§ In lieu of the duty of Customs payable on tea imported into Great Britain or Ireland there shall, as from the twenty-second day of September, nineteen hundred and fifteen, until the first day of August, nineteen hundred and sixteen, be charged, levied, and paid the following duty (that is to say):—
|Tea, the pound||…||…||one shilling.|
§ Mr. GINNELL
I beg to move to leave out the words "or Ireland."
1645 I have also a number of similar Amendments on other points of the Bill, but as they are all on the same ground I should like, if I may, to be allowed to state what that ground is on this first Amendment, after which it may not be necessary for me to intervene at all on subsequent Amendments. The proposal of the Bill is to make Ireland pay taxes consequent on a War for which Ireland is in no sense guilty or responsible, which she had no power to prevent, which she has no power to bring to an end, and from which, owing to the manner in which she is ruled, she can derive no benefit whatsoever, no matter how the War may end. Ireland is not at war. Your anti-industrial rule of Ireland has deprived her of any real interest in the way the War may end. Of the enormous sums being raised for the War, most is being spent in this country, where there is far more money in circulation amongst the industrial classes than ever before, where the workers are paid better than they have ever been paid before in any country, and where taxing the people to half their present income would still leave many of them with their normal income to live upon. Many of them are engaged to stay at home in industry, and many are compelled to stay at home in industry. That is a great advantage to this country.
Ireland enjoys nothing whatever corresponding to it. Hardly any part, worth mentioning, of the enormous expenditure on the War goes to Ireland. Every industry attempted there is deliberately stamped out by economic pressure, according to the permanent policy of foreign rulers. The reasons for this may be different at different times. The present policy of keeping Irish people unskilled is to force young Irishmen to enlist for the defence of young Englishmen safe at home in England. Under the pressure of this policy you have got from Ireland for the War more men than would be her fair proportion in any circumstances. Even the Estates Commissioners of Ireland have actually withheld from distribution, and let to graziers, land which this Parliament has appointed and empowered them to distribute amongst the landless, whilst at the same time another Department of Government carries on the imposture of advising people to increase tillage. Without going beyond these facts, the application of these war taxes to Ireland is indefensible. But the case is much worse when we look back, as we are bound to do, and 1646 find that, as a matter of common honesty, according to the findings of the Financial Relations Commission, this country owes to Ireland about £325,000,000, as calculated— —
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am afraid the hon. Member has mistaken the occasion. His speech appears to appertain more to the Second Reading of the Bill than to Committee. His arguments are altogether too wide for an Amendment in Committee.
§ Mr. GINNELL
The arguments apply to tea, sugar, cocoa, to tobacco, and to various other items in the Bill; and my purpose was to deal with them all on one occasion rather than return to the subject in connection with each particular Amendment. If you allow me to proceed on these lines, I shall not occupy the time of the Committee very long, and much shorter than if it becomes necessary for me to speak on each particular matter. The reasons against any one of these Amendments cannot be separated from the distinction between the financial position of Ireland and that of Great Britain. If a wealthy country like this has benefited unduly, as calculated by the Financial Relations Commission, and by Lord MacDonnell a few months ago—based on the results of their inquiry—to the extent of £355,000,000, surely that is an argument, not only against all these increased and new taxes, but against each one of them in particular! All that money has been withdrawn from the country and from the power of the country to carry on on the same scale of taxation as is being applied to this country, as proposed in the Bill. Every witness examined before the Commission supported the view that Ireland had been unjustly treated in the past. After all, surely the evidence produced by these witnesses before them, and the Report of the Royal Commission, signed by eleven members at the time of its completion, and agreed to by two others who died before it was completed—thirteen practically out of a Commission of fifteen—since a condition of things which they exposed has never been remedied—surely their evidence applies, and must continue to apply, to every proposal to increase the taxation upon Ireland.
