon. Gentleman who spoke last said that consequent upon the extra taxation on tobacco there had been a very considerable burden placed upon the trade, and he spoke in particular of a reduction of employment in the cigar trade. Anyone familiar with the conditions of the manufacture of British cigars in this country is well aware that that particular industry suffers from two disabilities. One is that public taste has turned from cigars to cigarettes, and the other is that there is unquestionably a far greater percentage of moisture in the tobacco used in the manufacture of cigars than in any other tobacco introduced into this country. They also labour under this further disadvantage: That whereas most forms of tobacco are placed upon the market in a moister condition than it is introduced into this country, the cigar makers import their tobacco in a more moist condition than they sell it to the public. They are handicapped by these two great difficulties, neither of which are of their own making, and they are unquestionably placed at a greater disadvantage in respect of this tax than those other people who are employed in the manufacture of tobacco."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th October, 1909, col. 1202.]That was the admission of the right hon. Gentleman two years ago, and since then to my knowledge deputations have waited upon him and upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer with a view to having those disadvantages removed. So far nothing has been done. There is one cigar factory in my constituency, and there are more in other parts, and the question is one which affects labour, and affects it very seriously. Only two days ago I was told by the manager of a cigar factory that he had to put his hands on half time. I think, therefore, that the subject is one on which I may legitimately appeal before this Bill is passed into law. The details cannot be better put than they were by the right hon. Gentleman in the language which I have quoted. Under the present system by which import duties are levied on tobacco cigar manufacturers have to pay duty not only on tobacco, but on water. Naturally, the higher the duty the more water they have to pay for, and the more expensive consequently the raw material becomes. That has its effect in diminishing employment, and in putting up the cost of what is a luxury for a large section of the population, who have no other luxury of any other kind. I am bound to say, if you are going to tax luxuries, and all of us admit that to be a good thing, I think the luxuries you ought to tax least are those luxuries which form the only luxuries of a large section of the population. I do think something ought 1553 to be done to relieve the taxation on those cigars which are the cheapest kind of cigars, not those that hon. Members smoke, but smoked by men who only buy cigars on Saturday night or Sunday. It is from that point of view I venture to make this appeal to the right hon. Gentleman. The case will not be met even if he adopts this Motion to anything like the same degree as if he could see his way to adopt the Amendment, which I shall not have the opportunity of moving, but something would be done if a reduction were effected in the duty, because at any rate the cigar manufacturer would have to pay less on water than at present.
I wish it had been possible to enlist the support of hon. Members below the Gangway. I think it is legitimate to criticise the remark that the hon. Member for East Glare (Mr. W. Redmond) made when he expressed his scepticism as to his friends having any better luck if we were in power. It is quite obvious that any suggestion based on practice and common sense, which was so well developed with so much eloquence by the hon. Member, could not possibly have a chance of being adopted if it falls foul of more or less accepted fiscal theories. Consequently, so long as hon. Gentlemen opposite are in power, there is that difficulty. I should like the hon. Member to remember that we propose not to be content with a mere, miserable All-British week, but that we want to have an All-British year. We gladly include Ireland, and we hope that they will do the same, and that people will be induced, and that it will be made more profitable to them to smoke Irish rather than foreign tobacco. I think the hon. Gentleman was entirely too despondent, because whether hon. Members like it or not his friends and those who sit here above the Gangway would have forced hon. Members to have adopted the suggestion for benefitting tobacco growing in Ireland. I think it is regrettable that the hon. Member did not adopt that theory. I do firmly believe if we had acted in union, we could have achieved what will never be achieved by hon. Gentlemen opposite, and have done something which, on the showing of the hon. Member, would have increased the amount of profitable, useful, legitimate, and sensible employment which would have been given to a large number of people in Ireland. It is because the case which I am endeavouring to present would produce the same effect, though to a lesser extent in the Division I represent that I venture most respectfully but most 1554 insistently to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he cannot see his way to adopt the suggestions contained in the present Amendment.
§ Mr. CHAPLIN
The hon. Member for East Clare (Mr. W. Redmond) a moment ago made an appeal to me personally not to abandon the support of the cause of tobacco growing in Ireland, which I have announced on previous occasions. I rise and am anxious to assure him without any delay that I have not in any way whatever departed from the views which I formerly maintained on this question. On the contrary, they are only confirmed by the time which has elapsed since then, and they are strengthened and reinforced by the speech of the hon. Member. What is the case that the hon. Member has submitted to us? He tells us, speaking as an Irish Member, and with every opportunity of knowing the facts, that this is a question of the vastest interest to all classes in Ireland. He pointed out to us that it means not only the means of livelihood, but the means of greatly increased employment in Ireland, if the suggestions contained in the Clause which we are now discussing are accepted by His Majesty's Government. More than that, it will add, he tells us, greatly to the increase of the productive wealth of that country. I wish to remind the House, or those at least of the House who may not have heard what I said on a previous occasion on this subject, that in the course of the duties of the Tariff Commission, of which I was a member, we had at one time to sit for ten days or a fortnight in Ireland. During that period we took an immense deal of evidence of all kinds and descriptions, and, among other things upon the growing of tobacco in that country. It is all recorded in the report of that Commission. It has been quoted upon previous occasions, and I may remind the right hon. Gentleman who represents the Treasury in case he should have forgotten it that the evidence was overwhelming that Ireland, with proper opportunities, could unquestionably cultivate tobacco with great success with great benefit and advantage. We had witness after witness who gave us reliable information upon this point.
