HC Deb 09 July 1919 vol 117 cc1824-6W

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention had been drawn to the Report of the General Manager of the Carlisle and District Control area of the Liquor Board; whether, in view of the success of the experiment, he will consider the desirability of its extension to the whole country, in order to secure to the general consumer an adequate supply of wholesome liquor under ordinary conditions at a reasonable price; whether the Government have formed any plans for the future of that area; and, if so, are they willing to make a statement on the subject in the immediate future?


As the House is aware, the Report referred to has been published as a Parliamentary Paper (Cmd. 137). The latter part of the question will be a matter for Parliament when the promised Bill is under discussion


asked the Prime Minister whether more beer is being brewed now than before the War, and whether more hops and barley are being imported for that purpose; whether he will state the quantities brewed before the War and now, respectively; and whether he can state the tax accruing to the Exchequer per day in respect of beer?


In the year ended 31st March, 1914, about 37,500,000 bulk barrels of beer were brewed, which corresponds to 36,000,000 in standard barrels. Figures as to the present output are not available, but it is believed that now that the restrictions on the amount brewed have been removed, the number of bulk barrels, in other words the actual amount of beer available for drinking, will in the year ending 31st March, 1920, be not less and probably greater than in the year ended 31st March, 1914. In view of the restrictions on gravity which still remain in force, the average strength of the beer will be weaker, with the result that the number of standard barrels will be considerably lower. The estimated revenue for the current year works out at approximately £250,000 per day. The imports of hops at the present time are insignificant, only 210 cwts. in the first five, months of 1919 as compared with 2,225 cwts. in 1913. There is no official record of the quantity of imported barley used for brewing.

Captain R. TERRELL

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the raising of the various schedules of beer by 4 per cent. means the addition to the taxation of beer of 7s. 6d. per bulk barrel; whether, in consequence, those country brewers who cannot provide the additional output are suffering very heavily; and whether he can see his way to readjust his methods of taxation in this respect by reducing the duty on beer and transferring the taxation on lines similar to those now existing in the case of clubs, thus taxing the various licensed premises according to the actual output?


I cannot agree with the statement in the first paragraph of the question as to the effect of the raising of the gravity of beer in relation to the scale of prices contained in the present Beer (Prices and Description) Order. I am not aware of any instance in which a brewer has been unable to brew up to the limit of the restrictions while they existed, or to transfer his barrelage to another brewer; and now that all restrictions on quantity are about to be removed the position as regards brewers should be further improved. As regards the last part of the question, I am unable to regard the readjustment of taxation suggested as suitable in the case of licensed retailors of beer.

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