Imatges de pÓgina

liament, which secured every object of pecuniary reward in a sounder and more effectual form. It was a mistake to suppose that the Bill would have a retrospective effect. The measure was to come into operation on the 1st of June, and its operation would only date from that period, and have no retroactive effect whatever.

On Question, Resolved in the Affirmative; House in Committee accordingly: Bill reported without Amendment : an Amendment made, and Bill to be read 3a on Tuesday next.

House adjourned to Tuesday next.



Friday, May 26, 1854.

MINUTES.] PUBLIC BILLS.-1° Stamp Duties; Jurors and Juries (Ireland); Customs Duties (Sugar and Spirits).

Middlesex Industrial Schools; Gaming



Order for Committee read.
House in Committee on Ways and

grain spirit. As regarded malt spirit, the same duty of 4s. 8d. was charged, but the proportion of malt in a gallon represented a duty of 1s. 44d., making a total of 6s. Od. The rule was that one-half of the malt duty, or 84d., should be returned in the way of drawback in respect of malt duty, leaving 5s. 3 d. net duty, or 64d. more than was paid for the grain spirit. Now, whether that was right or wrongright as maintained by the grain distiller, and wrong as maintained by the malt distiller-yet for a great number of years it had prevailed, until it had become almost sanctioned as the relative proportion between those two descriptions of manufacturers. The recent alterations of the malt duties, however, would materially aggravate the disadvantages under which the malt distiller laboured. The new duty on spirits was 5s. 8d. a gallon, and the new duty on the proportion of malt in grain spirits was 2d., making the duty on grain spirit 5s. 10d. but the new duty on malt spirit was 5s. 8d., and the new duty on the malt 2s., making 7s. 8d., instead of 6s. 04d. as formerly, and if the drawback were calculated on the old principle--that was, if one-half of the new malt duty, or MR. J. WILSON said, it would be re- 1s. 04d., were returned as a drawback— membered that upon a former occasion his it would leave 6s. 74d. as the gross right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the amount of the duty, or a difference of 91d. Exchequer had moved an addition to the between the two kinds of spirits, instead of duty on Scotch spirits; and in rising to 64d. as formerly. It therefore became move the Resolution, it was necessary the duty of the Government to listen to that he should enter into a short ex- the representations made by the Scotch planation. There had been for many distiller, who complained of this increase years complaints from the distillers of of the distinction. As the increase of the Scotland regarding the difference of the malt duty was for a special and temporary duty as it affected the distillers of malt purpose, it was thought fair that no one whisky and the distillers of whisky from particular interest should be specially pregrain. It was alleged that the drawback judiced. It was therefore arranged by the hitherto allowed on malt whisky had not Government, in conjunction with a deputabeen in proportion to the amount of the tion from the distillers of Scotland, that duty paid on the malt; and that, therefore, the drawback on the malt spirit should be in reality, the malt distiller had to pay not fixed at such a sum as to leave the distillers only the ordinary spirit duty, but also an of malt spirit exactly in the same relative additional duty on malt; and it was under-position with regard to grain and malt stood between the different spirit manufac-spirit that they held before; that was, turers, that the disadvantage under which that the duty should be adjusted so the malt distiller laboured, prior to the as to leave a difference of 61d. a recent alteration in the malt duty, was equivalent to about 64d. a gallon. The old duty on spirits in Scotland was 4s. 8d. a gallon upon spirits of all descriptions. The proportion of malt in the manufacture of grain spirit was equivalent to 1d. per gallon, and, therefore, the gross duty, including the duty, the malt duty, and the spirit duty, was 4s. 93d. so far as regarded The Duke of Newcastle

It was also repre

gallon as formerly.
sented by the Scotch distiller that he
should have a drawback on exportation to
England. At present there was a differ-
ence of 1s. 2d. a gallon, but by the recent
increase of the malt duty the difference
would be increased to 1s. 10d., and it was
arranged that the drawback on spirits com-
ing from Scotland to England should be

MR. HUME said, that the only question which the Government had to consider was, whether the increased duty would lead to illicit distillation. He did not think that it would; and, so far from being an improper step, he thought that the Government should raise the duty upon spirits to the highest possible point that might be safe without leading to smuggling and illicit distillation.

MR. CUMMING BRUCE concurred with the hon. Member in his views with respect to the increase of the duty, and his general approval of the measure now proposed. It would very much tend to prevent illicit distillation, if landlords would insert a clause in their leases, the effect of which would be a forfeiture of them on the part of the tenant whenever he was discovered working an illicit still. Resolutions agreed to. House resumed.

