Transfer of Sum from Road Fund to Exchequer.

Income Tax. – in the House of Commons on 26th April 1927.

Alert me about debates like this

20. "That there shall be transferred to the Exchequer from the Road Fund a sum equal to the cash balance and investments which were on the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and twenty-seven, standing to the credit of that Fund."

First Resolution read a Second time.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

I beg to move, in line 3, to leave out the word "fourpence," and to insert, instead thereof, the words "one penny."

I expect the Chancellor of the Exchequer will regard this Motion as something in the nature of a hardy annual, but we are moving it again because it is in accordance with the principles we profess, and if I remember rightly the record of the Chancellor of the Exchequer he should accept it because it is in accordance with the principles he so long professed. On one occasion he said: Our policy is not to increase but wherever possible to decrease, and ultimately to abolish altogether, the taxes on food. Therefore I hope to get some sympathy from the Chancellor of the Exchequer for a reduction of the duty on tea this year. Before dealing with the question of the Tea Duty I should like to draw his attention to the proportion of indirect to direct taxation. I was rather astonished to hear his estimate that the proportion of indirect taxation is somewhere about 36 per cent., and I fail altogether to understand on what figures that estimate is based having regard to the figures given in the Budget statement. As far as I can calculate, from the total figures to be raised by taxation this year, if we include in the indirect taxation the duty to be charged in respect of Motor and the Stamp Duty—and both of these should be included as indirect taxation—

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

The Chancellor of the Exchequer does not agree. But how can he exclude from indirect taxation the duty on motor vehicles, when a large proportion of it is passed on to the consumer. Take the immense amount included in the taxation of commercial vehicles, which is passed on to the consumer in the cost of transport. There is no doubt in my mind that the Motor Vehicle Duty should be included in the estimate of indirect taxation, and I have never heard a sound case made out for excluding from indirect taxation such a duty as the Stamp Duty. If we include these two items, I make the proportion of indirect taxation for the forthcoming year no less than 44.5 per cent. During the year when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) was at the Treasury the indirect taxation, on the same basis, was reduced to 37.3 per cent., and we have, therefore, this result, that three years' financial administration of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer has raised the percentage of indirect taxation from 37.3 per cent. to 44.5 per cent. That is something which the Chancellor of the Exchequer will find very difficult to justify, if we take into account the reduced purchasing power of the working classes of this country.

Photo of Mr Albert Alexander Mr Albert Alexander , Sheffield, Hillsborough

I will give a few figures. In 1921 the net loss in wages, according to official returns, was £6,061,000 per week. In 1922 it was £4,210,000 per week. In 1923 it was £370,000 per week. In 1924, the year of the Labour Government's administration, there was an increase of £553,000 per week. In 1925 there was a reduction of £78,000 per week, and in 1926 a small addition of £37,000 per week. Therefore, from 1920 there has been every year since, with the exception of two years when there was a small increase, a continuous decline in the real wages of the workers of this country. In these circumstances, it is unreasonable to relieve the direct taxpayer, to find some means of peventing an increase in direct taxation, and make no real effort to reduce the burden of taxation upon the working-class consumer. I do not want to enter into an academic argument as to whether it is desirable in the interest of the State to raise money by direct taxation or by indirect taxation. I am not concerned about that. What I am concerned about is that, in the levying of taxation upon the community, it should be based upon the principle of ability to pay. In view of the increase in indirect taxation and the reduced rate of wages earned by the working classes during the last six years, I think an undoubted case has been made cut for a reduction of a tax of this kind, which is a tax upon a prime necessity of working-class people.

I want to point out something which I know is not new but which I think should be impressed upon the House. The way in which the Tea Duty is levied means that it presses most hardly upon the poorest of the people, because it is not an ad valorem duty, but a flat rate duty,; therefore the poorest person pays the tax on a larger percentage of the tea consumed than the more well-to-do person. There is a large quantity of tea sold at retail prices varying between 1s. 8d. and 2s. 2d. per lb. That is only in one range of tea, although the working class housewife is so cute and so able in administration that she will often buy tea at 2s. 6d. and 2s. 8d. per lb. because she finds it more economical in the long run. In the main, however, the tea consumed by the working classes is under 2s. 6d. per lb. I know you have tea being sold up to 4s. per lb., but those who buy that tea only pay the same duty per lb. as the poor person who pays 1s. 8d. per lb. Therefore the Tea Duty presses very heavily upon the working class community of this country. We are raising about £6,000,000 per annum by the Tea Duty, and I should say from my own observation of a very large tea distribution in connection with the Co-operative movement that probably nearly two-thirds of the tea upon which duty is paid is consumed by the working classes, or those belonging to the low salaried professions. The result of this is that you are receiving about £4,000,000 a year from a class of people in the country who are least able to bear the burden, and from that point of view I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer should give sympathetic consideration to our proposal. We are proposing to reduce the duty from 4d. to 1d. per lb. If the Amendment be accepted, it will not cause a complete loss in the present financial year but only a comparative loss. I know that we are taking the larger slice of the duty by our proposal, but I would like to point out that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley reduced the Tea Duty from 8d. to 4d., and among the working classes of the country there was, in consequence, a very considerable increase in the consumption of tea. In our co-operative organisation we increased our sales that year by 5,000,000 lbs. as a result of the increased demand for tea by working class consumers, and that was almost directly due to the step which was taken by the Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1924.

If the Chancellor will accept the Amendment I do not think he will lose £4,000,000 of his revenue, as he might think, but I believe there would be a large increase in the demand for tea, and therefore he would not lose the whole of that revenue. There is no doubt that supplies are available. As a matter of fact, the price of tea has been kept up considerably in the last few years by a very strict control of the tea-producing estates, and the tendency has been to pluck fine whenever the market showed signs of falling. There are immense resources in the tea producing of the world, and if we could get an increased demand for tea by a reduction in price and a reduction in the duty, there would be no doubt about the supplies being forthcoming. For these reasons I hope the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not treat the Amendment merely as a formal matter, but as a real desire on our part to see that the taxation of this country should be based upon the principle of the ability of the individual to pay.

We have seen in the last three or four years considerable relief given to the payers of direct taxation, and the Budget we are now considering has been described by all kinds of names. Most people admit that the Budget has been very cleverly juggled so as to prevent any increase in the demand, upon the direct taxpayer, and in view of these facts we think this is the time to say that there ought to be some further consideration shown for the poorer class of the community in respect of one of the prime necessities of life, and that they should have their taxation reduced in a proper ratio to their reduced circumstances as compared with the period before the War. Many of the men and women employed to-day in our staple industries are in receipt of wages much below the standard of 1913 and 1914. This applies to some sections of the mining community, in which the monetary wages of the men employed, even after considering the unsatisfactory basis of the index figure of the cost of living, are lower than the wages paid in 1913 and 1914. For these reasons we think the time has come when the Chancellor of the Exchequer should begin to redeem some of his long-standing pledges with regard to the taxation of the poorest of the people, because the right hon. Gentleman was never more eloquent or more sound than when he promised the country, as soon as might be, a free breakfast table, and I think this is the time when he should start that good work.

Photo of Mr Henry Charleton Mr Henry Charleton , Leeds South

I beg to second the Amendment.

I am quite aware that, even if my hon. Friend, who has moved this Amendment and myself had the voice of angels, unless the Chancellor of the Exchequer is charitable we shall not get very far with this proposal. I give my support to a reduction of the Tea Duty because of the effect it will have on the poorest of our population. I would like to point out that at the present time tea as generally sold in packets, and packing paper has been taxed. Now the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to tax tea, and all these things must affect either the price of tea or the quality. We are told that in some cases the price of certain articles which are going to be taxed will not go up. That means that the people who sell those articles have been making very large profits and have been profiteering, or else they are going to sell to the public an inferior article. One thing we may be quite sure about—they will not live on their losses; they will live on their profits. Often, in this House, reference is made to the taxpayer, and it would appear that, in the minds of hon. Members opposite, the taxpayer is the individual who pays Income Tax or Super-tax, or both. It seems to me, however, that the most highly taxed people are the very poor, because the man who has to pay Income Tax, and especially Super-tax, at least has his needs provided for; but the people we plead for are those whose needs are not all provided for, and we want to make life a little easier for them. As my hon. Friend has pointed out, with the reductions in wages that have taken place, a large mass of our people cannot provide themselves fully with all the necessities of life.

I was looking up some of the old Debates when the Tea Acts were altered in the last century, and I see, looking back as far as Hansard will show us, that tea was regarded as a luxury, and taxed as such, when the Tea Duty was first put on. Times, however, have changed, and tea has now become a necessity. In past years I have shown how necessary it is fur night workers as a harmless stimulant. I have pointed out that the railways are run on tea—in fact, I was told I had pointed it out too much at one time. My reply to that is that they are better run on tea than on beer, at all events from the point of view of the people who travel on the railways. Tea is a beverage that is very useful to people who work during the night, and, with the fall in wages all round, I think the time has now come when we should consider a substantial reduction of the duty. Take the class of deserving people like charwomen and other women who have to work very hard for long hours and who are very lowly paid. The only stimulant they are able to afford is tea, and I doubt very much whether the cheaper tea that they are compelled to buy is really tea at all. My hon. Friend who moved the Amendment, and who knows far more about the inner side of this trade than I do, hinted that people have found that if they pay a few pence more a pound they get a better cup of tea. What I think he really meant to say, only that would have given the show away, was that they do not really get tea. It seems to me that tea is a commodity the tax on which we might very well abolish altogether, seeing that it is mainly of Empire growth, and I think that that should be some inducement.

I must admit that I want to press this matter to-day, because of a remark made by the Chancellor during his Budget speech, when he said that if there were any further trouble he would have to indulge in more indirect taxation, and he spoke, if my memory serves me rightly, about tea. That idea really does alarm me. I know that the Chancellor himself has always stood for the broadening of the basis of taxation; he has always advocated indirect taxation. We on this side are very much opposed to indirect taxation. I think that most of us on this side of the House would rather have just one direct tax, where we knew what we were doing and what we were paying, without all these additions in the shape of indirect taxation. We are opposed to this tax because we believe that direct taxation can be so graduated as to bear fairly on the shoulders of those who are best able to bear it. Of course, I know that if the Chancellor attempted to meet us to-day and then attempted to put something on the Income Tax or Super-tax, those whose treasure is where their heart is would set up a howl, and would talk about trade suffering. My view about that is that too much has been given to various forms of capital, and that our troubles in China and elsewhere are due to the fact that a certain class have been taking more out of industry than they ought and are entitled to take, and sending it somewhere else to earn dividends. These indirect taxes are taxes on food, and I think that if some remission of them were given, which would have the effect of giving greater consuming power to the workers, it would be very much better. My hon. Friend also referred to the fact that an ad valorem tax would be better, in order that those who use the better classes of tea, having greater consuming power, should pay more. I support that.

4.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

The hon. Gentleman who moved, not I think for the first time, this Amendment, was perfectly frank in allowing the House to see that he did not think it would be reasonable on my part to comply with his wishes. He is right in saying that. I, personally, have always regarded the reduction, and ultimate extinction, of the Tea Duty as an important object in our fiscal policy, and last year, when the same subject was debated, I spoke in that sense with considerable freedom; but even then I could not commit myself to anything like a definite engagement. I held up the ideal of a free breakfast-table so far as Empire food was concerned, but I could not commit myself to any immediate undertaking in that direction. Since last year many things have happened. This time last year, we were just about to embark on the-vivid excitements and thrills of the controversies connected with the General Strike, and, during the seven months which followed the month of May, we passed through the bitter satisfactions, such as they may have been, of a long-drawn and fought-out struggle on the coalfields. Those events have put all question of any reduction of the Tea Duty during the present Parliament utterly beyond the bounds of practical politics. I should only be misleading, and even deluding the House, which I should greatly regret to do, if I held out the slightest possibility of the Government being able to accept this Amendment, or if I were to suggest that I saw any prospect of a reduction in the Tea Duty next year. We have had the events of last year, and now we have to suffer and pay for those events; and whoever may consider himself to blame for those events may feel that the punishment to some extent is deserved. I must, however, draw the attention of the two Opposition parties to the very wide area of the pledges they have given in regard to reduction of taxation. We have proposals to sweep away the Tea Duty and further to reduce the Sugar Duty; we have proposals to sweep away the McKenna Duties, the Silk Duties, the Betting Duty, of course, the Safeguarding of Industries Duties, and the Key Industries Duties. All these are to be swept away. There fore, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden), when he is next called upon to frame a Budget, will, if he is to give effect to declarations which have been so loosely end so profusely made, have to face a loss of revenue on sumptuary and luxury taxation, quite apart from the Tea and Sugar Duties, which will amount, I expect, to something in the neighbourhood of £20,000,000, and he has to get through that before he ever reaches the point when he is to raise the new £100,000,000 a year by direct taxation, out of Which the social programmes of the future are to be financed. For my part, I would have been delighted in the present Parliament to have seen the possibility of reducing the tax on tea or to abolish the tax on tea grown within the British Empire, but I am afraid that it is entirely beyond our power.

So far as the proportions of direct and indirect taxation are concerned, I think that is a field in which His Majesty's present Government could enter into arguments of the most detailed and searching character. The hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander), who spoke first, made it a grievance that the licence duties on motor cars and the Stamp Duties should be included in direct taxation. They always have been so included in all official figures given to the House. There is not the slightest doubt that, when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley prepared his Budget, he based his calculations of direct and indirect taxation on the footing that the Motor Licence Duties and the Stamp Duties were included on the side of direct taxation. But I am bound to say that it seems to me that as time has passed the attempt to analyse the burden between rich and poor in terms of direct and indirect taxation has become more and more unreal and illusory. There may be many tests which could be applied in order to see whether the pressure on the poor and the wage earners has increased or decreased relatively to the pressure on other classes of society, but I am quite certain that the mere process of taking the Victorian, division of direct and indirect taxation and using the percentages as a test in trying to judge whether the movement has been progressive or reactionary—according as one or the other is 64 or 63 per cent. of the total—is one which no longer forms any contact with practical and useful things.

As I stated on a similar Amendment last year, indirect taxation has changed in its character in recent years. It is absurd to treat the taxation of silk or of foreign imported motor cars and pianos as if it were on exactly the same footing as that on tea and sugar, the basic comforts upon which the household economy depends. It is only obscuring argument to include such taxes in such a category. Nevertheless, in the figures which are given and which I have read out, they are included, and, even so, the balance is rather more than 63 per cent. direct taxation and rather under 37 per cent. indirect taxation. If we scrutinise those crude, and, as I have said, misleading and largely confusing figures, and exclude from them the taxation which is to apply to articles which any household can do without, like silk stockings or foreign motor cars, without detriment to their morals or efficiency, and treat the subject from the point of view of the real pressure of taxation upon the basic comforts of the people, in the first rank of which I include tea, then it will be seen that over the last 20 years the burden has been increasingly and enormously shifted off the basic comforts, apart from the war pressure, and is today, I think, at a figure within .03 per cent. of the lowest figure ever achieved. The right hon. Gentleman in 1924–25 raised by indirect taxes which fall upon what I call the basic comforts 4.95 per cent. of the revenue, and it is estimated that this year 4.98 per cent. of the revenue is so raised.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

Yes, on a slightly bigger tax-revenue. What we are dealing with now is not quantity but relation, and the right hon. Gentleman is much too good a logician to attempt to obtain an advantage in a discussion by irrelevantly mingling a quantitative argument and a comparative argument. The whole question is one of the social balance of the Budget I have pointed out that the basis of indirect taxation requires to be analysed if a fair measure is to be obtained, but, even without making that analysis, the social balance of the Budget on the old conventional view as between direct and indirect taxation leaves us in a position of inexpugnable strength so far as any challenge can be made, and it is on a relation of that fair lay-out of the Budget on general lines that the proposal to reduce the duty on tea must now be judged; and, whether you look at it from the point of view of practical finance and the availability of money at the present time, or whether you look at it from the point of view of the general balance of the pressure of taxation among all classes, it will equally be found proper, without question and qualification, to reject the proposal which has been placed before the House.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

I think the most interesting part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was introduction to the Debate of a word which I think is unique. We have had a new description of his Budget—"inexpugnable." I have said many things by way of description of the right hon. Gentleman's achievements, but I have never stigmatised them by such a description as that. I make no complaint about the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman has dealt with this Amendment. From the point of view of his financial policy, it was not to be expected that he would accept the proposal. He has once more expressed himself as being in sympathy with the ideal of a free breakfast table. Yes, but words never butter breakfast toast, and it is going to be a long time before the right hon. Gentleman's ideal is carried into practice, if he can make no more substantial contribution to our Debate on this matter than he has made this afternoon. Of course, he has once more put the blame for the position in which he finds himself upon the industrial dislocation of last year. Let us for a moment grant that to be the case. How has the right hon. Gentleman met it? Well, he has met it, negatively, by continuing at their former rates the duties upon articles of food like tea and sugar. But what has he done positively? The increases of taxation which he is imposing in this Budget are all increases of indirect taxation, and the most substantial impost that he is making is upon an article, the cost of which falls mainly upon the working people of this country. He is making no increase of taxation which is going to fall upon the wealthier of the people of this country in the same proportion as the increased duties which he is placing on the working people of the country.

The right hon. Gentleman pointed out—and I believe he included what he called both parts of the Opposition—that we are committing ourselves to the abolition of a large number of indirect taxes. We are pledged, if we have the opportunity, he says—and I am not quarrelling with his statement—to the abolition of the Tea Duty, to the abolition of the Sugar Duty and to the abolition, in fact, of all forms of indirect taxation, and the right hon. Gentleman then asks: "What is going to be the position of a Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer who has to redeem these pledges?" The answer is not difficult; the answer is a very simple one. The right hon. Gentleman says that we are pledged to the remission of indirect taxation amounting to £20,000,000 a year, and possibly more than that. Well, we will put it at £40,000,000 a year. How are you going to do it, he said. There is no difficulty about it. Put back Income Tax and Super-tax to the point at which he found them. 6d. on the Income Tax and Super-tax at the old rate will raise £40,000,000 a year—more than sufficient to redeem the whole of what he called the pledges we have made. I know the Chancellor and the President of the Board of Trade stated in the most definite terms that the Government are trying to create a situation which will make it extremely difficult for the Labour Government. The President of the Board of Trade said that, and the same thing may be inferred from the reference made just now by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the difficulty a Labour Government may experience in reducing or abolishing some of the indirect taxation which he has imposed. But I believe we shall not find it to be a difficulty at all.

I will now say a word or two about the right hon. Gentleman's reference to direct and indirect taxation. After all, the real crux of the matter is not the question whether indirect taxation is 37 per cent. of the total amount of taxation, or 5 per cent. or 80 per cent. The point is this. What is the amount that is taken from the wages of the people of the country in taxation, and is what is taken a fair burden and one that can be borne by them without encroaching upon the standard of life and upon the command of the necessaries of life? The Colwyn Committee recommended a reduction of indirect taxation. They repudiated the idea that direct taxation, as represented by the income Tax, is a hindrance to or a burden upon trade. [Interruption.] I might be prepared to admit that the financial knowledge of the right hon. Gentleman is immensely greater than the combined financial knowledge of all the members of the Colwyn Committee. The majority of the Colwyn Committee made only one specific recommendation, which was that at the earliest moment there ought to be a reduction of the duties upon food, and particularly upon sugar. We are moving this Amendment, not merely because the duty upon tea is itself a bad tax and bears heavily upon poor people but also because we believe that the total indirect taxation is much too high, presses far too heavily and is a much larger deduction from the income of the people who have to pay it than direct taxation is on the incomes of people who are liable to direct taxation. For instance, to take a shilling in the £, or even 6d., from the income of a working man and his family is a far heavier burden than to take £500 in additional taxation from an income of £5,000 a year, because in the case of working people that 6d. means that they have to go to that extent short of the necessaries of life, whereas if you take an additional £500 a year from an income of £5,000, you are not depriving that person of a single comfort or a single necessary. That is the essential difference between direct and indirect taxation, and all your quibbling, as to percentages, decimal points, and the like have really no bearing upon the question at all.

