HL Deb 18 July 1916 vol 22 cc744-5


Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, this Bill is not a form of temperance propaganda, nor has it any connection with any kind of fiscal policy. Its only object is to increase the tonnage space available for the importation of commodities that are essential to the country. It is proposed to add the materials used for brewing to the very many articles the importation of which has been restricted on account of the shipping difficulty. This cannot be done directly as in other cases, as these materials—maize, barley, rice, and sugar—are also foodstuffs. I do not include hops, as the importation of foreign hops has already been prohibited.

After consultation with the brewing trade, it was decided that the best way to arrive at the object aimed at was to reduce the amount of beer brewed from 30,250,000 barrels to 26,000,000 barrels a year. This will save about one-third of the imported materials, amounting to 160,000 tons. In order to secure this decrease, Clause 2 of the Bill imposes a reduction of 15 per cent. on the output of the breweries as compared with the year ended March 31, 1916; or, as an alternative, a reduction of 30 per cent. on the output in the year ended September 30, 1914. This alternative has been given to meet the hard case of some breweries which have already been compelled to reduce their output considerably in the last year owing to changes in population that have taken place, the result chiefly of the movements of troops.

Clause 3 restricts the establishment of new breweries. Clause 4 provides means for dealing with special cases of hardship. Clause 5 safeguards the interests of "free" as opposed to "tied" licence-holders, and secures to the former a proper proportion of their previous supplies. Subsections (3) and (4) of this clause extend the same security to the Central Control Board and to the managers of clubs. In the Bill as at present drafted canteens are placed in the same position as clubs, but when the Bill reaches the Committee stage an Amendment will be moved taking out canteens from this clause. This will be done at the request of the War Office, who have already made other arrangements.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Stanmore.)

On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House To-morrow.