The first finding of that Commission was—as briefly as possible—that Great Britain and Ireland must, for the purposes of their inquiry, be considered as separate entities. Secondly, that the Act of Union imposed upon Ireland a burden 1647 which, as events showed, she was unable to bear. Thirdly, that the increase of taxes laid upon Ireland between 1853 and 1860 was not justified by the then existing circumstances. Fourthly, that identity in rates of taxation does not necessarily involve equality of burden; and fifthly, that whilst the actual tax revenue of Ireland is about one-eleventh of that of Great Britain, the relative taxable capacity of Ireland is very much smaller, and has not been estimated by any of the Commissioners to exceed one-twentieth. The Special Report, signed by Lord Farrer, Lord Welby, and Mr. Currie, says:—We are forced to the conclusion that the system of taxation which now exists in the United Kingdom, while it may not be unsuited to the requirements of a rich—
§ The CHAIRMAN
This is certainly not a subject for the Committee stage of the Bill. A general statement of the kind must be made either on the Second Reading or the Third Reading of the Bill.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member may move his Amendment, but the speech he is making in introducing it is out of order.
§ The CHANCELLOR Of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. McKenna)
I hope the hon. Member will not press this Amendment further. This is the first time that any suggestion has been put forward that there should be a different Customs set up in this country and in Ireland. So long as the present circumstances exist it is most undesirable to have different rates of duties between the two countries.
§ Mr. PRINGLE made an observation which was inaudible in the Reporters' Gallery.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Oh, yes, if you have separate Governments I can understand it, but, as things now are, it would be most undesirable to contemplate setting up two Customs. I have no reason to suppose that Ireland is in the least unwilling to bear her fair share of the cost of the War, and I could not, in the circumstances, accept the hon. Member's Amendment.
§ Amendment negatived.1648
§ "Tea, the pound…one shilling,"
§ and to insert instead thereof the words "eight pence."
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Amendment which stands in the name of the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden) is equivalent to leaving out the Clause, as it would leave the tax as at present. That would come in on the Question, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Is not the Clause imposing the Tea Duty incorporated in every Finance Bill, and therefore, if the rate were not changed, it would be necessary that such a Clause should be inserted?
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is so in ordinary cases, but in this Bill the Clause comes in lieu of the Clause in the previous Bill of this year; that is to say, this Clause simply proposes an increase of what was passed by the House in that Bill.
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
That has somewhat altered the ground of our opposition. I hope I shall be able to submit a few observations without meeting the fate which overtook the hon. Member opposite. It is unnecessary that I should detain the Committee for any length of time, because the attitude of my colleagues and myself on the question of the Tea Duty, and all food taxes, is very well known, and the reasons for it have very often been stated in this House. Our intention, at any rate, is to oppose the suggested increase in the Tea Duty from 8d. to 1s. in the pound, and we do that on two grounds: first of all, because of our opposition to the Tea Duty in itself, and, in the second place, because this proposed increase in the Tea Duty is accompanied by a proposal to increase the taxation upon other articles which enter largely into the economy of the working classes. It is impossible, therefore, to consider this proposal to increase the Tea Duty without having some regard to the somewhat similar taxes which are also proposed in this Bill. I am not going to consider those other taxes in detail, and I shall not urge this point at any great length. The first thing that I would submit is that already the taxation which has been imposed upon the working classes of this country since this War began is altogether out of proportion. When one 1649 remembers the relative capacity of the different classes of the community to pay, the increased taxation levied upon the working people is quite disproportionate to the amount that has been levied upon those who are in a position to contribute far more to the cost of the War. The Tea Duty was raised from 5d. to 8d. last November, and that involved an increase of working class taxation of something like £3,000,000 a year. It is proposed now to add another 4d. per lb. to the Tea Duty, and it was explained by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that in a full year that will bring into the Exchequer about £4,500,000.
Again, from the point I advanced just now—that other taxes of a similar character have been at the same time imposed—I may mention that this is in addition to the proposal to add about £11,500,000 to the Sugar Duty in a full year, that is next year. So that the total increased taxes on food—tea, sugar, dried fruit, coffee and cocoa, the receipts from taxes apart from tea and sugar being relatively small—are expected next year to bring into the Exchequer, I believe, something like £17,000,000. The tax upon sugar is estimated to yield something over £11,000,000, and tea about £4,500,000, and the rest will probably amount to something about £1,000,000. My first point is that we oppose this proposed increase of Tea Duty because it is unfair. It is a tax upon the people who are already paying more than their fair share of the cost of this War. It is an additional burden upon their backs, which their backs are not strong enough to bear. What is the amount of taxation which will be paid next year, when the taxes in this Finance Bill mature, by what we generally understand as the working classes of the country, that is, those who are below the Income Tax limit? My calculation is that it will amount to something like £80,000,000, and that means something like £10 per family, or 4s. per week. In spite of the advances of wages which have been given to certain classes of workers—not so much advances of wages as War bonuses—we have still in the country a very large number of families, probably not less than from 1,500,000 to 2,000,000, whose incomes are little, if anything, over £1 per week. Therefore, that taxation to which the Tea Duty contributes so very largely amounts to an Income Tax of 4s. in the £. So much for the general question.