The right hon. Gentleman cannot get away from the fact that the Tea Duty, the Sugar Duty and other duties are compulsory. They are not optional taxes, because sugar, tea, dried fruits and the like are now necessaries of life to the people of the country. The right hon. Gentleman would have been in a position to give this relief. Take his first Budget. He cannot claim that at that time he was embarrassed by the consequences of industrial dislocation. He tells us now it has always been dear to his heart to see the abolition of taxes upon food. He had an opportunity in his first Budget, and what did he do? In the three Budgets he has introduced, he has not reduced indirect taxation by a single penny, except, I believe, a few pence on chicory in one Budget. On the contrary, he has increased indirect taxation by £25,000,000 a year. [An HON. MEMBER: "Luxury taxes!"] He said a woman need not wear silk stockings. This was an optional tax and if they would wear silk stockings they must be prepared to pay taxation on them. But the duties on stockings are not confined to the silk stockings. They are upon very cheap stockings, which are sold at 1s. 11½d. a pair. It is one of the many iniquities of such a tax that the cheaper the article, the greater is the proportion of the duty to the retail price, and the right hon. Gentleman by what he did in regard to that particular tax placed a far greater burden of taxation upon the poor people than he did upon the richer people. Go back to his first Budget. He has always wanted a free breakfast table. He has wanted to repeal the Tea and Sugar Duties. He had in his first Budget a surplus of between £30,000,000 and £40,000,000. Why did he not do something then to carry out his long cherished design? There is no answer. There were other things that were dearer to his heart. He gave to his friends the Income Tax and Super-tax payers What would have been more than sufficient to sweep away every one of the breakfast table duties. He gave it to people who did not need it, and to one class of people, at any rate, who had never asked for it, and never expected it.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

The right hon. Gentleman really should be fair enough to state that the money that was given to the Super-tax payer was taken from the same class of people in the increase of the Death Duties.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

That does not alter the point in the least. The right hon. Gentleman had the money and he chose to give it in that way, instead of devoting it to other purposes. There is another reason why we are justified in enforcing this demand. What did the Conservative predecessors of the right hon. Gentleman do in regard to relieving indirect taxation since the end of the War? They reduced Income Tax by nearly £90,000,000 a year—1s. 6d. in the £. The only indirect taxation they have reduced is 4d. on the Tea Duty, and a reduction of the Beer Duty, amounting altogether to about £20,000,000 a year, therefore they have relieved direct taxation four times more than any relief they have given to the great mass of the people. These are some of the reasons why we urge this Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman began by saying he did not suppose my hon. Friend who moved the Amendment expected him to accept it. Perhaps he did not. He knows the right hon. Gentleman and he knows what his professions of sympathy are worth. But at any rate we do not move the Amendment in any perfunctory way. We are moving it quite seriously, and this is not the last the right hon. Gentleman will hear of this question. I shall not be in order in speaking upon Amendments which will be discussed later, although if this were a debate of a more general character one might very usefully and effectively link up the right hon. Gentleman's refusal to give a certain relief to the taxation of tea with his proposal to put an additional impost upon tobacco. The right hon. Gentleman has not only refused to make this concession this year, but he has done a rather unusual thing and anticipated the Budget of next year by telling us he does not expect he will he able to make this concession then. Then what does this amount to? If he presents another Budget there is to be no reduction of food taxation. He will have had four Budgets. Then will come a general election. [Interruption.] Will the right hon. Gentleman tell me now that in his fifth Budget he expects to be able to make some remission? He does not. So the attempt of his hon. Friends below the gangway to get him out of his difficulty has failed altogether. In those five Budgets there is not to be a penny remission of indirect taxation. That is the record upon which the Chancellor of the Exchequer will go to the country, say two years hence, and I am sure that is not a point of importance the political advantage of which will he lost sight of by my hon. Friends behind me.

Photo of Mr Fredric Wise Mr Fredric Wise , Ilford

The right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) evidently considers that it is not advisable to take the long view of finance. He rather criticises the present Chancellor of the Exchequer for looking two years ahead, but I feel myself that you cannot look too far ahead in the present position of the country in regard to finance. The right hon. Member for Colne Valley does not want any indirect taxation, and he is anxious to increase the Income Tax by 6d. to enable him to make up the deficiency which indirect taxation might amount to. I feel that, whatever he may consider in regard to indirect taxation, what he and we all want is fair taxation all round. I consider that indirect taxation, as far as it goes at the present time, is fair, that any reduction, when it can be made, will be advantageous, not only to the poor but also to the rich. The hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. A. V. Alexander), who introduced this Amendment, stated that it was a hardy annual. That is perfectly true, and it is generally, I think, introduced not by him but by the hon. Member for South Leeds (Mr. Charleton). The hon. Member for Hillsborough stated that certain wages were below what they were in 1913–14. That is quite true. But I think he must also consider that the tax on tea is less to-day than it was in pre-War days, and I think that is probably the only commodity that is cheaper compared with pre-War days. He probably forgot that in his argument.

I quite agree that all taxation must be "ability to pay," and I feel confident that the indirect taxation that we have at the present time, although it may hit certain people rather hardly, is fair. I also feel there is a certain amount of the "ability to pay" in regard to the present indirect taxation. The hon. Member for Hillsborough must realise that the burden of taxation is tremendously high, and with a Budget of £833,000,000 everybody must pay as far as they can. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not save some?"] Save some what? [An HON. MEMBER: "Expenditure!"] Of course, I am quite in agreement with the hon. Member as far as expenditure is concerned, and I sincerely hope that we will never have a Budget of £833,000,000 again. But at the moment we have to face that, and I do not understand either the Labour party or the Liberal party putting down Amendments to a Budget of £833,000,000 to reduce the Tea Duty to 3d. or even 4d. a pound in the state of the finances at the present time. The hon. Member for Hillsborough must realise that the taxation on tea in 1922–23 was 1s. It was reduced by the Conservative Government to 8d., and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley reduced it in 1924–25 from 8d. to 4d. Considering that reduction, I feel that, with the present large amount of expenditure, it would be quite impossible to reduce the duty any further, especially as the tax brings in about £5,800,000 a year.

The consumption of tea has gone up considerably. The hon. Member for South Leeds referred to Hansard of many years ago and said that tea in the old days was a luxury. Quite true! The consumption then, naturally, was very small compared with what it is to-day. I have gone back to 1841, and if you take the amount per head of the population there was only 19½ ozs. of tea consumed in this country; if you advance to 1891 the amount consumed was 87 ozs. per head of the population, and in 1925, the last year of which I have the record, the actual consumption was 152 ozs. per head of the population. So that in the last few years—which was naturally during the War—the consumption has gone up very considerably. But one important problem which this country has to consider is that although the actual increase in the production of tea is greater in 1926 than it was in 1925 from India, Ceylon and Java, still the actual stocks in this country are not so much in 1926 as in 1925. Let me try to point out the position. The home consumption went down last year by 2,600,000 lbs. No doubt that was owing to the coal stoppage, but what is more alarming is the decrease in the exports from this country. I am sure that is affecting this country as much as anything we can imagine at the present time. The tea is going direct from India to other countries who consume it instead of coming to the market here in Mincing Lane, as it did in former times. Export from this country is 8,000,000 lbs. lower than it was in 1925. And Russia has not been buying. Russia last year was not able to purchase the large quantities which she did in 1925. The quantities absorbed are larger in the world, but from India, Ceylon and Java a large amount of that export, as I said before, and which I want to impress on the House, has gone direct to other countries and has not touched this market, which affects really the consumption in the world and the trade in tea in this country.

Perhaps the hon. Member for Hillsborough will realise that, supposing this tax were eliminated entirely, tea companies would make very much bigger profits and then we would have an objection put in saying tea companies were making huge profits instead of the consumer getting the benefit. But he must also realise that with the rupee at possibly 1s. 6d. instead of 1s. 4d., it will affect tea companies in this country and their profits will be affected accordingly in that way. Also this rise of 2d. in the rupee must affect the price of tea paid by the consumer. Let me again refer to direct taxation and indirect taxation. John Stewart Mill gives a definition of the direct and indirect taxation as follows: The direct tax is one which is demanded from the very persons whom it is intended or desired should pay it. The indirect tax is that which is demanded from one person in the expectation and intention that he or she shall so indemnify himself or herself at the expense of another. This definition is very true, and I am sure the Labour party must agree with it. I wish especially to refer to indirect taxation in regard to Russia. The Labour party always believes in what Russia does. If the hon. Member will refer to indirect taxation in Russia, he will find that indirect taxation in the last Russian Budget is about 50 per cent. greater than direct taxation. If he believes in it and in the methods of that country I cannot understand why he moved the Amendment. I feel that, if he reflects carefully and considers, as I have considered, that every home must have the comforts of tea if they require it, and also reflects that you cannot run a country without money, the tax is essential. This tax, although a burden, is a fair indirect tax, and with this in view I cannot agree with the Amendment which he has put forward to reduce the Tea Duty by 3d. per pound.

Photo of Mr Richard Wallhead Mr Richard Wallhead , Merthyr Tydfil Merthyr

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the speech with which he has just regaled the House, twitted the Opposition with the prodigality with which they were breaking pledges or committing themselves to remissions of taxation. It seemed to me rather like the pot calling the kettle black because, if there is competition in prodigality, the Chancellor can match us easily. He has been as prodigal over promises in his Budget as anyone in this House. He has very prodigally promised very large remissions and very large savings. I want to point out with regard to this particular tax that it is most unfair in its incidence. It is a tax on quantities and not a tax on values, and in that sense it makes the poor pay out of all proportion to their income. This tax of 4d. per pound on tea—take tea at 1s. 6d. per lb.—amounts to almost 25 per cent. of the value of the tea. But if you take tea at 4s. a lb., which presumably is good tea and can be drunk with pleasure, the tax amounts to about 8 per cent. only. It is that kind of tax which, I consider, is particularly unfair, and it is one reason why I urge its remission with the pleasure I do. Another point which has been urged is that indirect taxation ought to bear some relation to the ability of the person to bear it. All taxation should. The Chancellor of the Exchequer pointed out that indirect taxation has got rather less than it used to be in previous years. I should like to point out that, in my opinion, it is nothing of the kind. It still bears the same proportion—I should think probably it is in rather a worse ratio, if anything. If you take the wages of an engineer to-day and the wages of an engineer 30 years ago. Thirty years ago the engineer's average wage would be round about 34s., 35s., or 36s. week, according to locality. To-day his wages will be about 53s., but compared with the prices of 30 years ago, his wages are actually 31s We are, therefore, faced with the remarkable fact that the wage of a skilled engineer is, in effect, to-day lower by shillings per week than was the case 30 years ago.

The general wealth of the country has increased. The wealth of the rich has grown enormously. One of the outstanding features of successive Budgets, I think, with this solitary exception, in the last few years, at any rate, has been the enormous increase in the amount of wealth taxable under the Super-tax portions of the Budget. In the two previous years the Chancellor has been able to calculate that he expected an increase of revenue from the Super-tax, and but for those industrial conditions to which he has referred so many times I think it fair to assume that his prophecy might have been fulfilled on this occasion.

Change over from the engineer and come to the miner. It is notorious that the wage of the miner is a good deal less than before the War. There are thousands of men working for about 28s. or 29s. per week, and even skilled workmen are working for £2 8s. a week—a wage which, in comparison with pre-War wages and based on prices, brings them in a great deal less than was the case in either 1914 or 1912, or even as far back as the year 1900. That is a very remarkable fact to bear in mind. When we ask for remission of taxation, we are well justified in taking into consideration the relative positions of the payers of indirect taxation and of the payers of direct taxation. Indirect taxation has always been used by the party opposite in a way which was well described by a former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Robert Peel. He was meeting an argument in this House in regard to direct taxation when he declared that direct taxes would bring about a bloody revolution, and he went on to argue that there was a method whereby they could tax the last bite in the mouth and the last rag on the back of the working classes and they would not know where it was coming from. That is the way in which indirect taxation has always been used. We plead for direct taxation in order that people may know exactly what they are paying. We object to the way in which these things are covered up.

From the point of view of ability to pay, we demand that this particular tax shall be reduced. The Chancellor of the Exchequer twits us with upsetting his Budget. It would have been a very simple matter for him to make his Budget fit the circumstance far better than he has done, had he not played such ducks and drakes with basic problems and indulged in such fantastic jugglery as the robbery of the Road Fund and the getting of three payments instead of two in 12 months. That is all very nice, but it does not get the country any further. It is not facing facts. It is not demanding that the fair thing shall be done. The fairest thing that could have been done would have been to put the burden upon those who are best able to bear it and to have done something to relieve those who are becoming poorer as the days go by. It is a scandalous thing that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, representing as he does the great mass of wealth takers in this country, should sit calmly and refuse to consider any remission of taxation upon those who become poorer as the days go by. In spite of the prophecies about improving trade and improving wages, we see from the returns of the Government that the promises in regard to improving trade seem likely to be broken, that unemployment gets worse instead of better, that the condition of the poor grows worse instead of better, and we ask that a rich man's Government should do something to improve the condition of the poor by removing a little of the unfair taxation which they pay.

Photo of Sir George Gillett Sir George Gillett , Finsbury

The Chancellor's argument to some extent seemed to question whether indirect taxation is borne by the poorer section of society and direct taxation by those who are better off. I think it will be generally admitted that indirect taxation does certainly press most upon the very poorest section of society. When you come to the special question of the Tea Duty, it seems to me that here we have a tax which might receive the consideration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, very truly, that we are not in a financial position which might seem to justify the taking off of taxes. According to the way in which he has allocated his finances, I agree with him, because he at once rules out any suggestion of increasing the Income Tax or the Super-tax. When once lie has entered into a frame of mind where he was prepared to consider an increase in either income Tax or Super-tax, he would easily find that the difficulty could be overcome.

I wish specially to draw attention to the Report of the Colwyn Committee, in which there are some interesting figures dealing with the burden of taxation as it falls upon those who are in receipt of the smallest income that is liable for taxation. Those figures justify the claim that we are making that the Tea Duty ought to be reconsidered. The Committee give as an illustration the case of a taxpayer who has a wife and three children under 16 years of age. The figures which I am about to quote eliminate any income which such a, person might have, however small, of an unearned kind. Such a man with an income of £100 to £150 a year, bears as his percentage of taxation, 11.9. A person with an income of from £150 to £200 pays a slightly smaller percentage, 11.6. The man with an income of from £200 to £500 pays 10.2; but when you come to the man with from £500 to £1,000 the percentage drops to 6.2. Whatever the Chancellor of the Exchequer may claim about direct or indirect taxation, I think he will agree that the percentage of taxation that is borne should be equitable to all the different classes of income.

I know that the answer may be that a man may easily escape this kind of taxation by not using certain things. For instance, he would very largely reduce his taxation if he were a teetotaler. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer would probably think that it would deprive life of too much pleasure to suggest that anybody should follow that course. A man would also save himself from taxation if he did not smoke, but that, again, I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer would hardly recommend. There may be people who do not smoke or who do not drink intoxicants but there are very few people who do not drink tea, and when we consider how many take tea, especially women with small incomes, it seems to me that the Tea Duty is particularly inequitable, and in view of the figures which I have quoted there is a very strong case for consideration by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Furthermore, the figures given in the Colwyn Report show that a man with an income of £100 and the same size of family which I have indicated, is going to contribute 11s. on an average as the cost for his whole family in regard to the Tea Duty, whereas in the case of a man with an income of £50,000 a year the amount contributed in respect of the Tea Duty only rises to 12s. 9d. The burden in regard to tea is practically the same in both cases. Therefore, I do urge the Chancellor of the Exchequer that here is a case for very careful reconsideration of the Tea Duty. One of the difficulties that confronts us is how far if the Tea Duty were removed those who drink the tea will get the benefit from the remission of taxation, and how far the benefit will really go to the community. It is interesting to find from the figures in the Colwyn Report that as the Tea Duty has fallen the amount of tea consumed per family has increased. In the year 1918–19 when the Tea Duty stood at 1s. the amount per family consumed was 28 lbs. In 1923–24 when the duty had fallen to 8d., and even to a somewhat lower figure, if we allow for the preference given to Empire grown tea, the amount of tea purchased per family increased to 37 lbs. When the duty had been reduced by the Labour Government to 4d., the amount in 1925—after having given time for the duty to have effect—had increased to 39 lbs. per family, and the average amount of duty then contributed was 11s. It seems to me that we have here a case which requires very careful consideration and one which might have been considered by the present Government.

If the Chancellor of the Exchequer removed the duty the question would be, how far the public would benefit from that removal. It is stated that only about Id. of what my right hon. Friend removed ever really got to the public. That introduces a rather larger question. Unfortunately for the Labour Government, just at the time when the Tea Duty was reduced the tea trade had been prepared, by a reduction in output, for a rise of price, which undoubtedly swallowed up a good deal of the benefit that had been given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden). When we consider the importance of tea in so many of the poorest homes it does seem that this Government might have considered a reduction of this taxation. It is all very well for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to try to lay the burden upon those who were responsible, as he said, for the coal stoppage. He knows perfectly well that that if we were to debate that subject this afternoon we should probably not, be able to come to any conclusion except the one which we already hold. We say that the right hon. Gentleman and his Government were largely responsible, and if not the coalowners were responsible. If whenever an argument is brought forward the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to tell us that the responsibility rests upon those who brought about the coal stoppage, and he leaves it at that, we shall not get very much further with any of these questions, and meanwhile a real necessity of life will remain taxed in such a way as to be a burden, when it might have been lightened by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Photo of Mr Oswald Mosley Mr Oswald Mosley , Smethwick

I, too, had a premonition when the Chancellor of the Exchequer rose to defend his proposals that the need for this duty, as, indeed, all other duties, would be ascribed to the coal lockout of last year. A considerable case can be advanced, and it has never yet been answered, ascribing the whole responsibility for that great catastrophy to the policy of the right hon. Gentleman himself, and if the criterion which he announced this afternoon were to be followed and those who were responsible for that the coal lockout were to be punished we should have to apply that punishment to the spokesman for the Government to-day. In applying that punishment we should certainly have to look to some other beverage than tea; what beverage I cannot specify, because these mysteries have not yet been revealed to me; possibly it would be ginger beer or some stimulant of that kind.

5.0 p.m.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer proceeded to defend the maintenance of this duty by quoting various Victorian ratios of direct and indirect taxation. We have moved a little beyond the Victorian age, although this afternoon we have spent some time in discussing Victorian economics. To-day, there is a different view of these matters, both on moral and economic grounds. Even on the benches opposite we have noticed some slight signs of movement since the Victorian age. An hon. Friend below me says, "Very slight," but it is still noticeable—noticable, if not appreciable. To-day, as is their custom, hon. Members on the benches opposite hold the views which their opponents held in the last century and which they then so strenuously combated, so they certainly have moved since then.

But we cannot proceed upon arguments on the ratios which prevailed in those days. The fact remains that since the War the Conservative Government have done their best to weight the scales in favour of the payers of direct taxation as against those of indirect taxation. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) said this afternoon that Conservative reductions of direct taxation amounted to four times their reductions of indirect taxation since the War, and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer tried to counter that observation in some part by observing that when he remitted the money to the Super-tax payers he imposed taxation upon the death duties of the same people. I could ask very little better from him than that he should apply the same principle to the working class. When he finds his friends in some difficulty in paying taxation, when they come to him and say, "The burden of taxation is very irksome," he says, "Dear friends,, do not worry to pay it while you are alive, pay it instead when you are dead." I wish that policy could be applied to the working class. It was suggested by an hon. Member that money for this remission of taxation which is now asked for might have been found out of savings. That great economist the hon. Member for Ilford (Sir F. Wise) seemed rather astonished that such a suggestion should be made to the Conservative party. It may well be a reason for surprise to suggest to the present Chancellor of the Exchequer that he should proceed with that famous pledge—or was it only an ideal? I think we are modifying our pledges to ideals in the speeches of this year—to reduce taxation by £10,000,000 a year. Just think if he had not been quite so unsuccessful in his battles with that doughty defender of the Admiralty's rights, the First Lord of the Admiralty? If just one battleship each year had been saved, this great remission of taxation might have been given to the working class. I am glad to see the First Lord of the Admiralty has entered the Chamber. There is the man who stands between the working class and a remission of the Tea Duties. There is the triumphant warrior, there is the knight of the Admiralty who has beaten—

Photo of Mr James Hope Mr James Hope , Sheffield Central

It is getting rather far from the question of direct and indirect taxation to refer to the Naval Estimates of last year and the year before.

Photo of Mr Oswald Mosley Mr Oswald Mosley , Smethwick

Perhaps my argument was becoming a little indirect. I was attracted by the indirect methods of the Admiralty in this respect. I will return forthwith to the thesis before us, with the observation that surely the right hon.

Gentleman might economise to the comparatively small extent necessary to give this remission of taxation, which would be of such great benefit to the masses of this country. The argument advanced from these benches is not based alone on humanitarian considerations, although at a time such as this those considerations should surely be the weightiest before us. I believe this argument can be based on economic grounds concerning the general welfare of trade and industry in this country. From the benches opposite we hear continually complaints that the costs of production are too high, that industry is inefficient, that we cannot compete with other countries. Take, first, the question of industrial efficiency. The burden of indirect taxation directly affects the efficiency of the workers of this country. There is a burden of indirect taxation which reduces the purchasing power of the working class. The small amount they pay out in the extra duty on tea is probably taken from money which would otherwise buy essential foodstuffs, and so the physique and the stamina of the population are undermined. At a time when you have beaten—by means I will not now describe—wages down to the subsistence level, and even below it, in so many trades every penny of indirect taxation affects the physique and the power to produce of the workers of this country. This Tea Duty tends to raise the cost of living, and under the present dispensation, as everybody knows, the cost of living very materially affects the costs of production.

