- (1) The Irish Parliament shall have power to carry (either by way of addition, reduction, or discontinuance) any Imperial tax so far as respects the levy of that tax in Ireland, and to impose in Ireland any independent tax not being in the opinion of the Joint Exchequer Board substantially the same in character as an Imperial tax, subject to the following limitations:—
- (a) The Irish Parliament shall not have power to impose or charge a Customs Duty, whether an Import or an Export Duty, on any article unless that article is for the time being liable to a Customs Duty levied as an Imperial tax, and shall not have power to vary, except by way of addition, any Customs Duty levied as an Imperial tax, or any Excise Duty so levied where there is a corresponding Customs Duty; and
- (b) The benefit to accrue to the Irish Exchequer from any addition to any Customs Duty levied as an
1206 Imperial tax (other than a Customs Duty on beer or spirits), or to any duty of Income Tax so levied, or to any Death Duty so levied, shall be limited as in this Act provided; and
- (c) The power of the Irish Parliament to vary an Imperial tax, so far as Income Tax (not including Super-tax) is concerned, shall only be exercised so as to alter the conditions under which any exemption, abatement, or relief from the tax may be granted to persons resident in Ireland without varying the rate of the tax, and, so far as any Customs Duty or any Death Duty is concerned, shall only be exercised so as to vary the rate of the duty without otherwise altering the provisions with respect to the duty, or discriminating that variation between persons, articles, or property, and where the duty is one of two or more correlated duties, or is a duty levied at a varying rate, shall not be exercised without varying proportionately all the correlated duties or all the rates of duty:
- (d) The power of the Irish Parliament to vary an Imperial tax shall not be exercised with respect to the Stamp Duties mentioned in the Second Schedule to this Act; and
- (e) The Irish Parliament shall not, in the exercise of their powers of taxation under this provision, make any variation of Customs or Excise Duties the effect of which will be to cause the Customs Duty on an article of a class produced, prepared, or manufactured in Ireland, to exceed the Excise Duty by more than an amount reasonably sufficient to cover any expenses due to revenue restrictions, or any variation of Customs or Excise drawbacks or allowances which would cause the amount of drawback or allowance payable in respect of any article to be more than reasonably sufficient, in the opinion of the Joint Exchequer Board, to cover the duty paid thereon, and any expenses due to revenue restrictions;
- (2) For the purposes of this Act—
- (a) The expression "Imperial tax" means any tax charged for the time
1207 being in Ireland under the authority of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and includes a tax which has been discontinued under the powers given by this section to the Irish Parliament, but which would have been so charged but for the discontinuance;
- (b) The expression "Irish tax" means any tax charged under the authority of the Irish Parliament either by way of an addition to an Imperial tax or as an independent tax.
- (a) The expression "Imperial tax" means any tax charged for the time
§ Mr. HAYES FISHER
I beg to propose, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "vary (either by way of addition, reduction, or discontinuance) any Imperial tax so far as respects the levy of that tax in Ireland and to."
We are now on the Report stage of this very large and complex measure, and this is the first and the only opportunity which this House will have of considering what is, apart from the Ulster question, admittedly on both sides of the House quite the most important part of this very large Bill, and that is that portion of it which deals with the future financial relations between the new Parliament and this. If I wanted to emphasise the Amendment I could do it by saying that probably the Government would never have brought in this Bill, and certainly hon. Gentlemen opposite would never have become Home Rulers and supporters of this Bill but for the belief they entertained that they could by this measure put an end to the long course of conflict which has gone on in this House of Commons and outside of it between ourselves and the representatives of Ireland, and to make with the representatives of Ireland an eternal treaty of peace. If that is the aim, and that is the aim, and certainly not an ignoble aim, of the Government and their supporters, I believe the Government ought to make sure that their financial provisions are likely to bring about an arrangement which will bring peace between the two Exchequers and the two Houses and the representatives of the United Kingdom and the different portions, and that the financial arrangements of this Bill are of such a nature that they will remove from this House the eternal conflicts which have gone on in this House, and will satisfy at all events for a considerable time the aspirations of the Irish people in matters of finance. But the very contrary is the case under this Bill. This measure will satisfy nobody so far as 1208 its finance is concerned. Neither of the partners will be contented; both will remain thoroughly dissatisfied. Instead of ending the quarrel so far as finance is concerned, there are in this arrangement, the germs of further quarrels, aggravated by the very settlement which the Government are trying to bring about. Nobody stands to gain by this Bill, except perhaps that there will be more Members of Parliament, more nominees of Members of Parliament, more officials, who are so dear to the heart of the present Government. Millions will lose money; a few hundreds or possibly a few thousands may gain a little. This Bill, from every point of view, so far as its finance is concerned, is thoroughly unsatisfactory. I do not claim to be an authority on the question; but I will quote some words of Lord Mac-Donnell, who is a most stalwart Liberal, a great financier, a man closely associated with the government of Ireland, and an undoubtedly great authority on the matter. This was Lord MacDonnell's New Year's message to the"Times":—I feel bound to say that if the onerous and inadequate financial provisions of this Bill are enforced against Ireland, she will not cease to be a source of anxiety and weakness to the Empire, even after the establishment of Home Rule.What chance is there, then, of clearing this House of discussions on Irish finance? What chance is there of putting an end to the quarrel and conflict, which is the aim of the party opposite in proposing this Bill? Lord MacDonnell said further:—It is disheartening that after so many centuries of guardianship England should send her poor sister forth to dree her weird,' maimed and impoverished.That is what the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are going to do. I think we ought to give a little time to the consideration of a Bill, the finance of which is so adversely criticised by such a great authority on finance. Unfortunately this is the only occasion on which on Report we can criticise the finance of the Bill at all. I propose to move an Amendment which will take away from the Irish Government the power to vary Imperial taxation, whether by increasing, reducing, or discontinuing it. In order to indicate the force of the Amendment, I must take a survey of the general provisions of the Bill. It sets up two separate Parliaments and two separate Exchequers, and the United Kingdom says to the Irish people, "We will collect your taxes for you; we will give you a certain amount of money with which to run Irish services; we will hand over to you, when you take over the reserved services, the amount of money 1209 which it actually costs us to run them at the time of handing them over. In addition to that, we will give you £500,000 per annum to start with. If you want any more money; if you want to carry out the promises which from time to time have been made by Home Rule agitators and Home Rule orators; if you want to make Ireland a new Heaven, you must do one of two things: you must either impose new and independent taxation upon Ireland, or vary Imperial taxes within certain limits. "Do not let us forget one very important fact, namely, that we have had it from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in one of the very few speeches which he has condescended to make on the finance of this Bill, that it is the intention of future British Chancellors of the Exchequer to exercise all their old powers of taxation over Ireland. That is to say, if we are at war, or if there is any national emergency, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer will still be able to impose new taxation in Ireland, either by way of new taxes or by way of increasing old taxes.
If the Chancellor of the Exchequer ever condescended to be present I would like to ask him a question; but perhaps the Postmaster-General will take note of it, because it is a point which wants clearing up. The deficit of £1,500,000 a year has played a very great part in the finance of this Bill. The Postmaster-General has held out the hope that the deficit will gradually be wiped out by the increased yield of the present taxation in Ireland. Supposing some national emergency arose, such as a war, and new taxation was imposed, which raised the amount of revenue from Ireland to such a height that the deficit was wiped out; does the Bill contemplate that in the event of the deficit being wiped out in that way, say by three years of war taxation, under Clause 26 a revision would take place, that all the consequences of the wiping out of the deficit would ensue, and that Irish members would be brought over here in increased numbers to effect some new financial arrangement? That is a question worth asking, because it is not by any means an impossible situation. If this Bill had been an Act of Parliament prior to the South African war and the finance which that war occasioned, in all probability the deficit in Ireland would have been wiped out by the war taxation which we have had to endure, and Ireland would have been enabled to send over here, not only forty-two representatives, but a great many 1210 more—we do not know how many—who would have invaded this House of Commons, and might have upset first one Government and then another, and produced chaos in the government of this country. Mr. Gladstone found his In-and-Out Clause uncommonly difficult to work; in fact, he found it impossible. I venture to say that the problem of Mr. Gladstone's In-and-Out Clause was really child's play, so far as its solution was concerned, compared with Clause 26 which the present Government have devised to deal with the time which they think is likely to arrive, but which I do not, unless there is war taxation.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said not only that British Chancellors of the Exchequer would in future be able to tax Ireland in the event of national emergency, but also that it was certainly contemplated that Chancellors of the Exchequer in this House would move Budgets in which Ireland would be taxed for social services, social reforms, and matters of that kind. That, to my mind, was an extraordinary statement. It seems to me that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to hang a rope around his neck if he adopts this attitude. Supposing in course of time there is a general desire in this country that some active measures should be taken to provide more houses, particularly for our rural population, and that at the same time it is found possible, by perfectly sound finance, to give some substantial aid from the Imperial Exchequer towards building such houses, either for the rural population or for the people who now inhabit the slum areas of our towns. Supposing the Chancellor of the Exchequer were to say, "Now, the fairest way of raising money is to put a penny or twopence on the Income Tax" is the British Chancellor of the Exchequer to be debarred from financing some social reform or housing operation because, if he attempts to raise the money on the Income Tax here, he will also have to put on an addition to the Income Tax of the people in Ireland, who perhaps do not want his money for housing or any similar purposes? That, I think, really presents a very great difficulty indeed. If we are to raise money in Ireland for social reform, possibly we may be hindered from raising it in the proper way, because, after all, it may be that only England or Scotland desires a certain measure of social reform, and that the money should be spent in that particular way and for that particular object. Ireland might be perfectly 1211 satisfied with her housing arrangements. She has already had a good deal of money spent on labourers' cottages and matters of that kind. The Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer might say to the British Chancellor of the Exchequer: "No, thank you; you are dislocating the whole of my finances. I want to tax that area: that is an area of taxation which I am thinking of invading for Irish purposes." I think under this system of finance there is going to be an eternal conflict between the Chancellor of the Exchequer of England and the Chancellor of the Exchequer of Ireland.
To come to this particular Amendment, I desire to take away the power which is given under the Bill to vary Imperial taxation. First of all, I notice in the speeches of right hon. Gentlemen opposite that they have almost dropped the idea of the possibility of Irishmen ever being able to reduce taxation. They have placed certain Amendments down on the Paper which minimises the powers which Irishmen shall have of reducing any of their taxes; therefore, I suppose, by leaving the thing much in its present position, what has to be contemplated is that the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer will use to a very considerable extent his powers of adding to the Imperial taxes. If not, I do not know why all this complicated machinery is to be set up. For my own part I think that the Irish Chancellor will be almost bound to use the powers that he has to add to the Imperial taxes. I believe the temptation will be there, and that the necessity will be there. After all, where is the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer to get his money from? Let us visualise—as we were told yesterday—the position of the Chancellor of the Exchequer of Ireland. He will be constantly told by his supporters, particularly those who come from the South and West of Ireland, that they have all been promised that Ireland will become a new heaven and a new earth after Home Rule has been given. We heard something of this the other day from one of the hon. Members who sits for the City of Cork. He said:—Have greatly magnified the great and good things which will follow Home Rule. We are creating exaggerated expectations. The average Irishman, as a result of the long course of oratory is a flamboyant character, believing that Home Rule will create a sort of heaven.That is the position which the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer will find himself in. There will, I suppose, be a King's 1212 Speech, and the King's Speech will contain probably many things that cost money. There will undoubtedly be demands for a better educational system. There will be demands for money for drainage purposes; probably for new harbours, and money for agricultural developments. All these things will require money. The Chancellor of the Exchequer will say, "I have only two powers, the power of imposing new taxation on Irishmen"—that would not be popular—"and I have the power of varying Imperial taxation." I think that in all probability the Irish Chancellor will use the power of varying Imperial taxation—I will presently say why. I think the Irish Government will undoubtedly be tempted to raise money. Again let me quote Lord MacDonnell. In the same letter he said:—It is, we are certain, idle to expect any immediate expansion of Irish revenue by the enforcement of economies in administration or the imposition of fresh taxation. Remember the first of these methods will be impracticable…. The present finances of this Bill will lead to the moral and material stagnation of Ireland.Where can they economise? We have often heard from the Postmaster-General and others that the Irish Government can effect great economies. I have never heard that from any Member sitting on these benches below. I heard the Leader of the Irish party only a night or two ago say there can be no economies for another generation. Lord MacDonnell himself gives the weight of his authority against the idea that any economy in Irish services can be expected. Where, then, can we look for economies? The right hon. Gentleman opposite has pointed out that there may be economies in the transferred services—that is to say, when a transferred service like old age pensions, or the Royal Irish Constabulary, is transferred he will credit Ireland with the cost of that service to the English Exchequer, and, if Ireland likes to run that service on the cheap, that they will be able to save money in that way. That is not put in the Bill. You may look from corner to corner of the Bill, and you will not find any warrant for this very curious kind of finance—that we are giving to Ireland the same money which we have spent for certain purposes; handing it over to her without any condition that she should spend it for that purpose. That, I think, is most unsound finance. I believe—and the right hon. Gentleman will correct me if I am wrong in the supposition—that the Irish Government can at any time call upon the British Exchequer to hand over the amount of money for old age 1213 pensions which it is costing our Exchequer at the time, and that they will take over the rights of the present possessors of old age pensions, and that they in future years will be able, as these old age pensioners die off, to apply that money for any other purposes which they consider of greater advantage to Ireland than the use of the money for old age pensions. I think that is so?
§ Mr. HAYES FISHER
The right hon. Gentleman says I am right. Again I must say that that is unsound finance. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is quarrelling with the doctors of this country because ho says they want to make private arrangements with patients at the cost of the public. "I object," he says, "to your using the money in that way because there will be no control of the British Exchequer." The right hon. Gentleman has now, for the first time, become the champion of control by the British Exchequer of British money. But that is what it is proposed to do in this Bill. It is proposed to hand over a sum of money equivalent to that amount which we are paying for old age pensions, or which we spend on the Royal Irish Constabulary, to hand it over as a free sum to the Irish Exchequer; not to follow it at all, and not in the least to ask any questions as to the use of it; to hand over that sum without any control although it may mainly be drawn out of the pockets of the British taxpayer. I consider that a very great blemish indeed upon this Bill.
The Irish Government will be driven to one of three courses. They will find themselves in want of money, and unable to fulfil any of those great expectations which have been held out to them by the Irish Leaders on many a platform. They will find they want money for social reform and other matters which we all desire to see done. They will be driven to one of three courses. They will send their forty-two representatives over here when parties are evenly balanced in this House, and they will bring up their forty-two-ton gun to bear on the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, and say, "Look here, it is quite impossible to go on under this financial arrangement; we are really starved, and all these great matters which we think ought to be developed in our country are starved for want of money. We hold the balance of power in this House, and unless you put into your Budget some new Grant 1214 for us, then most certainly we shall vote against you and turn you out." There will be no division of purpose in that case amongst the Irish Members. From whatever part the Irishmen will come they will all take the same view on that point. They will be unanimous in that case. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes, that may be very comforting for hon. Members below the Gangway on this side, but it is not very comforting for hon. Members who represent English constituencies. Again and again Irish Members will be in the position in which they will be able to extort from the British Chancellor of Exchequer more money for these purposes. I confess that to a certain extent they have my sympathy, for they will be worse off under this Bill than if they had stayed within the four corners of the Union. That is one course they may take.