The hon. Gentleman comes forward and says you have extinguished a great Irish industry in what you have done with regard to tobacco, and that is not by any means the only industry that in other days has been extinguished by the action of English Governments, and he calls upon 1555 you for the means of restoring it, and he points to this Amendment and he says: "Here if you will only accept the particular Amendment, which I am not moving, but which stands in the name of an hon. Friend, then you will be conferring on Ireland a great benefit and a great advantage, which would conduce largely to the interests of that country." I think I might enlarge upon the injustice and impropriety of deliberately interfering and prejudicing what might be a most profitable means of industry and employment in that country. How many hours, I should like to know, how many days, how many months have been spent in this House by-Liberal Governments, perhaps more than any other, in the endeavour to restore something like its former prosperity to Ireland by all sorts of wild and extravagant proposals, as I thought then at the time myself to be, and none of which up to the present have met with the success which was anticipated from them. I am speaking now of that succession of Irish Land Bills introduced into this House and carried by Liberal Governments. So far from those having proved to be the success they were always expected to be, both parties have united in trying to alter the whole position created by those measures, and to create instead a peasant proprietary in Ireland. The hon. Member for Clare comes forward and tells you, with all his knowledge of the country, that here you have a perfectly simple proposal, not likely to injure anyone in the world, by which you really may do something for Ireland if you will only consent to abandon what, while I do not wish to speak disrespectfully, I should say was some of the ancient twaddle about Free Trade, which has for so many years done service as the highest wisdom of political economy. I do hope that the right hon. Gentleman will find himself able on this occasion to hold out some hope of meeting the views and wishes of the hon. Member for Clare, and the views of other Members in this House, as well as of the hon. Member for Clare. Whether he does or whether he docs not, I can only say that I shall, with the greatest possible pleasure, support the Clause before the House.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Hobhouse)
I shall not attempt to follow the right hon. Gentleman into all the fascinating paths which he has opened up to our view by his brief reference to the proceedings of the Tariff 1556 Commission. I would only say that I do not attach to the findings and evidence of that Commission all the importance which he perhaps thinks it necessary to give them.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
Some of it. I propose to confine myself to the more immediate proposals to which the major part of the new Clause refers. The first two subsections are the really important ones from the present point of view. I will come to the question of Ireland later. The hon. Member proposes to reduce by one-half the existing duties on tobacco, which stand now at 3s. 8d. per lb. with ten per cent. of moisture, rising to 4s. 1d. where there is less than ten per cent. of moisture.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
Yes; and to reduce the Customs Duties to the amount at which they stood previous to the Finance Act—that is from 3s. 8d. or 4s. 1d., as the case may be, to 3s. and 3s. 4d. respectively. That would cost the Revenue a very large amount of money, and I do not suppose that anyone who really considered the proposal would be of opinion that His Majesty's Government could upset the whole of the finance, not of this year, but in the future, by the deduction of so large an amount from the revenue of the country, without any suggestion as to how the deficiency should be made good. The result of the second Sub-section would be to reduce the Excise Duties of 2s. 10d., 3s. 2d., and 3s. 10d. per lb. by one-half. The financial effect of that would be comparatively small, because the amount of tobacco grown in the United Kingdom at present is very small, being practically confined to Ireland.
§ Mr. BUTCHER
Can the right hon. Gentleman give the loss to the Revenue if the second Sub-section were conceded?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
About £10,000 a year. The hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell) took a rather pessimistic view of the future of tobacco consumption in this country. He led the House to believe that there had been an alarming drop in the consumption of tobacco, that the trade had been very adversely hit by the taxation laid upon it, that ruin was hanging over the tobacco manufacturers, and that the number of retailers' licences had gone down to a most alarming extent.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
This is what always happens when extra taxation is placed upon tobacco. After the imposition of increased taxation, there is always a drop, and sometimes a sharp drop, for the first year or two, but there is always afterwards a corresponding increase in the consumption. What has happened in this case has happened before. Go back to the year 1900, when Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, as he then was, put an extra 4d. on tobacco. The consumption, which had been 80,000,000 lbs., dropped to 78,000,000 lbs. in the following year, but the year after that it went back to rather over 80,000,000 lbs. There was an imposition of increased taxation, an immediate drop in consumption, and a subsequent rise. What took place in 1900 has taken place in the last year. I cannot give the figures for the financial year, but I can give them for the last calendar year. In 1908 there was a consumption of 90,000,000 lbs.; then came the extra duty, and the consumption dropped to 87,500,000 lbs., but in 1910 it has gone up again to nearly 90,000,000 lbs. There is practically no difference between the consumption before the extra duty was imposed and the consumption now when the tax has been in operation for a full year. The normal consumption has returned, and there has taken place the expansion which always accompanies the increase of population. I have not the slightest doubt that at the end of the next calendar year the consumption will have outstripped that of any previous year.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
1908, 90,000,000 lbs.; 1909, 87,500,000 lbs.; 1910, just under 90,000,000 lbs.; so that there has been a complete recovery.