I will pass on now to our specific objections to the Tea Duty. We object to it, in 1650 the first place, because of our general objection to indirect taxation, because indirect taxation always takes out of the pockets of the taxpayers more than it brings to the State. That is evidenced by this fact in connection with the present price of tea. The price of tea to-day is much higher than by the amount of the Tea Duty imposed last November and proposed last month under this Finance Bill. It has increased by 50 per cent. I find from figures which were issued by the Board of Trade yesterday that the increase in the price of tea is given as 50 per cent. The increase in the Tea Duty has been 7d., and, therefore, the increase in the price of tea is 3d. more than the increase for which the duty is responsible. Then we oppose this Tea Duty because tea is a necessary of life, especially for the poor. It is a very unfortunate thing, but it is nevertheless true, that the poorer a family is, the larger is its proportionate expenditure upon tea. That point was very well put, I remember, some time ago by the predecessor of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I specially commend the opinion of that right hon. Gentleman to the right hon. Gentleman who now holds this exalted office. I have no reason to believe that the Minister of Munitions holds any opinion to-day different from that which he expressed at the time he gave utterance to these words. This is what he said:—One thing I am sure will be accepted by every Member of this House, and that is, we ought at any rate to avoid taxes on the necessaries of life. I referred some time ago, in the course of a discussion in this House, to the Old Age Pension Officers' Reports. There was one thing in those reports which struck me very forcibly, and that was they all reported that the poorer the people they had to deal with the more was their food confined to bread and tea, and of the price of that tea, which, of course, was of the poorest quality, half went to the tax gatherer. That is always the worst of indirect taxation on the people. The poorer they are, the more heavily they are taxed. Tea and sugar are necessaries of life, and I think that the rich man—and I commend this to the millionaires opposite—who would wish to spare his own pocket at the expense of the bare pockets of the poor, is a very shabby rich man indeed, and, therefore, I am sure that I carry with me the assent of even the classes upon whom I am putting very heavy burdens, that when we come to indirect taxes, at any rate, those two essentials of life ought to be exempt.What has the present Chancellor of the Exchequer to say to that? His predecessor said that we ought to avoid taxes upon the necessaries of life, and that such taxes always pressed most heavily upon the poor. I remember an instance being given of a poor woman earning 7s. a week, and she lived on bread and tea. The 1651 articles which enter mainly into the budget of a working-class family are tea, sugar, milk, bread and rent. In proposing by this additional duty on tea to add to those burdens we must remember these facts. The cost of every one of these items is increasing. Sugar has increased something like 90 per cent, bread by 40 per cent. or 50 per cent., and we have heard to-day in answer to questions, that rents are being raised in every part of the country. In view of the fact that the people upon whom, in a large measure, these taxes are going to fall cannot afford it, the result will be that their physical efficiency will suffer, and there will be a general lowering of the standard of working-class life in this country. I should not be in order if I were to suggest alternatives, but my alternatives are very well known in this House, and it would not be a very difficult thing, if the House decides to abolish the proposed addition to the Tea Duty, for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to find substitutes. A substitute could be provided even if we fall far short of the forecast put forward last week by the right hon. Gentleman's very able Assistant Secretary to the Treasury, and we need not go to the extent of taxing the incomes of the wealthy one-half to find compensation for the loss of £4,500,000, which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to raise by this addition to the Tea Duty. I have put forward as briefly as I could our reasons for making this proposal, and all I have to say in conclusion—I am speaking now with the authority of my colleagues—that we feel so keenly upon this question that if the Chancellor of the Exchequer cannot see his way to meet us then we shall be compelled to seek the opinion of the House on the matter by a Division.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
