HC Deb 03 June 1918 vol 106 cc1258-9

In lieu of the duty of Excise payable in respect of beer brewed in the United Kingdom there shall, as from the twenty-third day of April nineteen hundred and eighteen, be charged, levied, and paid—

For every thirty-six gallons of words of a specific gravity of one thousand and fifty-five degrees, the duty of £ s. d.
2 10 0

and in lieu of the drawback of Excise payable in respect of beer exported from the United Kingdom as merchandise or shipped for use as ship's stores, there shall be allowed and paid in respect of beer on which it is shown that the increased Excise Duty charged by this Act has been paid a drawback calculated according to the original gravity thereof (that is to say):—

For every thirty-six gallons of beer of an original gravity of one thousand and fifty-five degrees, the drawback of £ s. d.
2 10 3

and so as to both duty and drawback in pro portion for any difference in quantity or gravity.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."


I want to call my right hon. Friend's attention to a question on Clause 6. When the Government duty was placed on beer it was perfectly well known by the parties concerned that the trade would have to pay it. There have been many restrictions on the brewing of beer in the last three or four years, all very properly made because it was necessary that they should be, and no brewer that I know of ever made any objection. There was a very great reduction made last year, and a much more severe restriction than before. Special barrels for munition areas were allocated, I think, to the brewers who could most surely supply the areas, and you were really supplying to them a part of the trade previously restricted. That was all right, but when it came on to the allocation day the Food Department, on its own initiative, said it would allocate none of those barrels unless brewers paid 25s. per barrel for the privilege of brewing the beer. They did not mind because they were paying excess profits. My point is this; I do not object to a tax from my right hon. Friend. I accept his taxation with the greatest good will in the world, because I know conditions are artificial, and he will deal with us in the fairest way he can. But I do object to being taxed by an official in the Food Control Office. It is grossly unconstitutional, and I believe it is quite illegal, and I hope my right hon. Friend will see when the period expires that some new arrangement shall be made.


I will give consideration to the point raised by my hon. Friend. It is, I admit, a point of substance. I admit this method is open to some objection.


Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman to suggest that he will be able to remit this taxation?


My hon. Friend did not ask that. He asked if, from this period, the Chancellor of the Exchequer would consider whether it was done by a right method, or if some other should be adopted.


I did not ask for repayment; I do not press for that.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause 7 (Duties and Drawbacks on Tobacco) ordered to stand part of the Bill.