§ Mr. ARCHER-SHEE
Is it not a fact that the net amount retained for home consumption is actually less in 1910 than it was in 1908, to the extent of 70,000 lbs.?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
No, it has almost recovered—within 50,000 lbs. on a consumption of 80,000,000 lbs. The percentage of decrease is very small. The hon. Member rather suggested that it was in consequence of the increased taxation that there had been a decrease in a number of manufacturers' licences. I do not think that one fact marches with the other. 1558 There has been a steady decrease in the number of manufacturers' licences taken out ever since 1902–3. In 1902–3 the number decreased by twenty, in 1903–4 by eighteen; 1904–5, twenty-three; 1905–6, twelve; 1906–7, fourteen; 1907–8, four; 1908–9, eight.
I am willing to accept the hon. Member's figure; it is no larger than for the year 1904–5. There has been a continual steady drop, due not to taxation, but to the fact that the manufacture has got into the hands of much larger firms—a fact which has nothing to do with the particular taxation at all, and which is, I think, a regrettable factor in the trade. The causes which have led to this fact have been in operation for more than ten years past. The hon. Member for Yarmouth was, I think, unduly alarmed in respect to dealers' licences. There was a sharp drop last year, due to the decrease of consumption, but there has been an almost complete recovery this year. The year is not complete, so that I cannot give the figure for the whole year; but in the last quarter of the year there has been an increase of 5,000 in the number of dealers' licences as compared with the previous year. I shall be able to give shortly the figures for the complete financial year, which will, I hope, dissipate any alarm the hon. Member has felt.
I come now to the speech of the hon. Member for Clare (Mr. William Redmond). He has given a very interesting description of the rapid expansion of tobacco-growing in Ireland. I have not had the good fortune to witness that industry in its nascent state, but I hope to be able to do so shortly. The hon. Member is not the only Member of the House, and he does not belong to the only party who welcomes the return of industrial activity to Ireland in whatever form it may arise. There has been in that country an expansion of employment, both of capital and of labour, which is a hopeful sign of returning prosperity, with which I entirely sympathise, and which is largely due to the persistency with which the hon. Member has advocated her cause in this House. He asks me if I am prepared to give a guarantee that this £6,000 shall be extended beyond the two years. I do not 1559 think he can expect me to give a direct answer. I am sure he will not ask me to give him a direct negative. He has pointed out with great truth that the Development Commission was specifically required to deal with this particular industry. The application on behalf of the tobacco industry will stand on all fours with other applications for assistance in the consideration of the Commission.
Mr. WILLIAM REDMOND
It is hardly correct to say that the application in the interest of the tobacco industry will stand on all fours with other applications. Other applications will be made in reference to matters on which no money has yet been expended, but I ask that the application with reference to Irish tobacco growing should be made a special one in view of what has been already given.
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
Unquestionably it is so. What I meant was this: that it will be in no way handicapped by the assistance given in the past. It will stand in that respect upon the same footing as any other application made for assistance from the Development Commissioners. I have not the slightest doubt that it will get from them both sympathetic and generous treatment when the case comes up for consideration. I certainly, by no action of the Treasury, will do anything to hinder their case receiving the fullest and most favourable treatment that the Commission may give to it. More than that I cannot say. In conclusion, I may say that the Government are quite unable to accept this Amendment, upsetting, as it would, the whole of the financial arrangements of next year in effect, and pledging, as it would, the House to accept that next year's Budget before the annual statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been made or before any other proposals of the year have been produced to the House.
§ Mr. GILHOOLY
I am very sorry that the appeal made by my hon. Friend the Member for Clare to the Secretary for the Treasury has not met with the success that we anticipated. If the hon. Gentleman who has proposed this Clause, in his protest against the speech of the Financial Secretary, should go to a Division, I will go with him. We are all aware that Ireland is suitable for tobacco growing. We know in centuries gone by tobacco was largely cultivated. The soil is suitable, 1560 and the industry has given a lot of employment. Outside of that the reduction in the price of tobacco would be a great boon to the working men, whose only luxury it is. In fact, to the poor man this is just as much a luxury as champagne is to the rich man. I think the Government and the right hon. Gentleman who has addressed the House can have no idea of promoting the cultivation of tobacco in Ireland. I do hope that something will be done to foster an industry which has been destroyed by English legislation. I think the least the Government can do is to make some small reparation for having ruined Irish industry in the past. I certainly shall vote for the Amendment.
§ Mr. WHELER
I should like to ask the Financial Secretary—seeing that we have heard a good deal about tobacco growing in Ireland—one question arising out of the statement he made in his observations on the Clause which I moved, and in the matter of the restrictions of the Excise as regards tobacco growing in England, which comes under Section 2 of this Clause. The Financial Secretary said that tobacco may be cultivated and sold in England, with the ordinary Excise restrictions. On behalf of a large number of agriculturists who believe that tobacco can be grown in England, in many parts equally as well as in Ireland, we want very much to know what these ordinary Excise restrictions are. At Wye, the South-Eastern Agricultural College, last year, a number of experiments were carried out with a view to testing the ability of the soil in that district to grow tobacco. The restrictions which were imposed were very severe What I want to know particularly is whether these restrictions have been withdrawn? I would like, if I may, to read those restrictions. I am quoting from a report written by one of the professors at the college:—Before we could carry out our experiments we had to get special permission from the Treasury to grow the crop, and this permission was only given as a 'special indulgence.' and under strict supervision by the local excise officer.Further on he says:—Every time we wanted to cut some plants, forty-eight hours' notice had to be given to the Excise Officer, so that he could come over and see it done, and any plants not considered lit for use had to be destroyed in his presence. A book was supplied in which had to be entered the area of land planted with each variety, the date of cutting, the green weight of the crop, etc., etc. When dried, the leaves had to be weighed under official supervision, and then kept under lock and key in a secure place until required for use; what quantity required has to be weighed out from the bulk, again in the presence of the excise officer.1561 Restrictions of this sort make it very difficult for many of us who want to grow tobacco for our own and agricultural purposes to be able to do it. If we have to give this notice it means, especially in the case of a small man that the thing is very difficult to do. I should like to know exactly how we stand in this matter, because if these restrictions remain it makes it very difficult to encourage in England the cultivation of this crop?