The second course is for them to impose new taxation. That power is in the Bill. They will be able to vary the taxation, and when I say vary I mean increase the Imperial taxation of Ireland. In what part of Ireland can they increase the Imperial taxes? There is only one part in Ireland, and that is Ulster. Quite apart from religious questions—as I have said more than once—if I were an Ulsterman I should be afraid of a measure of this kind, because I should feel that the Chancellor of Exchequer would find that there was really only Ulster to tax, and that places like Belfast, Londonderry, and flourishing cities of that kind were really the only possible sources out of which the Irish Chancellor could find the income necessary to satisfy the demands of the electors of the South and West of Ireland. That is what I think is very likely to happen. I object entirely to the Irish Government having this power of varying Imperial taxation. I object to it on very broad grounds. I object to it, first of all, because it strikes at the very roots of Imperial federal finance. There never was an instance, there is no instance, where a subordinate government of this kind—practically a provincial Government—can operate on Imperial and federal finance. That is the position in which the Irish Chancellor will be placed. He will be able to operate adversely to the Chancellor of Exchequer of the United Kingdom in the matter of Imperial taxation. Again, it will cause, as I say, a very great disturbance and a very great conflict between the two Treasuries. They will be always quarrelling, and these quarrels will be 1215 reflected constantly in this House of Commons. Surely—and this is perhaps the greatest objection of all—the Bill sets up a Customs barrier between these two countries.
I think it was the learned Solicitor-General who said if the power were taken away from the Irish Chancellor of reducing taxation there would be no need for Customs barriers to be set up on this side of the Channel. I do not agree with that. I believe if there is any power given to vary at all, that Customs barriers must be set up on both sides of the Channel. To my mind that is one of the greatest blots in this Bill—the setting up of separate Customs barriers between England and Ireland. There is no instance, I believe, anywhere in the world of this, and I think the Postmaster-General has himself admitted as much. As to Customs and Excise, again, there is a whole provision in this Bill setting up the most extraordinary and elaborate machinery for carrying out this idea of Customs and Excise. I will say that right hon. Gentlemen opposite have improved Clauses of this Bill, that they have met us to a certain extent, that they have minimised objections which we made, but, after all, the very fact that the Irish Chancellor can vary taxation in this way, can add to it or reduce it, is bad. These powers, I say, have necessitated the most elaborate and complex machinery which has ever been framed; the machinery which is embraced in Clauses 16 and 17, and let me say that this House has never had any opportunity whatever, and never will have an opportunity of discussing the whole of the machinery which is so very complex and fantastic by which these powers over Customs and Excise may be carried out. Not five minutes has been spent in discussing these Clauses, and not five minutes are likely to be spent. But passing by for the moment the power this Clause as it stands gives, over Customs and Excise, let me impress upon the House the very grave importance of the powers that are given to the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer under this Clause unless this Amendment is accepted. There will be power to the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer to vary the Super-tax, to add to the Super-tax in such a degree as would take away the whole of a man's income. Then again the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer will have power, although he cannot vary the rate of the 1216 Income Tax, to vary the conditions of exemption and abatement attaching to Income Tax, and he can inflict enormous injury upon individuals in this class, and he can make the whole position of Irish citizens far more onerous in respect to Income Tax than the position of English or Scotch citizens.
Here again, I think the minority have much to fear in that way, not because there is any rooted idea of doing them injustice, but because they will be the only people in Ireland who will find the money for the various development schemes, and most of the social reforms that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will demand. All these powers of dealing with Super-tax and of dealing with the variation in exemption and abatement, are not to be given to any other Chancellor; I do not believe they will be given to the Chancellor for England or for Scotland. We are beginning in a very bad way to build up a general, federal financial system, and we are starting federalism upon an unsound and an almost rotten basis. The right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster-General, and those responsible for this Bill, are really exposing the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer to temptation to commit those acts of injustice as is shown by the fact that they actually put into the Bill Amendments which prevent the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer from dealing with Death Duties unfairly as between different classes and different sources of income. They do insert a guard against that. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in Ireland, even if he had the will, will not be able to deal with the Death Duties in the way that will prejudice any particular class or that would prejudice those who draw their income from particular sources, but the Government will not give the same defence as regards Income Tax.
§ Mr. HAYES FISHER
They are in the Bill. I think the right hon. Gentleman will find that the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer is prevented from differentiating in the case of Death Duties between different classes of persons and individuals who draw their income from one source of revenue or another.
§ Mr. HAYES FISHER
Yes; here it is:—
"The power of the Irish Parliament to vary an Imperial tax, so far as Income Tax (not including Super-tax) is concerned, shall only be exercised so as to alter the conditions under which any exemption, abatement, or relief from the tax may be granted to persons resident in Ireland without varying the rate of the tax, and, so far as any Customs Duty or any Death Duty is concerned, shall only be exercised so as to vary the rate of the duty without otherwise altering the provisions with respect to the duty, or discriminating in that variation between persons, articles, or property."
And there is a new Amendment on the Paper in the name of the right hon. Gentleman, which says:—
"The Irish Parliament shall not so vary a Death Duty as to impose the duty on the personal property (not being a leaseholder's or tenant's interest inland) of any person domiciled in Great Britain."
There you have another protective Amendment. We have never been able to see why if it is necessary to guard the interest of people after death, why it is not equally necessary to guard them during their lives. If there is to be a disposition on the part of the Irish Chancellor to treat people's property unfairly after death, why should there not be likely to be the same temptation and disposition to treat different individuals unfairly during their life? I say that these powers are given by the Clause as it stands, but if my Amendment is carried they will be taken away from the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the minority in Ireland would, at all events, have one less fear and dread in connection with this Bill. One of the hon. Members for the City of Cork said the other day that this Bill will make an Irish Parliament a very costly luxury for Ireland. Yes, but it will make it not only a very costly luxury for Ireland but a very costly luxury for England and Scotland as well. To my mind not only are there risks of grave disorder in Ireland which will affect the credit of Ireland for a very long time, but the finances of this Bill lower the credit of Ireland and will put a stop to land purchase on the same favourable terms as land purchase has been carried out between landlord and tenant up to the present. It will arrest land purchase altogether; it will stop social and material reform, and for my part I do not believe 1218 it will for one moment do anything to relieve this House from any of the congestion of business by bringing about that peace and amity and good relations between the two parties. Quite the contrary; I believe that Debate after Debate of the most stormy character will take place in this House because the Irish Parliament will be dissatisfied with the arrangement of its financial conditions. In addition to all this Ireland will be stigmatised as the only country and as the only part of the United Kingdom that contributes nothing to Imperial taxation. This Bill will not produce amity, but will produce discord between the two Exchequers and the two Parliaments. The hon. and learned Member (Mr. Redmond) the Leader of the Nationalist party said the other day, that if there was no Ulster question this Bill would go through by agreement. I tell him that if there had been no Ulster question this Bill would have been bitterly opposed, if only on account of its absolutely hopeless finances, and of the unsound character of the finances in the Bill viewed from every possible point of view, and from none more so than that it strikes at the root of federal finance and violates every single principle ever laid down in any country for the financial relations between two portions of the United Kingdom or Empire. For my part I would oppose this Bill if only on the ground of finance, because I believe its financial scheme is the most unsound of the financial schemes of any of the Home Rule Bills ever submitted to this House.
§ Mr. AMERY
I wish to support the Amendment of my right hon. Friend, because I entirely agree with him in thinking that this scheme of finance is one which is bound to lead to friction and cannot possibly satisfy anyone. It is a system of finance that cannot possibly work because it bears no relation whatever to any conceivable constitutional scheme apart from this Bill. After all, finance is the framework, the skeleton of politics; a constitution can no more work with a financial scheme which does not correspond with it than the body of a living creature could work without its own skeleton. If the most skilful vivisectionist were to put the bony structure of a bulldog into the fleshy integument of a greyhound, does anyone suppose it would either fight or run, and the same applies to this miserable, bastard framework of finance. It is not federal finance; there is no scheme 1219 of finance such as this in any Federal scheme in the world. It certainly is not national; no nation would tolerate for a moment to be tied up with the red tape of this Bill. It is a finance of odds and ends; it is jumble sale finance; it is marine store finance. Let me take this very principle of variation that this Amendment seeks to get rid of. Here you have two Governments with ill-defined responsibilities, with interests that are bound to conflict ranging at will over the whole field of taxation. Here and there each Government is brought up either against the other by some absurd restriction, or against a new power set up above them both in the shape of the Joint Exchequer Board. The right hon. Gentleman, the Postmaster-General, in the optimism of his early speeches, assured us that this was a system of finance in which each side was absolutely unfettered and uninterfered with by the other. He said, "the action of the Imperial Chancellor of the Exchequer will not in any way affect the action of the Home Rule Chancellor," and again, he said, "the Irish Chancellor's finance will not be swung round by the movement of Imperial finance, a consideration which I think is of prime importance."
Just let us look at any single item in this Bill. Take a single item like tea; if we have a 5d. duty here, Ireland may have a halfpenny; if we have a 3d. duty here they cannot have a half-penny. If we have a 3d. duty, obviously Ireland is more capable of bearing them a 2d. duty, but if we have an Imperial duty of 5d. in Ireland, obviously it will be a very useful source of revenue to the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer who is not allowed to impose it. Take another item. Supposing the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer imposes some new tax, what is to be the situation if that proves to be a useful tax and the British Chancellor of the Exchequer wishes to impose it, has the British Chancellor of the Exchequer to refrain from imposing it in Ireland? In other words, has he to limit the scope of his finance, to limit the hope of ever putting an end to that deficit of which we have had so many doubtful optimistic promises? Or, if not, is he going to impose it regardless of what the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer has done? If he does, there is first of all the question, whose tax comes first? If the Irish Chancellor has taxed that article up to the limit it will bear, then if the Irish Chancellor comes first British revenue can get 1220 nothing out of it, but if British revenue gets priority then the tax becomes useless and valueless to the Irish Chancellor. He is knocked out of his tax, and he has got to find a new source of revenue.
This question of priority is very important, and to that again we have never had an answer. Are we to understand that United Kingdom taxation is to be always prior to Irish taxation, and is always to get the first cut off the joint as it were, and the Irish taxation is simply to be a surplus after we have ascertained what the British tax brings in? Or is priority to depend on time? If so is it a question of who puts on the tax first or who first gives notice as to whether the tax is to be put on? Are we going to have both Chancellors of the Exchequer putting down blocking notices of taxes in order to prevent the other putting them on? It is an extraordinarily difficult question as to what really is the yield of an Irish or a British tax. We have had it made clear more than once that we must first calculate what would be the yield if the tax were imposed in Ireland as in Great Britain, and then the remainder is differentiated. That is difficult enough in one year, but take the case where the Irish Government has remitted a tax for many years. In that case how can you calculate what would be the yield to-day in Ireland of an Imperial tax taken off ten years ago. All the circumstances may change, and the very taking off of the tax might alter the habits of the Irish people.
Supposing the Irish Government considers the Excise Duties are much too high and decides to reduce them, and after a time the Excise Duties yield actually increases. The Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer may point with pride to the result of his wise finance and claim the increase as his, whereas the Joint Exchequer Board might say, "No, that tax was temporarily hit by bad trade and by the first imposition of the greater duties. Gradually, in any case, there would have been a very greatly increased yield owing to good trade to-day, and the Irish people, getting accustomed to these duties, and so far from having increased the yield of these duties, you have diminished them, and that money we shall have to take off the Transferred Sum." Is that a sort of proceeding likely to lead to harmony when you are working on such a hypothetical basis? This is no new finance on the part of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. It is very like the sort of land valuation finance we have had, 1221 based on certain imaginary values in the year 1909, and twenty years hence different portions of the Joint Exchequer Board will be wrangling over the imaginary yield of the taxes of 1913 or 1915, which may all have disappeared in the interval. That is one consideration which compels us to believe that this Bill cannot work with regard to its financial provisions, and can only lead to friction. Since this financial scheme has been introduced it has been very considerably modified by the declarations of right hon. Gentlemen opposite. The scheme of the Postmaster-General, as he first expounded it, had a certain superficial attractiveness, and it was a scheme under which the Irish Government, starting with a fixed sum, were to make economies out of that fixed sum for its own profit, and it could add to that sum by taxation in Ireland. Meanwhile the revenue of the United Kingdom was to go on unaffected. If we raised more revenue out of Ireland, it was to go to the reduction of the deficit. To use his own words, "It is the very central point of the scheme that all normal increases in revenue should go into the Imperial Exchequer." That is the scheme as first expounded. At a later stage my right hon. Friend the Member for East Worcestershire (Mr. Austen Chamberlain) pointed out as an objection which would at once be raised in Ireland, that to the extent, that you impose new revenue for the sake of some domestic expenditure in Great Britain, you will be taxing the Irish taxpayer. For example, if you spend more money on education in England, Ireland will have to pay more. If you increase the wages of postmen in England, Ireland is told to make economies by reducing its postmen's wages is to help to pay for it. That is the objection suggested by my right hon. Friend. I do not know what answer the Postmaster-General might have given to that argument if he had been on the spot. He might argue that as long as there is an Irish deficit, the Irish have no business to raise questions of this kind. It was the Chancellor of the Exchequer who, on this point, rose and cheerfully said that of course it would be a gross injustice to levy a duty in Ireland for the specific- purpose of domestic reform in England. I fancy that at once put the whole of the right hon. Gentleman's financial scheme in the soup, and it was at once made clear that, after all, our taxation is not levied definitely for this or that purpose. Therefore it is not possible to remit a specific tax in Ireland 1222 or reduce a specific tax because its product is ear-marked for domestic reform in England. The right hon. Gentleman, seeing that difficulty, went on to suggest that it would not be necessary to alter the uniform taxation of the United Kingdom but that it might be done in some other form of equivalent Grant might be made to Ireland, and so we have as a kind of new embroidery for this system of equivalent Grants. In the case of every new expenditure of Great Britain in the future we have got to have some equivalent Grant made to Ireland.
