HC Deb 08 July 1924 vol 175 cc2023-7

The duties chargeable on the following excise liquor licences, that is to say, retailers' on-licences for spirits, beer, or wine, retailers' off-licences for spirits, beer, or wine, shall be reduced by fifty per cent.—[Mr Banks.]

Brought up, and read the First time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

In moving the Second Reading of this new Clause I do not think I need tread upon that dangerous ground beneath which one hears the rumbling and seething of controversy on the temperance question. My hon. Friend the Member for Hereford (Mr. S. Roberts) when he approaches the matter of the beer duty may have to venture upon it, and I hope he will not fall through. The question involved in this proposal, however, is not concerned with temperance at all. Under the present system certain persons are conceded the privilege of selling intoxicating liquor and have to pay charges to the State in return for that privilege, and the question is simply whether the charge imposed upon them is or is not equitable. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer sees his way to accept this Clause it will not make any difference at all in the consumption of intoxicating liquor, nor need those who have an objection to the brewer, and who sometimes accuse him of enjoying bloated profits, oppose the Clause on the ground that it gives him any substantial concession. As everybody knows, in the Budget of 1909–10 the charges on all licences in this country were enormously increased, and we may assume that at the time of the outbreak of the War those licences were probably regarded as having been scaled up to the highest point which they ought to reach.

In those clays the man behind the bar in the public house was entitled to do business for from 17 to 19 hours out of the 24. Now, under the Act of 1921 he can only trade for eight or nine hours. That being so, it seems, prima facie, to be unjust that a mar, should have to continue to pay to the State exactly the same amount of money for the privilege of trading only half the number of hours which he was allowed to trade in days gone by. The principle of reducing duties in proportion to the reduction of hours is to novelty. It was recognised by the Act of 1872 that a man who had only the privilege of trading on six days, should pay less, proportionately, than the man who enjoyed that privilege for seven days. Again, the Act of 1874 recognised that a man who had an early closing licence should not be saddled with such heavy duty as the man who had a more extended licence. It was recognised during the War when, from time to time, orders were brought in limiting the hours, and corresponding rebates were granted to the licensees. The first rebate represented one-fifteenth for each hour taken off. Then there was a rebate of one-quarter, and, finally, under the Finance Act of 1917, a rebate of three-quarters of the duty was permitted. When the Liquor Control Board was dissolved, naturally this concession came to an end and we would have reverted to the old hours but for the Act of 1921.

It is an undoubted fact that the Act of 1921, which reduced the hours to eight or nine, was passed with the object of reducing the consumption of liquor and was highly commended on that score by gentlemen who are great advocates of temperance in this House. We know benches of magistrates have taken advantage of the discretion granted to them, by frequently so allotting the permitted hours that, instead of trading until 11 o'clock, licensees in certain divisions can only trade until 10 o'clock. That reduction of hours is warmly commended by temperance advocates on the ground that it reduces the consumption of intoxicating liquor. In truth and in fact, the consumption of spirits has been steadily going down since 1921 and the consumption of other exciseable liquors has remained more or less stationary. Anyone who has practical experience of licensing matters will admit that a very large part of the consumption of intoxicating liquors has gone from the public house to the club. I have nothing to say against that, but

there is no doubt it is the fact and that is presumably because the club may allot those permitted hours as it chooses while the licensee may not. Therefore, in many divisions of this City there exist regulations closing the public houses at 10 o'clock while the clubs almost invariably choose to close at 11 o'clock and, consequently, gain a large proportion of the trade. On these grounds, which I hope are grounds of common sense and equity, I submit this New Clause. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that there were two rules guiding a Chancellor of the Exchequer—he might be a distributor of misery, or he might be a distributor of compassion. In my submission, what he ought to be is a distributor of justice, and the case for the licensed victuallers in this country is based upon justice, and only upon justice.

Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 89; Noes, 236.