§ Mr. PETO
I desire to express the great regret felt by many hon. Members on this side of the House, and doubtless shared by many hon. Members on the other side, that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury cannot accept, or even consider, this Clause which has been introduced by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Finsbury. My reason for intervening in the Debate at all is that I listened to the reasons given and the arguments advanced by the right hon. Gentleman, and I think that the reasons for the phenomena which we have noticed, and which have been commented upon on this side of the House, are a good deal more deeply set than any reasons he gave. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the drop in the consumption of tobacco. He gave us figures for the year immediately following the imposition for the first time of this additional 8d. per pound. I do not believe that it was the drop in the consumption of tobacco which caused the extraordinary drop in the number of retail licences which exactly synchronised with the imposition of this duty. I should like to deal first of all with the question of the effect of the 8d. additional duty on the retailer and consumer. I have it on the very best authority of those intimately associated with the trade that, as a matter of fact, it was impossible for the retailers or manufacturers to pay the additional tax in the case of the very cheapest form of tobacco—pipe tobacco—the only kind of tobacco that the poorest people can afford to smoke at all. As it was impossible for the retailer to stand any part of that additional cost, the additional cost had to be placed upon the consumers, and was paid by the working man. We come to the next point.
Take the case of pipe tobacco, of a quite expensive variety, for which a comparatively rich man pays 10s. per lb. There is a considerable retailer's profit and manufacturer's profit, too, on that. The effect in this case was that the larger people in the trade were perfectly willing, in order 1562 to keep their trade in these expensive brands of tobacco, from which they were then getting a large profit, to pay that additional 8d. tax themselves. Hence the comparatively rich man did not make any additional contribution at all to the Exchequer. How does that work out in the case of the small retailer? He is not making a living out of half-ounce "screws" of the cheapest form of tobacco. He had few customers who bought the more expensive kind. By these customers he gained such profit as he made. He was unable to compete with the great combination firms of retailers who were perfectly able and willing—with the assistance of the special taxation imposed upon the trade—to take that opportunity to squeeze out an enormous number of the smaller people in the trade. So it has been in the case of the manufacturer. I notice the Financial Secretary to the Treasury did not give the House—I am sure it was because he had not it in his mind at the moment—the number of manufacturers' licences, fewer which there were in the year immediately following the imposition of this duty. The year before the drop was four; the year after it was twenty-four. I think that is a sufficiently marked increase to call for some comment. I have seen the reports of several manufacturing firms who have met their shareholders in the current year. All of them say that this additional tax has been very severely felt. In one case, Messrs. R. and J. Hill, whose report I have here, the firm had £18,000 profit to distribute the year before the imposition of the tax. That fell to £11,000. That abnormal profit—which was abnormal to the extent of £4,000—was largely due to the firm's foresight in taking very large quantities of tobacco out of bond in anticipation of the action of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. They attribute the large fall in the profits of the business entirely, or practically entirely, to this additional taxation, and they point out that although the Imperial Tobacco Company also complained of diminished profits, yet that they alone have been able altogether to stand up against this great imposition. The smaller the manufacturer the harder he has been hit, and this is the effect always of great changes, whether they are caused by a sudden change in the taste of the consumer or sudden changes in the taxation imposed on the article of manufacture. We have always been led to suppose, so long as we maintained the system of taxation of this Budget—this 1563 additional Tobacco Tax is not a small or unimportant part of it—that we shall be free in large measure from the action of combinations and trusts. I am sure the very last thing that those who framed this Budget intended was to put into it a tax which crushes out the small retailer for the benefit of the big man who has his hundred shops, and who can stand up against these sudden changes. Still more am I convinced that it was not the intention of the right hon. Gentleman opposite to squeeze out the smaller manufacturers in the country.