As on a former occasion, no doubt we shall hear the argument used that this tax is necessary in order to maintain the relationship between direct and indirect taxation. I would like to point out a certain fallacy which underlies that argument. It is generally supposed that the taxation which is levied under the Income Tax as a whole comes in the category of direct taxation, and is paid by the man upon whom the tax is imposed in the first instance. We have before us now in every part of the country evidence that the tax put upon buildings is being passed on to the tenants, just in the same way as the tax on tea is passed on to the consumer. I hope the Chancellor of the 1652 Exchequer will take into account the fact that in addition to the burden of taxation which is now falling on the poor, a great deal of the burden which under this Budget has been imposed upon the rich by the Income Tax is being transferred to the shoulders of the people.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I am sure that, under ordinary circumstances, it would be the personal desire of every hon. Member of this House that this Amendment should be accepted. We are all at one with the arguments put forward as to taxation of the poor, and we agree that it is most undesirable, so far as it can be avoided, to impose any further taxation upon articles which are necessaries and which enter very largely into the ordinary consumption of the poorer classes. So far as that part of the argument is concerned, I am sure the hon. Member for Blackburn has the good wishes behind him of every hon. Member of this House. When I come to examine the figures that he has put forward I am bound to tell the Committee that I think he is really mistaken in his estimate of the burdens which we are imposing upon the poor. The hon. Member said that our present taxation amounted to a charge of 20 per cent, on the income of many working families whose income did not amount to more than 20s. at the present time; in other words, he said that, out of the 20s. which many families are receiving now as their total income, they pay 4s. a week in taxes. I would beg of my hon. Friend to analyse the expenditure of an ordinary working-class family which is not more than 20s. a week and show to the Committee how 4s. out of that is expended on taxation.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Is the right hon. Gentleman under the delusion that in my estimate I do not include taxes on intoxicants?
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
Does the right hon Gentleman contend that my figures are wrong, and that there are some families earning 20s. per week who are not taxed to the extent of 20 per cent.? In making that statement I did not mean that that proportion was uniform, and that every family earning £1 a week paid that rate of taxation. I know there are some who are paying less, but there are others who are paying more.
§ Mr. McKENNA
If my hon. Friend were to take out in detail the expenditure on a working-class family and attribute to 1653 each item of expenditure the proper amount of taxation, he would find that it was perfectly impossible to arrive at any such average of charges as 4s. a week out of an expenditure of 20s. a week.
§ Mr. SNOWDEN
May I tell the right hon. Gentleman that the figures were given by a Liberal association in a leaflet issued at the General Election of 1906? The amount of taxation at that time was not so high, and the amount given was £6 17s. 6d. per working-class family.
§ Mr. McKENNA
My hon. Friend is now going into quite a different set of figures. I was simply taking his statement that the average charge upon persons earning 20s. a week was 20 per cent. When the hon. Member speaks of the average of the working classes, he does not mean that their average income is 20s. a week. The case the hon. Member put forward was that the average charge on an income of 20s. a week is 4s. a week. I am quite sure that my hon. Friend could not establish that proposition for one minute. Will he take a piece of paper and a pencil and work out what it would mean, and the amount of tea, sugar, whisky and tobacco which would have to be consumed out of an income of 20s. per week, in order to make up a taxation charge of 4s.?
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
Does the right hon. Gentleman leave out the chief item of taxation on the house, which amounts to 1s. or 1s. 6d. per week?
§ Mr. McKENNA
My hon. Friend may be right, but the tax upon houses does not come in the total of £80,000,000, to which my hon. Friend referred. He may be right or wrong in thinking that a tax on houses falls upon the working classes, but my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn was not referring to that item, because he mentioned £80,000,000 as the total of indirect taxes. If my hon. Friend will show me an average budget for a working-class family, showing 4s. a week taxation on an expenditure of 20s., I shall be extremely surprised. Hon. Members are aware that the duty on tea has been raised since the War from 5d. to 1s., and I agree that that is a very heavy increase, but how has the Income Tax been raised since the beginning of the War? It has been raised from 1s. 3d. to 3s. 6d. in the £. How has the Super-tax been raised? It has been increased from a maximum of 1s. 4d. to a maximum of 3s. 6d. The direct taxation upon, persons with very large in- 1654 comes now amounts very nearly to 7s. in the £, and those are facts which ought not to be ignored. We have got to raise an enormous revenue, and we have to distribute the burden in a way which may be considered fair over all classes of the community. I quite agree that when you take the case of the humblest classes of all, such as the old age pensioner, an additional tax like this upon tea falls extraordinarily hard, but there is no other means of raising the enormous sums that we have to raise. [An HON. MEMBER: "Tax land."] Up to the present the taxes on land have not been very remunerative, but I am not going to enter to-day into that tax as a revenue-producing machine, because up to the present those taxes have not been of very great assistance, and I do not see now how we can make an immediate increase in them. We have to raise this very large sum of money this year.
