HC Deb 27 November 1945 vol 416 cc1178-9

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Sir W. Wakefield

I want to ask the Financial Secretary if lie can explain the reason for this Clause. It starts by saying: As from the first day of January, 1946, no allowance shall be payable. Then, under paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) certain items are enumerated. Could the Financial Secretary explain why no allowance is to be payable in respect of these things? Presumably there were very good reasons before why allowancs were paid. Why is it that now they are not to be so payable? I am sure the Committee would be grateful if he could give an explanation before introducing this Clause.

Mr. G. Nicholson

Personally, I am satisfied that these drawbacks should not be paid any more. If the Spirits Act of 1880 is to be revised, as we think it is, there can be no justification for these drawbacks. I do not want to go into the history of drawbacks, but I want most seriously to call the attention of the Government and the Committee to the position with regard to industrial alcohol. It is a position which needs careful attention. It should be decided whether the production of industrial alcohol in this country is an economic and commercial necessity, or if it is not. There is, possibly, the prospect that it will be proved cheaper to produce the spirit abroad and bring it here rather than to bring the raw material here and produce the spirit here.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

If I might answer the last speaker first, I would say to him that the Government have in mind the point he raised. As he knows a certain amount of work has been done in some of the Colonies in this direction to see the extent to which, if at all, molasses can be fermented and the spirit manufactured there. That is perhaps not a matter to go into tonight but I can assure him that it is not being lost sight of. There are some Colonies that have a single crop where an industry of this kind might indeed be a Godsend.

My hon. Friend the Member for Marylebone (Sir W. Wakefield) asked why this Clause was necessary. The answer is that these drawbacks are now no longer being given for the simple reason that we have agreed to Clause 7. These restrictions and limitations are no longer to be applied to distilleries and that being so, it is felt that their cost of production will not be what it might be and that therefore these drawbacks should cease; Clause 9 implements that decision. It is also in line with the findings of the Committee which sat on this matter and the three Clauses should be taken together as one whole.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause ro ordered to stand part of the Bill.