Then comes the question of the authority which has to settle this matter as to what is domestic expenditure. That is by no means easy to define. Are shipping subsidies domestic expenditure or United Kingdom expenditure? I venture to say that every Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer will hold that subsidies in the case of shipping lines from Southampton to Australia are an expenditure which benefit England and do not benefit Ireland. Take, as another example, the case of land purchase in Ireland. We have incurred vast responsibilities in regard to land purchase in Ireland. If we incur any responsibilities for land purchase in England in the future, will that be treated as a purely English expenditure, and will any allowance be taken for the fact that we have done so much in this respect for Ireland? The right hon. Gentleman suggested that all such questions as these should be left to the House. I wish to know who is to decide what is an Imperial expenditure or a domestic expenditure, and who is to decide the amount of the equivalent Grant. The right hon. Gentleman said the House can decide, and of course it can. Would it not have been better for him to have said, "There is no financial scheme for Ireland, and (he House can from time to time decide what money it likes to pass over." I think it is treating this House with contempt to leave great financial questions of that sort to the temporary decision of any chance-majority actuated by the influences of the moment. I would like to ask if you are going to keep on raising the revenue in Ireland and not use it for extinguishing the deficit, but for giving equivalent Grants to Ireland in this way, when are we likely to come to the end of this period of deficit? That is one change which the right hon. Gentleman has been forced to accept. There is another question which has been attracting attention 1223 from the very first, and it is the extraordinary provision under which the Irish Government is allowed to modify Customs and Excise Duties. The right hon. Gentleman knew quite well that this provision required defending, and what was his defence of it? He said:—I think it is essential, if the Irish Parliament is able to effect economies, that it should be free to reduce whatever taxes they choose, and especially that they should be in a position to reduce those taxes which press most heavily upon the poor classes, namely, the Customs and Excise.He went on to say:—It is a contingency which ought to be avoided, that this Parliament should deliberately say to the Irish Parliament, 'Govern your country as economically as you can; make whatever sacrifices you choose, but you shall never be allowed to raise taxes which press most heavily on your poor people.On the 17th of October the right hon. Gentleman said:—It was an impossible proposition to tell the Irish Government that it might not reduce the burdens on their people.He was referring specifically to tea and sugar. Under pressure from certain hon. Gentlemen behind, the right hon. Gentleman dropped the idea that Customs Duties might be reduced. The Irish can now only increase them, and he has to find an entirely new justification and excuse for his policy. The point I should like particularly to draw the attention of the right hon. Gentleman and the attention of the House to is, What is the effect of these two concessions taken jointly? You got rid of what the right hon. Gentleman at one time considered quite essential, namely, the power of the Irish Government to reduce the taxes on the poor, and you also embark upon a system by means of which you force upon the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer additional equivalent Grants for the taxation imposed in Ireland by this Parliament. Practically you give the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer money which he does not want, and which he may not know how to spend, and you do not allow him to reduce the only tax that is really in the interests of the people of Ireland to reduce. This is a system which by an extraordinary flight of humourous eloquence the right hon. Gentleman describes as "a Bill adjusting Irish finance to Irish needs." This is a system which is to get rid of the evils which the Prime Minister described as "a system under which it is to no one's interests to be economical." Is it to the interests of the Irish Government under this new system to be economical? I fancy it is not. I think under this new system 1224 you will have more extravagance and more waste than hon. Gentlemen opposite have ever anticipated from the existing system. This is a system which, as my right hon. Friend reminded the House, is utterly opposed to the fiscal unity of the United Kingdom. The right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues again and again in general language ask us to point to a Clause which specifically gives protection. I think, taking the whole Bill, it is possible for the Irish Government to introduce protection against this country, and, what is more, the Bill makes it practically imperative upon the Irish Government, in view of all the other restrictions imposed upon them, to try and do something to protect their interests against this country. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Unionist party pointed out as regards drawbacks that the Irish Government is capable of giving considerable protection. The hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. G. Locker-Lampson) pointed out the differentiation between the duties on raw materials and finished goods, in which he showed that there is room for great protection. More than one Member has pointed out that the combination of the power to vary Customs and Excise and the power to grant bounties does, in fact, give a power of protection, unlimited protection almost, to Ireland against this country. The right hon. Gentleman says this power to give a bounty has no relation whatever to the power of dealing with Customs and Excise. He says the two have no connection whatever. I do not know what he means. The two have a close connection, and the combination of the two does invest the Irish Government with very formidable powers. The right hon. Gentleman in Committee pointed out that the Irish Government's finances are limited. For instance, they could not impose bounties in favour of the boot trade, because they would not have the money. That is quite true. If the Irish Government had only its surplus revenue to rely upon for bounties, the effect of any bounty might not be very great, but it is the very fact that the Irish Government can use bounties in combination with an increase of Customs and Excise Duties that gives a real and even a drastic form of Protection.
I gave an instance to which the right hon. Gentleman attempted no reply whatever, and which I feel bound to give again. It is a concrete instance, taken from the present state of the tariff. It will be within the power of the Irish Parliament, under 1225 this Bill, to add 6d. to the Customs and Excise Duty on tobacco, raising it from 3s. 8d. to 4s. 2d. They would By that raise a sum of revenue approximating to £200,000, of which, under the 10 per cent. rule, they would, I think, be able to retain £170,000. I dare say they could afford to add £30,000 out of their own pocket, making £200,000, which would enable them to give a shilling bounty to 2,000,000 lbs. of Irish-grown tobacco. What would be the position of the Irish tobacco manufacturer? He would nominally pay an Excise Duty of 4s. 2d., but he would get a bounty of Is., and in effect he would be paying an Excise Duty of 3s. 2d., while his British and foreign competitor would have to pay a Customs Duty of 4s. 2d. on getting into Ireland. If that is not Protection, I do not know what is. What is the position of that same Irish manufacturer when he exports his protected tobacco into England? He gets a drawback on the nominal Excise Duty. He therefore gets a drawback, not on 3s. 8d., but on 4s 2d.—having, in fact, paid an Excise Duty of 3s. 2d., he gets a drawback on the higher scale. In practice, his tobacco will only have paid 2s. 8d. when it comes into the British market, whereas raw tobacco and English-grown tobacco will have to pay 3s. 8d. That is enough not only to give protection to Ireland, but to dislocate the tobacco industry of this country and to compel this country, if there were no other reason, to impose a tariff against Irish tobacco. When we suggested that possibility, the right hon. Gentleman said that after all there were means of retaliation open to this country. In other words, he thinks, as the obvious result of his financial scheme, we shall be bound to put up a Customs barrier on this side of St. George's Channel, as well as on the other side.
That is an article where there is both Customs and Excise, but what about articles where there is a Customs Duty and no Excise Duty, as at present in the solitary case of sugar? There is a provision, paragraph (e) I believe, which says the Irish Government cannot take any action which would cause the Customs Duty to exceed the Excise Duty. But where there is no Excise Duty you cannot say the variation of the Customs Duty causes the Customs Duty to exceed the Excise Duty. If the Irish Government were to lower the Customs on sugar or to increase the Customs on sugar, could anyone say they caused it to exceed the Excise, when there never 1226 was any Excise? The effect of this will be infinitely greater when the time comes, as it is bound to come, when the United Kingdom has a tariff on a great many articles without a corresponding Excise. Will not every article give the Irish Government power to protect their own industries and vary the whole Customs of the United Kingdom, and will not that fact be a constant inducement to Irish Members in this House to press for such a change? We on this side may welcome that, but, at any rate, it will be to the interest of Ireland if this measure goes through to see we get some sort of tariff which taxes as many articles as possible, because that will give the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer the greatest amount of freedom with regard to his own revenue. I wish most seriously to call attention to another omission in the Bill. It is a point which has never been answered. This Bill undoubtedly does not allow a differential Excise on articles where there is a Customs Duty. But where there is no Customs Duty there is nothing whatever to prevent the Irish Government from imposing an Excise Duty on the sale of goods. There is nothing whatever to prevent the Irish Government constructing a complete Protectionist system by imposing Excise Duties on the sale of British manufactured goods. It can trace those goods easily enough through the Customs House, which, thanks to the efforts of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Islington (Mr. Lough), is going to be so effective. The only attempt the right hon. Gentleman made to answer me was that the Irish people would not be so foolish as to tax the woollen cloth worn by the poor people of Ireland in order to protect the Irish industry. That may be his notion of folly. It is the notion of good sense of every other country in the world, and I do not credit the Irish people with a double dose of original virtue or a double dose of original wisdom. I think they are intelligent enough, if they have an industry they value, to use any means they can to protect it.
This is to be the starting point of a federal system ! We are to have a United Kingdom Budget which is to be merely the hypothetical basis on which the four Chancellors of the different Governments are going to work for the framing of their own tariffs and their own revenue. It is a truly inconceivable system. What is the alternative? Are you going to have this system in Ireland and a normal federal system as between England, Scotland, and 1227 Wales? You might then, for instance, have the Income Tax a provincial or State source of revenue. Are you going to have the United Kingdom Parliament imposing a United Kingdom Income Tax in Ireland which will not be imposed in England, Scotland, and Wales, where they have a provincial Income Tax? On the other hand, will you have the Irish members voting to settle the United Kingdom tariff which the Scotch and Welsh members cannot change, but which they can change as much as they like? The whole scheme is absolutely preposterous and unworkable, because no honest attempt has ever been made to adapt it and to fit it in to any constitutional idea whatever. It is not federal finance, and still less is it national or separatist finance. I have a great deal of sympathy, though I do not agree, with people like Mr. Childers and the Select Committee the right hon. Gentleman appointed, who say Ireland is suffering from a real want of responsibility and of independence, and that if you only threw Ireland on her own resources, though she might have to pass through difficulties, she would come out of them strengthened with new fibre which would bring new prosperity in its train. That is not the finance of this Bill, and none of the arguments in favour of Home Rule which rest on that idea of strengthening the fibre of Irishmen can be urged to justify this scheme. This is a scheme which can only destroy the independence and the good sense both of English and of Irish financiers and of English and Irish people. It is not federal finance or separatist finance or Unionist finance; it is just jumble-sale finance.
§ Mr. LOUGH
The Government made great efforts in Committee to satisfy some criticisms of this kind, and one would have thought they would have received a little gratitude, but we have had the most bitter, and I might say the most venomous attack on the finance of the Rill. I mention that as a warning to my right hon. Friend. The scheme has not all its original merits, but I hope at least it will be preserved to us in its present state and that no further concessions will be made in answer to the demands to which we have been listening. One would think to hear hon. Members opposite that everything was going on nicely with regard to Irish finance, that this House has no cause of complaint, and that a wicked Irish Government was coming in to carry desolation 1228 into a fair and prosperous scene. Take the cases mentioned by the hon. Member who has just sat down. He instanced the case of sugar, and said there could be no Excise Duty and therefore it could not be said the Irish Government could cause the Customs Duty to exceed the Excise Duty. The Government have already provided for that. Where a Customs Duty is levelled there must be a corresponding Excise Duty. The hon. Member is prejudiced by a superficial knowledge of affairs in Great Britain. I mention this matter of sugar because it is such a plain and elementary case. Every child is getting familiar with the great example that is going on before our eyes to-day. The manufacture of beet sugar has commenced in England, and it is being made without any Excise Duty being paid upon it. That is a defect in our law. The people round about Norwich engaged in the industry are having a grand time until the Chancellor of the Exchequer gets his eye upon them. It is an anomaly we have got in Great Britain. The Chancellor of the Exchequer comes in and prevents any leakage of that sort in Ireland, and the hon. Gentleman instead of showing the least gratitude makes it a ground of still further attack upon the sound system embodied in the Bill. Take his example of tobacco. He proved that all sorts of wicked things would be done in Ireland. He said a bounty would be given on Irish grown tobacco. Who would have thought that under the British Parliament anything of that sort had been tried? That last Conservative Government gave a direct cash bounty of something like 1s. a pound on tobacco. My right hon. Friend found himself unable to deal with it, and it has been given by this Parliament. One would think hon. Members opposite would be ashamed to mention these cases. They are mere illustrations of bad finance under the British Parliament. Take another case mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment (Mr. Hayes Fisher), because I must accuse him of being just as bitter as the hon. Member who seconded. He did not thank my right hon. Friend for what he had done.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. LOUGH
He gave him just one little teaspoonful of thanks for something which I think it would have been better if he had left undone. Generally speaking, the 1229 right hon. Gentleman was exceedingly irritable. Take the point he made just before he sat down. He said, Ireland will make no Imperial contributions. The aim of the Bill is to get back to the contribution period. But I would ask, is there any period of contribution, or any prospect of one in Ireland, unless this Bill comes into operation? Of course not. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Fulham has laid elaborate arguments before this House. The Amendment he proposed will go far, I think, to destroy the usefulness of this financial scheme, which, I would venture to remind the House, is a complete scheme as it stands now, and it would wreck it. The scheme has been most carefully built up, and I think if it had been carried through the House in the form in which it was originally presented, without yielding to Amendments which have evoked very little gratitude, it would have been a credit to those who drafted it. The Amendment proposes to strike out the words, "The Irish Parliament shall have power," to add to, or reduce, or discontinue any Imperial tax. That is how the Bill stood. I wish that the Irish Parliament had full power to do as it liked with taxation as long as the affairs of Great Britain were treated with fairness by them. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Fulham thought that the finances here might be affected by the changes made in Ireland. It is not so. They cannot be affected. The revenue of the British Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot be touched by any reduction made in Ireland. Any such reduction must be made purely at the expense of Ireland herself. That is provided for most strictly in the Bill. Yet the hon. Member does not recognise it. He said that the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer of the future might give away things at the expense of the British Chancellor of the Exchequer. That is quite contrary to the idea of the Bill.
This particular provision in the Bill, that the Irish Parliament should have power either to abolish or raise or reduce any tax, has already been dealt with. It has been taken up, not only by hon. Members opposite, but by some misguided hon. Members on this side of the House. The Irish Parliament is not to have power to reduce the Customs Duties. I deplore that very much. I do not believe there is a people in the world who love taxes being reduced more than the Irish. Nothing 1230 would make the Irish Parliament so popular as a reduction of taxation, and I believe very strongly that when Irishmen get control of their own affairs they will find means of doing that. What harm would it have been to this House if it had left the scheme perfect in that respect, as long as it provided that the reduction should be made only at the expense of Ireland? From that point of view I cannot see why the Bill should not have been left in its original shape. It comes into work at once, but only provisionally. You can better the scheme after a certain period, when equilibrium is restored, in three years. If Irishmen have any sense they will do that a great deal sooner than hon. Gentlemen opposite think. Every inducement is given by the Bill to the Irish Parliament to establish the equilibrium, and that will be hastened by the provision that the Irish cannot reduce taxation. It will bring nearer the day when the equilibrium will be restored between the two countries. The provision clearly indicates that when that day comes and proper provision is made Irishmen will have full power over their own affairs. That goes far to mitigate my hostility to the concession made by my right hon. Friend. I think I may say that the Bill remains, as far as principle goes, very much in the shape in which it was first presented to this House. It is a most excellent scheme from that point of view. I believe if my right hon. Friend the Member for Fulham, who has a certain, a considerable, amount of financial ability, would give particular attention to the principles on which this scheme is founded instead of picking out details in it, he would recognise that it has very considerable merit.
The first principle is that accounts shall be taken between the two countries. Is not that just? This Parliament has been trying for twenty years to do that, and this Bill will make it possible for an account to be taken. The second principle is that Ireland shall get, as was given in this Clause, limited rights to alter her taxation. They are very limited rights, but she has the right. Anyone who has listened to the long arguments we have had in this House for years on financial relations, must know that that is the least any Home Rule Bill could give. The third principle is that Ireland will gain by any economy she can make, and eventually she will gain full control over her financial affairs. The fourth principle is that in due time Ireland will gain complete fiscal autonomy. But she can only do so by 1231 making an Imperial contribution. These are the principles embodied in the Bill. The financial scheme runs through fifteen Clauses in the Bill, and I have never heard one of these principles attacked.