Order for Committee read.
House in Committee.

increased 8d. a gallon. A similar arrange- | attempted already, and had signally failed, ment had been made with regard to and he did not believe that it would add so Ireland. In carrying out these two ob- much to the Exchequer as was anticijects, a considerable loss of revenue would pated. be caused, amounting, according to the estimate of the Excise, to no less than 106,000l. In order to make up that loss it was proposed to increase the duty on spirits in Scotland 4d. a gallon, in addition to the 1s. previously added. This was in strict accordance with the feeling of the Scotch distillers and of Scotch Members, and would be in perfect conformity with the principles of the adjustment now proposed. The loss, he had stated, would be 106,000l., and the additional duty would yield 108,000l. When the Excise Duty Bill was in Committee, some returns were referred to for the purpose of showing the difficulty of obtaining an increased revenue from home-made spirits, on the ground that the increased duty would occasion smuggling and illicit distillation. He did not think that there were any sufficient grounds for this assertion. It appeared by returns he had received, that from the 5th of April, 1852, to the 5th of April, 1853, the consumption of spirits in Ireland and Scotland had been respectively 9,820,000 gallons and 7,172,000 gallons, as compared with 10,350,000 gallons, and 6,534,000 gallons in 1853-54. The total consumption of the two countries, therefore, had been 16,992,000 gallons in 1852-53, under the low duties as against 16,934,000 gallons in 1853-54 under the increased duty. When it was considered what efforts had been made during the past year to instil into the people habits of greater, sobriety, he should not think, judging from those figures, that there had been any great increase of smuggling in consequence of the augmented duty. He should have some other Resolutions to move, all consequent upon this. There would be an increase of the rum duty in Scotland to equalise the duty on spirits. He should also have to move another Resolution with regard to another subject. He had already moved Resolutions increasing the duty on sugar, and it would be necessary to move increased rates of duty on beet-root sugar manufactured in the United Kingdom. The manufactories in this country were exceedingly small, but there were some. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the Resolutions.

COLONEL DUNNE thought it very unwise further to raise the amount of the duty upon spirits. It had been three times VOL. CXXXIII. [THIRD SERIES.]

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MR. J. D. FITZGERALD moved, as an Amendment, to leave out in several parts of the schedule the words " on or,' the effect of which would be to cause the additional duty on whisky to be levied as in the case of the other articles of the Bill, "from and after," and not "on or after,' the 8th of May. The hon. Member said, that, although the alteration was but slight, still, if not adopted, it would give rise to much irritation, as on Monday, the 8th of May, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer made his statement, large spirit contracts had been entered into by persons who were wholly unaware of the additional duty; and, as whisky was the only article in the present Bill which was made the subject of retroactive legislation, he trusted Government would accede to his Amendment.

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER was sorry that it would be utterly incompatible with his duty to consent to the proposal of the hon. and learned Gentleman. In the present instance, the principle upon which the House uniformly acted had been pursued, namely, to make duties chargeable on the day on which the Chancellor of the Exchequer made his statement to the House. If the proposal of the hon. Gentleman were assented to, 2 L

see what would be the effect.

The financial statement was made at five o'clock in the afternoon, and the increased duty would not be chargeable until midnight. As soon, therefore, as the intentions of the Government became known information of them would be instantly conveyed by electric telegraph into every part of the United Kingdom, and the spirit dealers would have some hours during which they would be able to make contracts at the old rates to the extent of many hundreds of thousands of pounds. The Government, in refusing the proposal, were therefore able to entrench themselves, not only behind a precedent, but also behind reason.

MR. V. SCULLY thought the Government could only entrench themselves behind a precedent, and that only a bad one. The same principle, however, had not been extended to sugar and molasses.

MR. J. D. FITZGERALD could not concur in the statement of the right hon. Gentleman. The duty was paid, not with reference to the date of the contract, but at the time at which the spirits were taken out of bond. Now, the Budget was not proposed until seven or eight in the evening, whereas all the bonded warehouses in the empire were closed at three.

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Order for Committee read.
House in Committee.
Clause 1.

SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY trusted that the right hon. Gentleman had not entirely given up the hope of removing some of the glaring inequalities of this tax. Upon those inequalities he would not now dwell; but he could not help mentioning one of them the case of the Long Annuitants. The Long Annuities would expire in 1860, and it was likely that the Russian war would last until then. Now, supposing a person had invested 887. on the 1st of May in Long Annuities, he would have to pay 11. 2s. 2d. a year for income tax; whereas if he had invested the same money in three per cents, he would only have to pay 3s. 6d. ; and, supposing that the war lasted till 1860, he would have to pay altogether 5l. 8s. 5d. on the Long Annuities, whereas he would only have to pay The Chancellor of the Exchequer

16s. 2d. on the three per cents. It was a breach of faith to tax this class of property in this unequal manner. A great quantity of algebra had been expended before the Income Tax Committee, in order to show that if the income tax were perpetual it would come to the same thing if they invested their property in either way; but as nobody could expect to live for ever, he did not think that that was very satisfactory. He did not deny that the Long Annuitant ought to be taxed, but he had a right to be taxed fairly; and, in a case where a question of justice was involved, no argument ab inconvenienti ought to be allowed for a moment to prevail.

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER said, the hon. Baronet had raised one of the most important and one of the most intricate and difficult questions that had ever attracted the attention of Parliament, at a moment when not one-tenth of the Members were in the House, and when not one-tenth of those who were actually present, were attending to the subject. It could hardly, therefore, have been introduced at a moment more unpropitious for any real progress towards the solution of a problem which he for one thought never could be solved. But whether it could be or not, his answer must be this-namely, that it was a very grave and difficult question, which, whenever considered at all, could not possibly be considered, or justly considered, with reference to one class alone. It was true that the case of the Long Annuitants differed from that of other classes, inasmuch as it admitted of a very clear and arithmetical statement; but, as regarded the substantial justice of the matter, the Long Annuitant was not differently circumstanced from other persons possessed of temporary incomes. He had never given any promise to attempt the adjustment of the tax upon temporary and permanent incomes, and he rejoiced that he had not, for that would have been a promise which he owned he should not be able to redeem. But nothing could be more irrational than to say that he ought to select one class of persons having a temporary interest and give allowances to them, and leave every other class of persons having temporary incomes to the full sweep and stroke of the tax. He doubted whether the case of the Long Annuitants was, after all, the strongest that might be adduced. A great portion of these Long Annuities were created in the midst of a war, when they were subject to an income

tax of 10 per cent, and when there was a reasonable prospect that they would continue to be liable to deduction; and therefore, if theirs was the only case they had to deal with-if there were no professional men, no merchants, no traders, no poor widows living on annuities, and with children unprovided for or if there were none of those countless myriads or hardships that would start up around them as soon as they fairly approached the question, it was doubtful whether they (the Long Annuitants) would be entitled to relief. So, too, if they looked at the matter merely with reference to our own times, they must remember that they had now had an income tax for twelve years, and every bargain which had been made in Long Annuities during that time had doubtless been made with the fullest expectation that they would be liable to deduction on that score. What he wished, then, to impress upon the Committee was, that it would be the grossest injustice and a gross piece of legislative favouritism to attempt to make any exception in favour of any one class of temporary incomes, especially in favour of a class like the Long Annuitants; and that it was quite impossible that Parliament could ever consent to entertain a proposal so partial, so exceptionable, and so unequal as that which had been made by the hon. Baronet.

because there was a special contract that the funds should not be taxed.

COLONEL DUNNE complained of the uncertainty in Ireland in the mode of levying the tax, and of the hardships to which landed proprietors were subject, through the tax being charged on the poor-law valuation, where the property was let on a long lease at a low rent. The consequence was that the proprietor often paid on more than he received. It was said the parties might get the tax so paid remitted, but this could only be done after a long interval, and with a great deal of trouble. Steps ought to be taken to regulate the practice which prevailed, of either charging the tax on the tenant or the owner.


THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER said, that if the hon. Gentleman had brought forward this matter at the time when the income tax was extended to Ireland, his representations would have been listened to. The Act was to a great extent experimental; and last autumn the Government had thought it right to appoint two Special Commissioners. The Government had heard no complaints, and though they had anticipated much difficulty in levying the tax in Ireland, it had turned out comparatively an easy financial operation. The cases referred to by the hon. Gentleman must be isolated instances. MR. HUME said, he could not sit still provision had been made for appeal, not to and hear the right hon. Gentleman treat the assessors, but to the special Commisthe proposal of the hon. Baronet in the sioners. The first half-year's tax, obviously manner he had just done. The hon. Ba- the most difficult, had now been collected; ronet had not asked for a special exception and so little necessity had there been for in the case of the Long Annuitants. He the interference of the Special Commissionhad denounced the tax as being full of ir-ers that the Government had not thought regularities, and he had merely quoted the it necessary to continue their employment, Long Annuitants as one example, and had and one of them had already been removed naturally asked whether there was any hope to England. Any particular cases of anof an amelioration. The truth was, there noyance or inconvenience that might be was not a corner in the tax-not a single represented to the Treasury would receive clause in the Bill-which did not involve due attention. an injustice; and that injustice was of a nature that admitted of an easy remedy. He must say he had never known the Report of a Committee that contained so many incontrovertible facts, and that had met with so little attention as that upon the income tax. No matter what the difficulties might be, the Government ought to grapple with them, as a gross injustice had been shown. He hoped they would take the question of these adjustments into their serious consideration next year.

