The Marquess of Londonderry
could not allow the Bill to pass without expressing his opinion on the subject. Coal was almost the only article imported into the port of London that was so grievously taxed. In 1840, the city of London gave up the coal tax to the Government. The annual revenue in that year was 125,000l.; in 1841, it increased by 20,000l.; in 1842, by 10,000l.; and in 1843, by 5,000l.; in 1844, there was a strike amongst the colliers, and the revenue decreased by 3,500l. For the half of the present year, however, it had increased so as to make the average 165,000l. from the present tax. As there had been so great an increase, and as it was likely to continue, he wanted to know why it was necessary to put a tax of an additional penny on this necessary of life? and why, too, coals alone were to be taxed for metropolitan improvements? He contended that the noble Earl who had brought the matter 1285 forward in the other House, knew nothing of the subject, and that the tax fell upon the coalowner, and not upon the poor or the consumer. The trade was already unjustifiably oppressed; and in a future Session some relief must be given, or extensive ruin would ensue.
§ The Marquess of Westminster
supported the Bill, and thought the proposed improvements in London and its vicinity, effected by means of it, would, on the whole, be highly beneficial.
§ After a few words from the Earl of Dalhousie, and an explanation from the Marquess of Londonderry,
§ Bill read 2a.
§ House adjourned.