§ Mr. LOUGH
But if the right hon. Gentleman had been here this afternoon he would have heard something with regard to the particular principles on which are based the financial scheme; he would have learned that they were attacked on all sorts of inaccurate details, such, for instance, as the sugar illustration which was put before the House this afternoon, and he would have realised that the principles of the Bill had been untouched. My right hon. Friend the Member for Fulham mentioned a letter by Lord MacDonnell, who, he said, is a great financial authority, attacking the scheme. I have the same fault to find with the letters from Lord MacDonnell as I had with the speech of my right hon. Friend. Lord MacDonnell keeps finding fault with Government schemes, but he does not propose on his side any complete or watertight scheme which could be put in its place. The only thing I can understand from his letters is that evidently the large Grants are not given under it. Lord MacDonnell wants Grants, and some Irishmen, no doubt, are content to take Grants. In this matter great sums are being given by the House to Ireland. The Bill may be effective in respect of land purchase. I do not think the scheme does full justice to the necessities of Ireland in that respect. But we had an answer to-day from the Prime Minister which shows that that point will be considered in due time by the Government. As far as the land is concerned, that is a reserved service. We have heard from the Prime Minister it is one of the questions that will come up to be dealt with at some future time, and then will be the opportunity for considering—the right hon. Gentleman used very wide words—any proposals that may be put forward for more liberal treatment towards Ireland. We have looked at the 1232 scheme of the Bill as drafted. That scheme of Grants means a mere continuation of the bad system of the past. It would never lead Ireland to effect economies or take grip of her own affairs or realise the dignity and strength of a nation. The Bill endeavours to bring order out of chaos. It endeavours to take up a scheme to deal with a system which is as bad as it can possibly be, and to apply the principles I have mentioned to it, and, on the whole, I believe the effect will be excellent both for Ireland and for Great Britain. I do not think there was very much in the long speech we heard from the right hon. Gentleman that needs any answer. He spoke about forty-two hungry Irish Members claiming better financial treatment for Ireland. What matters forty-two Irishmen? Is the right hon. Gentleman afraid of them? Are there not 103 here now? Have they ever succeeded in getting even fair financial treatment? My object in speaking tonight is to appeal to my right hon. Friend not to make this Clause any worse than it is at present. The right hon. Gentleman with great ingenuity has pounced on certain words. I want as much liberty as possible to be left to the Irish Parliament. We have this vital word at the end, "Provided"(a), (b), and (c), etc. These are the limitations already existing in the Bill. I would beg my right hon. Friend not to go any further. I appeal to him to stick to the framework of the Bill as originally produced, a framework which I believe will be of great use to Ireland.
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY
I have listened with great interest to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Islington (Mr. Lough), but I am not quite certain that I thoroughly understand all the arguments he advanced. I understood him to commence his speech by saying that all the principles in the Bill with regard to finance were excellent. He then enumerated the principles, all of which he described as being good. Then, to my astonishment, in the last words he used, which I took down, he appealed to his right hon. Friend not to make the Clause any worse. He alluded to the word "provided," which he said was a fatal word. How does he reconcile that with his previous statement that this particular Clause and the Financial Clauses in general were excellent. He seemed to think that my hon. Friends on this side who disagree with the Clause and are supporting the Amendment, and who have some little 1233 knowledge of finance, really did not know as much as himself, that their opinion was not worth considering, and that his misguided Friends behind him, who had caused alterations to be made in the Bill, were even worse than my hon. Friends on this side of the House. He talked about my right hon. Friend (Mr. Hayes Fisher) having the effrontery to do certain things; but he himself had the effrontery to say that he hoped, the Clause would not be made worse, and that certain fatal words would not be added. I suppose that, like the postscript of a lady's letter, the real meaning of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was in the end, and that what he really believes is that the Amendment is right, that the Clause is bad, but that he does not like to say so too openly to his right hon. Friend and his fellow Members on that side of the House. The right hon. Gentleman said the finance is going to be all right, because in a certain time equilibrium is going to be established. When does the right hon. Gentleman think that equilibrium is coming? From my knowledge of the party below the Gangway, and I have sat in the House a great number of years with them, although, no doubt, they have many excellent qualities, they have not financial wisdom to any great degree. My belief is that the finances of Ireland, which are not in a very good state at the present moment, will be far worse when hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway have control over them. Consequently, the sanguine spirit with which the right hon. Gentleman looks forward to the establishment of an equilibrium is not likely to be rewarded in the near future.
I do not quite understand what the right hon. Gentleman meant when he said that there was to be an Imperial contribution, which he seemed to think an excellent thing. I suppose he was alluding to the £2,000,000 which Great Britain will have to pay to Ireland. I do not think that is an excellent thing. If we are to give Home Rule to Ireland we should not be called upon to put our hands in our pockets for what we on this side of the House regard as a wrong policy. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that we need not be afraid of forty-two Irish Members in this House. He asked, "What are forty-two Irish Members? Have we not had 103 Irish Members in this House for a great many years, and what have they done?" The right hon. Gentleman must be laughing at us. What have 1234 the Irish Members done? They have captured the Radical party, of which the right hon. Gentleman is such an ornament, and they have told him and his leaders on the Front Bench what they are to do; they have led the Radical party for the last four or five years, and have initiated the whole of their policy. Is that nothing? The right hon. Gentleman knows that forty-two Members can do a very great deal, and that it is not necessary to have a very large number of Members in this House provided they are united and are capable of making speeches on necessary occasions and voting together in the Lobby. No one can deny that hon. Members below the Gangway are quite capable in that direction. I will endeavour now to approach the Amendment, which the right hon. Gentleman, if he will excuse me for saying so, did not seem to approach at all. He gave us a disquisition on the principles of the Bill which had nothing to do with the Amendment, and ventured to suggest that no one had contradicted them. I should be perfectly willing to respond to that challenge if I thought it would be in order to do so, but I prefer to limit my few remarks to the actual Amendment before the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I think it is time to do that. The only hon. Member of the party opposite who has spoken certainly did not devote his remarks to the Amendment.
The Amendment is designed to prevent the Irish Parliament from varying any Imperial tax. I ask hon. Members below the Gangway whether they attach much importance to these words? According to the right hon. Gentleman opposite, the Clause has been made worse since the Bill was introduced. The effect of the Clause as it now stands is to prevent the Irish Parliament reducing taxation, except possibly in the case of the Super-tax and Death Duties. So far as the Super-tax is concerned, the reduction can only be made if the Super-tax is not part of the Income Tax. I am not a lawyer, but my recollection is that the Super-tax has been held to be part of the Income Tax. I am not sure that that was not done in the case of Mr. Bowles. If that is so, then the Super-Tax cannot be reduced. I am not quite sure whether I am right, but in any event the Super-Tax does not amount to much in Ireland, so it does not very much matter. Therefore, the only tax which can be reduced if these words are left in is the Death Duties. The Death Duties in Ireland do not yield a very large amount. Therefore, I do not quite see what value 1235 the retention of these words has for the party below the Gangway. I suppose they desire that the words shall be in in order to draw attention to the fact under Home Rule they may increase Imperial taxes, but cannot reduce them. So far as British Members are concerned, surely it is better that the control of Imperial taxes in Ireland should remain in our own hands. I do not know what opinion the Chancellor of the Exchequer holds upon this point. I should like to ask him on what ground he thinks he will gain, if he keeps control of the Imperial taxes in Ireland, by the retention of these words?
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Lloyd George)
To what words does the hon. Baronet refer?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
To the words proposed by the Amendment to be left out—
"To vary either by way of addition, reduction or discontinuance and Imperial tax so far as respects the levy of that tax in Ireland."
If those words are left out, the only power of reduction will be in regard to the Death Duties. I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as a supporter of the Bill, if the Exchequer Board are to administer the Imperial taxes in Ireland, what does he think he is going to gain by the inclusion of these words? Would it not be much easier for him if the whole of the administration and the levying of Imperial taxes in Ireland were under his own control? What advantage is there for Ireland or for England in retaining these words? I cannot see what advantage there is for Ireland. The only advantage they will get is by way of reduction. I presume that one of the advantages of a Home Rule Bill is to give Ireland powers of levying taxation. We have always been told that Ireland is too heavily taxed. I have endeavoured to point out that under this Clause the only taxation they can reduce is the Death Duties. Therefore, in fact, all that these words do is to give the Irish Parliament power to raise the taxes, and not to decrease them. I want to know, first of all, what Ireland is going to gain; and, secondly, what the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to gain by the inclusion of these words in the Bill. I am glad the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Islington is not in the House, because he might say I had some little knowledge of finance. I do not want to claim 1236 even so much as that, but I have found during my business experience that if you are going to manage a thing, you had better manage it yourself, and not have somebody else in who also has a finger in the pie. What we are doing now is to put a considerable amount of power in the hands of the British Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Exchequer Board, while we are allowing hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway to put their finger into the pie in such a way, that while it cannot help them, it may injure us. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will inform us whether he really thinks it is necessary to adhere to these words.
§ Mr. DAVID MASON
The hon. Baronet referred to the very able speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for West Islington (Mr. Lough), and said he had criticised the Clause as being made worse by Amendments which have been made. It is quite clear to hon. Members on this side of the House, and I hope to hon. Members on the other side, that what my right hon. Friend meant was that he supported the financial proposals of the Government, but that he was sorry that owing to certain exceptions taken on this side of the House that sonic of the liberties and powers which were granted to Ireland in the Bill, as originally introduced, have now been circumscribed. I think he was perfectly consistent when he said that he hoped that the Clause would not be made still worse by this Amendment being carried, and by these powers being still further circumscribed. I am sorry the hon. Baronet did not understand that, and I hope I have made the matter quite clear. My right hon. Friend supports most loyally and enthusiastically the financial proposals of the Government, and, in fact, would go even further, and would not circumscribe them, as has been done. I, like my right hon. Friend, was very much disappointed with the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of this Amendment. There was nothing of a constructive character in their proposals. Their criticism was largely composed of strong epithets. The only tangible proposal, as far as I have been able to gather, which has been suggested, was made, I think, a week or two ago when the united support of the Opposition was given to the proposal to cut Ulster out of this Bill. Some reference has been made by the Mover of the Amendment to the effect on Irish credit of this measure of Home Rule. I appeal to 1237 the hon. Baronet. Surely, if this proposal that Ulster should be out out of the Bill had been carried, he -would much rather lend money to a united Ireland than to a separate province, like Ulster, or to the rest of Ireland if Ulster were cut out. When you come forward with such a proposal which is of a destructive character, when you criticise this Bill as likely to damage Irish credit, if you are to cut Ulster out of the Bill, if you were to have a disunited Ireland, you would neither benefit Ulster, a small province which would be quite unable to borrow and therefore quite unable properly to develop her resources as if she were united to the rest of Ireland, and certainly you would prejudice the rest of Ireland if you cut Ulster out.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Does the hon. Member think that if Ulster is united against her will to the rest of Ireland she can borrow money more cheaply?
§ Mr. D. MASON
That is hardly a fair question. What I am suggesting is that if you were to cut Ulster out, as was suggested, the hon. Baronet knows very well that Ulster would not be in a position to borrow as well as if she were a part of a united Ireland. That is surely a self-evident proposition. The Mover of the Amendment devoted considerable length to this question of credit and the effect which this Bill would have upon the credit of Ireland. May I offer an illustration? It is not quite a parallel case, but, for instance, when Cuba was severed from Spain that did not have an adverse effect upon the credit of Cuba. On the contrary, it benefited both Cuban and Spanish credit.
§ Mr. D. MASON
There is nothing except a moral support from the United States, Cuba is, to all intents and purposes, quite disunited from the United States. In this case Ireland will certainly not be disunited from Great Britain. She will not only have the moral support of Great Britain behind her, but a very close connection under this Bill, because forty-three Members are to come here. This Bill does not mean the separation of Ireland. On the contrary you will have the advantages of both worlds. You will have Ireland with full powers for self-government and yet part and parcel of the Imperial connection, enjoying good credit and improving credit. I believe the hon. Baronet himself would much rather lend money to a prosperous Ireland than to an 1238 Ireland whose population was gradually declining. Under this Bill we hope that prosperity will come to Ireland, and that capital will flow towards Ireland.
Another point I should like to refer to is this. The right hon. Gentleman, the mover of this Amendment, laid great stress on the fact that there would be no possibility of the Irish Exchequer raising any money. He ruled out any possibilities from economy, and he referred to some remarks which had been made by the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. John Redmond). I do not think the hon. and learned Gentleman absolutely ruled out any advantages to be derived from economy in the future. If I remember rightly he very cautiously said that certainly nothing very great might be anticipated from immediate economies; but anyone who studies, for example, this Report of the Primrose Committee and gives any close attention to the advantages which we hope may be derived from Home Rule undoubtedly looks forward to a very great income being derived from economies. Let me quote what the Primrose Committee say on this very point. They speak of the disadvantages of the existing system in Ireland, being in such close relationship to the United Kingdom, and they go on to say, instancing the Post Office, which is a transferred service, that:With a falling population in Ireland and with no very marked enhancement in the general activities of the country, an increase of nearly 74 per cent. in fifteen years in the cost of running the business of the Post Office certainly requires explanation; and from the evidence of the Accountant-General of the Post Office we gather that it must be attributed in great measure to the fact that enlarged postal facilities entailing extra expense and augmentations of pay, both of which were considered to be required in Great Britain, had, under the unified system of administration, to be extended to Ireland, notwithstanding that the circumstances of Ireland taken by themselves would not under either head have justified such large addition to the cost of the establishment there.An increase of 74 per cent, in fifteen years when the population of Ireland has been declining, and therefore the facilities demanded must also be declining co-incident-ally with the falling of the population! We know, on the other hand, that trade and commerce have been going forward in this country under Free Trade by leaps and bounds, and that there has been an increased demand for these facilities, and yet the increased expenditure which has been entailed by the enlarging commerce in England under the present system must have been automatically applied to Ireland. Therefore, I submit that under this new system of handing to Ireland the control of 1239 these transferred services, we may reasonably anticipate considerable economies as the result of the increased saving and surplus accruing be Ireland. I hope and believe that this Bill then will lead to this happy state of affairs. I should like to read a further quotation from the Primrose Committee's own Report. It is not a political report, and I hope it may appeal to all sides as a fair and impartial resume of the financial conditions. They say:—On these facts we hold that the experience of the last few years amply confirms the theory that a financial partnership with Great Britain does lead in Ireland to a scale of expenditure which is beyond the requirements and beyond the natural resources of the country itself, and the matter seems to us of such great and such increasing importance that we must be excused if we dwell on it at some further length.They go on to quote authorities such as Lord Farrer, Lord Welby, Mr. Bertram Currie, a well-known and respected name in the City of London which will appeal to the hon. Baronet, and they add:—Quite apart from any question of a change in the political relations between Great Britain and Ireland, some radical change in the financial relations is imperatively required in the interest of both countries alike, of Great Britain no less than of Ireland.I hope that to such authorities as these, if our arguments make no impression on hon. Members opposite, they will give a certain measure of credit and a certain charitableness. I quote these authorities, who are unbiassed, and therefore, unless hon. Members have an alternative scheme to propose to this House, we are justified in giving, as I hope and believe we shall on this side of the House, our hearty support to the financial proposals of the Government.