Division No. 133.] AYES. [5.17 p.m.
Apsley, Lord. Greene, W. P. Crawford Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Banks, Reginald Mitchell Gretton, Colonel John Pielou, D. P.
Barnston, Major Sir Harry Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Pilditch, Sir Philip
Beckett, Sir Gervase Harland, A. Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton
Blades, Sir George Rowland Hartington, Marquess of Remnant, Sir James
Bourne, Robert Croft Hennessy, Major J. R. G. Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford) Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)
Briscoe, Captain Richard George Herbert, Capt. Sidney (Scarborough) Roundell, Colonel R. F.
Brittain, Sir Harry Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)
Buckingham, Sir H. Hood, Sir Joseph Sandman, A. Stewart
Bullock, Captain M. Hore-Belisha, Major Leslie Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Burman, J. B. Howard, Hn. D. (Cumberland, North) Shepperson, E. W.
Butler, Sir Geoffrey Howard-Bury, Lieut.-Col. C. K. Somerville, Daniel (Barrow-In-Furn'ss)
Calne, Gordon Hall Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.
Cautley, Sir Henry S. Huntingfield, Lord Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Clarry, Reginald George King, Captain Henry Douglas Sunlight, J.
Clayton, G. C. Lamb, J. Q. Sutcliffe, T.
Cope, Major William Lane-Fox, George R. Turton, Edmund Russborough
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Lumley, L. R. Waddington, R.
Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend) Makins, Brigadier-General E. Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln) Marriott, Sir J. A. R. Warrender, Sir Victor
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester) Meller, R. J. Wells, S. R.
Dawson, Sir Philip Milne, J. S. Wardlaw Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)
Dixey, A. C. Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honlton) Winsdsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Eden, Captain Anthony Nall, Lieut.-Cotonel Sir Joseph Wragg, Herbert
Ednam, Viscount Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward
Elveden, Viscount Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge) Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godtray Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)
Ferguson, H. Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert TELLERS FOR THE AYERS.—
Forestler-Walker, L. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William Mr. Percy Gate and Mr. Hannon
Gaunt, Rear-Admiral Sir Guy R. Penny, Frederick George
Ackroyd, T. R. Backer, Walter Bonwick, A.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. William Banton, G. Bramsdon, Sir Thomas
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock) Barclay, R. Noton Broad, F. A.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro') Barnes, A. Bromfield, William
Allen, R. Wilberforce (Leicester, S.) Barrie, Sir Charles Couper (Banff) Brown, A. E. (Warwick, Rugby)
Alstead, R. Batey, Joseph Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)
Ammon, Charles George Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith) Buckle, J
Aske, Sir Robert William Berry, Sir George Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.
Attlee, Major Clement R. Blundell, F.N. Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel
Ayles, W. H. Bondfield, Margaret Chapple, Dr. William A.
Charleton, H. C. Jones, Rt. Hon. Lelf (Camborne) Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Church, Major A. G. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Ritson, J.
Clarke, A. Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd) Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Climle, R. Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W. (Bradford, E.) Romeril, H. G.
Cluse, W. S. Jowitt, W. A. (The Hartlepools) Rose, Frank H.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R. Kay, Sir R. Newbald Royle, C.
Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock) Keens, T. Scurr, John
Compton, Joseph Kennedy, T. Seely, H. M. (Norfolk, Eastern)
Conway, Sir W. Martin Kenyon, Barnet Sexton, James
Cove, W. G. Lansbury, George Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities) Laverack, F. J. Sherwood, George Henry
Crittall, V. G. Law, A. Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Darbishire, C. W. Lawrence, Susan (East Ham, North) Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Davies, Ellis (Denbigh, Denbigh) Lawson, John James Simon, E. D. (Manchester, Withington)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Leach, W. Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Davison, J. E. (Smethwick) Lee, F. Simpson, J. Hope
Dickle, Captain J. P. Lessing, E. Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Dickson, T. Linfield, F. C. Smith, W. R. (Norwich)
Dodds, S. R. Livingstone, A. M. Snell, Harry
Duckworth, John Loverseed, J. F. Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Dukes, C. Lowth, T. Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.
Duncan, C. Lunn, William Spence, R.
Dunn, J. Freeman McCrae, Sir George Spencer, H. H. (Bradford, South)
Dunnico, H. McEntee, V. L. Spero, Dr. G. E.
Egan, W. H. Mackinder, W. Spoor, B. G.
Emlyn-Jones. J. E. (Dorset, N.) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Stamford, T. W.
England, Colonel A. Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Stewart, J. (St Rollox)
Fletcher, Lieut.-Com. R. T. H. Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I. Sturrock, J. Leng
Foot. Isaac Mansel, Sir Courtenay Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Franklin, L. B. March, S. Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)
Gardner, B. W. (West Ham, Upton) Marley, James Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, North) Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Kine'dine, E.) Thompson, Piers G. (Torquay)
George. Major G. L. (Pembroke) Martin, W. H. (Dumbarton) Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)
Gosling, Harry Middleton, G. Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Gould, Frederick (Somerset, Frome) Millar, J. D. Thornton, Maxwell R.
Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) Mills, J. E. Thurtle, E.
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne) Mond, H. Tout, W. J.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan) Montague, Frederick Turner, Ben
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool) Morel, E. D. Viant, S. P.
Groves, T. Morris, R. H. Vivian, H.
Grundy, T. W. Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South) Wallhead, Richard C.
Guest, J. (York, Hemsworth) Morrison R. C. (Tottenham, N) Ward, Col. J. (Stoke upon Trent)
Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.) Morse, W. E. Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Moulton, Major Fletcher Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland) Muir, John W. Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Hardie, George D. Muir, Ramsay (Rochdale) Wedgwood, Col. Rt. Hon. Josiah C.
Harvey, T. E. (Dewsbury) Murray, Robert Weston, John Wakefield
Hastings, Sir Patrick Nichol, Robert Westwood, J.
Hastings, Somerville (Reading) Nixon, H. Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Haycock, A. W. O'Grady, Captain James Whiteley, W.
Hayday Arthur Owen, Major G. Wignall, James
Healy, Cahir Paling, W. Williams, A. (York, W. R., Sowerby)
Hemmerde, E. G. Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan) Williams, David (Swansea, E.)
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley) Pattinson, S. (Horncastle) Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Henderson, T. (Glasgow) Perry, S. F. Williams, Lt.-Col. T.S.B. (Kenningtn.)
Henderson, W. W. (Middlesex, Enfld.) Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. Williams, Maj. A.S. (Kent, Sevenoaks)
Hillary, A. E. Phillipps, Vivian Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Hindle, F. Pilkington, R. R. Willson, H.
Hirst, G. H. Ponsonby, Arthur Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Hobhouse, A. L. Potts, John S. Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Hoffman, P. C. Pringle, W. M. R. Windsor, Walter
Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone) Purcell, A. A. Wintringham, Margaret
Howard, Hon. G. (Bedford, Luton) Raffety, F. W. Wise, Sir Fredric
Hudson, J. H. Ramage, Captain Cecil Beresford Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)
Jackson, R. F. (Ipswich) Raynes, W. R. Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)
Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath) Rea, W. Russell Wright, W.
Jenkins, W. A. (Brecon and Radnor) Rees, Sir Beddoe Young, Andrew (Glasgow, Partick)
Jewson, Dorothea Rees, Capt. J. T. (Devon, Barnstaple)
John, William (Rhondda, West) Reid, D. D. (County Down) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth) Richards, R. Mr. Frederick Hall and Mr. Warne.