HC Deb 08 October 1912 vol 42 cc172-3

Any person who solicits or takes orders in Scotland for exciseable liquors to be supplied from outside the United Kingdom without having obtained a licence or certificate in the United Kingdom authorising such sale shall be liable to the penalties provided by Section sixty-five of the Licensing (Scotland) Act, 1903, for trafficking without a certificate.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."

Although the matter dealt with in the Clause is not very large, it still is of importance, and is one which may and will grow in future if this Bill becomes law. It is the practice, I believe, of numerous French and German firms of wine merchants and distillers to send over representatives or canvassers to London to solicit orders for their products of wines and spirits, and to fill those orders from France or Germany, as the case may be. Whether that is legal or not I will not say, but it is done to a considerable extent under the present law. The proposal is that those canvassers who sell wines and spirits in this way in Scotland should be put on the same footing as Scottish firms who have to pay rates and taxes, Licence Duties, and the other heavy charges which fall upon anyone engaged in the trade, and that those foreigners should pay the same as Englishmen or Scotchmen. We cannot think it is desired to lessen the revenue by allowing this practice to continue, because it infallibly does affect the revenue of the country. Not only does the practice affect the revenue, but it hits the Scottish retailers and dealers because they have less orders; and as the revenue from their licences is smaller, they are more likely to be kept at a high rate than they would be if those licences were spread over a larger number of people, so that a larger revenue would result, and it might be possible to approach the Chancellor of the Exchequer for a reduction. Whilst this practice is carried on to this considerable extent I think it would be useless to approach the Chancellor of the Exchequer with any suggestion of the kind. It is a surreptitious way of getting round the present Licensing Acts, but I see no reason why, when we have the opportunity now, we should not put this matter straight by this Bill, and let those men take out licences before they are allowed to sell wines and spirits in Scotland, just the same as Englishmen and Scotchmen have to do.


This Clause is not in order. It ought to come as an Amendment to the Revenue Act.