§ Lord N. CRICHTON-STUART
I do not propose to enter on the maze of financial ideals with which the hon. Member has put before the House. I really cannot possibly agree with him that Ulster, if left alone, would not be able to borrow on a better financial status than if she still remained with the rest of Ireland. Surely it must stand to reason that Ulster at present is the only part of Ireland which really and truly has behind her any possibility of financial credit, and she could not be anything but hampered if she were still attached to the South and South-West of Ireland. I do not know whether I personally approach this Amendment from a point of view different from anyone else in the House. I do not think I could possibly take that to myself, but at the same time, although one hears continually the case of Ireland, and the ideas 1240 only of what the benefit to Ireland might be, and what the hurt to Ireland might be under this and other Amendments, still surely the whole of the case of the taxpayers of Great Britain should at the same time be considered, and if this Amendment was not carried, is it not possible that in the future some Chancellor of the Exchequer in this country might endeavour to carry out some great social reform, some difficult scheme for the benefit of the people, not only of England and Scotland and Wales, but also of Ireland, even under the Home Rule Bill, something like the Insurance Act, something intricate and difficult and requiring support from the whole country in order to make it an entire success, and the Irish Government might immediately turn round and say, "Certainly not. We are not going to have anything whatever to do with your proposal. We are not going to help you in the least in any of the financial arrangements which you propose to be carried out for this great social reform, as we do not think we are going to have an adequate return in Ireland"? That would not only spoil the whole scheme of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but would at the same time stultify in the face, not only of Ireland, but of the taxpayers of Great Britain, but in the face of the whole world, the Imperial House of Commons and the Imperial Treasury. It appears to me that is a point of view which certainly ought to be considered by the people of this country.
During the Committee stage, when this Amendment was being considered, the question of precedents was brought up. Not only, surely, is it a question of precedent entirely as to whether this is new or not, whether there was any previous reason for it or not, surely it is a question entirely of expediency in itself. If you give power to the Irish Parliament to vary, to add, to reduce, or discontinue any of the financial arrangements or propositions of the Imperial Exchequer, how is the Imperial Chancellor of the Exchequer ever going to know what the result of the tax is going to be, or how is he going to know at any time whether his proposition will be able to be fulfilled? It strikes me as being entirely impossible, because there may be a section in the Irish House of Commons who, although the public may think that the Irish House of Commons is in entire agreement with the Imperial House of Commons, may let things go on up to a certain point and then turn round for the sole 1241 reason of attempting to destroy the power of the Imperial House of Commons, or the power of any particular Government which is in power at the time. I think that, without this Amendment, the Bill will go a great way further towards one of the pitfalls—the greatest pitfall in my personal opinion—there is in the whole of Home Rule, and that is the question of the separation of Ireland from England. It appears to me that as soon as you give power to the Irish Parliament to do what this Amendment seeks to cut away from the Bill, you allow one of the main and most easy lines of cleavage to get its greatest power. If you are to have no power to retain the control of the Imperial Parliament over those parts of taxation still left with the Exchequer in this country so far as Ireland is concerned, then you are going to cut away the whole relation between the monetary position there and any monetary position in this country. I do think that this would lead to the stultification of the whole of the Exchequer in this country. That would be entirely stopped, or rather it could not take place, if this Amendment were carried. It ought to be given the most careful consideration. I associate myself with hon. Members in protesting against the disgraceful shortness of the time given for the consideration of this matter.
§ Mr. CASSEL
I propose to confine my observations strictly to the Amendment. What the Amendment proposes is to deprive the Irish Parliament of all power of varying Imperial taxes. But the kernel of that, and the most important feature of the varying of Imperial taxes, is the power of increasing Customs Duties. So long as the Irish Parliament was still to have the power of reducing Customs Duties, I could see the reasonableness of the arguments of those who urged that it should have that power. After all, the Duties on tea and sugar are very high for a poor country, and it was very necessary to give power to reduce these duties. But now it is simply and solely a question of increasing Customs Duties, and I ask whether a sufficient case has been made out for giving to the Irish Parliament a power which no State Legislature in any federation in the world can exercise. It is an absolutely unique power which is to be found nowhere, destroying the system of Free Trade within the United Kingdom itself, and setting up a Customs barrier within the United Kingdom, 1242 simply for the purpose of enabling the Irish Parliament to increase Customs Duties, the power of reducing them having been taken away. Is it so vital to the Irish Parliament that they should have that power? In the first place, let me remind the House that under the Bill of 1886 they were not to have that power, nor were they to have it under the Bill of 1893. Mr. Gladstone constantly attached the greatest importance to the fact that for Customs purposes the unity of the United Kingdom would be preserved. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. J. Redmond) made a speech in which he stated that he was willing to allow the power of levying Customs Duties to be left entirely in the hands of the Imperial Parliament.
I think we are entitled to know what are the strong and urgent reasons which have arisen since that time to necessitate such a power on the part of the Irish Parliament. So far as increasing the Super-tax on income is concerned, for my part I do not care very much whether they have the power or not. I do not think it is of much importance. They can only increase it 10 per cent., and as it produces only a small sum, that percentage is not likely to make much difference one way or the other. Nor do I attach much importance to the increasing of the Death Duties. If they increased the Death Duties, I do not know that I would have very much objection to that. You were at first willing to give the Irish Parliament power to reduce Customs Duties, but now the proposal has narrowed itself down to the question of increasing these duties, and I do not think any case has been made out for giving to the Irish Parliament a power which does not exist in any other federal State in the civilised world.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
Can the hon. Gentleman give an instance of any federation where there is not Free Trade?
§ Mr. CASSEL
I think the hon. Gentleman has not followed the trend of my argument. What I say is that you will find there is Free Trade within the limits of the federation itself. If you take Australia, you will find no State has power to set up a Customs barrier against any other State within the limits of the federation itself. But here it is proposed to set up a Customs barrier in one part of the United Kingdom as against another part. I challenge the hon. Member to give an 1243 instance of any country where that system does exist. I say you have not made out any sufficient case for departing from that universal principle. I may remind the hon. and learned Member of the arguments used to induce us to assent to the principle of Home Rule at all. The argument always used was that Ireland is a comparatively poor country, that England is a rich country, and that Ireland cannot live on the same scale as England. It was stated also that the effect of Ireland being associated with England was that the cost of governing the country is too high. Let me give one or two quotations from the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, in which he said that the expenditure on the government of Ireland could probably be reduced to about a half if they had Home Rule. Speaking in Dublin on 26th January, 1905, he said:—There is no reason why the government of Ireland should cost more than half the present expenditure. The whole scale of expenditure is excessive.Again at Drumkeerin on 27th October, 1907, the hon. Member said:—Ireland is a poor country, and our government should he run on modest and economical lines.He also said:—If Ireland were self-governed, she could easily be governed as cheaply as Belgium or any of the small nations of Europe. She could easily be governed at one-half of the present expenditure.What is the proposal of the Bill? It is to give Ireland the full amount it costs to govern the country at present under this extravagant system, which, according to the hon. and learned Member, is double what it ought to be. Not only do you give the full amount as ascertained by the Exchequer Board, but you give £500,000 a year in addition, and the Irish Parliament are to have the power of imposing independent taxes over and above that. In addition to all that, if they cannot get on without raising the duties on tea, sugar, beer, and spirits in Ireland, they can increase these duties. No proposal more inconsistent with everything which has been said to us in order to commend Home Rule could be brought forward than that of insisting upon the necessity of the Irish Parliament being able to increase Customs Duties over and above what they are in this country. I wish to know whether it is so vital to Ireland to have the power of increasing the duties on tea, sugar, beer, and spirits that we, the Imperial Parliament, should depart from the principle of having one Customs barrier for the whole of the United Kingdom. What 1244 is now proposed is absolutely inconsistent with the declarations of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. CASSEL
The hon. Member says the expenditure cannot be reduced to one-half at once. But what is proposed is to give Ireland the total of the present expenditure, and £500,000 in addition, together with full power of levying independent taxes. I think the proposal is absolutely contrary to every argument which has been urged as a reason for granting Home Rule to Ireland. No sufficient case has been made out for doing something detrimental to the United Kingdom as a whole, for we shall have the inconvenience of Customs barriers set up between England and Ireland, and we shall have to pay the expense of these barriers, which may be an amount out of proportion to the revenue raised by the duties themselves. If they put a penny on tea, the result will be that we shall have to set up Custom Houses not only in Ireland, but in Great Britain, and the whole expense of this will have to be borne by the Imperial taxpayer, and not the Irish taxpayer. The expense of working this out may be altogether out of proportion to the revenue of Ireland, and I think this Parliament ought not to assent to any such course. I think there will be the greatest possible difficulty in ascertaining the proceeds of an Imperial tax and the proceeds of an Irish tax. I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman what will be the effect of Sub-section (4), Clause 16, so far as Customs Duties are concerned? As I read the Sub-section, the effect of it will be that if the Irish Parliament were to increase, say, the duty on spirits or beer 10 per cent., the full proceeds of the duty actually collected, quite irrespective of whether the yield was affected by the increased duty, would have to go to the Irish Exchequer, and the balance only to the Imperial Exchequer. That appears to me to be the true construction of the Subsection, but if the right hon. Gentleman can place any other construction upon it, of course I shall be very glad to hear what he has to say. It appears to me altogether inconsistent with the Government Amendment which has been put on the Paper with respect to Clause 17, under which an entirely different procedure is set up of at first assessing what the duties would have produced if they had not been increased and 1245 only giving Ireland any excess over that, which seems to me to be quite in conflict with Sub-section (4) of Section 16. I mention that now as we shall not have an opportunity of discussing the later Amendment, and it does appear to me to be relevant to this Amendment, with regard to the difficulty of determining what are the proceeds of the Imperial taxes and what are the proceeds of the Irish taxes.
To whom have we left the settlement of that? Absolutely to the Exchequer Board. They must define and determine how far the diminution in yield of a tax is due to the tax having been increased, and how far it is due to a change in the habits of the people. It is all a matter of pure estimate You cannot have any degree of certainty with regard to it. You are going to leave that to the Exchequer Board, four Treasury officials with the chairman, to determine this simply as a matter of guesswork and estimate, and this House will have no opportunity of exercising control but will be bound by that estimate and guess-work. It is quite true the Treasury officials make estimates now for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer says whether he will accept those estimates or not, and in the next place this House has the opportunity of saying whether it will accept the estimates of the Chancellor of the Exchequer or not. My hon. Friend reminds me that they are often wrong to a large extent. Under this Bill we have placed in the hands of two Treasury officials of Ireland and two of Great Britain the work of settling these matters which are very difficult of ascertainment, and are pure guess-work and this House has no opportunity whatever of saying whether it agrees with these estimates or not. It is absolutely bound by them. Upon the estimates of those Treasury officials depends the proportion to go to Ireland or to go to Great Britain. I submit that the two grounds urged against giving this power to Ireland, in the first place, that we should be breaking up the fiscal union of the United Kingdom; and, in the second place, that we should be giving the power of finally settling the estimates to Treasury officials without any control on the part of this House, are very serious objections to giving to the Irish Parliament the power of increasing Customs Duty and that no sufficient case has been shown of any real vital necessity of the Irish Parliament having that power.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
This Debate to-day began with the speeches of the right 1246 hon. Gentlemen the Member for Fulham (Mr. Hayes Fisher) and the hon. Member for South Birmingham (Mr. Amery), which made a considerable draft upon their stock of epithets of denunciation. I have, at least, the consolation of thinking that we may rest quite sure on this side of the House that whatever scheme had been proposed by the Government under this Bill with respect to its finance would have been denounced in similar terms as the worst possible that the perverse incompetence of man could ever have imagined. When Mr. Gladstone introduced his first Home Rule Bill in 1886 he was told that the financial scheme of it was bad. When he introduced the second scheme in 1893 he was told that the finance of the Bill was, if possible, even worse. When he remodelled his financial scheme in 1893 and substituted for it a different principle he was told that there at last he had succeeded in finding a yet worse scheme. When this financial scheme was introduced the Opposition said that while Mr. Gladstone's three separate schemes of finance had many virtues ours had none; and now the hon. Member for South Birmingham tells us since the Bill has been modified in some particulars that as it was introduced it did have some attractive features, but that now it has none at all. What was our problem? It was to deal with a case where you had to set up a system of self-government in a country where at present the revenue falls short of the-Imperial expenditure by about one-and-a-half million pounds per annum. We had to find means of providing for the reduction of that deficit instead of leaving the burden permanently upon the shoulders of the British taxpayer. We had to supply the newly constituted Legislature and Executive with adequate funds to defray the cost of the services which they were called upon to administer, and at the same time we had to give them reasonable and sufficient powers to increase their revenue if they found it necessary with the approval of their constituents to do so.
We had also to give them some inducement to economise, for it would have been futile to tell the new Parliament that whatever economies they were able to make we should get the advantage of others for the Imperial Exchequer and they should have nothing from them. We had to reserve in the Imperial Exchequer adequate resources of taxation both in normal times and in abnormal times. We had to provide so far as we could that the two systems of 1247 finance in the United Kingdom and in Ireland, which quite necessarily would have to be to some extent interdependent, should not interfere with one another in the sense that the action of the Imperial Exchequer should not hamper the finance of the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer and that the action of the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer should not upset the finances here at Westminster, and we had to lay the basis of a future contribution to the common expenses of the United Kingdom, which is not now being paid from Ireland and which never will be paid from Ireland if this Bill does not pass. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] We had to provide that future contributions shall in the course of time, when circumstances allow, be payable. Hon. Members have spoken of inadequate discussion This is the ninth day devoted to the consideration of the financial scheme of this Bill. The result of those discussions leaves the fundamental principles of this Bill as regards its finance in our view unimpaired, while at the same time the long discussions have not elicited from any quarter any attempt even at proposing an alternative and a better plan. One change, however, has occurred during these long discussions. At first our system of finance was attacked, as Mr. Gladstone's was attacked in 1893, by the Opposition on the ground that it cast an undue burden upon the British Exchequer, that the British Exchequer was to be called upon to vote large sums of money year after year, now and in the future, for the benefit of the Irish Nationalists to be expended without any control from here. An attempt was made to present this scheme as imposing new, heavy, and permanent burdens upon the British taxpayer.
All that has to a large extent disappeared and that line of attack has been repelled—[HON. MEMBERS: "No"]—not so much—we are too modest to make such a claim—owing to any effect of speeches on this side of the House on Hon. Members opposite, as by the powerful and earnest speeches of the Leader of the Unionist party in Ireland the right hon. and learned Member for Dublin University (Sir E. Carson). We all remember the speech to which we listened one evening, late in the evening, a lengthy, powerful, and obviously sincere, indeed an impassioned speech, from the right hon. and learned Gentleman, whose argument was, "See what Ulster is giving up in the matter of 1248 finance! Look at the sacrifice we are called upon to make! Here we are part of a wealthy United Kingdom. Let us remain so. We will have Grants for this, Grants for that, Grants for the other thing. You are now going to stop, to a great extent at the source, this flow of gold into our country, and you are asking us in Ulster to make this immense sacrifice for the sake of a cause with which we do not sympathise"; and I saw the countenances of hon. Members who had been using the opposite argument in the course of the Debate gradually become more and more demure and unhappy. It is impossible for the Opposition to ride those two horses at the same time; and so great is the influence of the right hon. and learned Member for Dublin University that by his eloquence and force and weight he has reduced to silence those Members of his own party who at first set out with the object of proving to the British taxpayer that he was being heavily burdened by this Bill and stood in danger of serious financial loss.
