§ 60. Mr. RAFFAN
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the loss to the Revenue involved in the allowance made to brewers of six per cent. in respect of such accidental loss and waste as arises in the brewing of beer under the Inland Revenue Act, 1880, Section 13, Subsection (b); whether approximately 65 per cent. of the beer brewed is produced by under five per cent. of the firms engaged in the trade; and whether, in view of this concentration and of improved methods of brewing, he can see his way to reduce the allowance?
Under the law the duty on beer is charged by reference to the worts from which the beer is produced, and not upon the finished beer. 1449 As the duty must be regarded as falling upon the finished beer, an allowance has to be made to cover the waste arising during the conversion of the worts into beer. It is considered that an allowance of six per cent. is not more than sufficient to cover this waste, taking the trade as a whole, and I do not propose to reduce it. As regards the second part of the question, no recent figures are available, but it is thought that the percentages quoted by the hon. Member are approximately correct.
§ Mr. RAFFAN
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that estimates have been published which show that this sum is excessive, and has any recent inquiry been made on behalf of the Government as to whether the sum originally fixed is now excessive?
I know that the calculation has been criticised, as any calculation may be, but I think it is a fair average sum. No doubt the most efficient brewers would have their loss more than covered by it, but I think that it is a fair average sum, substantially speaking, and without being too exact in this particular respect.