I should like to give the right hon. Gentleman one case which comes a little nearer home to me. I happen to represent a town where there are few manufactures and industries. We have a tobacco company, one of the smaller tobacco factories in this country. When they had their shareholders' meeting in the course of the last month or so—I forget exactly what the share capital is, but it is considerable—they brought forward the magnificent profit for the whole year of £39 11s. 4d. The managing director of that company is one of the most honourable and strongest political opponents that I have in my constituency. He informed the shareholders that undoubtedly the principal cause of this miserable and disastrous year's trading was the 8d. additional tax imposed under the Budget. An indignant shareholder pointed out that not very long ago they were making a profit of thousands a year, and continued: "Surely you do not mean to tell me that this additional tax is the cause of that enormous drop in the profits of the Company?" The answer of the managing director was: "Although it is not the sole cause, it is by far the greatest cause of our enormous difference in the profits." What does it mean when that company gets down to making £39 in the year? It is not only the interests of the shareholders I am thinking about. With their business having got down to that level I know that unless something is done in the direction of the Clause which we are now debating, and there is a return to a more reasonable scale of taxation upon this luxury, then we are within measureable distance of some of these smaller companies having to close their doors altogether. Large as that drop was in the number of manufacturers' licences to twenty-four, I am convinced there will be a larger drop still in the future. More people will be thrown out of employment, 1564 and more small traders crushed out—with the assistance of the right hon. Gentleman opposite—by monopolies and trusts which they have always told us we are absolutely safe from so long as we adhere to their fiscal policy. I regret extremely that this Clause is not accepted by the Government, because I think we all see perfectly clearly that, although the intentions of the Government were perfectly honourable as regards the small consumer and the working men, yet it is very easy when there is any lapse from the straight path of virtue, which in the matter of taxation I take to be the collection of the revenue necessary for the country by the simplest and most efficacious and most equitable means that can be devised—when they depart from that principle and impose special taxation from motives other than revenue upon industries such as tobacco or the licensed trade in order to please a small fragment of their supporters, what happens is that although they intend to hit only the luxuries of the rich, they hit also the luxuries of the poor, and they hit not monopolies such as they dislike, but the small businesses, both wholesale and retail, throughout the length and breadth of the country.
§ Mr. STEPHEN GWYNN
I wish to bring back the discussion for a moment to the question of Irish tobacco growing, and I should like to explain the reason why it is that I am prepared to vote against this Amendment. The reason is it does not appear to me to be a business proposition. What is proposed is to reduce the duties upon Irish-grown tobacco to such an extent as would mean a bounty or advantage to the Irish grower of from £75 to £100 per acre. An acre in Ireland will produce 1,000 lbs., the value of which, roughly, is about £100. The proposal in the new Clause does not seem to me to be reasonable, but I think the Financial Secretary to the Treasury seems to understate the need that exists for continuing support to this industry. Setting out to grow tobacco means undertaking an industry which must be under the present fiscal system in this country carried out under very exceptional difficulties, because when you are growing tobacco leaves in a certain sense you are growing banknotes. Every leaf has a potential value enormously in excess of its sale value. The selling value of the leaf is a halfpenny, though its actual value is three or four pence. The result is that the crop has to be grown under strict control and 1565 restrictions specially onerous and which do not apply in the countries with which the Irish tobacco growers have to compete. And that is why we impress upon the Secretary to the Treasury the necessity of pressing that view upon the Commissioners of the Development Fund.
It is not merely a question of the growing; it is a question of the whole machinery of product. Until you get a sufficient area of tobacco grown in Ireland—and I do not think it should be less than 1,000 acres, instead of the 120 we now have—you can never have a re-handling establishment upon any proper business footing. We have plenty of manufacturers, and growing, after all, has not proved to be such a very difficult proposition. But the establishment of a re-handling factory involves a good deal of capital and special technique, which under present circumstances there is no possibility of getting. There is not enough tobacco grown to keep a factory at work. This is a case of giving a very considerable inducement, although I think that £75 or £100 an acre is not reasonable. But it is a case for giving an inducement capable of bringing Irish soil to cultivation for tobacco. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not be content to say to the Development Commissioners that they are not to consider themselves debarred from subsidising this industry because the House of Commons has already done something for it. I hope he will say to them that they are bound to maintain a subsidy to this industry in order to carry through a work which the House of Commons has undertaken, a work of restitution and reparation and a work which it now devolves upon the Development Commissioners to help. I hope it will be made clear by the Government that here is a thing which has been begun, and which must be carried through unless the work is to fall to ruin.
I heard with amazement the hon. Gentleman who last spoke refer to the Tobacco Tax as a tax which had been imposed to hit the luxuries of the rich. We all knew from the very beginning it was a tax upon the necessities of the poor, and that it might to a certain extent impede or endanger industries. All I have to say is that it is one of the consequences which we thought would follow upon the necessity of paying for "Dreadnoughts" at the rate which the hon. Member and his party were so anxious to commit the country to. And I am bound to say, if taxes have to be imposed for such a purpose, this one seems to me among the most reasonable and 1566 fairest, although I deprecate the necessity for it.
Sir HOWELL DAVIES
As I represent a constituency in which the largest amount of tobacco is manufactured in the United Kingdom, I should like to say a word on this Clause. The Government may be attacked upon their increased taxation in the Budget of 1909, but I must say that whilst the manufacturing community dislike increases of taxation, very naturally, and no doubt these taxes do somewhat interfere with production, the rank and file of the working men, so far as I know, have said very little in the way of complaint as to their willingness to contribute to the revenues under that Act. No doubt we should all like these taxes to be smaller, but when the demands upon the Treasury are so great, and so long as hon. Gentlemen who support this Clause demand the enormous armaments which they are demanding, it seems impossible to expect any reduction in these Tobacco Duties. At the same time, whilst the increase of 8d. in the pound no doubt did somewhat militate against the prosperity of the tobacco industry, I think by this time the trade has practically accommodated itself to this necessity, and whilst the profits of some of the tobacco firms have decreased, I do not think that is the case with the tobacco industry in the constituency I represent. I noticed a very considerable increase last year, notwithstanding this 8d. in the pound, an increase in the profits of something approaching £300,000.