As was suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had the alternative course of imposing more direct taxation or of reimposing that direct taxation which he has remitted in order to give relief. Surely the recommendations of the Colwyn Committee might have influenced him in some degree, for the great revelation of that body is, undoubtedly, that direct taxation is a very small factor in the cost of production or of the power of this country to produce, while our argument that indirect taxation is a material factor remains unchallenged. It was always evident that from the standpoint of industrial efficiency indirect taxation was a greater factor than direct. Hon. Members opposite used to complain that direct taxation raised the cost of production. If that argument had been true, they would have been making the greatest possible point against themselves, because they would have proved that, instead of paying the taxation, as the working class do, out of their ordinary income, they were handing their taxation on to the consumer. In fact, of course, it was not possible for them to do it, however much they wanted to do it, because the stress of world competition prevented the raising of prices in proportion to the direct taxation imposed. If they tried to adopt any such course, they very quickly found themselves undercut. Now, of course, the Chancellor of the Exchequer comes, so far as he can, to their rescue. So far as he can, within or without the ambit of the Prime Minister's pledges, he imposes protective duties to shelter industrialists from the blasts of world competition and to enable them, as far as possible, to raise their prices and to hand on the burden of taxation to the consumer. So although it may be true, as the Colwyn Report has stated, that direct taxation is at present no very great factor in raising the costs of production, if the protective system of the right hon. Gentleman can be continued, the industrialists will soon find ways and means of handing on their taxation to the consumer, once they are protected from the draughts of foreign competition.

There are many other arguments which might be adduced in this respect, but I would put one other point of a heterodox character to the right hon. Gentleman, as to which I speak only for myself—in fact, I always speak only for myself. I would put this to him: that at a moment when he is so greatly raising the Sinking Fund above the statutory £50,000,000, he might have considered whether the money for that increase might not have been devoted with greater effect to the remission of this Tea Duty. After all, what is the economic effect of the two transactions? By the Sinking Fund the right hon. Gentleman takes money from the taxpayer in order to repay the bondholder, and, incidentally, to repay the bondholder in money worth exactly double, in most cases, that which he lent us. The money is worth double owing to the policy of deflation which the Conservative party have pursued since the War. The money thus repaid to the bondholder, being the capital of the bondholder, is mostly reinvested in industry, and provides more machinery. On the other band, a remission of taxation such as is proposed means an increase of the purchasing power of the working class, with a greater demand for the necessities of life and, consequently, employment in the staple trades of this country. The choice between increasing the Sinking Fund and remitting indirect taxation is, I claim, a choice between the provision of more machinery and an increase of the market. Which do we require most at the present time? At the present time our machinery stands idle and men are unemployed, and the reason given is that there is no market for the goods which those machines and those men could produce; and yet in such a situation the right hon. Gentleman increases the supply of machinery at the expense of the market which above all things we need. Therefore, I would submit, there was at any rate a prima facie case for remitting indirect taxation rather than making this enormous effort to increase the Sinking Fund above the statutory limit.

These considerations as to the rival merits of direct and indirect taxation have received an enormous reinforcement from the Report of the Colwyn Committee, not only the Minority Report but also the Majority, and in face of these recommendations, in face of the considered opinion of most economic authorities who have been consulted, the right hon. Gentleman and his party pursue the orthodox course to which they have committed themselves, the orthodox course of Conservatism, of consistently serving the interests of one small class of the community as against the interests of the great mass of the population. I only hope that between now and the fifth Budget, in which the right hon. Gentleman says he will confess that in all his period of office he has been unable to reduce a penny of indirect taxation, the people of this country will be acquainted with these facts, and when they come to register their verdict I have little fear of the result.

Photo of Reverend James Barr Reverend James Barr , Motherwell

For a very long period the treatment of this question of the Tea Duty has been far from creditable to this House. It is almost 60 years—I think it is 59 years, it was in 1868—since John Bright, addressing the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, called upon all his hearers to apply themselves to the task of securing a free breakfast table by the repeal of all taxes on tea, coffee and sugar. The support which the right hon. Gentleman has received from the hon. Member for Ilford (Sir F. Wise) has tended to show you how easily this remission of duty might have been made, because he pointed out that the Budget was a Budget of £830,000,000, and that this was a sum of £5,800,000—really a mere bagatelle in so large a Budget. I have not the least doubt that if the Chancellor of the Exchequer had had the will he could have very easily have found ways and means of making a remission of £5,800,000. With great delight on Budget day, I saw him ascending peak after peak of his gigantic mountain, and if there had been a still higher peak presented by this Tea Duty, he could easily have scaled it and could have said in the words of John Bunyan: This hill, though high, I covet to ascend, The difficulty will not me offend. But the right hon. Gentleman did not covet to ascend it. I do not desire to enter at large into this subject of the relation of direct and indirect taxation. I was a little surprised that the hon. Member for Ilford took Russia as an example that we might perhaps follow in this matter. Surely we are getting near some rapprochment with Russia when we hear the hon. Member so speak. What we object to, and what we can say, without going into figures and relationships, is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer from year to year is continuing to place on the poor burdens that could well be borne by direct taxation of the rich. In regard to this Tea Duty not being at all a luxury tax, I could give a rather pathetic illustration showing how tea is a necessity to the poorest of the people. I knew a woman in one of my congregations who found herself with only two halfpennies on a Saturday afternoon, and she resolved to have a halfpennyworth of tea and a halfpennyworth of sugar. That is a simple illustration showing how the use of tea has become a necessity for the poorest of the poor. I was pleased to hear from the hon. Member for Ilford the statement that over the long period that he indicated, with the various remissions of duty, the price of tea had gone down in the working man's budget. I think it has been confessed by all Chancellors of the Exchequer that if you count all the great fluctuations in the price of tea, you can still count on the working people reaping in large degree the benefit of any remissions.

We can hardly help contrasting the Budget of to-day with that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government and the positive benefits which it brought to the working people. In the case of the present Chancellor, after three Budgets, every year the cupboard has been bare in this regard, and nothing positive or beneficial has been done. There is one particular aspect of this question that naturally appeals to me. The hon. and learned Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macquisten) is not in his place at the moment. On several occasions we have heard him say in these Debates that the evil that is done by tea drinking is far greater than that done by all the alcohol consumed in the country. I have sometimes thought that if instead of having so many distilleries in his constituency he had tea plantations, he might perhaps use different words in that connection. We of the temperance party are very often blamed that we have nothing constructive to suggest, that we are destructive all the time and always negative. But in Glasgow we have erected tea restaurants all over the city in a way that no other city can boast of, and I stand here to say that that scheme has been a great counteractive and a great help to temperance.

I wish to refer to the main argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was that the remission of the Tea Duty was a long cherished ambition with him, that it was an ideal to be aimed at, but that he had not the means of achieving it, that the industrial outlook had changed, and so forth. I am not going into that argument. I think that the right hon. Gentleman and those who act with him must bear a great deal of the responsibility for the state in which we find the finances of the country. We had a King in Scotland called King David I He was a most pious king. He endowed most of the cathedrals and abbeys, and he spent all the revenues of the Crown in doing it, and when his successors came in they found the revenue so depleted that they called him a "Sair Saint to Scotland."

Photo of Mr James Hope Mr James Hope , Sheffield Central

I doubt if there was any possibility of imposing a tax on tea at that time.

Photo of Reverend James Barr Reverend James Barr , Motherwell

We are not going to suggest that the right hon. Gentleman is a saint. I am sure he would never relish the compliment. In this matter I am sure you will allow it to be in order to say that the right hon. Gentleman in like manner has left the revenue so depleted that in the immediate future nothing of this kind would be possible. I will close with one other historical illustration which I am sure is quite in order. I was reading the other day a speech by Sir John Elliot, made in 1628. It seemed to me that the financial position of the country as he described it then was exactly apposite to the condition at present. He said: The Exchequer is empty, the reputation thereof gone, the ancient lands are sold, the jewels pawned, the plate engaged, the debt still great; almost all charges, both ordinary and extraordinary, borne by projects. If the present Chancellor of the Exchequer had had the will he has certainly the ingenuity to find expedients, or what Sir John Elliot calls projects, to finance this proposal for a remission of Tea Duty.

Photo of Mr George Barker Mr George Barker , Abertillery

I wish to support the Amendment. I look upon this Tea Duty as the meanest tax in our fiscal system. An Empire like ours that covers one-third of the globe has to come on the old age pensioner, the unemployed, the ex-service man, the widow and the very poorest of our population, for taxation. There is no tax in our system that is so obnoxious and so unjustifiable as this tax. I am certain that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, from indications that he has given a good many times, has no sympathy with this tax. I am certain, too, that he has not exhausted all his ingenuity in efforts to find a substitute for this Tea Duty. When the right hon. Gentleman goes out of office I fear that he will have a very bad record. A Chancellor of the Exchequer who can take £30,000,000 of taxation from the rich and keep an oppressive tax like this on the poor, will have a very bad record indeed when he goes before the country. I was personally very much disappointed this afternoon. When I saw the right hon. Gentleman running backwards and forwards to his private secretaries I began to hope that he was going to take off this wretched tax. That he is stranded and unable to find the £5,000,000 in another way I cannot possibly believe. I am very sorry that he has not risen to the occasion. I dare say he would argue that the Labour party would get the credit if he remitted the tax. It would merely show the greatness of his mind if he yielded to the unanswerable arguments that have been put forward from this side of the House. I am generally an optimistic person, and I would urge him even now, in the interests of the poorest of our people, to take this obnoxious duty off tea. As a matter of fact, compared with the first Amendment on the Paper, we have offered a compromise to the Government. We wanted to abolish the duty entirely, but we are prepared to leave 25 per cent. of the duty. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will accept the offer and listen to the appeal that has been so fervently made to him from this side of the House.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Every year we have a Debate on the Tea Duty, and every year I take part in it. I always appeal to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but only the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) has ever listened to me.

Mr. ERSKINE:

With what success?

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

With great success when the Labour party came into power. There was one reduction by the Conservatives, but that was not due to the eloquence of the hon. Member for St. George's (Mr. Erskine), nor did he help in the matter at all. I have never heard him say a word in this House to help the women of the country. The argument that is used on the other side, when we do get an argument—there was a very able speech made to-day by the hon. Member for Ilford (Sir F. Wise), who compared direct and indirect taxation—is that you must tax people who do not drink beer or spirits and do not smoke, and therefore you must tax those who drink tea. That is a very hollow argument, and we shall probably hear it again before the Debate is over. Then we had in the Chancellor's speech an echo of the argument that a tax on tea is in the nature of a sumptuary tax We have heard a new term used in this connection— "basic comforts" —but the luxury argument in favour of the Tea Duty is not a very strong one.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

I have never used it.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

I was only saying that there was an echo in the right hon. Gentleman's speech, of the suggestion which was made that this is a tax on a basic comfort and not on a necessity. I do not wish to misrepresent the right hon. Gentleman but that was how I took his meaning. Is tea a necessity or not? I say that the people who do night work, and there are a great many of them in our complicated civilisation, require tea. To them it is not a luxury but an absolute necessity. Tea is largely drunk in the Navy and the drinking of tea is encouraged in the Navy for people who have to work at night. I once heard an hon. Gentleman who is a great advocate of reduced taxation on strong drink, saying that the drinking of tea was harmful. No medical evidence has ever been produced to show that the drinking of tea, in the quantities in which people can afford to drink it to-day, is harmful at all. The argument of luxury does not count. If you could differentiate in some way between the tea drunk by wealthy people and the tea drunk by people of small means, no doubt you might say that it was a luxury to the people who could afford to drink other beverages. But you cannot do that. You cannot in this case tax what is a luxury to some people, without taxing what is an absolute necessity to others. Under modern conditions of life, tea will be consumed by the people even if you put the tax up to 3s. in the If the Conservative Government remain in power, I suppose when other subterfuges have been exhausted, the taxation on tea will have to be increased, but, even then, tea will have to be drunk because it is easily prepared and there is nothing to take its place. Every 4d. imposed in taxation on tea means 4d. less spent on other commodities. Considering the preponderance of families of small means, this represents a greatly reduced consumption of other goods, and therefore, it is bad for employment in the country.

That is the argument which I would put finally to the Committee. If you reduce this tax there will be more to be spent by every working-class family in the land on other goods, and the money will be spent in this country. When remissions of taxation are made to the wealthy, they go to Monte Carlo to spend the money, but reductions of taxation on the mass of the people lead to increased spending at home and a greater consumption of goods, and gives more employment. That is one great argument for reducing all this indirect taxation on the working-class households of the country. A comparatively small amount is brought in by indirect taxation and we would be recouped for the loss of revenue by better trade. The right hon. Gentleman has, I will not say gambled, but has taken a legitimate risk and a legitimate chance, of a revival of trade. No single reduction of taxation would do more to help a revival of trade than the reduction or abolition of these indirect taxes. The more spending power you give the people, the more you revive trade. If you reduce Super-tax, the money thus saved by the taxpayers is invested abroad. If you reduce taxation on the working-class families, the extra money is spent inside the country. As I say I have spoken on this matter every year since I have been in the House; and I suppose I shall go on addressing the same arguments to the Committee each year, as long as a Conservative Government remains in power, which I hope will not be for long.

Photo of Mr Alfred Barnes Mr Alfred Barnes , East Ham South

I support the Amendment for two main reasons. The first is that we are against the principle of indirect taxation. Our chief argument on that point is that we believe taxation to be a weapon which should be used to redress some of the inequalities of life outside, and that unless the weapon of taxation be used in a mobile fashion, then the economic differences outside cannot readily be adjusted. The fact that the situation with which we are now confronted presents difficulties in regard to revenue, is no valid argument in favour of indirect taxation. We do not admit the principle that the incidence of taxation should not be changed from year to year, even though in a particular year there may be a deficit to be faced. We do not admit the idea that every tax imposed must be static in character, because we are meeting financial difficulties in a particular year. Despite the situation which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has outlined, we come forward with this proposal, we make it seriously, and we intend to press it to the utmost of our power. The next point against this duty is its unfair incidence. There has been a good deal of argument about direct and indirect taxation, but I challenge hon. Members opposite to point to any direct tax which operates in the same unfair way as regards its incidence. Hon. Members opposite know that you could not possibly levy the Income Tax or Super-tax or Estate Duty on the same unfair basis as that on which you levy indirect taxes. That is why we are opposed to the whole principle o' indirect taxation. You cannot levy it in a fair ratio to the ability of the individual to pay.

The hon. Member for Ilford (Sir F. Wise) mentioned that this tax had been reduced by two instalments of 4d. each, from 1s. to 4d. The very fact that the duty has been reduced to that extent shows it to be in a different category from other taxes. The Conservative party and the Labour party share the honours of reducing the duty from 1s. to 4d. Surely we can agree to adjust our financial system so as to wipe away the tax altogether. I desire to illustrate by actual figures the unfair incidence of the tax, and, again, I ask hon. Members opposite to point to any other article, with the possible exception of sugar, the taxation of which shows such inequalities. I take three selling prices of tea. A low grade tea is sold at 1s. 6d., a medium grade tea at 2s. 6d., and a higher grade tea at 3s. 8d. These three grades of tea are widely sold and it is wrong to assess a tax of 4d. on these selling prices. The correct way of ascertaining the incidence of this duty is on the net prices, which are 1s. 2d., in the case of the 1s. 6d. grade, 2s. 2d., in the case of the 2s. 6d. grade, and 3s. 4d. in the case of the 3s. 8d. grade.

The burden of the tax on these three prices works out as follows: In the case of the 1s. 2d., or low grade tea, the percentage of the tax is 28 per cent. That is quite indefensible. No hon. Member opposite who might be charged with the responsibility of allocating a tax would apply such a principle to the taxation of income. No hon. Member, I think, would levy a tax which was in the ratio of 28 per cent. on a price of 1s. 2d. The tax on the 2s. 2d. grade of tea is 15 per cent. and on the higher grade of tea is 10 per cent. That means that the person whose circumstances are lowest in the matter of wages is compelled to buy tea at 1s. 2d. and he has to pay a charge of 28 per cent. on that price; whereas the person who can afford 3s. 4d. tea only pays 10 per cent. In the Debates on this subject last year, the Chancellor of the Exchequer advanced as an argument the fact that only 1d. out of 3⅔ which the Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer remitted to the tea trade, found its way to the consumer. At the time, that was largely correct; but surely that is no argument against the remission of indirect taxation. It is indeed the biggest indictment the Government could make of their own Food Council. It simply indicates the rapaciousness of capitalism in all its operations. Even when the Government attempt to give some con-session to the consumer, the trade as a whole is not disposed to adjust its arrangements so as to give a reduction to the consumer.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

Was that the policy of the co-operative societies?

Photo of Mr Alfred Barnes Mr Alfred Barnes , East Ham South

The co-operative societies passed on that duty to the consumer as long as they had any measure of control over the market. But, as the right hon. Gentleman knows very well, the cooperative movement is not in a position to control prices. The co-operative movement is in the position of acting as a brake on the profiteering of private trade, and it operates to pass these benefits on to the consumer. Let me explain this point to the Chancellor and to those who support him. If the cooperative movement did charge an excessive price, the profits would not go to members of the committee or to the officers of the society but would be returned in the shape of surplus dividend to the members of the society. Therefore, the net effect would not represent any increase in price. I have no intention, however, of being diverted from my main theme by an interjection of that sort. I am merely mentioning the argument which was put up last year in order to say that in the intervening months, while that has not been entirely remedied, nevertheless as far as I can ascertain over a wide range of prices the consumer is getting a little more than 2d. of the concession given by the Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer. I think the right hon. Gentleman himself admitted that it takes the trade a little time to adjust its growing capacity to the increased demands, but the way to get that increased growth of tea is to encourage, first of all, the consumption—we all agree that we want consumption increased—by a reduction of the tax. Members from all sides are always competing in their support of the necessity of improving Imperial trade. The bulk of the world's tea is grown under the British flag, and we should be the first as an Imperial Parliament to encourage that development by the remission of the Tea Duty.

My final point is that, if we consider the record, not only of the Chancellor, but of his Department, in regard to direct and indirect taxation, from the end of the Coalition Government, we find that roughly this is the position: Altogether the Conservative Governments, in 1923 and in 1925, 1920, and 1927, have given relief in taxation to Super-tax and Income Tax payers of roughly £70,000,000 a year, but the only remission they have given on the food duties of this country is about £5,000,000 a year, which they took off tea, but altogether they have increased indirect charges on mainly working class and middle class consumers by roughly £15,000,000 a year. The net result has been that, while the fairly well-to-do and wealthy section of the community have had £70,000,000 a year, the net burden of indirect taxation on the working class and middle class section of the community has increased by about £10,000,000 a year. In view of the circumstances of the post-War period and of the general policy in regard to finance, commerce and industry in this country, we consider that that represents class legislation in the realm of finance of the worst type, and the more I see of the legislation of the Tory party, the more I am convinced that their accusation that the Labour party preach the class war is a sheer pose and humbug. All the time the Conservatives are accusing Labour of preaching the class war, everything they do in this Parliament is practising the class war.

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

I had not intended to intervene but for something which was said by the hon. Member for East Ham South (Mr. Barnes), which made me rise to address a question to the right hon. Gentleman, which possibly he might answer, if not to-day, then on some later occasion. It affects the whole question as to direct and indirect taxation. I am not going to follow the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Mosley) into his rather speculative incursion into the realm of economics. I do not suppose the right hon. Gentleman will either, and I am not sure that the right hon. Gentleman is called upon to defend his retention of a tax. When the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) was speaking, the right hon. Gentleman said he had never used the argument of a luxury tax in regard to tea. That is true, but he used it with regard to the McKenna Duties in his Budget speech of 1925. If the argument in relation to the Tea Duty is not a luxury argument, what then is it? I am not sure, as I say, that the right hon. Gentleman is called upon to defend the retention of the tax, but, if he were, I suppose he would use some such argument as was advanced, hypothetically, by the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull, that it was an attempt to draw a certain contribution from those people who do not pay Income Tax, and on that broad and general basis, I will assume that the right hon. Gentleman would defend the retention of this tax.

The hon. Member for East Ham, South, talked about the unfair incidence of the Tea Duty, but I want to go further than he did. He gave three prices of tea, and he pointed out that the proportion of tax on the lowest price tea was heaviest, and therefore, the poorer the person buying the tea the greater the proportion of the price he pays in tax. I think there is another example of unfair incidence, and this is not only taking indirect taxes and direct taxes in general, but as between the Tea Duty and the Sugar Duty on the one hand and other indirect taxes on the other. If I am in order, I want to refer, merely as an illustration, to one part of the Income Tax. I speak as a bachelor.—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"]—I do not know whether those plaudits proceed from sympathy or from envy, and I am not going to explain whether it is my misfortune or the fault of others, but I have noticed that one Continental country in the last week or so has either contemplated introducing, or has actually introduced, a tax on bachelors. Now I should object to that as interfering with one's free choice, but while objecting to a tax on bachelors, I have not the least objection to what is practically the same thing, namely, making bachelors pay more Income Tax by giving reductions of Income Tax to people who have more burdens to bear than have bachelors.

