§ 60. Lieut.-Colonel POWNALL
asked the Prime Minister whether it is now possible to remove the restrictions on the amount of spirits going into consumption or, if that is not possible, to increase the quantity from the present figure, three-quarters of the 1916 clearances, to the full amount of 1916; and whether such increase of one-third in the spirits permitted to be cleared would increase the amount raised by the Excise by some £14,000,000 yearly?
§ Mr. J. PARKER
I have been asked to reply. I am afraid it is not possible at the present moment to remove the restrictions upon the amount of spirits which may be removed from bond, but the question of making some increase in the present figure is now being considered. As regards the last part of the question, it is problematical whether the measure suggested by the hon. and gallant Member would, in effect, lead to any increase in revenue in view of the fact that distilling has only been resumed comparatively recently and stocks are still at a low level.
May I ask whether the hon. Gentleman can give any reason why these restrictions should not be entirely removed now?
§ 61. Lieut.-Colonel POWNALL
asked the Prime Minister whether he appreciates the hardship of taking 1916 as the basis year on which supplies of spirits are rationed to clubs, in view of the fact that in many 876 clubs almost all the men of military age had volunteered for active service in 1914 and 1915?
§ Mr. PARKER
It was necessary for administrative purposes that in bringing these restrictions into force, which was done in March, 1917, the last complete year should be taken as the basic year for the rationing of spirits. The question, however, of modifying the present restrictions is now being considered.