MR. WILKINSON said, the case of the Long Annuitants involved a breach of faith,

MR. URQUHART begged to corroborate the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to the facility with which the tax had been collected in Ireland.

Clause agreed to, as were the remaining clauses, and a new clause was added. In answer to Mr. HENLEY,

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER said, the object of this new clause was to provide for the payment of the tax on Exchequer bills, and other property, for fractional parts of a quarter. Its effect was to make these securities only liable to the 7d. tax until the 5th of April last,

2 L 2

and to the tax of 14d. from that date [sion, and was inverting the order of things till the day on which they expired in June. in which they ought to proceed, discusMR. HENLEY asked if the clause would sion preceding amendment instead of apply to mortgages? amendment preceding discussion.

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER thought the right hon. Gentleman had been misled by the language of those two clauses, and the consequence he had drawn was therefore unreal and fictitious. There was no distinction between one member of Congregation individually and the members of Congregation collectively. Clause 20 commenced with the word "any," and Clause 22 with the word

THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER said, that was an entirely different case. Mortgages did not, like Exchequer bills, necessarily expire at the end of the year, but were of a more permanent character. Exchequer bills passed from hand to hand, the practice being for the buyer to pay the interest for the current halfyear to the seller, allowance being made for the tax. Without some provision of this kind, those who had purchased Ex-the," which had probably led the right chequer bills in the last three or four weeks would be out of pocket, having only calculated the half-year's income tax at 7d. MR. WALPOLE said, that the holders of funded property would all be taxed unduly, as well as the holders of Exchequer bills. Clause agreed to. House resumed. Bill reported; as amended, to be considered on Monday next.


hon. Gentleman into error: but if he liked uniformity, there would be no objection to make Clause 22 commence " any" member, instead of "the" members. He proposed, in Clause 22, to insert the word "first" before "promulgation." By Clause 20 they would give a power of amending, but they did not say anything about discussing. That matter was left in the hands of the University itself. By the two clauses they secured a power of suggesting amendments He did not

Order for Committee read; House in and a power of discussion. Committee.

Clause 20.

MR. WALPOLE said, they had now arrived at a new portion of the Bill--that which gave legislative powers to the Congregation. He had no intention of opposing this clause, but he wished to call attention to its important bearing relative to the next clause but one-the 22nd clause-and to ask some explanation. By Clause 20, any individual member of Congregation might propose amendments to any Statutes propounded by the Hebdomadal Council in writing, and, as far as he could conjecture from the Bill, without deliberation or discussion. By Clause 22 Congregation would deal with Statutes sent down by the Hebdomadal Council not in their original, but in their amended formthat was to say, the form in which they might be amended by any or all of the members of Congregation acting individually. But Clause 22, which gave powers to Congregation as a body to deal with these Statutes, gave not the power of amendment, but that of debate. He wished to ask whether he was right in his interpretation of the two clauses, that individual members might amend without discussion, and the collective body discuss without amending? It seemed to him such a provision would lead to perpetual confuThe Chancellor of the Exchequer

think it would be wise to secure that power of discussion beyond what was judged absolutely necessary. There did not appear to be any reason to meddle with the power of discussion beyond securing one single occasion, and by Clause 22 they did secure that occasion. With regard to the power of suggesting amendments, they secured that likewise on a single occasion. If they were right in those two objects, they were right in the order in which they laid them down. It would be a very strange state of things if they provided in Clause 20 a power of discussion, preceding the power of suggesting amendments, and then not provide for the power of discussing the Statute again when submitted to the final vote. Surely the right hon. Gentleman would not recommend that course, but would provide an opportunity for debate after amendments were suggested. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to have fallen into some confusion from supposing it was the intention of the Bill to provide exactly the amount of privilege to be exercised by these various parties in the course of the business of legislation. That was not so. They laid down in the Bill those things which Parliament held to be absolutely necessary to have laid down, and left the parties as free in the exercise of the powers of legislation as possible.

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