Photo of Mr James Hope Mr James Hope , Sheffield Central

The hon. and gallant Member is returning to tea.

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

I was not taking this opportunity to advertise any of my needs. I want to say that you can do that by a direct tax, but not by an indirect tax, and the trouble about an indirect tax, especially on tea, is not only that the proportion paid by the person who buys the lowest price article is greatest, but the proportion paid increases according as the responsibilities of the person who pays the tax increase. It is not merely a question of an indirect tax against a direct tax, but it is a question of the Tea Duty and the Sugar Duty as against the Beer Duty, the Spirit Duty, and the Tobacco Duty. It not a universal rule, but to a large extent the consumer of tobacco, or of spirits, or of beer is one person in a family; therefore, approximately you do tax the family through one person, but when you tax tea and sugar, the man with a wife and one child is taxed more than the bachelor, and if he has two, three, or more children, the greater his responsibility, the more enormous becomes the burden which he pays through these taxes. At any rate, I should like to hear the explanation or defence of retaining these taxes, which are doubly unfair, not only because they penalise the poor, but because they penalise the man who is bearing the greatest burden.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

Might I appeal to the House to consider at this stage the laying out of our time? We have a great deal of business to do in the three days of Parliamentary time which are allocated to these Resolutions. We have had a very long time on this particular Duty, in regard to which I have made no change in my Budget proposals, whereas other questions are coming, of a highly controversial character, which arise upon alterations made by the present Budget, and I am only suggesting, not from the point of view of the Government, but for the general convenience of the House, that we might consider, after we have heard the hon. Gentleman above the Gangway opposite, taking a Division on this question and getting on to some of the real issues.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

In reply to the right hon. Gentleman, the whole of the discussion of this important Amendment has taken a little over two hours so far, and I do not think that that can be considered an undue length of time, nor is it disproportionate to the whole of the business that we have to consider on the Report stage of these Resolutions. It will be remembered that the Prime Minister said to-day that three days had been allocated—

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

Three Parliamentary days.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

Yes, that three Parliamentary days had been allocated to the Report stage of these Resolutions, and I think, if we can get to-day as far as the. Tyre Duties, it will be satisfactory, and to-morrow we might take the Wine and Tobacco Duties and, possibly, matches, and that would leave the Pottery Duties and the Road Fund for Thursday. I do not think, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman at this stage should seek to curtail our discussion.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

The right hon. Gentleman will remember that there are all the Inland Revenue Duties as well.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

This is a very serious thing that we are discussing, and we were not sent here to make arrangements with the Chancellor of the Exchequer across the Floor. We were sent here to fight with these Gentlemen, and not to accommodate them or to let them get their Bills as easily as they like.

We are here, and we are going to do the utmost we can to harass the very life of that Government, and I want to tell you, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, that you are not going to get your Bill in half-an-hour. You are not going to get this duty in two hours, because we shall carry on until you move the Closure, and we are going to make it as awkward for you as we possibly can. What is it we are discussing? We are discussing the fate of tens of thousands of poor people in this country. A very apt illustration and explanation of what was going on in the country was given by my hon. Friend the Member for Mother well (Mr. Barr)—something that you fat, well-fed individuals do not understand.

Photo of Mr James Hope Mr James Hope , Sheffield Central

The hon. Member must address me.

6.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

The Chancellor of the Exchequer sets himself out to tax the very poorest of the community; and he has to remember that this idea, of indirect taxation has been handed down to us from the days of the great Pitt. It was Pitt, the Earl of Chatham, who introduced the idea into this country of indirect taxation. The Tory party, along with the Liberal party—I am glad that one or two have turned up at last—have exploited us to the very utmost. The very poorest of the poor have got to bear most of the burden of taxation. There is a well-fed Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Government in general are all well-fed, well-clad individuals. A tax like this does not affect them personally, but it affects the women folk whom we represent. We were sent here to stand up in defence of the poor. We were not sent here to make friends with the ruling classes of this country. They are the enemies of the working classes, and we on these benches should keep that clear and distinct every time, and all the time. We were sent here to fight them in every shape and form. Here is an opportunity for us to do it, and not to accommodate ourselves to the Government in any way. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, at the Treasury Box only 10 minutes ago, had the brass face to suggest that we should let him get this Clause. There are eight of my colleagues who have a point of view they are going to express on this Clause; so that the right hon. Gentleman is only assured of getting his Clause when he moves the Closure to-night, and not till then.

The present Government go on bleeding white the working classes of this country. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said he had not been able to remit those taxes which bore heavily on the working classes because of the coal dispute. If ever there were a Government in Christendom who had no right to mention that dispute, it is the present Government—the Government who was responsible for that dispute. When the hour of trial comes the electorate of Britain will place the responsibility upon them. We have challenged the Government again and again to go to the country, which, they always say, is the judge—that the will of the people is the voice of God in this country. Why do not the Government test the will of the people I Because, from the Prime Minister down, if they have any conscience at all, they know it was they, and no one else, who were responsible for the prolonged coal dispute. Yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer—and none other can brazen it out like him—stands at that Box before us working-class representatives, and tells us quite coolly that because of that dispute—inferring that it was the working class which was responsible for the trouble that ensued—the working class will have to bear the burden. In the same way, the hon. Member for Argyllshire (Mr. Macquisten), when going round his constituency last week, blamed the miners' dispute on the workers, and said that because of that dispute this Tory Government would not be able to give them a remission of the tax on whisky in Argyllshire, using that as a means to try and cover up the Government's brutality towards the working classes. The Minister of Health, when he comes along, because he is not able to play the game by the working classes, will say that it was because of the coal dispute.

This tax on tea is a shame and a disgrace at the present day. It taxes those whom, the Chancellor knows perfectly well, are the least able to pay the tax. With all his great reputation, why has it never dawned on his brilliant intelligence that here is an opportunity to put taxation upon a proper basis, so that those who are able to pay taxes should pay them, and not make, the poor people, who are not able to pay taxes, pay them, and pay them when they do not know? Nothing could be meaner; nothing could be more contemptible. On the authority of the Chancellor, the British ruling class is composed of the most brilliant men in the world, and they would as soon think of putting a child in charge of an aeroplane as to put the British Empire in charge of Labour. This is what it comes down to—robbing the widow and orphans. The ruling class are robbers of the deepest dye: they are stealing from people who do not know, and do not understand. It is like stealing a blind man's penny. They do not see that the ruling class are robbing them when they put a tax like this on tea. Here is a great opportunity for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to prove to the world that he is an intelligent man, because this Tory Government have never produced anything but incompetent men up to now. As far as I am concerned, this whole tax should be wiped off. Why it should be a penny I cannot understand. The Government do not deserve anything. Britain lost America through the taxation of tea; that was the finish of it. Let the Government take care that this Tea Duty does not wipe them out. It is not the first time that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has found himself out of office and out of Parliament. He had better be warned in time. If this Government think that they are going to get it all their own way, and that we are going to regard this House as a debating, mutual improvement association, they never made a bigger mistake. The same people who tried to crush our people and wring from them the last vestige of freedom, the same people who crushed the miners and forced on them the eight hours day—it was the right hon. Gentleman who introduced the miners' lockout in this discussion, not I—

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I must ask the hon. Member to keep to the subject before the House, which is the rate of the Tea Duty. He is wandering over much too wide a field.

Photo of Mr David Kirkwood Mr David Kirkwood , Dumbarton District of Burghs

What I am concerned about is that the folk in the country should understand that we are fighting this Government on the Floor of the House, as we promise our people every time we stand on the platform and denounce them root-and-branch. It is our duty to stand and do it here. This is the best platform in Britain, and that is why I have risen to denounce this Government, who are the robbers of the widows and orphans.

Photo of Mr Edwin Scrymgeour Mr Edwin Scrymgeour , Dundee

I have never made any contribution to the Debates on the Tea Duty, but I desire to do so to-day simply because the question of indirect taxation is involved. The difficulty of presenting any case on the subject of indirect taxation arises from the fact that the question has been discussed so often before and the arguments against it have been submitted on previous occasions, and with considerable force. At the same time, it is essential that this matter should be strenuously urged on the attention of the House on every possible occasion, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) has already pointed out that the Labour party are very anxious to emphasise the importance of the question of indirect taxation and are determined that the issue shall be straightforwardly faced by the present Government as, I understand, the Labour party are prepared to face it. If we take into consideration such homes as those which were at one time represented by the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself as a Member for the city of Dundee, we must all realise the tremendous struggle which the people in the poorer parts of that city have to face to make all ends meet. The Government cannot use the coal dispute of last year as an excuse for keeping on the Tea Duty, because in other years the same position was taken up in regard to it as is being taken up to-day. It strikes one who is earnestly concerned about the welfare of these combatants in the struggle of life as being very strange that the Government should take up this hard and adamant position and that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Government should persistently urge the retention of a Duty which presses so hardly on the poorest of the people.

The duty is not defended on the ground of being justifiably imposed; it is defended on the ground of use and want. And when these people find that the Government and the majority of the Members of the House of Commons persistently go into the Lobby in opposition to any reduction of this and other similar duties it is a proof to them of what is already in their minds, and what is being strongly impressed on the poorer classes of the community at the moment—namely, that you cannot make any impression upon the House of Commons when dealing with questions of this kind. Many of these poor people are desperate. In regard to another issue which will be before this House next week it will be urged from the Government side that there is a desperate class struggle going on. That may be so, but the answer of the Government to poor people who are in need of Poor Law relief, people in such circumstances that the board of guardians have to intervene and the parish councils have to intervene in order to give the relief that is being asked, is that it is not a question of giving something, but a question of taking something from them. The Government appear to be adamantine, and while some hon. Members may think that the hon. Member who has just spoken was too hard in his language I would ask them to remember and face the formidable and apparent facts of the situation.

Although we cannot make any impression in the House of Commons it is our bounden duty to drive home the point that these people are in desperate straits, and without introducing anything of a personal nature it is an appalling situation to find at the door of your own domicile people who tell you that there is no hope at the Employment Exchange, and no hope at the parish council. They ask you what they are to do, and you are unable to give them any satisfactory reply or aid. That is an appalling set of conditions which gives rise to the desperate idea of revolution. I am dead against revolutionary methods. I believe we can constitutionally do justice by the people, but all our attempts so far to get justice is like an attempt to get justice out of the heart of a stone. If the people ask for bread and you give them a stone you need not be surprised if they get desperate and declare that apparently there is nothing else for it but to take courses which are absolutely unconstitutional. I appeal to the Government to grant this small modicum of justice to the poor and destitute and not persist in an attitude which makes the poorer classes of the country more desperate than ever to secure this measure of justice by unconstitutional methods. I appeal to the Government to do something for them.

Mr. CHURCHILL rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 256; Noes, 137.

Division No. 84.]AYES.[6. 23 p. m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut. -ColonelDixey, A. C.Looker, Herbert William
Albery, Irving JamesDrewe, C.Lougher, Lewis
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)Duckworth JohnLucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)Edmondson, Major A. J.Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.England, Colonel A.Lumley, L. R.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)Lynn, Sir R. J.
Ashley, Lt. -Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Ersklne, James Malcolm MontelthMacdonald, Capt. P. D. (l. of W.)
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)Fairfax, Captain J. G.Macintyre, Ian
Atholl, Duchess ofFalle, Sir Bertram G.McLean, Major A.
Atkinson, C.Fermoy, LordMacmillan, Captain H.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyFielden, E. B.McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Forestier-Walker, Sir L.Macqulsten, F. A.
Barnett, Major Sir RichardFoster, Sir Harry S.Maitland, Sir Arthur D steel-
Barnston, Major Sir HarryFraser, Captain IanMakins, Brigadier-General E.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.Frece, Sir Walter deManningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn
Berry, Sir GeorgeGadle, Lieut.-Col. AnthonyMargesson, Capt. D.
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)Galbraith, J. F. W.Marriott, Sir J. A. R.
Boothby, R. J. G.Ganzoni, Sir JohnMason, Lieut.-Colonel Giyn K.
Bourne, Captain Robert CroftGates, PercyMeller, R. J.
Bowater, Col. Sir T. VanslttartGibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George AbrahamMilne, J. S. Wardlaw-
Braithwaite, Major A. N.Gllmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnMitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)
Brass, Captain W.Giyn, Major R. G. C.Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Brassey, Sir LeonardGoff, Sir ParkMoore, Sir Newton J.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveGrace, JohnMoreing, Captain A. H.
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeGraham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. IGreaves-Lord, Sir WalterNail, Colonel Sir Joseph
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Nowb'y)Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)Nelson, Sir Frank
Buckingham, Sir H.Grotrian, H. BrentNewman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Bullock, Captain M.Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Burman, J. B.Gunston, Captain D. W.Nicholson, O. (Westminster)
Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)
Burton, Colonel H. W.Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryNield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert
Butt, Sir AlfredHarvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)Nuttall, Ellis
Cadogan, Major Hon. EdwardHarvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Caine, Gordon HallHasiam, Henry C.Pennefather, Sir John
Campbell, E. T.Hawke, John AnthonyPenny, Frederick George
Carver, Major W. H.Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Perring, Sir William George
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Herbert, S. (York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by)Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt.R.(Prtsmth. S.)Hills, Major John WallerPeto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.Pilcher, G.
Chadwick, Sir Robert BurtonHogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)pilditch, Sir Philip
Chapman, Sir S.Hohier, Sir Gerald FitzroyPownall, Sir Assheton
Charteris, Brigadier-General J.Holbrook, Sir Arthur RichardPreston, William
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston SpencerHolt, Captain H. P.Price, Major C. W. M.
Churchman, Sir Arthur C.Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)Radford, E. A.
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeHope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Raine, W.
Clayton, G. C.Hopkins, J. W. W.Rawson, Sir Cooper
Cobb, Sir CyrilHopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Reid, D. D. (County Down)
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.Remer, J. R.
Cohen, Major J. BrunelHudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)Remnant, Sir James
Colfox, Major Wm. PhillipsHurd, Percy A.Rentoul, G. S.
Cope, Major WilliamIliffe, Sir Edward M.Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Couper, J. B.Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.Rice, Sir Frederick
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.Jacob, A. E.Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. CuthbertRobinson, Sir T. (Lanes, Stretford)
Crookshank, Cpt.H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)Jones. G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)Ropner, Major L.
Curzon, Captain ViscountJoynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir WilliamRuggles-Brice, Major E. A.
Dalkelth, Earl ofKennedy, A. R. (Preston)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Daiziel, Sir DavisonKidd, J. (Linllthgow)Rye, F. G.
Davidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)Kindersley, Major G. M.Salmon, Major I.
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.King, Captain Henry DouglasSamuel, Samuel(W'dsworth, Putney)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovll)Kinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementSandeman, N. Stewart
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)Knox, Sir AlfredSanders, Sir Robert A.
Davies, Dr. VernonLamb, J. Q.Sanderson, Sir Frank
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.Sandon, Lord
Dawson, Sir PhilipLister, Cunllffe, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipSassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Dean, Arthur WellesleyLocker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)Savery, S. S.
Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir LeslieSudden, Sir WilfridWilliams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)Tasker, R. Inigo.Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Sheffield, Sir BerkeleyThom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)
Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-Wilson, M. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Slaney, Major P. KenyonTitchfield, Major the Marquess ofWinby, Colonel L. P.
Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine. C.)Tryon, Rt. Hon. George ClementWinterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Smith-Carington, Neville W.Waddington, R.Wise, Sir Fredric
Smithers, WaldronWallace, Captain D. E.Withers, John James
Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L. (Kingston-on-Hull)Womersley, W. J.
Spender-Clay, Colonel H.Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).
Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Stanley, Lord (Fylde)Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)
Storry-Deans, R.Watts, Dr. T.
Strickland, Sir GeraldWells, S. R.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.Mr. F. C. Thomson and Captain
Styles, Captain H. WalterWhite, Lieut,-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-Bowyer.
Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray FraserWilliams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
NOES.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvli)Rose, Frank H.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Scrymgeour, E.
Ammon, Charles GeorgeHardle, George D.Scurr, John
Attlee, Clement RichardHarris, Percy A.Sexton, James
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. VernonShaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Baker, WalterHayday, ArthurShort, Alfred(Wednesbury)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Hayes, John HenrySinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)
Barnes, A.Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Barr, J.Henderson, T. (Glasgow)Smillie, Robert
Batey, JosephHirst, G. H.Smith, Ben(Bormondsey, Rotherhithe)
Bondfield, MargaretHirst, W. (Bradford, South)Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Hore-Bellsha, LeslieSmith, Rennle (Penlstone)
Briant, FrankHutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)Snell, Harry
Broad, F. A.John, William (Rhondda, West)Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Bromfield, WilliamJones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)
Bromley, J.Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Stephen, Campbell
Buchanan, G.Kelly, W. T.Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Cape, ThomasKennedy, T.Sutton, J. E.
Charleton, H. C.Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.Taylor, R. A.
Clowes, S.Kirkwood, D.Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Cluse, W. S,Lansbury, GeorgeThorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.Lawrence, SusanThorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Compton, JosephLawson, John JamesThurtle, Ernest
Connolly, M.Lee, F.Tinker, John Joseph
Cove, W. G.Lowth, T.Townend, A. E.
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Lunn, WilliamTrevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Crawfurd, H. E.Mackinder, W.Viant, S. P.
Dalton, HughMaclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Wallhead, Richard C.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Day, Colonel HarryMarch, S.Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Dennison, R.Montague, FrederickWebb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Duncan, C.Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Wellock, Wilfred
Dunnico, H.Mosley, OswaldWestwood, J.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)Murnin, H.Wheatley, Rt, Hon. J.
Fenby, T. D.Naylor, T. E.Wiggins, William Martin
Gardner, J. P.Owen, Major G.Williams, David (Swansea, E.)
Gibbins, JosephPalin, John HenryWilliams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Gillett, George M.Paling, W.Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Gosling, HarryPethick-Lawrence, F. W.Wilson. R. J. (Jarrow)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Ponsonby, ArthurWindsor, Walter
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)Potts, John S.Wright, W.
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Richardson, H. (Houghton-le-Spring)Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Riley, Ben
Groves, T.Ritson, J.TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Grundy, T. W.Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)whiteley.

Question put accordingly, "That the word 'fourpence' stand part of the Resolution."

The House divided: Ayes, 256; Noes, 143.