One of the best tests as to whether taxation is pressing with undue severity on the nation as a whole is the test of consumption. Some of my hon. Friends are in a position to show that the consumption of tea, or any other. of the commodities taxed, has not greatly declined. I can answer for one, in regard to which I have got the exact figures, and it is an article that is more heavily taxed than tea—I refer to sugar. Since the increase in the duty on sugar there has been no appreciable reduction in the consumption at all. The fact is that the consuming power of the nation, notwithstanding the increased taxes, appears to be as great as ever. [An HON. MEMBER: "Temporarily."] The War has been going on now for over a year, and up to this moment, not merely the consuming power, but the actual consumption of the nation, has scarcely declined at all, and that is a vital fact. These taxes come to an end on the 1st of August next, and I am dealing with this financial year. Each year on this higher taxation will have to justify itself. I am dealing with this year's taxation and the existing consumption of the people, and I am justified in saying that by every test that can be taken there is no reliable evidence that these taxes are pressing so heavily upon the community as to seriously reduce consumption. If in the midst of a great War like this with this huge expenditure—and I really do not think that the Committee have entered into the meaning of an expenditure of nearly £1,600,000,000 in the course of the present year—we are not willing in every class to submit to the 1655 necessary taxation in order both to enable us to meet the cost and to reduce consumption, we cannot hope to maintain a scale of expenditure of that kind. We must be prepared to maintain it if we are to last out the War. For these reasons, however much the hon. Member may appeal to our feelings, and the hon. Member always appeals to my feelings, I hope that we shall resist him and adhere to this tax, which is part of a whole scheme which I submit to the Committee as fair and necessary.
§ Mr. GOLDSTONE
I rather think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer either said too much or too little. His contention was that the tax would have the effect of reducing consumption. He admits quite frankly now that from that point of view it has been a complete failure and that the rate of consumption is being maintained. There are a number of working-class families doing much better than they were from the point of view of wages, and consequently the consumption of that type of working-class family has been increased. If, therefore, a fair average is being maintained, it must be obvious that the class of family—there were two millions of them in 1912—in receipt of £1 per week as wages has had its consumption considerably reduced. Otherwise there would not be merely a fair average maintained. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that we are spending something like £1,600,000,000 in this year of war. Imagine the amount which the tax on tea contributes to this £1,600,000,000! It is so inconsiderable that really, considering the ill-effects which it will work, it ought not to be brought into the account against the total amount which is being expended on the War.
There is another important point which appeals to us. The present rate of additional taxation will be required to pay loan charges and interest on additional loans. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has admitted so much, and, if that is so, the prospect of any reduction in taxation on food is remote, and we may anticipate for years to come the maintenance of a tax on tea at 1s. per lb., and of a tax on sugar at 9s. 4d. per cwt. The present rate of wages of the working-class people I am afraid will not be maintained. War bonuses may go. The high wages which are at present being paid in munition factories will be reduced. Poor people, the old age pensioners, who are receiving their 5s. per week, those in receipt of small separation 1656 allowances, and those who will receive pensions because their loved ones have fallen, will still have to pay this undue proportion of their income in food taxes, though the possibility of a large number of them being able to do so is again remote. This possibility of heavy taxation in the future ought to be giving the working classes considerable thought. I fail to see where the Chancellor of the Exchequer has met the argument of my hon. Friend either as regards the existing charge levied on working people or as regards the difficulties which I foresee arising in the future. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has set a precedent of high taxation on food which will be much resented in the years to come, and it will, in my view, in the future, make such a deduction from working-class wages that there will be a great increase in the poverty of the people.