Sir HOWELL DAVIES
I admit the great Imperial Tobacco Company is in a better position to meet this tax than the smaller companies. There is a section of the tobacco trade which makes cigars that has a grievance, and I ask the Government to see whether it cannot make some concession in the coming Budget with regard to that section of the tobacco trade. That seems to be a case where relief is badly needed. Some of the smaller cigar manufacturers in my own Constituency have appealed to me to ask the Government to do something in the matter. We should all be very gratified indeed if the finances of the country enabled the Government to make reduction in taxation, but so long I repeat as the demands upon the Treasury are so great, I do not see how a more just form of taxation could be devised than that which we are now considering.
§ Mr. SHEEHAN
I want to express my strong opinion in regard to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury, and to say that to me it was most unsatisfactory and disappointing. I cannot approve of the extraordinary attitude taken up by the Member for Galway (Mr. Gwynn), who seemed to be very concerned, indeed pathetically concerned, about the British Treasury. I am not here to make any excuse for the Treasury in this matter. I am much more concerned in seeing an industry struggling back to life in Ireland given a measure of encouragement, which was given to it in the past. We have no assurance from the Secretary to the Treasury that this is to happen. The greatest length he would go is not to hamper fair consideration of the matter by the Development Commissioners. I do not know that we have much to thank him for in that regard. All he promises is that the matter will be laid before the Commissioners, and if the hon. Member for Galway, who unquestionably has given a great deal of assistance in the matter of tobacco-growing in the past, is satisfied with the statement of the Secretary to the Treasury, I must say it is very easy to satisfy him. I do not think that tobacco-growers in Ireland have received very much comfort from the statement of the Secretary to the Treasury. I entirely endorse the opinion of those who state it that if we joined forces we need not be begging from the Treasury, but we would have it in our own power to extract from them this concession.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. ROWLAND HUNT
The real opposition of the Government to this Clause is that it would give the Irish people an advantage in their own market. That, of course, would be a dreadful thing from the Government point of view. Their attitude now is calculated actually to prevent a great industry from springing up in our own country. The fact is that the Government are really imposing a tax on raw material, and they are at the same time preventing a great industry from springing up in our own country. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are always taking about bringing the people back to the land, and yet they purposely stop a great agricultural industry, which would admittedly find good employment for a very large number of men, women and children in the country districts. Those facts which nobody can deny, and the same applies to beet sugar. Here are two agricultural industries absolutely 1568 stopped because they are tied to the Free Trade system. It is a fact that your Free Trade system has depopulated our country districts and filled our slums with starving people. The Import Duty on tobacco—that is, on the raw tobacco which the working men use—is as much as 600 per cent. Under Section 2 of this proposal the tax would still be 300 per cent., and surely that is enough for the working people of this country to pay. Tobacco is not a luxury, although it is really a poor man's luxury. If you put such an enormous tax upon a poor man's luxury, I do not see why you should not put a 600 per cent. tax on motor cars and fancy dresses and the other luxuries of the rich. I would remind the hon. Gentleman opposite that Free Trade professors of the past like John Stuart Mill and Adam Smith, who have expressed approval of the principle that it is the right thing to protect infant industries such as tobacco, and sugar beet. Professor Marshall himself, one of the professors of present fiscal statistics—who was chosen by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer to write a treatise on the system, and do all he could to back it up—agrees with Stuart Mill and Adam Smith, and backs up the principle that it is right to protect infant industries until they grow strong enough to look after themselves. Professor Marshall says:—As the prudent husbandman puts seed corn into the earth, so a nation should he ready to sacrifice something of present income to develop industries which are immature and exposed to the competition of others which are strong.That applies to tobacco-growing and to sugar beet. Professor Marshall goes on to say:—Protection to immature industries is a very great national good.I think the right hon. Gentleman opposite, with all his Cobdenite principles, should pay some attention to this Free Trade professor whom hon. Gentlemen opposite are continually quoting and ramming down the throats of the people of this country. All the rest of the nations of the world think our present system is absolute idiocy. I hope, at any rate, the House will agree to Section 2 of the Amendment which has been moved by my hon. Friend.
§ Mr. NEWTON
I wish to say a few words from the point of view of the poor consumers of tobacco, and also to touch upon the point raised by the hon. Member for Wiltshire. It has been said that the result of this taxation has been to cripple and hamper the smaller manufacturers 1569 and the smaller retailers. The net result of the two speeches to which we have listened on this subject is that it has been made quite clear that this taxation has had a very disastrous effect upon small manufacturers and producers. In the course of the speech of the hon. Member for Bristol there occurred a remark which we ought not to allow to pass without challenge. The argument he used was that so long as you have on the other side of the House a demand for armaments, so long will these duties have to be imposed. What is intended by that argument? Is it suggested that if we do not on this side of the House press upon the Government their duty to adequately defend this country, that the defence of this country will be neglected by the Government, and then the duties on tobacco can be remitted? That is a very dangerous argument, and I should like it to be made quite clear whether such protection as is now afforded to the country is actually due to the demands put upon the Government from this side of the House. With regard to the Irish question, the result of this Debate makes it quite clear that hon. Members from Ireland, for whom the hon. Member for Clare spoke so well, with our support, would be able to get a very substantial advantage for Ireland. It must be a matter for wonder to many people why, under these circumstances, hon. Members from Ireland do not embrace the opportunity which now presents itself of securing an undoubted bargain for Ireland. If this Motion is pressed to a Division, those who vote against it will not be acting in the best interests of their country.