Division No. 85.]AYES.[6.33 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelAtholl, Duchess ofBird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)
Albery, Irving JamesAtkinson, C.Boothby, R. J. G.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyBourne, Captain Robert Croft
Allen, J-Sandeman(L'pool, W. Derby)Balfour, George (Hampstead)Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vanslttart
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Barnett, Major Sir RichardBraithwaite, Major A. N.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Barnston, Major Sir HarryBrass, Captain W.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.Brassey, Sir Leonard
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)Berry, Sir GeorgeBridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeHarvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)Pilditch, Sir Philip
Brocklebank C. E. R.Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Pownall, Sir Assheton
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.Haslam, Henry C.Preston, William
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)Hawke, john AnthonyPrice, Major C. W. M.
Buckingham, Sir H.Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.Radford, E. A.
Bullock Captain M.Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Raine, W.
Burman, J. B.Herbert, S.(York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by)Rawson, Sir Cooper
Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.Hills, Major John walterReid, D. D. (County Down)
Burton Colonel H. W.Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.Remer, J. R.
Butt, Sir AlfredHogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)Remnant, Sir James
Cadogan, Major Hon. EdwardHohier, Sir Gerald FitzroyRentoul, G. S.
Caine, Gordon HallHolbrook, Sir Arthur RichardRhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Campbell, E. T.Holt, Captain H. P.Rice, Sir Frederick
Carver, Major W. H.Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k Nun.)Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Hopkins, J. W. W.Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes, Stretford)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Ropner, Major L.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Horllck, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.
Chadwick, Sir Robert BurtonHudson, R. S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood,)Hurd, Percy A.Rye, F. G.
Chapman, Sir S.Iliffe, Sir Edward MSalmon, Major I.
Charteris, Brigadier-General J.Inskip, Sir Thomas walker HSamuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston SpencerJackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'I)Sandeman, N. Stewart
Churchman, Sir Arthur C.Jacob. A. E.Sanderson, Sir Robert A.
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeJames, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. CuthbertSanderson, Sir Frank
Clayton, G. C.Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)Sandon, Lord
Cobb, Sir CyrilJoynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir WilliamSassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)Savery, S. S.
Cohen, Major J. BrunelKidd, J. (Linlithgow)Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie
Colfox, Major Wm. PhillipsKindersley, Major G. M.Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)
Cope, Major WilliamKing, Captain Henry DouglasSheffield, Sir Berkeley
Couper, J. B.Kinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementSimms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.Knox, Sir AlfredSlaney, Major P. Kenyon
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.Lamb J. Q.Slaney, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine,C.)
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipSmithers, Waldron
Curzon, Captain ViscountLocker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Dalkelth, Earl ofLooker, Herbert WilliamSpender-Clay, Colonel H.
Dalziel, Sir DavisonLougher, LewisStanley, Col. Hon. G. F.(Will'sden,E.)
Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh VereStanley, Lord(Fylde)
Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard HarmanStorry-Deans, R.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeoill)Lumley L. R.Strickland, Sir Gerald
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)Lynn Sir R. J.Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Davies, Dr. VernonMacdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. Of. W.)Styles, Captain H. Walter
Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)Macintyre IanSueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Dawson Sir PhilipMcLean, Major A.Sudgen, Sir Wilfrid
Dean, Arthur WellesleyMacmillan, Captain H.Tasker, R. Inigo.
Dixey, A. C.McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald JohnThom, Lt-Co, J. G. (Dumbarton)
Drewe, C.Macquisten F. A.Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Edmondson, Major A. J.Maitland Sir Arthur D. Steel-Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-S.-M.)Makins Brigadier-General ETryon Rt. Hon. George Clement
Erskine, James Malcolm MonteithManningham-Buller, Sir MervynWaddington, R.
Fairfax, Captain J. G.Margesson, Captain D.Wallace, Captain D. E.
Falle, Sir Bertram G.Marriott, Sir J. A. R.Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)
Fermoy, LordMason Lieut.-Col. 'Gl'yn KWarner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Fielden E. B.Meller, R. J.Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Forestier-Walker, Sir L.Milne, J. S. Wardlaw-Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisie)
Foster, Sir Harry S.Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)Watts, Dr. T.
Fraser, Captain IanMitchell Sir W. Lane (Streatham)Wells, S. R.
Frece, Sir Walter deMoore, Sir Newton JWheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Gadie, Lieut.-Col. AnthonyMoreing Captain A. H.White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-
Galbraith, J. F. W.Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Ganzonl, Sir JohnMorrison-Bell Sir Arthur Clive,Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Gates, PercyNall Colonel Sir JosephWilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)
Gibbs, Col. Rt Hon. George AbrahamNelson Sir FrankWilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnNewman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exter)Winby, Colonel L. P.
Glyn, Major R. G. C.Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Goff, Sir RobertNicholson, O. (Westminster)Wise, Sir Fredric
Gower, Sir RobertNicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)Withers, John James
Grace, JohnNield, Rt. Hon. Sir HerbetWolmer, Viscount
Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)Nuttall EllisWomersley, W. J.
Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. WilllamWood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W)
Greaves-Lord, Sir WalterPennefather, Sir JohnWoodcock, Colonel H. C.
Grenfell Edward C. (City of London)Penny Frederick GeorgeYoung, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)
Grotrian, H. BrentPerkins, Colonel E. K.
Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.Perring, Sir William GeorgeTELLERS FOR AYES.—
Gunston, Captain D. W.Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)Mr. F. C. Thomson and Captain
Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)Bowyer.
Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryPilcher G.
NOES.
Adamson. Rt. Hon W. (Fife, West)Ammon, Charles GeorgeBaker, Walter
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Attlee, Clement RichardBarker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield. Hillsbro')Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Barnes, A.
Barr J.Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. VernonSexton, James
Batey, JosephHayday, ArthurShaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Bondfield, MargaretHayes, John HenryShort, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)Sinclair Major Sir A. (Caithness)
Briant, FrankHenderson, T. (Glasgow)Slesser, Sir Henry H.
Broad, F. A.Hirst, G. H.Smillie, Robert
Bromfield, WilliamHirst, W. (Bradford, South)Smith, Ben(Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Bromley, J.Hore-Belisha, LeslieSmith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Buchanan, G.John, William(Rhondda, West)Snell, Harry
Cape, ThomasJones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Charleton, H. C.Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)
Clowes, S.Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Cluse, W. S.Kelly, W. T.Stephen, Campbell
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.Kennedy, T.Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Compton, JosephKenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.Sullivan, J.
Connolly, M.Kirkwood, D.Sutton, J. E.
Cove, W. G.Lansbury, GeorgeTaylor, R. A.
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Lawrence, SusanThomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Crawfurd, H. E.Lawson, John JamesThorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Dalton, HughLee, F.Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plalstow)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Lowth, T.Thurtle, Ernest
Day, Colonel HarryLunn, WilliamTinker, John Joseph
Dennison, R.Mackinder, W.Townerd, A. E.
Duckworth, JohnMaclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Duncan, C.Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.Viant, S. P.
Dunnico, H.March, S.Wallhead, Richard C.
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)Montague, FrederickWalsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
England, Colonel A.Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Watson, W, M. (Dunfermilne)
Fenby, T. D.Mosley, OswaldWebb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Gardner, J. P.Murnin, H.Wellock, Wilfred
Gibbins, JosephNaylor, T. E.Westwood, J.
Gillett, George M.Owen, Major G.Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Gosling, HarryPalin, John HenryWiggins, William Martin
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Paling, W.Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)Ponsonby, ArthurWilliams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Potts, John S.Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Groves, T.Riley, BenWindsor, Walter
Grundy, T. W.Ritson, J.Wright, W.
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Rose, Frank H.TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hardle, George D.Scrymgeour, E.Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.
Harris, Percy A.Scurr, JohnWhiteley.

Mr. CHURCHILL rose in his place, and claimed "That the Main Question be now put".

Question put accordingly, "That this House doth agree with the committee in the said Resolution".

The House divided: Ayes, 250; Noes, 140.

Division No. 86.]AYES.[6.45 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelBrown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)Couper, J B.
Albery, Irving JamesBuckingham, Sir H.Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William JamesCrookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)Bullock, Captain M.Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Burman, J. B.Curzon, Captain Viscount
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Burney, Lieut.-Com. Charles D.Dalkeith, Earl of
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)Burton, Colonel H. W.Dalziel, Sir Davison
Atholl, Duchess ofButt, Sir AlfredDavidson, J. (Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)
Atkinson, C.Cadogan, Major Hon. EdwardDavidson, Major-General Sir J. H.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyCaine, Gordon HallDavies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Campbell, E. T.Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)
Barnett, Major Sir RichardCarver, Major W. H.Davies, Dr. Vernon
Barnston, Major Sir HarryCautley, Sir Henry S.Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Dawson, Sir Philip
Berry, Sir GeorgeCayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)Dean, Arthur Wellesley
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Dixey, A. C.
Boothby, R. J. G.Chadwick, Sir Robert BurtonDrewe, C.
Bourne, Captain Robert CroftChamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Edmondson, Major A. J.
Bowater, Col. Sir T. VansittartChapman, Sir S.Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)
Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.Charterls, Brigadier-General J.Erskine, James Malcolm Montelth
Bralthwalte, Major A. N.Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston SpencerEverard, W. Lindsay
Brass, captain W.Churchman, Sir Arthur C.Fairfax, Captain J. G.
Brassey, Sir LeonardClarry, Reginald GeorgeFalle, Sir Bertram G.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveClayton. G. C.Fermoy, Lord
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeCobb, Sir CyrilFielden, E. B.
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Cohen, Major J. BrunelForestler-Walker, Sir L.
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.Colfox, Major Wm. PhillipsFoster, Sir Harry s.
Fraser, Captain IanLooker, Herbert WilliamRobinson, Sir T. (Lancs, Stretford)
Frece, Sir Walter deLougher, LewisRuggles-Brise, Major E. A.
Gadie, Lieut. -Col. AnthonyLucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh VereRussell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Galbraith, J. F. W.Luce, Maj.-Gen. Sir Richard HermanRye, F. G.
Ganzoni, Sir JohnLumley, L. R.Salmon, Major I.
Gates, PercyLynn, Sir R. J.Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George AbrahamMacdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. Of W.)Sandeman, N. Stewart
Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnMacintyre, IanSanders, Sir Robert A.
Glyn, Major R. G. C.McLean, Major A.Sanderson, Sir Frank
Goff Sir ParkMacmillan, Captain H.Sandon, Lord
Gower, Sir RobertMcNeill Rt. Hon. Ronald JohnSassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Grace JohnMacquisten, F. A.Savery, S. S.
Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir Leslie
Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.Makins, Brigadier-General E.Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Greaves-Lord, Sir WalterManningham-Buller, Sir MervynSimms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)Margesson, Captain D.Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Grotrian H. BrentMarriott, Sir J. A. R.Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.Smith-Carington, Neville W.
Gunston, Captain D. W.Meller, R. J.Smithers, Waldron
Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)Milne, J. S. WardlawSomerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryMitchell, S. (Lanark Lanark)Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden. E.)
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Moore, Sir Newton J.Stanley, Lord (Fylde)
Haslam, Henry C.Moreing, Captain A. H.Strickland, Sir Gerald
Hawke, John AnthonyMorrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)Stuart, Crichton-,Lord C.
Headlam, Lieut. -Colonel C. M.Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur CliveStyles, Captain H. Walter
Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Nall, Colonel Sir JosephSueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Herbert, S. (York, N. R.,Scar. & Wh'by)Nelson, Sir FrankSugden, Sir Willrid
Hills, Major John WallerNewman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Tasker, R. Inigo.
Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. GNewton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)Nicholson, O. (Westminster)Thomson, Ht. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Hohler, Sir Gerald FitzroyNicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrsf'ld.)Titchlield, Major the Marquess of
Holbrook, Sir Arthur RichardNield, Rt. Hon. Sir HerbertTryon, Rt Hon. George Clement
Holt, Capt. H. P.Nuttall, EllisWaddington, R.
Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)Wallace, Captain D. E.
Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. WilliamWard, Lt. -Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Hopkins, J. W. W.Pennefather, Sir JohnWarner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Penny, Frederick GeorgeWatson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Horlick, Lieut. -Colonel J. N.Perkins, Colonel E. K.Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)Watts, Dr. T.
Hurd, Percy A.Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)Wells, S. R.
Iliffe, Sir Edward MPilcher, G.White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple.
Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.Pilditch, Sir PhilipWilliams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)Pownall, Sir AsshetonWilliams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Jacob, A. E.Preston, WilliamWilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)
James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. CuthbertPrice, Major C. W. M.Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)Radford. E. A.Winby, Colonel L. P.
Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)Raine, W.Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Kidd, J. (Linilthgow)Rawson, Sir CooperWise, Sir Fredric
Kindersley, Major G. M.Reid, D. D. (County Down)Withers, John James
King Captain Henry DouglasRemer, J. R.Wolmer, Viscount
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementRemnant, Sir JamesWomersley, W. J.
Knox, Sir AlfredRentoul, G. S.Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)
Lamb, J. Q.Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.Rice, Sir FrederickYoung, Rt. Hon. Hilton(Norwich)
Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipRichardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Major Cope and Mr. F. C. Thomson.
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Compton, JosephGriffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Connolly, M.Groves, T.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Cove, W. G.Grundy, T. W.
Ammon, Charles GeorgeCowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)
Attlee, Clement RichardCrawfurd, H. E.Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Dalton, HughHamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)
Baker, WalterDavies, Rhys John(Westhoughton)Hardle, George D.
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Day, Colonel HarryHarris, Percy A.
Barnes, A.Dennison. R.Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon
Barr, J.Duckworth, JohnHayday, Arthur
Bondfield, MargaretDuncan, C.Hayes, John Henry
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Dunnico, H.Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)
Briant, FrankEdwards, C. (Monmouth, Badwellty)Henderson, T (Glasgow)
Broad, F. A.England, Colonel A.Hirst, G. H.
Bromfield, WilliamFenby, T. D.Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)
Bromley, J.Gardner, J. P.Hore-Beilsha, Leslie
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Gibbins, JosephJenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)
Buchanan, G.Gillett, George M.John, William (Rhondda, West)
Cape, ThomasGosling, HarryJones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Charleton, H. C.Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)
Clowes, S.Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)
Cluse, W SGreenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)Kelly, W. T.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Kennedy, T.
Kenworthy, Lt. -Com. Hon. Joseph M.Ritson, J.Tinker, John Joseph
Kirkwood, D.Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)Townend, A. E.
Lansbury, GeorgeScrymgeour, E.Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Lawrence, SusanScurr, JohnViant, S. P.
Lawson, John JamesSexton, JamesWallhead, Richard C.
Lee, F.Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Lowth, T.Shiels, Dr. DrummondWatson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Lunn, WilliamShort, Alfred (Wednesbury)Watts-Morgan, Lt. -Col. D. (Rhondda)
Mackinder, W.Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Smlllie, RobertWellock, Wilfred
Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, HotherhitherWestwood, J.
March, S.Smith, H. B. Lees (Kelghley)Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Montague, FrederickSmith, Rennie (Penistone)Wiggins, William Martin
Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Snell, HarryWilliams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Mosley, OswaldSnowden, Rt. Hon. PhilipWilliams, David (Swansea, E.)
Murnin, H.Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Naylor, T. E.Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin CharlesWilliams, T. (York, DonValley)
Owen, Major G.Stephen, CampbellWilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Palin, John HenryStewart, J. (St. Rollox)Windsor, Walter
Paling, W.Sullivan, J.Wright, W.
Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Sutton, J. E.Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Ponsonby, ArthurTaylor, R. A.
Potts, John S.Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.
Riley, BenThurtle, ErnestWhiteley.

Second Resolution read a Second time.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The Amendment standing on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton)—to leave out the words continue to be charged on and after that date until Parliament otherwise determines, and to insert instead thereof the words cease to be charged on and after that date"— is not in order. I must, therefore, put the Question, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

Photo of Sir Robert Hamilton Sir Robert Hamilton , Orkney and Shetland

Before the House proceed to agree to this Resolution, should like, if I may, to ask for a little more information with regard to it. I am sure the whole House is rather in the dark as to this matter. The question of these Patent Medicine Duties is one of old history, going back for a good many years. A Resolution carrying forward the Excise Duty has been proposed from time to time, but this year we are asked to vote this Excise Duty for all time, and I should like to know why the House is being asked to vote it in this form this year for the first time? I should also be glad if we could be told what amount these duties bring in? It is a small matter, I have no doubt, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not refer to it in his Budget speech, but I think the House would like to know what amount is covered by this Resolution, and also why we are being asked to vote it now for all time, and not merely from year to year as has been the practice in the past.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton) has asked how much is brought in by these special duties on patent medicines. I should like, further, to ask how much it costs to collect them. I believe the actual amount produced by the duties is something like £300,000 a year. What is the cost of collection? It must be rather complicated, and, I should think, would be comparatively costly. In addition, I should like to give one or two very short reasons why I think we should vote against this duty. When you have a revenue of over £800,000,000, the £200,000 or £300,000 brought in by this duty is a comparatively small, even a tiny thing, a pill for an earthquake—a simile which is very appropriate in discussing patent medicines. It is very small, but it means a good deal to very poor people who have to buy these patent medicines. Most Members of the House would not feel the small amount of tax that is levied on them, but the very poorest people do—the old people and others who have to buy patent medicines because they cannot afford, in many cases, to get any other kind of doctoring. I do not know whether the patent medicines do them either harm or good; that might be arguable; but that is not the point. The fact is that they get them. The tax does not prevent them from buying them, but it makes them pay more, and it is very hard on these people; and, as I am in favour of reducing the taxation on poor people in this country, and always have been since I have been in this House, I shall ask the House to divide against this duty.

It is a matter of principle. Well-to-do people who buy patent medicines do not feel the tax at all, but poor women and others feel every halfpenny when they are living on a few shillings a week and are beginning to ail in their advancing years. They are the persons who are hit by this duty, and, therefore, I think it would be a humanitarian act on the part of the House to remove this tax on the sick and ailing. I hear someone below the Gangway say something about doctors, but I do not know that they would not be whole-heartedly with us in removing this tax. I never heard any one of them that was particularly keen on this tax, though I dare say some, for purely selfish reasons, may object to people buying patent medicines, because they get just the same amount of relief, or want of relief, from them as they do from consulting a doctor. As I have said, it would be an act of humanity to the suffering, sick poor to repeal this pettyfogging tax, and I appeal, therefore, to Members in all parts of the House to vote against it.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

I am not surprised that this duty is questioned, because it is shrouded to a large extent in mystery. It is a very old duty. There is some doubt as to how far back it dates, but I believe the year before last it was stated that it dated back to the year 1783. I have a copy of the Act here. [Interruption.] I will not attempt to read it to hon. Members opposite, because it is couched in old English and is rather!badly printed; but I would recommend hon. Members who are interested in history to spend an hour or two in the Library looking up this very interesting Act of Parliament. That was just before the time of the American Revolution, and a good deal of water has passed under the bridges since then, and a good many patent medicines have been sold since then; but a duty which was quite justifiable in a time when there was no Income Tax, and, I think I am right in saying, even before there was any Tea Duty, need not necessarily be justifiable at the present time. I think I am right in saying that it brings in something like £1,500,000. It was doubled in 1915, in the middle of the Great War. I have taken the trouble to look up the Budget statement of that day, and I find that no attempt was made to justify the doubling of the duty; it was apparently put forward merely as a War measure, and every Government, even a Labour Government, would be equally wicked in continuing this pernicious temporary double duty on patent medicines.

7.0 p.m.

Last year the present Financial Secretary was rather ashamed of this duty. He made promises, but I suppose promises are like pie crust—meant to be broken. I do not know whether, owing to the form in which it is suggested that the duty should be embodied in the Finance Bill this year, we are going to have the whole facts of the case taken from the consideration of the House of Commons. Certainly, there have been so many Acts of Parliament dealing with this Patent Medicine Act of 1782, and it has been so altered and modified and changed and knocked about, that it is impossible for the most ingenious of us to know exactly what its terms are. Anyhow, the Financial Secretary, on 7th June last year, said: We want something more than a codification. We want a drastic revision of the statutes. … It is the intention within the near future to get together an interdepartmental Committee to go into the matter. … I can only express the hope that this time next year we shall have done something more efficacious in this respect."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th June, 1926; col. 1155, Vol. 196.] I want to know if that Departmental Committee has met, and, if so, whether it is going to give us this drastic change. Is the right hon. Gentleman going to implement his promise in the Finance Bill? If so, there is nothing more to be said now, but, if not, we are justified in dividing against this duty. The House of Commons has no right to pass duties with the terms of which Members are not familiar. I do not suppose a single Member in this House will be prepared to get up and tell us what medicines are taxed, what are the pills and the drugs and the patent medicines, and the cough mixtures and all the mysterious cures for every possible disease which are taxed. I understand that the basis of it—and I am now quoting from a distinguished predecessor of the right hon. Gentleman—is that it must be advertised as a specific for some particular disease. I do not know, if a medicine were described as a cure for the ills of the present Government, whether that would be taxed. Then it must be a secret remedy, and, thirdly, it must be a proprietary remedy. I would like to know if that description of the duty is right. If a medicine be not secret and be not advertised and be not proprietary, I suppose it escapes the incidence of this tax.

There is another point upon which I should like enlightenment. Under the Fine Chemicals provisions, fine chemicals are subject to a 33⅓ per cent. duty. I would like to know if patent medicines imported from abroad are subject to this duty. If so, are they also subject to the 33⅓ per cent. fine chemical duty? If not, then the foreigner is given a preference over the British manufacturer. Most of these patent medicines are made from fine chemicals, although their ingredients are secret. If an English manufacturer of patent medicines wants to make a drug, he has to import his fine chemicals from abroad, and pay the 33⅓ per cent. If, on the other hand, the American is not subject to the 33⅓ per cent. for patent medicines, then he has a preference over the English manufacturer. It is a well-known fact that there is a growth in the use of American patent medicines owing to their skill in advertising, and we ought to know exactly what is the position. It would be an anomaly if the English patent medicine manufacturer were put at a disadvantage with his American competitor.

As a matter of fact, my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) is perfectly right in saying that this is a pernicious, bad and unjustifiable tax. There is an enormous amount of money spent in advertising these medicines in the newspapers, and the newspapers are not likely to carry out a campaign in favour of their abolition. There is no doubt that the power of the advertisement to influence public opinion is very great, but no one can justify a duty on medicines. It must be assumed that these medicines are of some good for health, for, if not, the Ministry of Health would, we must assume, interfere and prohibit their use and sale. If they are good for curing ills, as they are advertised to be, then surely it is a wrong thing to subject them to a duty dating back as long as 1783, which has never been defined or codified or made clear to the public, and which, from the point of view of revenue, or of incidence or of finance, or of cost of collection, is thoroughly unsound in principle and quite against the canons of sound finance.

