Revenue, 1919–20.

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance. – in the House of Commons on 29th October 1919.

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If Inland Revenue is satisfactory, Customs and Excise are even more satisfactory. It will be observed that Customs and Excise are now estimated to yield £38,500,000 more than at the time of the introduction of the Budget. Of that, £15,500,000 is accounted for by the increased barrelage of beer; but it is the remainder which is significant. Tea is expected to yield £4,000,000 more than I felt justified in estimating. Tobacco is expected to yield £14,000,000 more than I was justified, on the advice I received from the very competent revenue authorities, in counting upon at the beginning of the year. I call attention to that £18,000,000 increase because it speaks eloquently of the condition and the spending power of oar people. The condition of the people is a factor of prime importance, not merely in social stability, but to the revenue itself. There is one other tax, the Stamp Duties, which has always been looked upon as a good test of the activities of business itself The Stamp Duties which were estimated to yield £12,000,000 at the time of the Budget are now estimated to yield £16,000,000, an increase of £4,000,000 over the Budget estimate. Tea, tobacco, and stamps are the best indications that we can have in single taxes of the condition of the people and the condition of trade, commerce and business. I am justified, therefore, in saying that these are encouraging features. They are more encouraging than I should have ventured to prophesy to the House in August.