§ Mr. CASSEL
There are a number of small retail tobacconists in my Constituency, and they say that the effect of these duties will make it almost impossible for them to carry on their business at a profit. The case of the Imperial Tobacco Company has been cited, and may I point out that that company has made the large profit of £300,000. We were not told what the chairman of that company said at the annual meeting with regard to that improvement. He said:—This improvement, as compared with last year, is not due to the British trade, but largely to the Company's interest in undertakings operating abroad.As to the effect of this duty, let us take the view of the Financial Secretary to the Treasury himself. He said you must remember that 1908 was a bad year for trade, for employment, and comparatively little money was available. The year 1910 was 1570 a good year for trade, and, notwithstanding the increase in population as a result of these duties on the figures given by the right hon. Gentleman himself, the consumption has decreased by £50,000; notwithstanding the difference in prosperity in those years and the increase of population, the duty has actually decreased by £50,000. With regard to retail licences, in spite of the difference in those two years as regards prosperity in trade, the number of those licences issued in the year 1910 was actually 2,000 less than in the year 1908. I should like to remind the House that this is a case of history repeating itself. What the predecessors in office of the Chancellor of the Exchequer laid down was that really the only way to benefit the Treasury, so far as the Tobacco Duties are concerned, is to endeavour to increase the consumption, and any increase of the Tobacco Duty does not really benefit the Treasury. In the year 1887, Sir Stafford Northcote, in his Budget statement, when he reduced the Tobacco Duty from 3s. 6d. to 3s. 2d., said:—The Tobacco Duties were raised from 3s. 2d. to 3s. 6d. in the year 1878, and the Fiscal result of this has bee" most unsatisfactory. The first year under the higher duty it was expected to yield an increased revenue of £750,000, but it only yielded £500,000 additional, and in subsequent years the result has been still more unfavourable. The increase in the consumption of tobacco, which was 11 per cent. during the five years between 1872 and 1876, fell to 5 per cent. in the period between 1877 and 1881. We checked the consumption of tobacco, and what was the effect upon the quality of the tobacco of the smoker? It will be seen that the consumption does not increase in ratio to the population. The increase in consumption of tobacco before the duty was raised was twice as fast as the increase after, and since that time the consumption has not increased as fast as the population and the consumption per head is now less than it was.That was in 1887, when Sir Stafford Northcote was making his Budget statement. Lord St. Aldwyn, in April, 1898, in his Budget statement, further reduced the Tobacco Duty from 3s. 2d. to 2s. 8d., and he said:—I see in a reduction of the cost of tobacco which will reach the consumer the greatest probability that the consumption will so increase that before long the Revenue will be recouped for the reduction.From the point of view of Revenue itself, the best chance of increasing it is to reduce the duty on tobacco, and thus increase the consumption. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain), in his Budget speech in April, 1904, said:—Tobacco has done well during the past year: it is already heavily taxed. I am advised that considering the amount I require, to obtain it from tobacco alone would involve so great an increase in duty that it would seriously check consumption and destroy the purpose for which it was proposed. I do not, therefore, propose to make any general alteration in the rates of the tobacco duty.1571 The right hon. Gentleman has said that he is unable to make any reduction in this duty to-night. Speaking on behalf of those who are suffering in my own sonstituency, may I suggest that when the Government are considering the Budget for next year, they should bear in mind the grievance to which attention has been called, and also bear in mind what has happened in the past when attempts have been made to raise the Tobacco Duty, the only result of which has been to defeat the object of the Treasury.
§ Gentleman most unsatisfactory, for I think every one must admit that a strong case has been made out for some concession to this industry. If the Nationalist party, however, were really opposed to this British policy of killing every little industry in Ireland for the sake of England, surely a very simple and effective way of making their protest would be to walk into the Lobby and vote against the Government.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 177; Noes, 290.1575
|Division No. 97.]||AYES.||[6.18 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Gibbs, G. A.||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Ashley, W. W.||Gilhooly, James||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Astor, Waldorf||Gilmour, Captain J.||Peel, Capt. R. F. (Woodbridge)|
|Baird, J. L.||Goldman, C. S.||Peel, Hon. W. R. W. (Taunton)|
|Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.)||Goldsmith, Frank||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Grant, J. A.||Pole-Carew, Sir R. (Cornwall, Bodmin)|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Guinness, Hon. W. E.||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Baring, Captain Hon. G.||Haddock, George Bahr||Pryce-Jones, Col. E. (M'tgom'y B'ghs.)|
|Barlow, Montagu (Salford, S.)||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Quilter, William Eley C.|
|Barnston, H.||Hambro, Angus Valdemar||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc, E.)||Harris, Henry Percy||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Helmsley, Viscount||Rawson, Colonel R. H.|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Remnant, James Farquharsen|
|Beckett, Hon. W. Gervase||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Rice, Hon. W.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hill, Sir Clement||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Beresford, Lord C.||Hills, J. W.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bigland, Alfred||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Bird, A.||Hoare, S. J. G.||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Boscawen, Sackville T. Griffith.||Hohler, G. F.||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Boyle, W. L. (Norfolk, Mid)||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Sandys, G. J. (Somerset, Wells)|
|Boyton, J.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Brassey, H Leonard Campbell||Horne, W. E. (Surrey, Guildford)||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Houston, Robert Paterson||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hunt, Rowland||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hunter, Sir C. R. (Bath)||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Butcher, J. G. (York)||Jardine, E. (Somerset, E.)||Spear, John Ward|
|Campion, W. R.||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Stanier, Beville|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Joynson-Hicks, William||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Cator, John||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Starkey, John B.|
|Cautley, H. S.||Kerr-Smiley, Peter||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Cave, George||Kerry, Earl of||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Kimber, Sir Henry||Stewart, Gershom|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Chaplin, Rt Hon. Henry||Kirkwood, J. H. M.||Swift, Rigby|