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

I rather wondered on what particular grounds this duty was likely to be attacked to-day. We have had a good many different phases of life in the attacks made already this afternoon, and I was rather wondering if anybody would say that this was a sumptuary tax, and whether, in the words of the phrase introduced by my right hon. Friend, these patent medicines would have been called a basic comfort. But they have not really been attacked on that ground, and there has, in fact, been no real attack on the duty itself, though, some questions have been put to me with regard to it, and these I am quite ready to answer.

The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Sir R. Hamilton) asked what was the income derived from the duty. It is pretty considerable. We estimate the income from it this year at £1,340,000. An income of that description cannot be altogether despised in times like these, and, on that ground alone, I should have to ask the House to maintain the duty. There have been some other questions put to me. The hon. Gentleman also asked why it was being made permanent now. The reason it is being made permanent is that, as a matter of fact, since it was doubled in 1915 the working of the duty has shown that this particular commodity can very well bear the tax which has now been put upon it for some 10 years, without in any way decreasing the consumption, and at the same time allowing for a very large increase of revenue. Most people will agree that if a tax is put too high on any particular commodity of this sort, the tax shows itself in a decrease of revenue. In point of fact, since the rate was doubled in 1915, the actual yield from this duty has gone up nearly four times as much as it was before then. In these circumstances, it is shown that this is a legitimate source of revenue, and there is no reason why from year to year we should go on repeating what was, in the first instance, a tentative addition to the tax—which could be withdrawn at any time if there was a desire to do so—for it merely becomes vexatious if you go on year after year saying that the addition is to be continued for a year, whereas the original tax was on a permanent basis. Therefore, we propose now to make the duty, at the level which was introduced in 1915, permanent. The hon. Member for Bethnal Green, South-West (Mr. Harris), who spoke last, used an expression with regard to something which I said last year that I should be very much inclined to resent if I did not know quite well he did not mean it. He spoke of my promise last year as being like pie-crust, intended to be broken.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

The right hon. Gentleman misunderstands. I remarked that promises were said to be like piecrust, made to be broken, but I did not suggest the reference as applying to him.

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

I understood the hon. Member to apply it to me, but I took no offence, for I was sure he did not mean it. In point of fact, I have strictly carried out the promise I made last year. I quite admitted last year, and I admit now, that the manner of assessing this duty and arriving at the articles to be taxed requires some definition. I said so last year, and also that it was really obsolete. It rests on a very ancient Statute. When Captain Wedgwood Benn, who was then in this House, last year called attention in humorous terms to the obsolete character of the duty, and the early Statutes and wanted to see the matter looked into, I said then that I quite agreed, and thought it would be very desirable, if possible, that there should be a codification and revision of the duty, and I promised to have a Committee appointed. That Committee was appointed. An inter-Departmental Committee representing the Treasury and Ministry of Health, was appointed to examine the matter from that point of view and to recommend to the Treasury, before our financial discussions came on this year, whether there was any better and more convenient form for the definition of the duty. That Committee went into the matter very carefully and examined it thoroughly, and, rather to my surprise, I admit, on the whole they did come to the conclusion that the charging words under the old Statute really were as useful for the purpose in view as any that could be put in their place. The charging words really supply an answer to the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) who thought that the duty itself was a mischievous one, and they also answer those hon. Gentlemen, if there are any, who think that a tax on these medicines can be a real detriment to the health of the country or to the poor people who have to buy them. This tax was originally, and is still, in principle, a tax on quack medicines. No real medicine recommended by a qualified physician, and coming under a certain definition, and supplied as part of the ordinary British pharmacopeia, comes under the duty at all. The tax applies to medicines which are or purport to be of a proprietary or secret character—not necessarily secret—or held out or recommended to the public by note, verse, label, or other written or printed matter as nostrums or proprietary medicines or specifics or remedies for any of the ailments of the human body—

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

I think the hon. Member will find that in the Act of 1812, which also contains the schedule of exceptions. In these circumstances, the taxing of these patent or quack medicines, supplying a very large profit, is carefully safeguarded by a well-defined practice which has grown up and which is quite well known to most of the trade and Treasury officials, and we have come to the conclusion that if the tax be continued at all we may just as well go on under the existing language as try to supply anything in its place. At any rate, that is the conclusion come to by the Committee which I appointed, and I am perfectly content myself, and I hope the House will be, to support that point of view. The only other point which was raised was also one raised by the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull who asked what was the cost of collection. I am advised that the cost of collection is practically negligible. As the hon. and gallant Gentleman and the House know, it is levied by means of a stamp, indeed the duty was originally called the Medicine Stamp Duty. It is collected by a stamp which has to be placed across the cork of the bottle. It brings in, as I have indicated, more than £1,250,000 of revenue, and the cost of collection is absolutely negligible, and I do not think it supplies anybody in the country with a grievance of any sort or description. In these circumstances I hope that, without spending a great deal of time upon it, the House will let us have the tax.

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

The right hon. Gentleman said this was originally meant to be a tax on quack medicines. He is surely not going to apply that phrase to all patent medicines. The tax may be a good or bad one, but all proprietary medicines are not necessarily quack medicines.

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

That, of course, depends on what is your definition of quack, but that was the original intention.

Photo of Mr George Hardie Mr George Hardie , Glasgow Springburn

I was rather surprised at one argument used by the Financial Secretary for retaining this tax. He said if there had been a decreased consumption it might have been considered that there was something wrong with it, but he gave figures to show that there had been an increase. What he was trying to argue from my point of view, was that because there had been an increase, that was an argument for keeping on the duty. If he carried that to its logical conclusion, he would say that because people could not do without bread or tea, that would be an argument why it should be taxed, or why the taxation should be continued. When poor people who cannot afford to go to Harley Street specialists or to get any specialised advice when they have five, six or seven of a family, and read in the newspaper of some positive cure for something which a member of their family is suffering from, that becomes as much a necessity in the household as food, because they will even go without certain kinds of food in order to buy the medicine which they hope will do some good to someone in the family. It is unfair to argue that, because there has been an increase, that gives a reason for retaining the duty. What we should rather see is that the circumstances are such that the number that cannot get specialised medical knowledge is increasing, and the reason for the increase in the sale of these things is that, not being able to get specialised information, they take what they think is the next best step and purchase patent medicines. That is how the sale of these things has increased. But it should not be used as a reason for increasing or retaining a duty of any kind. If we had had some information with regard to the reasons for continuing it on the basis of protecting the public, I could understand myself voting for a duty of any kind—If the money was used in the protection of the public and a guarantee was given that it was not going to be bad for those who took it—but it seems an insane proposal to put a duty on a thing which may be bad for people without the Government taking the slightest cognisance whether it is good or bad. I cannot understand this form of putting a duty upon things. Doubtless the Financial Secretary will point to the various Acts which deal with pharmaceutical productions, but these do not come under that, and the Department that inspects food and drugs does not require to inspect these. These is no guarantee in any way. I hope the Government will make an alteration so as to give some sense of guarantee. It is not impossible, because already we are taking huge sums of money to pay an army of highly skilled technical chemists to see that we are not poisoned in our foodstuffs. Why should not that be extended to patent medicines? That book that is published by the medical faculties, called "Secret Remedies," gives you a revelation of what is done. You get things that are practically common water, and of course that is considered to be a faith cure. If you are going to put a duty on an article, see that you are putting it on something that is a reality.

Photo of Mr Ernest Thurtle Mr Ernest Thurtle , Shoreditch

I am glad the hon. and gallant Member for West Waltham-stow (Major Crawfurd) called attention to the right hon. Gentleman's contemptuous reference to quack medicines. I think he ought not to use a loose term like that in discussing these patent medicines. The term "quack" is used in a very loose sense, very much in the same way as the term "Bolshevik" or "Extremist." On the Treasury Bench we should expect speakers to be a little more accurate in their English than that.

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

The hon. Member misunderstood what I said. I was merely referring to the history of the matter. I did not for a moment suggest that the medicines of the present day were quack. I said that was the original intention of the legislation.

Photo of Mr Ernest Thurtle Mr Ernest Thurtle , Shoreditch

I am very glad to have that explanation, because I think the right hon. Gentleman will agree that the British Medical Association, which poses as an authority in these matters, is really, in the light of recent events, a somewhat reactionary body and is inclined to regard as quack any kind of remedy which is not in its view orthodox. [Interruption]. I had thought it had something to do with it. In that case I am mistaken. I am supporting the Amendment because I regard this as another method of indirect taxation of the poor which is really indefensible. The rich people very seldom spend any money in buying these patent medicines. They have the best medical advice and attention at their command. Money is no object with them. They can at any moment consult a Harley Street or any other kind of specialist, whereas poor people are not in that position at all. They have only got their panel doctors to go to, and however praiseworthy the efforts of panel doctors may be to attend to the poor, they cannot possibly deal with all the afflictions that come upon them, and therefore the poor are driven to resort to these patent medicines. You have this anomaly. It is the poor, who have so little money to spend upon medical advice and attention, who are most in need of it. One could go through the whole story if necessary. They have to live in very crowded housing conditions, sometimes ten in a room in my constituency, and inevitably they stand in much greater need of medical attention than those who live in Berkeley Square or Eaton Square, four or five in a house of 12 or 13 rooms. You can pursue the analogy further. The poor eat inferior food compared with that of the rich, their clothing is not so good and their general conditions are inferior. The consequence is that they stand in much greater need of good medicine than the rich, but they cannot get it. When this duty was doubled in 1915 it was specifically stated that it was a temporary measure solely for the purpose of raising revenue for the extra expenditure of the War. Now, nearly ten years after the War, it is not only proposed to continue this double taxation but to make it permanent. That position really cannot be defended. Already it has been demonstrated beyond the shadow of doubt that poor people, by means of indirect taxation, are paying infinitely more than their fair share. If the Government will not reduce other forms of indirect taxation which weigh heavily upon the poor, I hope they will at any rate reconsider their attitude in regard to this matter, which has reference to the health of the community and which, therefore, ought to be of vital importance to the nation as a whole. I should like to protest against the absence from the Front Bench of any representative of the Ministry of Health. This is a matter which concerns the health of a great mass of people. The Department ought to be taking an interest in it and we are entitled to ask that a representative of the Ministry should be present while the matter is being discussed.

Photo of Mr Oswald Mosley Mr Oswald Mosley , Smethwick

I certainly reinforce my hon. Friend's appeal. It is extremely difficult to discuss this matter in the absence of any representative of the Ministry of Health, who alone is in a position to inform us what view the Government takes of the kind of medicine under discussion. I should support a reduction of the duty if for no other reason than that, as it appears from some speeches to which we have listened, it will provide the Liberal party with the programme it has sought so long, and to the stirring slogan of Free Trade they may now add the yet more moving battle cry of "Free Pills!" But there are other reasons which have been adduced for supporting a reduction of this duty. My hon. Friend has pointed out that in the conditions that now prevail, of bad housing and inadequate health services, you have an extraordinary craving for these cheap, or as the right hon. Gentleman calls them "quack," medicines. He indicated that in his view practically all these medicines were bad and should be heavily taxed, I gathered inferentially, to discourage their use. But if they are bad for the health of the community they should be stopped by law, and a representative of the Ministry of Health should be here to tell us that they are bad. If, on the other hand, there is any good in them, if they in any way assist the health of the community, they should not be the subject of taxation. But I would not object to this tax upon possibly indifferent medicines if the Government was returning the proceeds of the taxation to the improvement of the general science of medicine and health. But that is not the case. To-day, by this taxation, health is having an impost placed upon it, but the Government of the day are doing nothing to contribute to that research work which may evolve a proper medical system. Here we have a taxation which is raising over a million of money, and the Government are spending, I believe, not more than £200,000 upon medical research. Why cannot this taxation upon these doubtful medicines be earmarked for the great work of medical research? If it were, I should have no objection to this tax.

It is one of the scandals of this country that, in this age of enlightenment and science, the Government of the day are doing next to nothing to facilitate scientific research and to advance progress in these matters. If this sum of money were devoted to research in such matters as cancer and tuberculosis, who knows but that in a year or two some discovery might be produced which would go far towards solving these terrible afflictions of the human race. But here we have the chief medicine of the poor taxed and the proceeds of that taxation not even earmarked, or devoted to the raising of the health of the community. There could be no more beneficent action by a Government at so cheap a cost than the devotion of the proceeds of this taxation to the great work of medical research. That might even stop the steady drift of the best brains now involved in medical research from that useful and vital work to the task of keeping a few people alive in Harley Street who are suffering from a surfeit of the amenities. With this million of money salaries could be paid by the Medical Research Council

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

We are not discussing the spending of money; we are considering Ways and Means for providing money.

Photo of Mr Oswald Mosley Mr Oswald Mosley , Smethwick

I am sorry I transgressed beyond the rules of order. But I hoped that I might persuade the right hon. Gentleman to earmark the proceeds of this tax for the purpose of medical research. I do submit that it is extremely difficult to discuss this subject in the absence of the Minister of Health or a representative of the Ministry. We are told by the representative of the Treasury, who, I think, on his own admission, is no authority on medicine, badly as this Government needs a dose, that these are quack medicines, or indifferent medicines, or poor medicines. He cannot even specify that there are categories of medicines which are now being taxed. In fact, the Front Bench is in complete ignorance as to the commodities upon which we are asked to impose this tax. Unless we can have, not only the courtesy of his presence, but the interest of the Minister of Health, it is impossible to conduct a reasoned Debate upon this subject. This Government invariably treat the House with but scant courtesy, but, really, this goes beyond the borders of mere courtesy and becomes a matter which renders impossible the conduct of a reasoned discussion, and, therefore, for the maintenance of the traditions and decencies of this House I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the Debate in order to call attention to the absence of the Minister of Health.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

That is a Motion which I cannot accept.

Photo of Mr John Baker Mr John Baker , Wolverhampton Bilston

When the Member for Springburn (Mr. Hardie) was addressing the House he asked if the Government could not give some guarantee that these medicines were harmless to the public and there was an interjection from the other side that that could not be done. Evidently the House is not aware of the fact that there is an implied guarantee and that that implied guarantee is used by the sellers of those medicines. I have heard men in the market-place selling patent medicines taking the stamp as proof of the purity and harmlessness of those medicines—selling them under Government guarantee and explaining that they had to pay the Government for the stamp for permission to sell the medicine, and that the Government would not allow them to sell it if the medicine was harmful or useless to the public. They are working under an implied guarantee and do not carry out such a guarantee. The Government take no steps to see that the medicine is either

pure or harmless, but allow its continued sale so long as they can get profit out of it.

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

The House divided: Ayes, 251; Noes, 116.

Division No. 87.]AYES.[7.37 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelDrewe, C.Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)
Albery, Irving JamesEdmondson, Major A. J.Looker, Herbert William
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)England, Colonel A.Lougher, Lewis
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Erskine, James Malcolm MonteithLumley, L. R.
Appiln, Colonel R. V. K.Everard, W. LindsayLynn, Sir R. J.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Fairfax, Captain J. G.Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)Falle, Sir Bertram G.McDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus
Atholl, Duchess ofFermoy, LordMacIntyre, Ian
Atkinson, C.Fielden, E. B.McLean, Major A.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyForestier-Walker, Sir L.MacMillan, Captain H.
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Fraser, Captain IanMcNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John
Barnett, Major Sir RichardGadie, Lieut.-Col. AnthonyMacquisten, F. A.
Barnston, Major Sir HarryGalbraith, J. F. W.Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Gates, PercyMakins, Brigadier-General E.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George AbrahamMargesson, Captain D.
Berry, Sir GeorgeGilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnMarriott, Sir J. A. R.
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)Glyn, Major R. G. C.Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.
Boothby, R. J. G.Goff, Sir ParkMeller, R. J.
Bourne, Captain Robert CroftGower, Sir RobertMerriman, F. B.
Bowater, Col. Sir T. VansittartGrace, JohnMilne, J. S. Wardlaw-
Braithwaite, Major A. N.Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)
Brass, Captain W.Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Brassey, Sir LeonardGreaves-Lord, Sir WalterMoore, Sir Newton J.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveGrenfell, Edward C. (City of London)Moreing, Captain A. H.
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeGrotrian, H. BrentMorrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.Gunston, Captain D. W.Nail, Colonel Sir Joseph
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)Nelson, Sir Frank
Buckingham, Sir HHall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William JamesHannon, Patrick Joseph HenryNicholson, O. (Westminster)
Bullock, Captain M.Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert
Burman, J. B.Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Nuttall, Ellis
Burton, Colonel H. W.Haslam, Henry C.O'Connor. T. J. (Bedford, Luton)
Cadogan, Major Hon. EdwardHawke, John AnthonyOrmsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Campbell, E. T.Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.Pennefather, Sir John
Carver, Major W. H.Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Penny, Frederick George
Cassels, J. D.Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Cautley, Sir Henry S.Herbert, S. (York, N.R,Scar. & Wh'by)Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Hills, Major John WalterPeto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)Holbrook, Sir Arthur RichardPilditch, Sir Philip
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Holt, Captain H. P.Pownall, Sir Assheton
Chadwick, Sir Robert BurtonHope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)Preston, William
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Price, Major C. W. M.
Chapman, Sir SHopkins, J. W. W.Radford, E. A.
Christie, J. A.Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Raine, W.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston SpencerHorlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.Ramsden, E.
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeHudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)Rawson, Sir Cooper
Clayton, G. C.Hurd, Percy A.Reid, D. D. (County Down)
Cobb, Sir CyrilHurst, Gerald B.Remer, J. R.
Cohen, Major J. BrunelIliffe, Sir Edward M.Remnant, Sir James
Colfox, Major Wm. PhillipsInskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.Rentoul, G. S.
Cope, Major WilliamJackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Couper, J. B.Jacob, A. E.Rice, Sir Frederick
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. CuthbertRichardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Craig, Ernest(Chester, Crewe)Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir WilliamRopner, Major L.
Curzon, Captain ViscountKennedy, A. R. (Preston)Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.
Dalkeith, Earl ofKidd, J. (Linilthgow)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Dalziel, Sir DavisonKindersley, Major Guy M.Rye, F. G.
Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.King, Captain Henry DouglasSalmon, Major I.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Kinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementSamuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)knox, Sir AlfredSandeman, N. Stewart
Davies, Dr. VernonLamb, J. Q.Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Dawson, Sir PhilipLane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.Sanderson, Sir Frank
Dean, Arthur WellesleyLister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipSandon, Lord
Dixey, A. C.Little, Dr. E. GrahamSassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.
Savery, S. S.Tasker, R. Inigo.Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Scott, Rt. Hon. Sir LeslieThom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)
Sheffield, Sir BerkeleyThomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-Winby, Colonel L. P.
Slaney, Major P. KenyonTitchfield, Major the Marquess ofWinterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)Tryon, Rt. Hon. George ClementWise, Sir Fredric
Smith-Carington, Neville W.Waddington, R.Withers, John James
Smithers WaldronWallace, Captain D. E.Wolmer, Viscount
Somervllie, A. A. (Windsor)Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)Womersley, W. J.
Spender-Clay, Colonel H.Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)
Stanley Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)Woodcock, Colonel H. C.
Storry-Deans, R.Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)Young, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)
Styles, Captain H. WalterWatts, Dr. T.
Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray FraserWells, S. R.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Sugden, Sir WilfridWheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.Captain Lord Stanley and Captain
Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-Bowyer.
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Hardie, George D.Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Ammon, Charles GeorgeHarris, Percy A.Smillie, Robert
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. VernonSmith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Baker, WalterHayday, ArthurSmith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Hayes, John HenrySmith, Rennie (Penistone)
Barr, J.Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Henderson, T. (Glasgow)Spencer, George A. (Broxtows)
Briant, FrankHirst, G. H.Stephen, Campbell
Broad, F. A.Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Bromfield, WilliamJenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Sullivan, J.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)Sutton, J. E.
Buchanan, G.Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Cape, ThomasKelly, W. T.Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Charleton, H. C.Kennedy, T.Thurtle, Ernest
Clowes, S.Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.Tinker, John Joseph
Cluse, W. S.Kirkwood, D.Townend, A. E.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.Lawson, John JamesVarley, Frank B.
Connolly, M.Lee, F.Viant, S. P.
Cove, W. G.Livingstone, A. M.Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Lowth, T.Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)
Crawfurd, H. E.Lunn, WilliamWatts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Dalton, HughMackinder, W.Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Wellock, Wilfred
Day, Colonel HarryMarch, S.Westwood, J.
Dennison, R.Montague, FrederickWheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Duckworth, JohnMorrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Whiteley, W
Duncan, C.Mosley, OswaldWiggins, William Martin
Dunnico, H.Murnin, H.Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)Palin, John HenryWilliams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelty)
Gibbins, JosephParkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Gillett, George M.Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Gosling, HarryPonsonby, ArthurWindsor, Walter
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Potts, John S.Wright, W.
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Greenail, T.Ritson, J.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Groves, T.Scrymgeour, E.Mr. Fenby and Major Owen.
Grundy, T. W.Sexton, James

Third Resolution read a Second time.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The Amendment, on the Paper in the names of the right hon. Member for Swansea West (Mr. Runciman) and other hon. Members—in line 5 to leave out the word "twenty-seven." and to insert instead thereof the word "twenty-nine"—is not in order, because it would have the effect of imposing a tax at some future time, no part of which would come in the current year. That would be quite contrary to our constitutional practice. I will put the main Question, and the points can be raised on that.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

While admitting that the Amendment is not in order, I agree that it will be as convenient to us to say what we have to say on the main Resolution. I regret that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not here while this matter is under discussion, because in introducing this proposal in his Budget speech he made certain remarks which it is very important should be answered. As he is not here, I must ask his colleague the Financial Secretary to supply an answer, if possible. In introducing this proposal and the proposal with regard to pottery the Chancellor of the Exchequer was good enough to say that it would supply the Liberal party with an excuse for a certain amount of moral indignation and, perhaps, if it were needed, an excuse for their continued existence as a political party. The danger of jokes of that kind, made in high places, is that they are copied by lesser people. For two years now in this House we have listened to the same sort of thing in various forms not without any offence; but it does occur to me that perhaps it does not come with very good grace from the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

If it can be said that the defence of what is called Free Trade is required to provide an excuse for the continued existence of the Liberal party, it can certainly with equal truth be said that for many years the main excuse for the continued political existence of the right hon. Gentleman himself were the speeches which he made with exactly the same arguments and the same reasons that we on these benches still use in defending a cause upon which he has now turned his back. When the right hon. Gentleman left the Conservative party it was on this very question of Free Trade. It would perhaps not be fair to say more than that the right hon. Gentleman has been lucky in that his convictions upon Free Trade and Protection have always led him to a belief which is in conformity with the political tenets of that party which has every appearance of attaining power for a period. Be that as it may, the right hon. Gentleman laid the foundations of his political reputation by defending the cause which we are defending to-day

If we read through the pages of the economic discussions which have taken place during this Parliament it will be found very interesting to see the variety of reasons which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has given for his excursions into Protection. He never by any manner of means argues the case upon its merits. If it is a case of the McKenna Duties, he quotes the authority of Mr. McKenna or of a Noble Lord who is now in another place. If it is the Paris Resolutions, or if it is a subsidy to be given to the sugar-beet growers, then it is the right hon. and hon. Members above the Gangway whose authority is invoked. Never, apparently, does he think it necessary to discuss the question upon its merits. In this particular case, in introducing this proposal he said that in the interests of symmetry and of revenue alike he was going to include motor tyres in what were called, despite the wishes of the parents, the McKenna Duties. It is important that each time the inference is made that these McKenna Duties were originally imposed for a protective purpose, that mis-statement should be contradicted. These duties were imposed for one purpose only. In the right hon. Gentleman's own language, he says that these duties were proposed by Mr. McKenna and the other leaders of the Liberal party for revenue and other purposes only. They were proposed for purposes which were quite clearly stated, and that was to make room for tonnage in the War period in order that necessary articles could be imported. That was the reason given and that was a reason from which the originators have never swerved.

