HC Deb 29 May 1922 vol 154 cc1666-8

asked the Prime Minister whether, with a view of allaying the widespread dissatisfaction at present existing in the manufacturing and mining districts of the country owing to the high price and low quality of the beer obtainable in licensed houses and working men's clubs, he will appoint a Committee to inquire into the causes of the high price and low quality and to endeavour to suggest a means of removing the causes of dissatisfaction?

29. Mr. DOYLE

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the increasing discontent and dissatisfaction existing amongst the industrial and other sections of the community at the high price and low quality of beer sold in licensed houses and workmen's clubs, he will take such measures as may be necessary to remedy this regrettable state of affairs?


I have no doubt that one of the main causes of the present price of beer is the high duty which it is unfortunately necessary to charge for revenue purposes; and I do not think that the appointment of such a Committee as my hon. Friend suggests could serve any useful purpose at the present time.


Has the right hon. Gentleman been made aware, since his return, of the enormous amount of discontent and unrest which has been caused by this matter, and cannot it be dealt with?


Yes, that is so: but unfortunately, owing to the necessities of the Revenue, it is quite impossible to take off these high duties. It would be very desirable if the duties could be taken off many commodities which are consumed by the people.


If an Amendment is tabled on the Finance Bill with a view to reducing the duty on spirits and beer, will the Government back it up?

Lieut.-Colonel J. WARD

Can the right hon. Gentleman inform the House how it is that in spite of the fact that now, as compared with two years ago, many things are down—wages down at least 100 per cent., those also of the workers employed by the brewery companies and everything else are down—that the price of beer cannot be reduced?


That question had better be put down on the Paper!