Mr. DUNDAS WHITE
I listened with much interest to the reply which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer raised. It seemed to me very ingenious, but very far from convincing. My own view in regard to these taxes proceeds not on any nicely balanced and careful calculation as between 4s. in the £ being too much or too little, but proceeds on the fundamental objection which I have always held to any tax on the food of the people. I have stood year after year on the platform, and have said with great satisfaction that the party with which I had the honour to be associated has never been, for something like fifty years, concerned with the increase of the taxation on the food of the people, but has done what they could at every stage to decrease it. That which I hold to be good in principle I hold to be good in form as far as it can possibly be carried out. This tax upon tea is a particularly oppressive tax for reasons well known. It is a tax not varying according to the quality of the tea, but is a flat tax on all tea. Therefore, tea of poor quality consumed by the very poor people has to pay a heavier tax in proportion to its value than other tea. It presses more heavily on the poor for another reason. The amount spent in tea is a larger proportion of the working-man's budget than it is of the rich man's budget.
I would like to deal with a point which the Chancellor of the Exchequer made when he spoke of the prosperity of the working classes at the present time. I entirely agree that things are going well, that wages are high, and that consumption 1657 is being kept up, but we must remember that at present we are living on borrowed money, necessary borrowings I frankly admit and every one of them I have supported. We are on the tide of a temporary and artificial prosperity largely due to expenditure and preparations for the War, and all the means of employment that it has opened up. When the War is over this taxation will still go on, but this inflation of prosperity and employment will at once stop. We shall have a number of men coming back from the front seeking employment at home; we shall have a number of people engaged directly and indirectly in munition work also seeking employment, and there is every reason to fear a period of very considerable industrial depression, not only for ourselves but for the other countries of the world. "Oh," says the Chancellor of the Exchequer, "we are only asking you to vote this up to a certain time." Does any sane man think that there is any chance of this tax coming off at the end of that time? There is every reason to believe that it will remain, because there is one tax which is temporary and that is the tax on war profits. When the War is over the receipts from the War Profits Tax will vanish, and there will be increased pressure to retain every one of the other taxes. These considerations should be borne in mind. The Chancellor of the Exchequer asked, "What other sources of revenue are there?" and an hon. Friend behind suggested that he should look to the land. I think my hon. Friend had in mind the principle for which so many have stood, that those who hold the land, particularly under the present conditions, ought to be called upon to make a special contribution towards its defence. If they want to see how important it is for their interests that the country should be protected, let them consider the case of land and houses in Belgium. There houses have been destroyed, and where they have not been destroyed the rent of both land and houses is paid to the conquerors. We maintain that this principle which has been put forward—
§ Sir G. YOUNGER
On a point of Order. Is the hon. Gentleman entitled to discuss this old land question on an Amendment to reduce the tax on tea?
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member will allow me to reply to the hon. Baronet. It 1658 is clear that the Committee stage is not the time to propose alternatives, or an advocate of some particular proposal might make every tax the occasion for putting it forward. That sort of argument is more proper to a Second Reading debate.
I had no intention of going the length which the hon. Baronet suggested, but, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer has himself mentioned the point, I think that I may be entitled to say—
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Chancellor of the Exchequer only did it in reply to an interruption coming from behind.
The taxes to which he referred were not the taxes which we have in view. I do not want to pursue this subject further, but we have again and again put forward this alternative. It is not open to us to propose it now and I abide by your ruling, but at the same time we have to remember that this is an alternative which has been put forward by the party to which both the Chancellor of the Exchequer and I belong, and in the present situation in which I find myself—
I will only say that I for one, in the circumstances of the day, stand by my principles, and I feel unable to support my right hon. Friend in the proposals which are now put forward, because I think that other and better proposals could have been made.
§ Sir W. BYLES
Everybody in this House always objects to indirect taxation. The hon. Member who introduced this subject was very eloquent upon the subject. The Chancellor of the Exchequer himself, like his predecessor, objected to indirect taxes. None of them seem to have the courage of their opinions and to resort to the only remedy, which is direct taxation. One of the objections offered, and it is quite right, was that indirect taxes are increased by the trader, who makes the consumer pay more than the tax. Another objection is that indirect taxes cost a great deal more to collect than direct taxes. The third and most important objection of all is that the man pays indirect taxes without knowing that he pays at the moment, and therefore he does not follow the taxes to see what is done with them and how the money is spent. These are the real objections, and the third is the strongest objection 1659 of all to indirect taxation. Everybody has an income, and the Income Tax is universally popular. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] It is popular as a tax. Of course, no tax is really popular. Everybody has an income of some kind, and I would like to see the Chancellor of the Exchequer get up and propose to make everyone pay his share towards the revenue of the country in proportion to the income which he receives.