|Clay, Captain H. Spender||Knight, Captain E. A.||Sykes, Alan John|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Law, Andrew Boner (Bootle, Lancs.)||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'm'ts., Mile End)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Touche, George Alexander|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover Sq.)||Walker, Col, William Hall|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C. (Droitwich)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Cripps, Sir C. A.||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Walsh, J. (Cork, South)|
|Dairymple, Viscount||Macmaster, Donald||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Dalziel, D. (Brixton)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C Scott||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||White, Major C. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Dixon, C. H.||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Morpeth, Viscount||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Falle, B. G.||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Fell, Arthur||Mount, William Arthur||Wood, Hon E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Fitzroy, Hon. E. A.||Newdegate, F. A.||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Newman, John R. P.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Fleming, Valentine||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Yate, Col. C. E. (Leics., Melton)|
|Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Pttersfield)||Yerburgh, Robert|
|Forster, Henry William||Nield, Herbert||Younger, George|
|Frewen, Moreton||Norton-Griffiths, John|
|Gardner, Ernest||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Major Archer-Shee and Mr. Cassel.|
|Gastrell, Major W. H.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour)||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Marshall, Arthur Harold|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Martin, Joseph|
|Adamson, William||Essex, Richard Walter||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Falconer, J.||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Fenwick, Charles||Meagher, Michael|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Ferens, T. R.||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Ffrench, Peter||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Field, William||Menzies, Sir Walter|
|Alden, Percy||Fitzgibbon, John||Millar, James Duncan|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbarton)||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Molloy, M.|
|Allen, Charles Peter (Stroud)||France, G. A.||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Anderson, A.||Gelder, Sir W. A.||Mond, Sir Alfred|
|Armitage, R.||Gibson, Sir James Puckering||Money, L. G. (Chiozza)|
|Ashton, Thomas Galr||Gill, A. H.||Mooney, J. J.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Glanville, H. J.||Morgan, George Hay|
|Atherley-Jones, Llewelyn A.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Morrell, Philip|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Goldstone, Frank||Muldoon, John|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Munro, R.|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Griffith, Ellis J.||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Needham, Christopher T.|
|Barry, Rdmond John||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Neilson, Francis|
|Barton, W.||Gulland, John William||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Beale, W. P.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Beauchamp, Edward||Hackett, J.||Norman, Sir Henry|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Norton, Capt. Cecil W.|
|Benn, W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Hancock, J. G.||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Bentham, G. J.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Hardie, J. Keir||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Boland, John Pius||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||O'Grady, James|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Malley, William|
|Brace, William||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Brigg, Sir John||Hayward, Evan||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Palmer, Godfrey|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Burke, E. Haviland.||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Higham, John Sharp||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Hinds, John||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Hodge, John||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pointer, Joseph|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Hudson, Walter||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Hughes, S. L.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Hunter, W. (Govan)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Chapple, Dr. W. A.||Isaacs, Sir Rufus Daniel||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Johnson, W.||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford. E.)|
|Clynes, J. R.||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Radford, G. H.|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Jowett, F. W.||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Corbett, A. Cameron||Joyce, Michael||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Keating, M.||Reddy, M.|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Kellaway, Frederick George||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Cowan, W. H.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Crawshay-William, Eliot||Kilbride, Denis||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Crooks, William||King, J. (Somerset, N.)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Lamb, Ernest Henry||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy)||Lambert, George (Devon, Molton)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Lansbury, George||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rl'nd, Cockerm'th)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan)||Lewis, John Herbert||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Logan, John William||Roche, John|
|Delany, William||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Rowlands, James|
|Devlin, Joseph||Lundon, T.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Lynch, A. A.||St. Maur, Harold|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Dillon, John||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Samuel, J. (Stockton)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Maclean, Donald||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir C. E.|
|Duffy, William J.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Seely, Col., Right Hon. J. E. B.|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||M'Callum, John M.||Sheehy, David|
|Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||M'Kean, John||Shortt, Edward|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||M'Laren, F. W. S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||M'Laren, Walter S. B. (Ches., Crewe)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Elverston, H.||Marks, G. Croydon||Smith, H. B. (Northampton)|
|Smyth, Thomas F.||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Snowden, P.||Verney, Sir Harry||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Soares, Ernest J.||Wadsworth, John||Wiles, Thomas|
|Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Strachey, Sir Edward||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)||Wilson, Hon. S. G (Hull, W.)|
|Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)||Wardle, George J.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Summers, James Wooley||Waring, Walter||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)|
|Sutherland, J. E.||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Sutton, John E.||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon (Glasgow)|
|Tennant, Harold John||Watt, Henry A.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Thomas, James Henry (Derby)||Webb, H.|
|Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. Illingworth.|
|Toulmin, George||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Trevelyan, Charles Philips||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|