I sometimes wish that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with all his ability and with all the wealth of argument which he commands upon any subject, would try to argue the case for one of these protective taxes, on its merits. Never mind what Mr. McKenna said or did. Never mind what Lord Oxford may or may not have said. Never mind what were the original intentions of those who framed the Paris Resolutions. There, again, the right hon. Gentleman has given colour to what is, in fact, a mis-statement. He knows perfectly well that the Paris Resolutions were not passed with the idea of a protective system being brought into operation in this country. They were passed in that form because they had to be common Resolutions passed by Protective and Free Trade countries alike, and when carried it was provided that they were not to affect the normal fiscal policy of any one country that was a signatory to them. I wish this matter could be discussed upon its merits.

The only sentence, in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer in introducing the proposal gave any hint as to what he considered the merits of the case, was when he said, speaking of the McKenna Duties: These are duties on imported foreign luxuries.''—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th April, 1927; col. 89, Vol. 205.] Earlier to-day, the right hon. Gentleman said that he had never used the term "luxury tax" as applied to the Tea Duty; but he has consistently used the term "luxury tax" as applied to these so-called McKenna Duties.

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

He has never denied that.

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

I am glad to have that admission. It is on the basis that these are luxury taxes that I propose to argue against the imposition of the proposed tax. I remember two years ago, during the Budget discussions, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer made the same statement, and he took the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) to task because he said that in the previous year's Budget when the right hon. Gentleman was in need of revenue he had remitted these taxes, although they were luxury taxes; that these were taxes paid for by the rich who could afford to pay. It is exactly on that basis that I contest the advisability of these taxes. I do so on this ground, that if an article is said to be a luxury and if you maintain a tax upon it because it is a luxury and because you say it is paid only and used only by rich people, the action that you take must tend to keep that a luxury article and keep it only within the power of a few people to buy it and enjoy it. That point was made long ago by a very great financial authority, the late Mr. Gladstone, when he was carrying out, I think, the last of his great Budget proposals in 1860. Exactly the same argument was used then against some remission of taxes on the ground that it was a luxury tax. It was said: These taxes are paid by the rich, who can afford to pay. You want revenue. Why not leave them on? He replied: "Yes, these are luxury taxes, but these articles are only luxuries because you keep taxes on them. Take the taxes off, and they immediately fall in price; they become available to an ever widening circle of users. The demand is increased, more employment is called for. The more you remove restrictions of this kind upon trade, the greater you make the demand for the commodities, the greater you increase the standard of life, and the more you bring what you call luxuries within the reach of the people who have hitherto not been able to afford them." That, in a few sentences, contains the whole of the Free Trade case which we propose to argue upon every occasion.

Photo of Mr Carlyon Bellairs Mr Carlyon Bellairs , Maidstone

Does the hon. and gallant Member know anything about the prices of Michelin tyres in the protected markets of France and Italy? Does he know that they are much cheaper in Italy and France than here?

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

I am quoting what was a reason for the great Free Trade movement in this country.

Commander BELLAIRS indicated dissent.

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

It is no good the hon. and gallant Member shaking his head. If he will look at the quotation he will see that it is textually correct. That was the reason given by Mr. Gladstone, and Sir Robert Peel and the great Conservative leaders who took part in the Free Trade movement were moved by exactly the same reasons. Take restrictions and taxes off commodities and you increase the supply and are bound to increase the standard of life. It is the gospel of abundance. Tax articles, and you make them more difficult to get. That is the gospel of scarcity, which is what the Protectionist want. He wants scarcity in his own market. Before this discussion comes to an end, I would like the Chancellor of the Exchequer to deal with this point; not the Financial Secretary, whose views are perfectly well known and who has always made it clear that he believes in Protection. I would like the Chancellor of the Exchequer to argue the case of a Protective system against a Free Trade system, on its merits. He tells us in this particular case that this duty is merely meant for revenue purposes. He tells us that in a full year he is only going to raise £750,000 from it. From the revenue point of view there are plenty of other taxes which he could well afford to impose, which would have no Protective effect.

The Chancellor and his right hon. colleagues have not done a good service to the motor industry in this matter. It is clear that if the price of tyres is to go up, that will adversely affect the motor industry. The motor industry is the one industry which since the War has made the greatest possible progress, because it has advanced on right lines. Equally during the remission of the McKenna Duties as during the period when the Duties were on, there has been no stoppage, no check, no halt in the progress of the motor industry. In this matter, the Government is not helping the motor industry. It is continuing to impose, despite the pledges of the Prime Minister, Protective taxes all round. Against these proposals we on these benches, whether we exist independently or not as a political party, shall object.

8.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Hastings Lees-Smith Mr Hastings Lees-Smith , Keighley

I hope the Financial Secretary to the Treasury will deal with this subject more seriously than did the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech. The Chancellor merely treated this as a joke—a joke of a very feeble and second-rate kind. The speech he made was an explanation of what I believe to be true—that an application was made for a safeguarding duty and that the application did not succeed. It is clear why that was so. The speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was of so trivial and intellectually contemptible a character that it is quite evident that no tribunal which attempted to deal with this subject in a judicial manner would recommend this duty after any kind of investigation. [Interruption.] I should be glad to hear from the right hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary whether it is or is not the case that an application for a duty under the Safeguarding of Industries Act was made, and what was the result of that application. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said it had been intended to impose this duty during the War, and that only by an accident was it omitted then—that it was a part of the original McKenna Duties, but was omitted at the last moment in order that some convenient arrangement might be made with the United States. But the whole argument on which this duty was based during the War has no application to the conditions of the present day. It was introduced during the War specifically as a luxury duty. That was the statement of Mr. McKenna when he was explaining it to the House. Mr. Bonar Law, when trying to obtain a unanimous vote for it, stated: Duties of this kind will never be continued under any circumstances when the War is over. The experience of the War is an argument for repealing these duties altogether, and not for adding another duty to those which already exist. The Chancellor of the Exchequer used only one other argument in defending this new proposal, the argument that it would attract manufacturers to establish factories for the making of motor tyres in this country. [Interruption.] We are not talking of motor cars. The hon. Member for Streatham (Sir W. Mitchell) is not quite aware of what subject we are discussing. We are not discussing cars but motor tyres. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in fact, quoted the case of the Michelin Tyre Company. Anyone who has been interested in this subject for any time knows very well that the Michelin Tyre Company have been making their plans for the erection of a factory in this country for more than a year.

Photo of Mr Carlyon Bellairs Mr Carlyon Bellairs , Maidstone

They were anticipating the duty.

Photo of Mr Hastings Lees-Smith Mr Hastings Lees-Smith , Keighley

It has been part of their policy, without any regard to the duty, long before this duty was expected. We have had the old argument—how familiar it is—that a duty of this kind will induce foreign manufacturers to establish factories in this country. The right hon. Gentleman the Financial Secretary to the Treasury says it is quite true. We have never denied that if you impose a duty upon one particular industry you may attract into that industry foreign capital, and domestic capital as well; but only at the expense of a heavier penalty upon the other industries of the land. This very proposal is an example of the truth of our contention. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is giving this duty to motor tyres, one of the luckiest industries in the land, whose expansion, under the conditions which the future holds, has practically no limits set to it, without any assistance. What about the other industries? What about the iron and steel trades, the engineering trade, the cotton trade? What do these industries want? The one thing they want is a decrease in their costs of production, so that they may be able to hold their own in competition with their rivals in foreign markets. Motor tyres are practically a raw material. They enter into the costs and into the prices of practically every other industry in the land, and the result of the whole thing, therefore, is an increase in an essential of the costs of production in industries which are struggling under far greater difficulties than any which the motor trade has to meet. I have made a calculation of what one would have to pay in the case of a Buick car. Taking five tyres, this extra duty of 33 per cent. would amount to an increase of £7 12s. 4d. I see that the secretary of the Automobile Association has reckoned that in the case of a small 12 h.p. car this duty is going to increase the price of the tyres by about £3.

The motor tyre industry is in no need of any subsidies or tributes from other industries. I have got from the Vote Office a copy of the statistical abstract, and I see from it that the import of motor tyres into this country is smaller to-day than it was in 1920, and yet we know from the figures given to us in Debates when we are discussing the Road Fund that the number of motor cars in this country has doubled between 1920 and the present day, and the need for tyres is doubled; but the import of tyres is less than it used to be. That means, obviously, that the whole of this expanding trade is going to British manufacturers, and the effect of this duty will be that the other trades in the country, trades which are seeking a decrease in their costs of production, trades which are having to bear the greatest difficulties that any trades have to contend with, are by this duty compelled to pay tribute to one of the most fortunate industries in the world.

Photo of Mr Carlyon Bellairs Mr Carlyon Bellairs , Maidstone

I do not know where the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) gets his statistics. I took out the statistics for 1925, which is a very much better year to test than 1926. The imports of outer covers manufactured abroad—chiefly from France, the United States of America and Italy—numbered 1,010,000, showing an increase since 1921 of 293,000. There is this tremendous increase of 293,000. The imports of inner tubes from foreign countries increased from 506,000 in 1921 to 2,087,000, while our own exports were stationary at 28,000.

Photo of Mr Hastings Lees-Smith Mr Hastings Lees-Smith , Keighley

Is the hon. Member taking quantities or values?

Photo of Mr Carlyon Bellairs Mr Carlyon Bellairs , Maidstone

I am taking actual tyres, the numbers, which is a much better test than values. If you want to get quantities you naturally go to quantities, and you do not go to values, and the hon. Member himself was dealing with quantities. I sympathise with the hon. and gallant Member for West Walthamstow (Major Crawfurd), who initiated this Debate, in not having the Chancellor of the Exchequer here, because I can see that his object was to raise the whole question of free imports and to trail before him the temptation to go beyond the question of tyres. After all, we are discussing only the question of tyres, and I notice that the Motion which was ruled out of order had at the head of it the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Swansea (Mr. Runciman). When we discussed the Safeguarding of Industries Act in 1925 that right hon. Gentleman ventured to prophesy that there would be an increase in prices as the result of the McKenna Duties being put on, but in every single case what has happened is the exact reverse. We had the same thing with regard to commercial cars last year, and I ventured to say the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and that we should find when another Budget came round that commercial cars had decreased in prices. That is where the fallacy lies.

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

The hon. and gallant Member has mentioned the word "fallacy." The Chancellor of the Exchequer himself said last year, when discussing the Silk Duty: Prophecies have been made that there would be an increase in price. There has not been, but we have intercepted a decrease in price.

Photo of Mr Carlyon Bellairs Mr Carlyon Bellairs , Maidstone

All I am concerned with is to point out that the forecasts of hon. Members opposite have not been verified, and that they always deal with theories and not with practical politics. The practice has been that the price has come down. Their fallacy, the fallacy of the old political economists, lies in not taking into account mass production. The British motor-tyre industry has never been able to function on a large scale. The American industry went ahead under their protective tariffs and the fostering influence of the War. The British industry never had a chance, because it was not brought under the McKenna Duties. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer is perfectly justified, seeing that the McKenna Duties apply to everything associated with the motor car except tyres, in carrying them one stage further and, as was intended in 1915, by including motor tyres. When the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) talks of Mr. Bonar Law's pledge, he should remember that that pledge was given during the War, at a time when it was not anticipated that we should have to broaden the basis of taxation to the extent that we have done. After all, we have incurred tremendous expenditure, and it would be an exceedingly foolish thing to take off these McKenna duties. The right hon. Gentleman who was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government contends that there is an illimitable source of revenue in Income Tax and Super-tax, and I acknowledge that in that contention he stands on logical ground; but the Liberal party are not able to take that view, for they do not believe in increasing the Income Tax and Super-tax.

Photo of Mr Carlyon Bellairs Mr Carlyon Bellairs , Maidstone

As far as I know, the Liberal party believe that income Tax and Super-tax press very heavily on trade. A great many of us on this side believe that by the safeguarding of industries we can increase trade and employment. That is our remedy. Liberals talk about reducing expenditure, but I have never heard any practical contribution come from the Liberal Benches. Let me return for a moment to the question of tyres. I find that our exports represent only one-seventh part of what is imported in the way of outer covers. We send France one outer cover for every 18 that France sends us. France is a protected market. We were the only free imports market. in regard to tyres in the world. That is a very significant fact. Germany prohibits imports altogether, yet she sent us 650,000 inner tubes in 1925. That is hardly reciprocity. I think I am within the mark when I say that on the average there has been 25 per cent. unemployed in this trade in our country. I have no interest in the matter, and my constituents are not directly interested, but on the general ground of benefiting the trade of the country, I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken a very wise course. In our home trade we use about 2,000,000 tyres a year. The Chairman of the Dunlop Company said something like this: If only there can be a certainty that the tax will remain on, we can extend our factories and get into mass production, and the result will be a lessened price. I fully believe that that will be the case. One of the difficulties that we have to contend with is the feeling the manufacturers always have that if the Liberal party or the Socialist party get into power, they will take the mad course of abolishing the duty altogether. France and Italy send us a great many Michelin tyres. Wages in those countries are not comparable with English wages. I do not know the wages in the motor tyre industry, but the wages in 1925, in France and Italy, in the motor trade were for skilled workers 7d. to 8d. an hour less than the wages for skilled workers in this country.

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

That is in protected countries.

Photo of Mr Carlyon Bellairs Mr Carlyon Bellairs , Maidstone

Some protected countries, like the United States, have far higher wages and a far higher standard of life for working men than we have, but there are others, like Japan, where the standard is lower. Turn next to the unskilled workers. I find that in France and Italy the wages in 1925 were 4d. to 5½d. less than the English wages. There is another point in reference to the Michelin tyre. The company has works both in France and Italy, and in both those countries, although they are protected markets, the Michelin tyre is sold for considerably less than in the free imports market of Great Britain That is a point which hon. Members opposite cannot explain.

Photo of Sir Rhys Morris Sir Rhys Morris , Cardiganshire

I can understand the hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just spoken welcoming this duty as a protective duty, and perhaps ale Financial Secretary to the Treasury endorses that welcome, but I cannot imagine that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be glad of their support, for he recommended these duties on two grounds. One was the ground of revenue, and there we have every sympathy with him, because he wants every penny that he can get, and if he can obtain £750,000 a year we are very glad that he should obtain it, even from this source. But it would not be any consolation to the last speaker if the duty was imposed merely to obtain revenue. The hon. and gallant Gentleman wants something more. He wants this protective duty to protect the tyre industry. Although the Financial Secretary to the Treasury might endorse a protective duty, and welcome it, he is faced with an additional difficulty, and that is the pledge which the Prime Minister gave that he would resort to no avenue for the imposition of protective duties other than that of the Safeguarding of Industries Act. Machinery was set up by the President of the Board of Trade for the purpose of dealing with the duties under that Act. This is the second time that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has ignored that avenue and has travelled by another road. This duty has not been recommended by any Committee of the Board of Trade, and it is a gross breach of the pledge. The Chancellor of the Exchequer knows quite well that it is a breach of the pledge. He therefore advocates it, first, on the ground of revenue, and, secondly, on symmetrical ground. Its effect on the trade he is not quite clear about. One is interested to find that he is much more careful in dealing with this taxation and its effect on the industry than he was when he dealt with the Tobacco Duty. He said with regard to this duty: I have made some inquiries of the principal authorities in the trade, as to the effect such a duty is likely to have on prices. The last speaker said, "Put a duty on and invariably the result is that prices are reduced." But the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not so sure about it. The quotation goes on: Their reports are encouraging; but I will not go further than to say at the present time that it will be very interesting to see to what extent, if any, this duty is subsequently reflected in prices."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th April, 1927; col. 89; Vol. 205.]

Photo of Mr Carlyon Bellairs Mr Carlyon Bellairs , Maidstone

The equivalent to the tobacco duty would be to put a duty on rubber and then it would affect the price of the tyres.

Photo of Sir Rhys Morris Sir Rhys Morris , Cardiganshire

Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman suggest that this duty is not going to be reflected in the prices?

Photo of Mr Carlyon Bellairs Mr Carlyon Bellairs , Maidstone

It is very likely it would affect prices of tyres at at first.

Photo of Sir Rhys Morris Sir Rhys Morris , Cardiganshire

It protects an industry which does not want to be protected from the point of view of prices at all. The Chancellor of the Exchequer when he dealt with the Tobacco Duty said, almost categorically, that the tobacco manufacturers were not going to pass on the extra duty to the consumer. They have done it, or, most of the companies have done it, already. He is not quite so sure about this duty, but no doubt he will find that this duty, like the Tobacco Duty, will be passed on to the consumer The point has been made that in the six years 1921–1926 the motor vehicles on the road actually doubled but the import trade during that period has not increased at all, which shows clearly that the tyre manufacturing industry here was capable of dealing with the expansion itself, and the export trade likewise has doubled during that period. When we turn to the question of prices we find that in 1925 there was a sharp rise in the price of motor tyres. The ring which was made was only broken by foreign competition in 1925. The consumer was being penalised for the profit of the tyre manufacturer in 1925. Foreign competition brought about a decrease in prices but the effect of this duty will be to remove the whole of that healthy competition, and you will have similar circumstances, it may be, eventually, to the circumstances which we have seen in another case, namely, that of the Southern Railway Company and the placing of its orders abroad. There is no justification for protecting this industry. It is well capable of looking after itself, but the one real ground on which this duty is welcomed by Members opposite is the ground that it is a protective duty. That is one more indication that there is no justification for it.

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

When the Amendment which it was intended to move to this Resolution appeared on the Paper, it had at the head of the list of those who were to put it forward two very distinguished leaders of the Liberal party. One took that as an indication that this particular Resolution was to be made the battleground of a great Debate on Free Trade and Protection and that the whole Liberal party was going to muster in order to put forward all their strength, both in argument and voting, to uphold the great doctrine for which they stand and for which, as far as I am able to follow politics, they alone stand as a party. The result has been rather disappointing. The strength of the Liberal party this afternoon in support of this Amendment has been a strength of quality rather than of quantity. The two hon. Gentlemen who have addressed the Committee are very capable of bearing the Free Trade flag but one is disposed rather to exercise compassion towards them than to congratulate them on raising the standard—compassion that they were deserted not merely by their leaders but by the vast majority of their colleagues.