Now the right hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment calls in aid of his Amendment and quotes in support of his claim, not the words of anyone who can tell that the British taxpayer is hard hit by this Bill, but Lord MacDonnell, who writes interesting letters to the Press, in which he points out that Ireland is being, in his view, badly treated and that the British taxpayer ought to pay very much more, and that Ireland is not getting as much money as is her due; and the right hon. Gentleman endeavours to quote this expression of opinion as a condemnation of our scheme on behalf of, as he says, the British taxpayer. What is, after all, Lord MacDonnell's position? I confess that on reference to his most recent pronouncement—and whatever he says in this matter is, of course, entitled to respect from all quarters of this House—I cannot quite follow where he quarrels fundamentally with the Bill. He says that if a new financial arrangement is now to be made with Ireland—the only fair basis of such a settlement is the basis of existing tax which the Government of the United Kingdom created.That is precisely the basis on which we are proceeding, and that basis he says shows that—between the expenditure now being incurred in Ireland (£12,381,500) and the revenue said to be recoverable from Ireland (£10,850.000) there is a difference of £1,531,500.1249 That is precisely the fundamental fact on which the whole of our structure is built. He proceeds to say:—We believe that the inquiry into the true revenue of Ireland which the Exchequer Board should lose no time in making will prove the difference to he less.If that is so, and the Exchequer Board discovers that the difference is less, then the Bill provides for that, and it is not £1,530,000 as calculated by the Treasury that is to be the basis of this financial adjustment, but whatever sum the Joint Exchequer Board, on which two representatives of the Irish Treasury are to sit, may find to be the actual deficit which will be taken as the deficit for the purpose of this Bill, and he says:—But whatever the difference may be, Ireland has been in the enjoyment of it, and we maintain that as she will not cease to be an integral part of the United Kingdom if the Home Rule Bill becomes law, nor free from liability to fresh Imperial taxation in the future, she should continue to enjoy the difference until Irish revenue shall have so far expanded as to reach the existing estimate of Irish expenditure.That is precisely our scheme. We shall not throw upon the shoulders of the Irish people the burden of making good this deficit at once, but in our view the deficit should be gradually filled up as the Irish revenues expand. Then he proceeds to say:—But while we claim that provision for Ireland, we take no exception to the temporary reservation of part of it for the Irish services to be administered during the transition period, by the Imperial Government.He does not object to our retaining certain services and certain Irish revenues. He says:—We admit our liability to contribute our fair share to the common purposes of the Empire, only stipulating that this share should be determined after due consideration of Ireland's circumstance at the timeThat, again, is precisely the proposal which we make, that while we think that it is right that Ireland, when she gets self-government, should contribute towards the common expenditure of the Kingdom and of the Empire, we cannot now expect her, with her revenue insufficient for her expenditure, suddenly to make good the deficit, and suddenly to pay a contribution to Imperial purposes which she has not hitherto been paying; but we say, when the time comes that she is in a position to do so, then she can justly be asked to make the contribution which Lord MacDonnell himself deems to be right and proper. Then he proceeds to say:—A financial settlement framed on those lines would, we believe, be acceptable to all moderate men in Ireland. It would be free from the complexity which attached to the plan proposed in the Bill—That I do not admit—and, by securing to Ireland, year by year, the normal increase in her revenue for which the ' surplus' of the 1250 Bill is a most inadequate substitute, it would stimulate the development of the country's resources and save her from stagnation which must attend on any administration whose resources are stereotyped at a fixed sum for an indefinite period of time.That is the only difference between the proposals of Lord MacDonnell, speaking on behalf of a certain body of public opinion in Ireland, and those which find a place in the Bill. The only difference is that he would have the Irish Parliament enjoying all the normal increases of her revenue year by year until such time as her total revenues equal the total expenditure, and that then suddenly she is to make up the deficit, and afterwards, apparently, pay a contribution gradually towards Imperial expenditure. I do not think that is a good plan; in fact, I venture to say it is open to grave objection. His suggestion is that year by year the Irish Exchequer should receive the normal growth of Irish revenues in order that they may be spent; that is, that Ireland should not make colonies or look for fresh sources of revenue. She is to enjoy all the normal increases of revenue year by year from her taxes, and spend them. Those increases of taxes have been spent; nevertheless, according to him, the day is to come when she is to be required to hand over a certain sum of money to the Imperial Exchequer, or refrain from asking the Imperial Exchequer for the Grant of any sum in order to end the deficit. That day could not arrive. It would never come, because the normal increase of expenditure would be spent as it accrued. Nevertheless, if such a day was to arrive, what would be the position of the Irish Government? Having spent year by year, as he contemplates, these normal increases of revenue, having a very small surplus in hand, nevertheless, some year or other, Ireland is to be told. "Now the time has come when you can make up the million and a half which hitherto the Imperial Exchequer has been paying." What would be the position of the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer? There would be a sudden alteration made in his finance, and he would be required to impose heavy burdens upon his own people, or else we should have to consent to forego our claim, and the deficit, even after Home Rule, would be permitted to continue for all future time.
Therefore, it appears to me that it would be far better, not only in the interests of Ireland but in the interests of Great Britain, that we should say, "Automatically as your revenues go above what they now are, this deficit should be paid off. Meantime, we have provided for you and 1251 guaranteed to you, whether your revenue increases or whether it falls off"—and that is the important advantage to Ireland—"the present expenditure upon Irish Services, with a margin over and above to enable you to meet future increased expenditure until you are able to economise." The right hon. Gentleman, having on the one hand claimed to speak for the British taxpayer, and on the other hand having quoted Lord MacDonnell, who says that the Irish Parliament is to be maimed and impoverished by this Bill, proposes by the Amendment now before the House to deprive the Irish Parliament of any power of finance except by inventing and levying entirely new taxes. He would leave the Irish Parliament, as far as finance is concerned, bound hand and foot, and gagged and blindfold, as well as utterly paralysed and unable to take any step in any direction which would lead to any fruitful result. He would say to the Irish Parliament, "We confer upon you these large duties of administration and legislation; we make you responsible for the domestic welfare of your people, yet, so far as finance is concerned, you are to have no power of raising money by Customs, by Excise, by Income Tax, by Death Duties, or by stamps of any kind hitherto known, and your sole power of finance is to invent some new tax upon bicycles or advertisements, or whatever it may be, that may bring you in a few thousand pounds here and there." That is a proposal which, with our views as to the duties and implications of self-government, it is, of course, impossible for us on this side of the House to accept. The Noble Lord the Member for Cardiff, a few minutes ago, said that our scheme was, in fact, a separatist scheme; that it led to so great a division between the two countries that it would inevitably bring about complete separation between the two islands. If we had set out merely with the object in view of devising a scheme which should intimately bind the two countries together, I do not think it would have been conceivable to have framed any proposals more calculated to achieve that end than those which we have embodied in the Bill. The whole collection of revenue is left in the hands of the Imperial officers, and almost the whole of the Irish revenue is paid across the counter, so to speak, of the Imperial Exchequer.
There are certain alterations made in relation to the parts of the Bill which are now directly and which have been under 1252 discussion of the House during the time that the Bill has been before Parliament, which perhaps I may be allowed very briefly to summarise and to recall to the House. In Committee we decided that the Irish Parliament should not have power to alter the main rate of Income Tax. They may have power to alter abatements and the Super-tax, and receive the profits of any increased revenue and bearing the loss of any reduction of revenue they themselves make. We have made it clear in the Bill that they must not vary the main rate of Income Tax. That, of course, is because, for one reason, the power which was ostensibly conferred by the Bill was not a real power. I pointed out on the First Reading of the Bill that the Irish Parliament would not, in fact, alter the main rate of the Income Tax, because the tax is collected at source, and if the Irish taxpayer had to pay 1s. 3d. and the British taxpayer Is. 2d., it would cause so much confusion in deducting the tax at source that it would be the cause of more expense, irritation, and trouble than the small increase is worth. It is made quite clear that this power will not, in fact, be used, and will not be in the competence of the Irish Parliament. After long debate, we have determined that the Irish Parliament shall not reduce Customs Duties, and shall not have a lower rate of taxes in respect of Customs in the British Islands, while, at the same time, we here were still bearing part of the cost of Irish Government. I confess, for my own part, it was with much reluctance that I assented to the views which were pressed upon us by many of my hon. Friends behind me, and I cannot refrain from saying that I think something has been sacrificed by limiting the powers of the Irish Parliament in that way. However, the opinion of the Government was that in all the circumstances the balance of argument was in favour of making this change.
The third change, or rather group of Amendments, are of a minor character, and intended to make quite clear what we contended, and still contend, was the purpose and the effect of the Bill, namely, to secure that no element of Protection with regard to the alterations of Customs and Excise can possibly creep in. So far as Customs and Excise are concerned, I have not heard any expression of opinions to-day from the Opposition similar to those which we heard from the Leader of the Opposition in the Committee stage, that every loophole for Protection had not been 1253 blocked up. The Amendments which are down in my name on the Report stage deal with some criticisms made by hon. Members opposite. For example, during the Committee stage a good deal was made of the difficulty in which the Joint Exchequer Board might be put in determining what were the proceeds of Irish additions to Imperial taxes. Supposing, they said, the Tea Duty was increased by 10 per cent, in Ireland, and suppose that the 10 per cent, increase in the rate did not produce a 10 per cent, increase in the yield, and there was an 8 per cent, increase in the yield, as might very possibly be the case, were the Joint Exchequer Board to say that the proceeds of the Irish tax were at the rate of 10 per cent, as a whole or 8 per cent.? If they said 10 per cent., then the Imperial Exchequer would suffer to the extent of 2 per cent., because while the actual increase was 8 per cent., the Irish Exchequer would receive the whole 10 per cent. We have always held the view that the Joint Exchequer Board—and the provision is in the Bill—should say that the proceeds of the Irish tax was the actual amount which that tax had in fact brought in. Hon. Members opposite do not accept that, and suggest that the Joint Exchequer Board might be in a difficulty and might come to a different conclusion. We have, however, made it quite clear and beyond possibility of doubt in an Amendment which I have put down to the proper Clause of the Bill. The point raised by the hon. Member for St. Pancras is covered by Clause 14 (c)—"a sum equal to the pioceeds as determined by the Joint Exchequer Board."
§ Mr. CASSEL
My point has reference to Clause 16, Sub-section (4), which seems to provide something contrary to the Amendment.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I do not think it is inconsistent. The proceeds are the proceeds determined by the Joint Exchequer Board, and the Amendment I have put down indicates to the Joint Exchequer Board on what basis they are to calculate those proceeds. There cannot be any inconsistensy in the two provisions. Another point was raised in the course of the Debate in Committee. It was said, "Suppose the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer imposed an increase of Customs Duty, say, of 10 per cent., on spirits, and that the result was not merely that there was no increase, but that there was an actual diminution in the total yield of the 1254 tax, the consequence of that might be that the Imperial Chancellor of the Exchequer would find in the following year that his revenue was reduced, and that while the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer got nothing, he must get less, not through any action of this Parliament, but through some action of the Irish Parliament. That is a contingency which we regard as very remote, so remote as to make it not necessary to provide for it; but there can be no harm in making provision, for obviously our intention has been from the beginning whatever is the effect on the yield of a tax through any action taken by the Irish Parliament, the Irish Parliament should gain the benefit or suffer the loss of that effect. If by increasing the duty the consequence of their action is to diminsh the yield, it is right and proper that the Irish Exchequer, and not the Imperial Exchequer, should bear the burden of that loss. That also is provided for in an Amendment which will shortly be before the House. There was one last point, even more remote but still, I cannot deny, it would be a possibility, and that is that the Irish Parliament might impose a tax of a new kind, the cost of collection of which might be unduly heavy in proportion to the yield. The scheme of the Bill is that the cost of collection should be defrayed by the Imperial Exchequer, and that, in the main, is right, because we control the method of collection, and the Irish Parliament does not control the method of collection, and where there is control there ought to be the obligation to pay.
But still it was suggested that there might be an exceptional case, as was pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Worcestershire, in which the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer was offered some tax, as Chancellors of the Exchequer here frequently are, which in itself was attractive, but which would not be acceptable because the cost of collection would be out of proportion to the yield, and, it was said, the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer might be tempted to say, "After all we shall get the yield for the Irish Exchequer, and the Imperial Exchequer will have to pay the cost of collection, and I will adopt this tax." I do not think, as a matter of fact, any Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer would deliberately take such a course as that, and of set purpose impose a burden of that kind which would impose a considerable burden on the Imperial Exchequer for the sake of a 1255 small advantage for the Irish Exchequer; but still the point was one which, having been raised, ought properly to be met. I have always-held the view that it was not reasonable or proper to charge the cost of collecting Irish taxes upon the Irish Government, and the reason for that is two-fold. One I have already mentioned, and that is we control the method, and therefore should bear the cost of the collection of these taxes. Secondly, and this is a very important point, the Irish additions to Imperial taxes are small, and if we were to say, for instance, that the Imperial Exchequer was to pay the cost of collecting the Tea Duty in Ireland in respect of the 5d., but, if the Irish Exchequer added a halfpenny, that then the cost of collecting that extra halfpenny must be defrayed from Irish funds, then you would have a series of most minute and troublesome accounting arrangements to make, and you would have elaborate calculations of a very trivial kind not in the least worth doing in order to secure from the Irish Transferred Sum a comparatively small deduction each year.
Already one of the drawbacks of administration of Government, as distinct from enterprise carried on by private companies, is the very heavy cost of accounting in all kinds of Government business. It is necessary that that cost should be borne in order to prevent the possibility of peculation, and in order that the financial arrangements should be in every respect water-tight; but the cost of doing so is heavy. I think the House would be making a great mistake if, for the sake of recovering some small petty sum, they imposed on the Board of Customs and Excise and on the Board of Inland Revenue the duty of calculating those minute proportions of expenditure as to how much of an officer's time in Ireland was spent in collecting Imperial taxes, and how much was to be regarded as proper to the Irish addition to that tax. Therefore, it is right that the whole cost of collection should be thrown on the Imperial Exchequer. We are dealing with the particular point I have mentioned in terms which hon. Members can see. Those Amendments we propose to make in order to meet objections that have been raised. I think that most of them, with one exception, which I have mentioned, are clear and obvious improvements in the Bill, though some of them were not really very necessary, but I can assure my right hon. 1256 Friend the Member for Islington (Mr. Lough), who looks with some suspicion as a patriotic son of Ireland on any alterations in the finance of the Bill, for which he entertained at its initiation so high and I will not say undeserved opinion, that there are no further Amendments of this kind which the Government regard as being necessary.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
Can the right hon. Gentleman say the exact object of the Government Amendment in line 11, providing that the Irish Parliament shall not have the power to impose a duty unless they are to be subject to a Customs Duty'?
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
That was merely a drafting Amendment, to make it clear if there is an Import Duty in one case it must be an Import Duty in the other, and if it is an Export Duty in one case it must be an Export Duty in the other.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
No. I propose now to deal with some of the specific points raised in the course of the Debate, and to answer some of the questions which have been put to me. The right hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment (Mr. Hayes Fisher) asked what would occur if there is abnormal taxation for war purposes for three years, and if there was ostensible equilibrium which was not permanent, and in that case would Clause 26 operate? We took a period of three years as being long enough to cover in all probability any abnormal period, but if, nevertheless, the case was so exceptional that those taxes lasted for more than three years, then Parliament would have to consider whether the readjustment contemplated by Clause 26 should then take place, or whether on the ground of the abnormality of the circumstances it should not be postponed. As a matter of course it would be in the hands of Parliament to determine, because Clause 26 says the Report of the Joint Exchequer Board as to equilibrium for three years "shall be taken to be a ground for the revision by Parliament." It is imposible, of course, for this House to bind its successors. The right hon. Gentleman or the hon. Member who seconded raised the point as to what would occur suppose the Income Tax were increased by the Imperial Chancellor of 1257 the Exchequer to defray some expenditure which was not common to the whole United Kingdom, but which was limited in its benefit to Great Britain, and what would be the position of the financial relations between the two countries?
