HC Deb 15 July 1924 vol 176 cc332-3

I beg to move, in page 9, line 22, to leave out the words "than in the United Kingdom," and to insert instead thereof the words "within the British Empire."

It is a pleasure to me to be able to propose this Amendment to Clause 13. The Clause was thought to be necessary in order that beer which is brewed in the Irish Free State should retain certain privileges which it enjoyed when the Irish Free State was part of the United Kingdom. It will be remembered that when this Clause was before the Committee the question arose, why, in order to deal with the Irish Free State, the Clause should be extended to beer brewed elsewhere than in the United Kingdom. It was feared it might favour German, Austrian and other foreign beers. The answer was that in practice there was no German or Austrian or foreign beer which would be in a position to reap the benefit of the Clause. I venture to suggest, however much that may he the case, it is not really an answer to what seems to be the more obvious course, and a safer one as well in ease there should be any question of foreign beer trying to get this advantage. I do not see, and I do not think the House will see, why, when we want to give particular favour only to home industries we should not include the term "within the British Empire." Therefore my Amendment is that this privilege instead of being made to apply to beer brewed elsewhere than in the United Kingdom shall apply to beer brewed in the United Kingdom or elsewhere in the British Empire. I venture to suggest there is no reason to say more about this. The Amendment practically explains itself, and I feel quite sure the Chancellor of the Exchequer will accept it.


I beg to second the Amendment.


The object of this Clause is as described by the hon. and learned Member. I explained during the Committee stage of the Bill that it was rendered necessary by the constitution of the Irish Free State and by our desire not to inflict a law on the trade in this commodity between Ireland and this country. I think it is undesirable to extend the Clause in the way the hon. Member suggests, because in practice, at the present time, no foreign beer does come into this country for re-export, and I am advised that the insertion of restrictive words would perhaps merely have the effect of depriving the country of certain raw material and also of preventing a certain amount of bonding for export which might be clone here. I do not see why we should lose that trade when it causes no damage whatever to our own industry. It is not a large question, however. I suggest to the hon. Member that we shall stand to lose by his proposal. I trust, therefore he will not press it.


My only regret is that we did not get this further objection when in the Committee. I quite accept it, and ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn