HC Deb 15 July 1924 vol 176 cc276-7

(1) In the case of black beer of a specific gravity of one thousand two hundred degrees or upwards, the rebate from the Excise Duty to be allowed under Section two of the Finance Act, 1923, and the rebate from the Customs Duty to be allowed under Section three of that Act shall, subject as hereinafter provided, instead of being calculated at the rates for which provision is made by those Sections respectively, be in each case calculated at the rate of five pounds for every thirty-six gallons of beer of a specific gravity of one thousand two hundred and twenty degrees and so in proportion for any difference in quantity or gravity.

Provided that the foregoing provision shall not apply to black beer brewed on the premises of a brewer for sale who brews on or sends out from the same premises any beer other than black beer.

(2) A brewer of beer for sale shall not have on the premises used by him for the purposes of his business any black beer of a specific gravity of one thousand two hundred degrees or upwards, unless the beer was brewed by him on the premises, or mix any such beer with any other beer.

(3) If any person acts in contravention of the foregoing Sub-section he shall, in respect of each offence, be liable to an excise penalty of fifty pounds, and the beer in respect of which the offence was committed shall be forfeited.

(4) In this Section the expression "black beer" means beer of the descriptions called or similar to black beer mum, spruce, or Berlin white beer, and any other preparations, whether fermented or not, of a similar character, and for the purposes of this Section the specific gravity of a fermented preparation shall be taken to be the specific gravity of the worts thereof before fermentation.—[Sir C. Wilson.]

Brought up, and read the First time.


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

I desire to thank the Chancellor of the Exchequer for his courtesy and help in connection with this matter. The House may not know a great deal about black beer. The peculiar thing about it is that it is not beer at all but a sweetened cordial, and because it has been described as beer it has been taxed like ordinary beer, with the result that the industry is almost destroyed. If this Clause be accepted it will give much needed relief to what otherwise will be a decaying industry. In the old days this was, and to some extent it still is, a remedy for colds, and is supposed to be very effective. I hope that the Clause will be accepted by the House, and I will only say to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that as this commodity has to be brewed a considerable time before it can be issued to the consumers, I hope he will allow this concession to go back to the 1st April.


I beg to second the Motion.


I am quite sure there is a case for the acceptance of this new Clause. The hon. Member's speech brought back to my own recollection the remedies of my childhood when black beer was a specific in Yorkshire—I believe its consumption is almost confined to Yorkshire—for children suffering from colds. I am afraid it would be administratively impossible to make the alteration which the hon. Member suggests with regard to the date.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.