The hon. Member for South Birmingham (Mr. Amery) represented that there had been some great change in the scheme of the Bill in this respect. There is, I can assure him, no change that I, at all events, am conscious of at all, but it has always been regarded that if it should occur that some increase of expenditure, though, of course, one cannot pledge the future or bind Governments that may follow, but it is, at all events, in my mind and in the minds of others who have had to do with this matter, that if at some future time there were variations in taxation for a purpose which was purely British that it would be a wrong thing to call upon Ireland to pay that new tax and to get no benefit, direct or indirect, from its yield. And it was suggested by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that if the purpose was limited to Great Britain, and that if it was necessary to impose a tax which covered Ireland as well as Great Britain, as it might be in the Income Tax, for example, that the justice of the case could always be met by a Grant to Ireland of an equivalent amount which Ireland could either use for her own purposes or use in reducing taxes that fell on the Irish people in one direction or another. The hon. Member for South Birmingham said that we should be forcing upon the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer money which he did not want and which he would not know how to use. The Chancellor of the Exchequer would be very different from all the other members of his tribe if he found himself ever at any time in the position of having money which he did not want and which he did not know how to use.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
He would not be allowed to reduce Customs and Excise, but I did not understand the hon. Member to make that qualification. But he could make Grants to the local authorities to reduce rates and in other ways he could spend the money for the benefit of 1258 the working classes. That raises the old point which we have discussed so often;-namely, as to the power of reducing Customs and Excise.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
Do I understand that the tax would have to be levied in Ireland, and the proceeds would be colilected in Ireland, and that a Grant would have to be made afterwards to the Irish taxpayer,
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I am taking the case put by hon. Members, in which that much followed. The Chancellor of the Exchequer of the day, of course, very possibly might say, as we say with regard to the Inhabited House Duty, let this tax be levied in Great Britain and not in Ireland, but if he took a tax such as the Income Tax, or if he took a tax such, for example, as a Customs Duty, which would be under the scheme of this Bill leviable in Ireland as well as in Great Britain, then, of course, the whole circumstances would have to be dealt with at the time when the new tax was imposed and the new expenditure made. I am only answering the question as to whether it would be possible to do substantial justice to Ireland in the circumstances which were supposed by hon. Members who made the point.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I have already answered that, though I am afraid the hon. Gentleman did not accept my answer as satisfactory. It was that that matter must necessarily be left to the judgment of the House of Commons of the day. It is perfectly impossible now, beforehand, to have a schedule of what is to be regarded as Irish concerns and what are not to be regarded as Irish concerns in matters of expenditure.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
It would have to be left to the Imperial Parliament of the day, and if they thought that in justice to Ireland a particular tax for a particular purpose ought not to be levied, then not to levy it, and it would be for them, if a tax were levied in Ireland from which they got no benefit the same as Great 1259 Britain, to secure that Ireland should get some other equivalent in that particular connection. An hon. Member opposite asked why we forbade the Irish Parliament to discriminate between persons with respect to Death Duties and not with respect to Income Tax and other taxes. The reason why the words to which he referred were put in was to secure that, if the Irish Parliament raised an additional 10 per cent. on the Death Duties, they should take the scale as a whole. That is, that they should not levy an additional 20 per cent. or 30 per cent. on parts of the scale, while leaving other parts unchanged, with the result that, though they would be, in fact, using up the whole reserve of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's field with regard to the persons who were subjected to the 20 per cent. or 30 per cent. addition, they would be still fulfilling the letter of the provision that the total increase should not be more than 10 per cent. The scale must be taken as a whole, and a larger amount than 10 per cent. must not be levied on any one part of the scale, with the consequence that a lower amount is levied on another part. The hon. Member for South Birmingham again made his point in respect to the financial provision in regard to bounties. He still declares that the Irish Parliament could by means of bounties introduce a protective element in combination with the Customs and Excise powers which are allowed. He gave the concrete instance of tobacco. His case was that the Irish Parliament might increase the Customs and correspondingly increase the Excise Duties on tobacco, and then give back to the producers of tobacco in Ireland more than the amount levied from them in the form of additional Excise Duties, so that they could then send their tobacco over here at a much cheaper rate.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
Or the same rate. There are two answers to that. If the bounty is a bounty on export, it is, of course, prohibited by the Bill. Therefore, if the scheme were to work at all, it would involve that all tobacco grown in Ireland should receive this amount. If that were done, it would be an evasion of the provision in the Bill to the effect that any variation of Customs Duties must be accompanied by a corresponding variation of Excise. There can be no doubt that the Court would hold it to be ultra vires on 1260 the part of the Irish Parliament if, while ostensibly increasing the Excise Duties on tobacco in order to countervail the increased Customs Duty, they were to defeat the purpose of that increase by handing back the increase and something more. There can be no doubt that that would be held to be a contravention of the provision that where a Customs Duty is increased the Excise Duty must be increased in a corresponding degree. The hon. Member quoted a case where there is neither Customs nor Excise Duty at all, as, for example, in regard to boot manufacture. He said that in this matter I myself have admitted that it might be necessary for us to take retaliatory measures, and that therefore I agree that the Irish people would have power to give bounties for the protection of their own interests. The remark that I made did not relate to any case such as that of tobacco at all. I was dealing with an entirely supposititious case, in which the Irish Parliament suddenly said, "We wish to encourage the boot industry in Ireland. We cannot give a bounty on the export of boots, because that is prohibited; but we will give a bounty on every pair of boots manufactured in Ireland. We will give it out of our own revenues. It is true that it will cost us a great deal of money, but perhaps we shall be able to capture the British boot market, and that will be worth doing." My answer was that in the first place the contingency is so remote and the improbability so great that we need not take it into account. But if such an impossible thing were in fact to occur, the Imperial Parliament would not be without remedy, supposing it wished to take a remedy. Even without vetoing the Bill, which it would have power to do, it could, if it so desired, impose a duty to counteract the action taken by the Irish Parliament. But the whole thing is absolutely in the air. I do not treat it as in any degree a serious proposition, and I must protest when the hon. Member for South Birmingham says that, because I made that remark, I agree that the obvious result of our financial scheme is the establishment of Customs barriers and the imposition of countervailing duties here. The hon. Member also spoke of the case in which there is no Excise Duty on goods. He instanced the case of sugar. He asked, if the Irish Parliament increases the Customs Duty on sugar, how is it to increase the Excise Duty to a corresponding extent if there is no Excise Duty? I think that is his point.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
Why is there no Excise Duty imposed by this Parliament? The reason is that there is no sugar grown. There has been no sugar grown in the past, and therefore there has been no Excise Duty upon sugar. Obviously, it makes no difference whether or not the Irish Parliament imposes an Excise Duty upon sugar if no sugar is grown. But suppose sugar is grown. My point is that the matter will rest with the Imperial Parliament to decide whether or not there should be an equivalent Excise Duty. If the Imperial Parliament says that there need not be an equivalent Excise Duty, while at the same time it maintains the Customs Duty on sugar, the Imperial Parliament itself, by its own action or inaction, will have made a difference in the treatment of that particular commodity in the matter of Customs and Excise. If the Irish Parliament increases by 10 per cent. the Sugar Duty, it will be making only a small addition to a differentiation which already exists with the sanction of the Imperial Parliament. If, on the other hand, the Imperial Parliament thinks it necessary and proper that when there is a Customs Duty on sugar there should also be an Excise, when the Irish Parliament increases the Customs Duty it must to an equivalent extent increase the Excise Duty.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
If that is so, the Parliament which enacts that system of duties can alter this provision if it likes. My point is that the question whether or not there should be an equivalent Excise Duty put upon sugar rests with this Parliament, and whatever action is taken by this Parliament must be followed by the Irish Parliament if it proposes to alter the Customs Duty. The hon. and learned Member for St. Pancras (Mr. Cassel) said that the Irish Parliament had power to increase by 10 per cent. certain Customs Duties, and to increase to whatever extent it chose the Customs Duties on beer and spirits. He said that that was an end to the system of Free Trade. Why is it an end to the 1262 system of Free Trade? I took down his words. He said it was an end to the system of Free Trade, and that for the first time we were limiting Free Trade within the limits of a federation.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
But Free Trade has never prohibited the imposition of duties for the purpose of revenue. Taxes for revenue are entirely consistent with Free Trade. In every Free Trade country at any time in the world's history there have been taxes on commodities. The only condition that the principles of Free Trade impose, is that there shall be a corresponding Excise, and that the duties should not be of a protective character. When the hon. and learned Member says that here for the first time we are impairing the effect of Free Trade principles within a federation, my answer is that we are doing nothing of the kind, because we are not allowing the Irish Parliament to protect Irish goods against British goods by means of a Customs Duty. The hon. and learned Member speaks about federation. He asks: "Can you give an instance where Free Trade in other federations is not insisted upon?" My answer is that the Customs unions of other federations have always had as their object the prevention of one member of the federation taxing, for its own profit or for its supposed profit, the goods of another member of the federation; that is to say, protecting the commodities of one member of the federation against the competition of other members of the federation. That is made absolutely impossible by this Bill, so far as Customs are concerned.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
That is the very point I have dealt with. My answer is that if the Imperial Parliament itself, by its own action or inaction, allow such a system to grow up, then indeed the Irish Parliament, to the extent of the small addition which it may make to those duties, will be able to intensify them.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
They will be small additions. The Irish Parliament would not be likely to raise to a large extent the price of sugar for all the consumers in Ireland when it itself could only get the benefit of a 10 per cent. increase.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
Is it likely that the Irish Parliament would wish to prohibit the import of sugar? I am afraid that this is another instance of Tariff Reformers' imaginative humour.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I thought the answer to that was really obvious. If the Irish Parliament invents a new tax which has not existed in this country before, of course it will have the benefit of the yield of that tax. If the Imperial Chancellor of the Exchequer wished to copy that tax, he could follow one of two courses: either he would limit the tax to Great Britain and reserve the yield to Great Britain, or he would impose the tax also in Ireland, with the effect that the tax might be greatly increased or even doubled there. Probably he would not lake the latter course.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The question of the 10 per cent. increase only relates to Irish additions to Imperial taxes.
§ Mr. AMERY
A tax may be imposed in Ireland up to the limit of profitable yield. If the same tax were imposed, possibly doubled, by the action of the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, would the British Chancellor of the Exchequer get the whole yield and the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer get practically nothing; or would it be the British Chancellor of the Exchequer who would get practically nothing?
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
I imagine that our Chancellors of the Exchequer will be sane, and that this Parliament will be 1264 reasonable. If this Parliament saw in existence in Ireland a new tax, which no one had ever thought of before, which was yielding its maximum and could not be increased without diminishing the yield, of course the Imperial Chancellor of the Exchequer would leave it alone.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
If the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer invents an entirely new form of tax, really think it would be very wrong, and obviously an improper thing, for this Parliament suddenly to come down and say to the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer, "We will sweep you off the sea, and take the whole produce of your tax as an Imperial charge." Such a thing will not, in fact, occur. The Amendment now before the House will, as I pointed out at the beginning of my speech, deprive the Irish Parliament of any power of raising revenue or of modifying their revenue at all except in respect of new taxes. For our part we cannot be a party to enact any measure which would impose upon the new Irish Parliament large administrative obligations without at the same time giving them adequate financial powers.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I have not, unfortunately, been able to listen to previous parts of this Debate, but one or two remarks which the right hon. Gentleman has made since I came in has made me desirous of calling attention to one or two matters. The first point is this, that anyone I think who listened to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman on the Second Reading will realise how far we have travelled since then. The right hon. Gentleman then told us that the essence of any system of finance between two countries related as Ireland and Great Britain are must be that the one Chancellor of the Exchequer would not in any way interfere with the other. Can anyone, after listening to the explanation which the right hon. Gentleman has given, do so without seeing that at every turn everything which the Chancellor of the Exchequer does must be influenced and guided by what is done by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of Ireland under similar circumstances'? Take, for instance, the very point raised last, and which the right hon. Gentleman treated with silent contempt—I do not know whether on his own 1265 part or on the part of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer—
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer tries a form of taxation not previously tried in this country. It is found to give a good yield in Ireland, without giving disadvantages. The English Chancellor of the Exchequer says, "That is a good thing; that is a tax which it will pay me to put on here too." What happens? Obviously the English Chancellor cannot make it apply both to England and to Ireland if it has already reached the limit of profitable yield in Ireland. He must do one of two things. He must do something which he presumably does not want to do, put on a tax that will apply to England only. He must leave Ireland out. His action is dictated solely by what has previously been done by the Irish House of Commons. There was another illustration given by my hon. Friend, which the right hon. Gentleman treated somewhat cavalierly: take the industry of beet sugar in Ireland or in the United Kingdom. I have said this before, and the Prime Minister showed some sympathy with the idea. I have said and thought for many years that if we were to conduct the business of this country in the same way in which any man would conduct his own business, considering the need we have of industries connected with the land, and considering the need of encouraging anything which keeps people on the land, the first thing which a sensible man would do would be to take steps to establish beet sugar in this country. That is common sense. I think even Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite would like to do that. What happens? They decide upon a small duty. I presume that even this Free Trade Government might go to that length—though what they mean by Free Trade I have never been able to discover.
Possibly they might go that length. They might say, "The present duty on sugar is so small that to enable this industry to get a start we will not in the meantime put on an Excise Duty." That is conceivable under even the present Government. What happens? Ireland, too, wishes to establish a beet industry, but it thinks that a small duty is not really enough to enable it to be established. It puts on an increased duty. Having the power to put it on, it would 1266 not at all be limited to 10 per cent., but to an additional yield of 10 per cent., which is a very different thing. They put on a very heavy protective arrangement for the creation of this beet sugar industry. According to what the right hon. Gentleman said, what happens? In order to stop that excessive protection, we have got to do away with the moderate encouragement which this country is willing to give, because the only way we can do that is by making the same way apply to both countries. Here, again, everything we do is hampered by the action of I he Irish House of Commons. The whole question of finance, from beginning to end, to anyone who has followed it, has shown us that there must be constant friction and constant interference with the policy of the Chancellor of the Exchequer here. The right hon. Gentleman was asked, "Suppose we have to put on additional taxation in this country, how are you to decide whether it applies to Ireland or to the United Kingdom as a whole, or how much of it only applied to the United Kingdom, and not to Ireland?"
Take an instance of what may very likely happen this year. We shall very likely need additional revenue for defence. We shall certainly need additional revenue for the Insurance Act. That is a certainty. Is the Chancellor of the Exchequer here going to put on two different taxes, one for the Imperial necessities of defence, and the other for the Insurance Act, or any social reform which has to apply solely to Great Britain? Is he going to do that? It is utterly impossible that he can distinguish in that way. What happens? The right hon. Gentleman says it will be for this House to decide whether or not a tax applies to Great Britain alone or partly, in addition, to Ireland. It is, he says, for this House to decide, and the Irish Parliament will agree with that decision. Is it not obvious that there will be room for the widest divergence of opinion? How in the world will the Irish Parliament in a matter that is to be decided absolutely by this Bill have a voice? But if they have a voice, there, again, we are hampered inour financial arrangements by what is going on in the Parliament on the other side. I am not going at length into what is the protection possible under this Bill. We discussed that at some length before, and it was pointed out that as the Bill stood protection by Excise arrangement was possible, and would be certain. The Government, met that by 1267 putting in an Amendment. My hon. Friend pointed out another case, the case of tobacco. The right hon. Gentleman correctly pointed out that if, obviously, too great a difference was made between the Excise and the Customs this House would step in. There is the letter of Sir Thomas Pitter. The right hon Gentleman has looked into it, and he knows now that great protection in a case of that kind can be secured by diversity of regulations. Nobody doubts that. The right hon. Gentleman has met that point by telling us that the regulations will be entirely in the hands of this Government, and that all the officials will be in the hands of this Government. He has said that, but there is nothing in the Bill to show it! Under the Bill this Government, without consulting this House, has the right of transferring any reserved service to the Irish Parliament. If they choose to do that with regard to the Customs—and there is nothing to prevent them doing it if these choose to do it—the Irish Parliament can give excessive protection in every case where Excise comes in, and you have nothing to say.