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, as I expected, met my hon. Friend's proposal for the reduction of this tax by pointing to the Income Tax, and saying that it has been raised from 1s. 3d. to 3s. 6d. I would like to point out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer what
§ he has been doing on behalf of many of those whom he is going to tax by way of the Income Tax. In many cases the right hon. Gentleman has increased the income of the individual by more than the amount of taxation he intends to take from him in the form of Income Tax. For instance, a man who formerly had a Government security earning 3½ per cent, is now, through the operations of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, getting 4¼ per cent.—
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 204; Noes, 26.1661
|Division No. 10.]||AYES.||[4.47 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke||Duncan, Sir J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Macleod, John Mackintosh|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Macpherson, James Ian|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Esslemont, George Birnie||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Fell, Arthur||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Mason, David M. (Coventry)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Galbraith, Samuel||Meagher, Michael|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Gardner, Ernest||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Molloy, Michael|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Gordon, John||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Money, Sir L. G. Chiozza|
|Bellairs, Commander E. W.||Graham, Edward John||Montagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Greig, Colonel J. W.||Mooney, John J.|
|Bentham, G. J.||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Morgan, George Hay|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Boland, John Pius||Hackett, John||Mount, William Arthur|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Hall, Marshall (Liverpool, E. Toxteth)||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Bowden, G. R. Harland||Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Boyton, James||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Norton, Captain Cecil W.|
|Brace, William||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Harris, Henry Percy (Paddington, S.)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Butcher, John George||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Dowd, John|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Ogden, Fred|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Henderson, Sir A. (St. Geo., Han. Sq.)||O'Malley. William|
|Cator, John||Henry, Sir Charles||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Higham, John Sharp||Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse)|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Holt, Richard Durning||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Clough, William||Ingleby, Holcombe||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Price, Sir R. J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford)|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Prothero, Rowland Edmund|
|Cosgrave, James||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Cowan, W. H.||Joyce, Michael||Radford, George Heynes|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Keating, Matthew||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Crumley, Patrick||King, Joseph||Reddy, Michael|
|Currie, George W.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Rees, G. C. (Carnarvon, Arfon)|
|Dalrymple, Hon. H. H.||Larmor, Sir J.||Rees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Leach, Charles||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Robertson, Rt. Hon. John M. (Tyneside)|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lieut.-Colonel A. R.||Robinson, Sidney|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Rolleston, Sir John|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Lonsdale, Sir John Brownlee||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dewsbury)|
|Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lundon, Thomas||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Doris, William||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Dougherty, Rt. Hon. Sir J. B.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Mackinder, Halford J.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Shortt, Edward||Tickler, T. G.||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)|
|Smith, Harold (Warrington)||Tryon, Captain George Clement||Williams, Col. Sir Robert (Dorset, W.)|
|Smith, Sir S. (Keighley, W.R.)||Turton, Edmund Russborough||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Valentia, Viscount||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Spear, Sir John Ward||Verney, Sir Harry||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert||Walker, Colonel William Hall||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Stewart, Gershom||Walton, Sir Joseph||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)||Younger, Sir George|
|Sykes, Col. A. J. (Knutsford)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Taylor, John W. (Durham)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Watson, Hon. W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Gulland and Lord E. Talbot.|
|Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Thomas-Stanford, Charles||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Adamson, William||Hogge, James Myles||Thomas, James Henry|
|Alden, Percy||Hudson, Walter||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Anderson, W. C.||Jowett, Frederick William||Wardle, George J.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Lambert, Richard (Wilts Cricklade)||Watt, Henry Anderson|
|Bird, Alfred||O'Grady, James||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Bowermon, Charles W.||Outhwaite, R. L.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Tyson Wilson and Mr. Goldstone.|
|Glanville, Harold James||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Hall, Frederick (Yorks, Normanton)||Snowden, Philip|
Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.