HL Deb 03 June 1823 vol 9 cc648-9
The Earl of Hare- wood

presented two petitions from the woollen manufacturers of Leeds and Huddersfield against the duties on foreign wool, and observed on the inexpediency and injustice of the duties in question.

The Earl of Liverpool

said, that some years ago a duty was laid on foreign wool and it was then predicted that it would not be productive; but the contrary was is the fact, the duties having risen from 250,000l. to 400,000l. per annum. This was the state of the question as it regarded as revenue. But had any injury been sustained by the woollen manufacturers? Their lordships would find from the returns on the table, that the exportation had increased. He admitted that, with respect to some parts of Europe, that was not the case; but it was very doubtful whether that could be imputed to the operation of this tax, or whether it did not arise from those causes which had affected the agriculture of the rest of Europe as well as our own. The question then stood thus: with respect to revenue, the tax was productive; while, as it regarded manufactures, it was not injurious. As to the justice of the tax, he would only say that he was willing to give up all the advantage of the 400,000l. a year to the revenue provided the manufacturers would agree to the free exportation of wool; but so long as they objected to the one, he should not feel justified in giving up the other. He thought this no more than fair as it regarded the interests of agriculture. The manufacturers had been made fully acquainted with the views of government, and, under the present circumstances, he did not feel justified in supporting the prayer of their petition.

Ordered to he on the table.