If the Government really mean to prevent any protection of that kind then they are bound to introduce into their Bill an Amendment to the effect that the regulations must be precisely the same in Ireland as they are in England or Scotland. Nobody doubts, and least of all the right hon. Gentleman, that so long as you allow bounties—and the Government refused to accept an Amendment permitting bounties—so long as they allow bounties protection of a most extreme kind is permitted in regard to every industry which rises in Ireland. It is the worst kind of protection. It has been tried in many countries, and as those countries became more advanced in their economic views they abandoned bounties in favour of tariffs. The right hon. Gentleman said, in regard to an industry which I myself suggested as an illustration, that the idea of giving a bounty for production in that case was so absurd that we did not need to consider it. Why, Mr. Speaker, the thing happened the other day in a country which is under our own flag. Canada gave a bounty on every ton of iron produced in Canada in order to encourage production. They did not think they were insane. The result of that insanity was that a great iron industry has grown up. Does anyone suggest that if the Irish people wish to encourage their 1268 industries in the same way that they would not adopt the same course? Of course they would. It is utterly idle for the Government to pretend, so long as it is possible to give bounties, that the Irish Parliament cannot if it chose set up a complete system of Protection against the industries of Great Britain in favour of those of Ireland.
§ Mr. JAMES MASON
The right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster-General commenced his remarks by saying that he supposed that whatever financial scheme had been adopted by the Government it would have been denounced from this side of the House. I have no doubt that that would be the case, but I really do not think that it would have been done with anything like the same good reason as now. The right hon. Gentleman said that in framing this financial scheme the Government found themselves in the difficulty of having to provide for the position in which Irish finances showed a deficit. That condition was not sufficient to justify the Government in setting up a scheme of finance which has so many objections to it, and which, above all, makes further proposals of federation or of federal schemes—which after all is one hon. Gentlemen on the other side are constantly referring to—absolutely impossible. Surely the sort of scheme which sets up Customs barriers of a most complicated kind is a scheme which makes not only possible, but certain, divergencies in the amount of certain taxes in the different countries, and, above all, is a scheme which provides for one part of the federation having no share whatever in the Imperial burdens which fall upon every part, and is a scheme which, of course, will not under any circumstances fall into a proposal of federation. But I have risen to review the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman on the question of Protection. The right hon. Gentleman said that great care had been taken by the Government to avoid anything in the nature of Protection, in the hands of the Irish Government against this or any other country, and he then went on to point out that in his opinion the arrangements which were made as between Customs and Excise Duties being equivalent was sufficient to prevent anything in the nature of Protection from arising. I cannot help thinking that even if that were the case, which I am far from admitting, because I am convinced that the case put forward by my right hon. Friend as regards the possible imposition of bounties, and the equivalent 1269 in not exacting the Excise from the manufacturer would make it possible to create Protection in that way, there is the possibility of another form of Protection not mentioned at all in this Bill. It is a matter I raised on a previous occasion and to which I have never received a reply as to whether it is intended or not to create it under the Bill, and that is by way of monopoly. I pointed out before that the use of monopoly is so obvious a source of revenue to be seized upon by the Irish Parliament that I cannot believe they would ignore it. This system of monopoly is in use in a very great number of countries on the Continent of Europe, and so successful is it for the raising of revenue that in Spain something like 20 per cent. of the whole Spanish revenue is raised by that means. If that is the case it seems obvious that the Irish Parliament in considering the nature of the revenue required would give very careful attention to the question of monopoly. I have endeavoured on more than one occasion to elicit from the Government whether in their view it will be in the power of the Irish Parliament to raise money in this way.
I know it will be said that any attempt to impose monopolies of this kind would be frustrated, because under Section 7 of Clause 2, there are words which prevent the Irish Parliament from carrying out any measures in restriction of trade. But I am not at all convinced that the imposition of monopolies so long as it is done in the way it is done by some countries on the Continent, in such a way as to be absolutely prohibited, that is to say, making the importation of certain commodities a misdemeanour, that that could not be done without contravening the Subsection. It is true that in certain cases where commodities are now imported into Ireland, to make a prohibitive monopoly of that kind might be taken as a breach of the Sub-section I have mentioned, but I cannot help thinking that there are other cases, where there is practically no importation at the present time, where such proceedings will not be open to that objection. Let me take as an instance the case of Guinness's brewery, which practically at the present time is a monopoly. It is quite obvious that it is a monopoly only so long as the prices which the brewery charge remain equal. It is obvious that if they chose to raise their prices beyond a certain point they would be subject, if not immediately at any rate in time, to serious competition, but 1270 supposing that the Irish Government were to make the importation of certain goods prohibitive they would then enable the producers of those goods to raise their prices very much higher than could be done in the case of competitive importation, and the Irish Government would get the advantage of being able, in the face of these much higher prices, to charge very large duties upon those imports. It seems to me that would be an inducement which would probably be very attractive to the Irish Government, and would certainly be a way of gaining a monopoly in particular cases which would not be open to the objection of infringing the Subsection (7) of Clause 2.
Of course we in this country are interested, inasmuch as this monopoly would give protection in favour of Ireland as against this country, and also for the other reason that England would always remain, so long as the present fiscal system is maintained, a dumping ground for the manufactures of Ireland; but whether this proposal of allowing this freedom to the Irish Government is right or wrong, I think it is one upon which we should at any rate have some information, and that we should know whether or not the Irish Parliament would have that power under the Bill. One of the great difficulties and objections which seems to me to arise under the whole system of taxation which this Bill sets up is the difference between the incidence of certain taxes in Great Britain and Ireland, and which seems to me to be growing wider and wider, and throwing greater difficulties in the way. It is, of course, as has already been stated, fairly certain that where taxation is imposed for the purpose of carrying out social reforms in one part of the country, such as for England, which social reform is not to be accepted in Ireland—and I believe that that is one of the advantages claimed for Home Rule that they do not want our social reforms extended to Ireland—in that case where the money can be sufficiently ear-marked that that taxation could not be applied to Ireland, and would be applied only to Great Britain, and to that extent we should have gradually growing up a certain amount of taxation which would apply on this side to Great Britain, while at the other end we have, of course, Irish taxation that would apply only to Ireland. But surely there is a tendency in this country, which I think is very strongly favoured on the other side of the House, to gradually change the 1271 proportion of direct to indirect taxation. We have no reason to suppose that the Irish Parliament will necessarily follow that course. And it seems to me that if we gradually in this country increase the amount of direct taxation, whilst we decrease the amount of indirect taxation, we shall find that Ireland will be more and more subjected to indirect taxes, and the present food taxes which are imposed on all alike at the present moment, and that that must surely be a source of very considerable irritation and annoyance to the Irish people, and certainly not conducive to more favourable relations between the two Governments.
One of the other details which strikes me as being distinctly unfair, in so far as British taxpayers in this country go, is that in these matters, which it is open to the Irish Parliament to claim to have transferred at a later period, you are taking as the basic line the cost of the particular services in the year in which they are transferred. Now the cost of old age pensions during the first years in Ireland was higher than it is likely to be in the future. The number of old people in Ireland is decreasing, and has already decreased, and therefore it seems to me that in a case like that, where, as we know, the cost was abnormal in the first year, and where the working of the old age pension was not so strictly carried out as in this country, you should not take that year as the basis line for the supposed cost of that service which we know in the future is likely to decline. But I think one of the most serious of the whole of the questions of finance in the Bill is the enormous responsibility and burden which the Parliament of this country is going to take upon its shoulders in allowing the Irish Parliament to borrow money, not only upon the Transferred Sum as it now stands, but upon the increased amount of the Transferred Sum which it may call upon this country to hand over in time to come. We all know that the Irish Parliament in borrowing upon that Transferred Sum has it in its power to let the services for which
§ that money is given to it go by default, and we also know perfectly well that this country's credit is tied up with Ireland in such a way that by no means can we allow her default, and therefore we are ultimately responsible for all the loans which she may contract, and I think it is made; far worse by the insertion of the Sub-section in the Bill by which we allow these loans raised by the Irish Parliament to be made trustees' security, thereby throwing upon us not only an actual, but a moral burden.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
The Postmaster-General has time to reply to the question put by my hon. Friend as to whether it would be possible for the Irish Government to create monopolies. I would ask him one further question. He admits the Customs Duties may be raised by the Irish Government to any extent, subject only that any decrease in revenue accruing is to be deducted from the Transferred Sum. He says if they gave a bounty that would be abolished by the provision which provides that Customs and Excise must correspond. Supposing they relieved an industry from local taxation, would the Courts hold that to be a breach of this particular provision? I should be glad if the right hon. Gentleman would answer these two questions.
§ Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL
The question about monopolies does not arise at all, because on no Financial Clauses would it be done by any adjustment of taxation or anything else. There is no restriction in the Bill as it stands, and if any such attempt were made it would be necessary to have special legislation. With respect to the other point, you cannot prevent any free assembly from relieving industry of local taxation.
§ Question put, "That the words ' vary (either by way of addition, reduction, or discontinuance) any Imperial tax so far as respects the levy of that tax in Ireland and to,'" stand part of the Bill.
§ The House divided: Ayes. 312; Noes, 183.1275
|Division No. 497.]||AYES.||[7.29 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Bentham, G. J.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Bethell, Sir J.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine|
|Alden, Percy||Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick)||Black, Arthur W.|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Booth, Frederick Handel|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Barton, William||Bowerman, C. W.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Beale, Sir William Phipson||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Brace, William|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Beck, Arthur Cecil||Brady, Patrick Joseph|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Brocklehurst, W. B.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Henry, Sir Charles||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Higham, John Sharp||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney C. (Poplar)||Hinds, John||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hodge, John||O'Dowd, John|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Hogge, James Myles||O'Grady, James|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Holt, Richard Durning||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||O'Malley, William|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Home, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Clough, William||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Clynes, John R.||Hudson, Walter||O'Shee, James John|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Hughes, S. L.||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||John, Edward Thomas||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Sw'nsea)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)|
|Crooks, William||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Cullinan, John||Jowett, F. W.||Pointer, Joseph|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Joyce, Michael||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Keating, Matthew||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Kellaway, Frederick George||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Priestley, Sir W. E. (Bradford)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)||Kilbride, Denis||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Dawes, J. A.||King, J. (Somerset, North)||Radford, G. H.|
|De Forest, Baron||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Delany, William||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Dickinson, W. H.||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rid, Cockerm'th)||Reddy, M.|
|Doris, William||Leach, Charles||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Duffy, William J.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Low, Sir F. (Norwich)||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Lundon, Thomas||Richards, Thomas|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Lyell, Charles Henry||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lynch, A. A.||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Macdonald, M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Essex, Sir Richard Walter||McGhee, Richard||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Falconer, James||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Macpherson, James Ian||Robinson, Sidney|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Curdy, C. A.||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Field, William||M'Kean, John||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Fitzgibbon, John||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Rowlands, James|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs., Spalding)||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Furness, Stephen||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Manfield, Harry||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Gill, A. H.||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Ginnell, Laurence||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Martin, Joseph||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Glanville, H. J.||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Meagher, Michael||Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Sheehy, David|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Menzies, Sir Walter||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Middlebrook, William||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook|
|Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Millar, James Duncan||Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Molloy, Michael||Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)|
|Hackett, John||Molteno, Percy Alport||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)|
|Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Mond, Sir Alfred||Snowden, Philip|
|Hancock, J. G.||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Morgan, George Hay||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Morrell, Philip||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Hardle, J. Keir||Morison, Hector||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, W.)|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Muldoon, John||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Munro, R.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Thomas, James Henry|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Neilson, Francis||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Hayward, Evan||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Thynne, Lord A.|
|Hazleton, Richard||Nolan, Joseph||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Norman, Sir Henry||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Verney, Sir Harry||Webb, H.||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Wadsworth, J.||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Walters, Sir John Tudor||Whitehouse, John Howard||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Walton, Sir Joseph||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)||Wiles, Thomas||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Wardle, George J.||Wilkie, Alexander||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Waring, Walter||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Duke, Henry Edward||Malcolm, Ian|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Middlemore, John Throgmorton|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Falle, Bertram Godfray||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Fell, Arthur||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Astor, Waldorf||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Moore, William|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Heniton)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead)||Mount, William Arthur|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Forster, Henry William||Newman, John R. P.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gardner, Ernest||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Norton-Griffiths, J. (Wednesbury)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Gibbs, George Abraham||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Barnston, Harry||Gilmour, Captain John||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Barrie, H. T.||Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Peel, Captain R. F.|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Grant, J. A.||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Bigland, Alfred||Guinness, Hon. W.E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Bird, Alfred||Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Randies, Sir John S.|
|Blair, Reginald||Haddock, George Bahr||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col. Dennis Fortescue||Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||Rawson, Col. Richard H.|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Boyton, James||Harris, Henry Percy||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Henderson, Major H. (Berkshire)||Royds, Edmund|
|Bull, Sir William James||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwon)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hickman, Col. Thomas E.||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Butcher, John George||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Hills, John Waller||Sandys, G. J.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Campion, W. R.||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Cassel, Felix||Horner, Andrew Long||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Houston, Robert Paterson||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Cator, John||Hunter, Sir Charles Redk.||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Ingleby, Holcombe||Stewart, Gershom|
|Cave, George||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.)||Kerry, Earl of||Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Keswick, Henry||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Kimber, Sir Henry||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Chambers, James||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Touche, George Alexander|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Larmor, Sir J.||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Cooper, Richard Ashmole||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Lewisham, Viscount||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lloyd, G. A.||Wills, Sir Gilbert|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninlan||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo., Han. S.)||Younger, Sir George|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh|
|Doughty, Sir George||Mackinder, Halford J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Stanier and Mr. Meysey-Thompson.|
§ It being after half-past Seven of the clock, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to the Orders of the House of the 14th October and 30th December last, to put forthwith the Question on any Amend- 1276 ments moved by the Government of which notice had been given necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at half-past Seven of the clock at this day's sitting.1277
§ Government Amendments made: In Subsection (1), paragraph (d), after the word "duty"["liable to a Customs Duty"], insert the words "of a like character."
§ At end of paragraph (c), insert the words "and (d) the Irish Parliament shall not so vary a Death Duty as to impose the duty on the personal property (not being a leaseholder's or tenant's interest in land) of any person domiciled in Great Britain."
§ In paragraph (e), after the word "be"["be to cause the Customs Duty"], insert the words "in the opinion of the Joint Exchequer Board."
§ At end of paragraph (e) leave out the word "provision" and insert the word"Act."—[Mr. Herbert Samuel]