34. Sir J. D. REES
asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that during the 12 months ending 31st August, 1914, 200,000 standard barrels of beer paid ã80,000 duty; that during the 12 months ending 31st March, 1920, 130,000 such barrels paid £450,000 duty, the Income Tax figures for the same periods comparing as £4,500 compares with £26,000; and whether, in view of these figures, how long the Government proposes to continue the present rates of duty and restrictive regulations, and to continue in operation the Central Control Board?
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Chamberlain)
During the 12 months ending 31st August, 1914, there was a uniform rate of duty of 7s. 9d. the standard barrel on beer brewed in the United Kingdom; hence the duty payable on 200,000 standard barrels would be £77,500. During the year ending 31st March, 1920, two rates of duty were in force, namely, 50s. the standard barrel from 1st to 30th April, 1919, and 70s. the standard barrel from 1st May, 1919, to 31st March, 1920. Assuming that one-twelfth of the 130,000 standard barrels mentioned in the question was brewed each month, the duty for the year would be £444,000. As regards the last part of the question, I can add nothing to what has already been said on this subject.
Sir J. D. REES
Can the right hon. Gentleman not see that this is a very crushing duty to pay, and that its incidence affords ground for speedily dealing with the difficulty to which I refer in the latter part of the question?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I think the hon. Member will find it difficult to produce evidence that this burden is crushing the industry.
§ 55. Major COLFOX
asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that in some 2368 districts, notably in Somerset, licensed premises are open during the pre-War hours, while others within a few hundred. yards on the north-west corner of Dorset in a controlled area are restricted to six-and-a-half hours a day; and whether, in view of the continued delay in abolishing the Central Control Board and in introducing the promised Licensing Bill, he will take steps to place all licence-holders on the same footing as regards hours of trading?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I am aware that differentiation of hours exists between areas which are scheduled for the purposes of the Liquor Control Regulations and other areas, but there is general agreement that, so far as scheduled areas are concerned, a complete return to pre-War hours would be undesirable, and the scheduled hours applicable to scheduled areas cannot be made applicable to unscheduled areas without legislation. At present some differentiation appears inevitable.
§ Viscount CURZON
May I ask whether it is true that the Chairman of the Central Control Board is to be our next Ambassador in Berlin?