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

I do not think there will be any difficulty about mine.

Photo of Mr Samuel March Mr Samuel March , Poplar South Poplar

Not at the voting, but where are they now?

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

I hope that the two hon. Members, having suffered that desertion, will not expect me to follow them or to go beyond them in the discussion of the Free Trade and Protection doctrines. I do not shirk doing so, either from want of interest in the subject or from poverty of arguments to put against theirs. I do not follow them in it, simply because, having been in this House for years during which this question was the leading topic of political interest, I have come to the firm conclusion that the House and probably the country also are now absolutely sick of the whole thing. I do not believe anybody cares twopence about this question from the point of view either of Free Trade or of Protection. We have got to a position in which these matters are discussed altogether apart from doctrines of that sort and are recommended or objected to, on the merits of the individual question and on the effect of any given proposal. That is a totally different standpoint from the standpoint of the two hon. Members. If I may, without offence, use the expression, they have trotted out one after the other the dear old arguments and the things we have had drummed into us for 20 years and which have been, in the view of those who do not agree with them, triumphantly refuted. There is no use in pursuing the question.

When some very telling arguments and facts were being brought out by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Maidstone (Commander Bellairs) I noticed the demeanour of the hon. and gallant Member for West Walthamstow (Major Crawfurd). I saw the little smile of superiority which one can always see on the countenance of the dogmatic Free Trader and which merely arises from the well known fact that, if you arrive at your convictions by dogma, you cannot have them displaced by reason. The hon. and gallant Member has arrived at his convictions on this question on the basis of dogma. I am well aware that if 20 Daniels came to judgment, all full of reason, it would not move him one inch, therefore I am not going to presume to apply my humble and inadequate powers to an attempt to displace the dogmatic faith of the hon. and gallant Member. But there are one or two specific questions which he put to me and which it is only right that I should answer. He made the observation that he objected to the taxation on luxuries and that for a very interesting reason if it is a sound one. It did not strike me before, but the hon. Member quoted the authority of Gladstone for this view—rightly or wrongly. He says he objects to luxury taxation because if you put a duty on a luxury you tend to make it remain a luxury and it will never arrive at a price at which it can be offered to the masses of the people. I have no doubt there is a certain amount of truth in that interesting argument, but how far are you going to carry it? I do not know if the hon. and gallant Member objects to the high surtax on champagne. It is quite obvious if you put a high tax on champagne on the ground that it is a luxury—and that is the ground upon which it is highly taxed—it is quite as much open to the argument of the hon. and gallant Member as any other luxury. I am only using that as an extreme case, but does not that show that the hon. and gallant Gentleman's argument is not a sound argument? What it means is that there may be cases where his argument may be telling and where it may introduce a very sound reason against a given proposal, in other words, the question of degree. It must be judged in each case according to its own merits, and our judgment is that the particular tax which we are asking the House to support here is one of those which is a reasonable tax on luxuries, and I think the illustration I have given, although I have purposely taken an extreme case, shows that the argument of the hon. and gallant Member has really no force whatever unless he goes on to say, which he did not do, that the particular application of it in this case is in itself an unreasonable one.

The hon. and gallant Member made one observation of which I do not think he really saw the significance. He was trying to object to this duty on the ground, as I gathered, that it was the raw material, or part of the raw material, of the motor-car industry, and he said the motor-car industry had made immense strides in this country in the last few years. That is true. Most gratifying strides have been made, but that great advance—I am not going to ask him to change his views about this; I am only giving him mine—is largely due to the fact that there has been a duty on the import of foreign cars.

Photo of Mr Horace Crawfurd Mr Horace Crawfurd , Walthamstow West

No. The right hon. Gentleman has not quoted what I said in that case. I said we had made a great advance, alike under a protective duty, and also when the protective duty was taken off.

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

That may be, but there was a very short time when the duty was taken off. As a matter of fact, we may practically take it as a continuous period from the time when the McKenna Duties were first put on up to the present time, and there have been immense strides made by the motor-car industry in this country, as we contend, largely owing to the putting on of that duty. Two hon. Members, the last speaker and the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Lees-Smith) I think, referred to the Safeguarding procedure, and the latter asked whether there had not been an application made under the Safeguarding procedure, and why it had not succeeded. He rather implied that it was because, when the matter went before the Advisory Committee, the case was so preposterous that they brushed it aside at once. That was not the reason at all. The simple reason was because, at the time when the application was made, far the largest firm manufacturing tyres in this country were in a very strong position, and, for reasons of their own—I neither know nor care what their reasons were—they did not put themselves forward as one of the applicants for a Safeguarding Duty. As it is one of the principles of the Safeguarding procedure that the industry applying for a duty must be substantially represented—I am not sure of the exact proportion—among the applicants, and when it was known that this manufacturing firm were not among the applicants, it was seen that it was impossible to give a duty. I am not certain, but, so far as my recollection goes, the merits of the case otherwise were not gone into at all. They were non-suited, so to speak, because there was not sufficient representation.

There is the question of prices, and a good deal has been said about the effect which these duties will have on prices. There were some rather confident statements made on that point, but all I can say is that the Treasury, which have very considerable resources in the way of obtaining information—they probably have a good deal more resources than are open to any individual—have been unable to form any very definite estimate as to what will be the effect on prices of this particular duty. My right hon. Friend, whose words upon this subject were quoted by one speaker, indicated that, when he said in his Budget speech that the information at our disposal on this point was rather encouraging. It is encouraging, among others, for this reason, that so far as we can forecast there will be keen competition in this country among different producers, and it is that competition, as everybody knows, that, more than anything else, tends to keep down prices. In addition to that, we have the fact that much the largest foreign firm whose tyres are imported into this country are setting up a factory in this country, the effect of which, of course, will be undoubtedly to reduce the duty on imports, but at the same time very largely to increase the competition and, therefore, tend to keep down the price.

I entirely differ, on this question of the French firm coming to this country, from the view of the hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench opposite. He says that the arrangements for this firm to come and set up a factory here were made months before this duty was proposed or even discussed. That is perfectly true, so far as this individual Budget is concerned, but the hon. Gentleman surely knows that in this House, as well as in the country, the question of putting a duty upon tyres, and thereby completing and rounding off the McKenna Duties, has been under discussion for years past. It was proposed, if I recollect rightly, by Amendments to the Finance Bill both last year and the year before, and certainly, whether or not that is accurate, there is no doubt that anybody conversant with conditions, both political and industrial, in this country must have known perfectly well that before very long the chances were very largely in favour of a duty being put upon tyres.

Let me say a word, apart from what has been said hitherto, as to the reason and the justification for the proposals we are making, and this also, may I say, touches upon the alleged impropriety of dealing with this without going through the Safeguarding procedure. This is really, I might almost say, not a new duty at all; it is merely completing an existing duty. This duty was proposed by Mr. McKenna. I am not going now to discuss again the question as to the exact motives or raisons d'Être of the duties originally—I am not concerned with them, I am not interested, I do not care—but the fact is that when motor cars and their accessories and spare parts were subject to a duty, tyres were included, and it was because an Amendment was moved by the Government of the day, for a reason which is now known but which at that time could not be disclosed, that the words were added at the end of the Clause, "other than tyres." Everybody knows that during the War the exact motives could not be disclosed, and I am sure Mr. McKenna would not in the least resent it being said now, as it must be said, that the reasons he put forward for excluding tyres were not real reasons at all.

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

I am not saying anything that is derogratory in any way to Mr. McKenna. It was at a time when it was most important, for the carrying on of the War, that an arrangement should be made with America in order to keep rubber within the effective blockade we were carrying out.

Photo of Mr Frederick Montague Mr Frederick Montague , Islington West

I was merely thinking of the morality of war.

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

I do not differ with the hon. Member about that. War is a most immoral thing, we all know. I am only pointing out that it was an accident arising out of a momentary exigency during the War that these tyres were not included in the original McKenna Duties, with the other accessories. That was why my right hon. Friend, who did not treat the matter at all with levity, as the hon. Member opposite suggested, said quite truly that what we are doing here is merely to perfect the work of Mr. McKenna and those who acted with him. Some hon. Members may ask, perhaps, that if it be only a rounding-off of a duty that would have been put on in 1915 but for the passing crisis, why so many years have gone by without this little bit of perfecting? The answer is, really, very simple. As long as commercial motor cars were exempted from duty, it was felt to be almost an administrative impossibility, from the point of view of the Customs and Excise Department, to put upon a tyre a duty which might be equally applicable to a dutiable or non-dutiable tyre; but the moment commercial vehicles were subjected to the duty, as they were in the Finance Bill of last year, it became possible, then, to complete the scheme of duties by removing the exemption which hitherto had existed, and which gave a special privilege and exemption to tyres among all the other taxed accessories and spare parts. That, simply, is the reason this proposal is being made this year. The duty is, of course, 33⅓ per cent. ad valorem, like the other McKenna Duties, with a preferential rebate of one-third, and the revenue, we hope, in a full year will be £750,000, and only £50,000 short of that during the present year.

Photo of Mr Carlyon Bellairs Mr Carlyon Bellairs , Maidstone

Is the preferential rebate the usual 25 per cent. for the product of Canada, for instance, or is it to be raised? Because we contend that a great many American tyres will come in through Canada.

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

I prefer not to answer that question at this moment, because I am not quite certain. I think some hon. Members seemed to suggest, especially those who thought we were sinning against the sacred gospel of Free Trade, that it was not worth plunging so deeply for the sake of so small a revenue as £750,000. That is not the view my right hon. Friend and the Government take with regard to it. We cannot afford to turn up our noses at £750,000 when we find that that sum can be obtained by a proposal which is in itself absolutely reasonable, and which is the logical conclusion to a scheme of taxation which has already been in existence for several years. We have not the slightest hesitation in asking the House to support us in the proposal we have made.

Photo of Mr John Baker Mr John Baker , Wolverhampton Bilston

The House has had an interesting speech from the hon. and gallant Member for Maidstone (Commander Bellairs), and I would like to fill up a few of the gaps he created. In the first place, it seemed to me that he selected his figures to suit his argument. He did not take the figures of 1920, but of 1921, which was a bad year for trade in this country, and he took for comparison the year 1925, which was a better year for trade in this country. He complained that we permitted tyres to come from France and Germany, but he is a member of a party that insists upon Germany paying reparations for the War, and he does not take the trouble to explain to the House how Germany is going to pay those reparations if she is not allowed to send goods somewhere. These tyres would undoubtedly be part of the indemnity Germany would have to pay. If it be not worth our while receiving those tyres, that raises another and a bigger issue than the question of an import duty on tyres. The Dunlop people have a factory in this country, one in France and one in Germany. They have the financial control of an immense organisation for the production of tyres and rubber goods in Amercia, and they have interests in India. If foreign competition is that deadly, killing thing that the hon. and gallant Member for Maidstone tried to make out, how is it that Dunlop's have survived in Britain? A small tax is not going to enable Dunlop's to survive in Britain unless there are some advantages in having a factory here that the other people have not got. If Members of this House would read the speeches of the chairman of the Dunlop Company at the annual meetings, they would find he has repeatedly made statements of increased output per head of the employés. In one year that increase amounted to 30 per cent. Actually during that year, they reduced the number of their employés, and increased their output, which would suggest that the British worker must be a little more efficient, and work a little harder than the Frenchman, the German, or the Italian. [An HON. MEMBER: "Or American."]—or American either.

But we get the hon. and gallant Member for Maidstone quoting wages in Italy, and saying they were 7d. an hour less than British wages, and suggesting that that type of competition was not fair. I do not believe that the hon. and gallant Member for Maidstone is interested for a minute in the fairness or otherwise of the competition of the Italian, the German, the Frenchman or the American with the Britisher. Neither he, nor anybody on that side, or anybody on this side for that matter, can give this House the productivity of an Italian worker in a tyre factory in relation to the amount of wages paid. Capitalists have never thought fit to get out that type of statistics, because up to now labour has not mattered to them. In all probability they will devote a little more attention to that type of cost than they have in the past, and when we get figures of hourly wages we may also get figures giving the output per penny or per £1. It is quite possible that an Italian workman getting 6d. or 7d. an hour is much more costly to his employer than the British workman getting 1s. an hour. I do not believe Dunlops pay 1s. an hour to their workpeople, because I have a recollection, a rather hazy recollection, of a recent strike at Dunlops in connection with some disturbance in their factory which centred around the question of payment, the details of which I did not bother to go into at the time. It is not a case of the British workman being overpaid. There is no relation to the wages paid by Dunlops to the profits made by that company.

We are told that if we put on this duty we shall reduce prices, because that has actually happened in the case of motor cars. I do not know how far one would be allowed to introduce incidental matters which have taken place in regard to motor cars and prices, but steel is almost as cheap to-day as it was before the War. It is cheaper if you take into account the increased cost of living and the increased index figure of the Board of Trade. You can actually get steel at a lower rate than before the War. Steel enters into the construction of motor cars, and it is because steel is down in price that motor cars are cheaper. Other reasons are that the workers have speeded up, new machinery introduced and output increased enormously. All of them are good. I do not complain of them, but when we ascribe reasons for reduced prices let us give the real reasons. And if the right hon. Member for Maidstone had read his evening Press to-day he would see that Michelins are increasing the prices of their tyres by 10 per cent. to cover this import duty. The Press may not be so well informed as the Board of Trade, but then the Board of Trade may be a few hours behind the Press, but that is in to-night's newspapers, and I am told that other firms are doing the same thing.

That would not settle the matter so far as the right hon. Member for Maidstone is concerned, and, therefore, I want to quote evidence which ought to impress this House even more than the rise in price of 10 per cent. in tyres, which may turn out to be temporary. What does the Stock Exchange think about it? There you have men who spend most of their lives in trying to anticipate what is going to happen to-morrow, so that they can get a profit out of it, and I am afraid that when the Board of Trade went around asking what effect a duty on tyres would have on prices the boys of the Stock Exchange "got the griffin" and started buying Dunlops, because two or three weeks prior to the Budget Dunlop shares stood at 27s. 6d.; to-day they are 32s. 7d., a 5s. increase on a 6s. 8d. share. That is what the Stock Exchange thinks of this proposal to put a duty on imported tyres. The Stock Exchange can see quite clearly that the price of tyres is going up. It can see that if there is anything in the theory of the promoters of this duty that it is going to exclude foreign tyres, that Dunlops are going to sell more here, and that the shareholders of Dunlops look like getting more in dividends. I have heard it said that Dunlops are going to issue bonus shares in order to get the 6s. 8d. share back to a face value of £1.

Photo of Mr Ronald McNeill Mr Ronald McNeill , Canterbury

That does not in the least mean that prices are going to increase.

9.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Baker Mr John Baker , Wolverhampton Bilston

I have already said that prices are going up now. I quite agree that mass production may reduce prices, but I contend that if this duty was taken off prices would be lower still. Somebody will have to pay this duty and there is no use trying to hide that fact. The person who buys a tyre in the future will have to pay the whole cost, whether part of that cost is labour costs, capital costs, raw material costs or duty costs. There can be no question about that. The only doubt in the minds of people who have gone into the question of taxation and prices is with regard to the question of Income Tax. Opinion is very much divided on that particular point, but there is no division of opinion on the Colwyn Commission. They are perfectly satisfied on the matter, and I have no hesitation in asserting that the price of cars would be lower to-day in Britain than they are but for the import duty. These duties to my mind are hampering trade. That, of course, does not bother hon. Members opposite very much.

When we were dealing with the question of a return to the gold standard we were told that it would enable us to buy more cheaply in every market in the world. I mentioned that to a friend of mine on the other side of the House and he said, "What a splendid argument for Tariff Reform." Apparently we went back to the gold standard in order to reduce prices and now we are putting on a tariff to keep them out. That may be logic to hon. Members opposite but it does not appeal to me a bit. This hampering of trade is one of the reasons why we have 1,070,000 people out of work at the present time. A freer exchange of goods would stimulate trade everywhere. The right hon. Member for Maidstone was perfectly right in saying that we cannot wait for Europe to recover, but we can help Europe to recover, and that would be a far saner and wiser policy than putting on this import duty. The right hon. Member for Maidstone also informed us that the output of cars has gone up although there was this duty. If the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) had been present he would have been able to claim a good deal of the credit for that increase because he took the duty off. The right hon. Gentleman quoted in this House the statement of one of the heads of a motor car firm to the effect that it was the best thing that had happened to him because he was put up against it; he had to face foreign competition, he based his policy on the needs of the situation, re-organised his factory, and is now producing more cars per week than he did when he was protected by the McKenna Duties.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

I wish to congratulate the Financial Secretary to the Treasury upon his skilful defence of these duties, because he has used every possible ingenuity in bolstering up a weak position. In the course of the Debate the right hon. Gentleman noticed that I was amused, and the reason was that I could not help admiring the way in which he took shelter under the ample robes of Mr. Reginald McKenna. I am sure that great banker and ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer will not be over grateful to the Financial Secretary for using him so liberally in order to bolster up such an unsound case. The right hon. Gentleman resented the suggestion that by passing this duty he would be guilty of breaking a pledge. The Prime Minister commands the general respect of the House for his fairness and the nation believes that he is an honest man. We all know that his intentions are distinctly honourable, but if ever there was a case of the breach of a solemn pledge given by a Minister of high character it is to be found in this particular duty, and by no twisting of words or ingenuity can the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Financial Secretary explain away these duties which are purely of a protectionist character. The Prime Minister at the last election and in this House laid down most clearly that if elected with a substantial majority he would not take advantage of that fact to introduce protection in any shape or form. I assume that that was the pledge which enabled him to catch in his net the Chancellor of the Exchequer who, we understand, is still a Free Trader. I know that pledge has been qualified by the statement that there would be exceptions in the case of the machinery of the Safeguarding of Industries Act. That was a modification, but the fact remains that in principle the exception of cases under the Safeguarding of Industries Act was laid down. Now the Chancellor of the Exchequer comes along and trots out this motor tyre duty which is purely protectionist, in fact it is blatantly protective. The great ingenuity of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Financial Secretary has been employed to try to justify this tax by taking shelter under the McKenna Duties and they say that Mr. McKenna intended, but for some ulterior motive connected with the War, to include motor tyres under those duties. I would like to point out that Mr. McKenna intended to include other articles such as plate glass and straw hats. I would like to know are we going to tax straw hats this year because if that is done it will be taken as a precedent next year. Why should plate glass not be included because that trade is suffering from the competition with Belgium. There is no need to go into the safeguarding machinery because you can take shelter under the alleged intentions of Mr. McKenna who had an idea that these duties were intended.

Everybody knows that the only purpose of the McKenna Duties was to keep out luxuries during the War with the intention of saving freights and shipping accommodation at a time when tonnage was of great importance in order to carry the necessary foodstuffs and munitions of war. No one can say that there is any shortage of tonnage at the present moment. On the contrary our shipping is suffering very greatly from this cause, and there is no industry that has been more depressed, worried and handicapped by a shortage of freights and trade generally than the carrying trade. As a matter of fact the more bulky the article the better for the carrying trade and the great shipping lines, shipbuilders, seamen, dockers and all those concerned in that trade. All that is said in favour of this duty is pure subtlety to pacify the Protectionists of the Tory party on the one hand, and on the other to justify the departure of the Prime Minister from his pledge. It would be much more frank to the House and the country for the Government to come forward and say: "We believe in Protection; we are going to safeguard industry because we want to stimulate the trade of factories in this country and we want to go in for a general tariff." A declaration like that would have some sense of fairness about it, but here we have one or two powerful organisations like the tyre industry being singled out for a special favour and protection masquerading under the pretence of using the machinery of the McKenna Duties.

We are told that this proposal will not make any difference in the price of the articles to the consumers. To-day we have had a very interesting question addressed to the Government across the Floor of the House about the electrical industry. The Southern Railway wanted some electrical appliances, and there was also a big municipal corporation which required the same electrical appliances. They both applied to the big manufacturers of these very necessary articles in this country. They found there was a ring and they could not get competitive prices; and these firms would only quote conditionally upon getting orders for other supplies from the railway company. The result of all this was that the Southern Railway Company was forced to go abroad for its supplies and so was the municipal corporation, and they refused to be dictated to by this ring. That is why these orders were sent abroad. We all know that Sir Auckland Geddes is one of the ablest organisers in the country, and can we be satisfied when foreign competition is removed that a tyre trust will not be formed?

Photo of Mr Frederick Macquisten Mr Frederick Macquisten , Argyll

The hon. Member is wrong in his facts. It is Sir Eric Geddes who is connected with this industry, not Sir Auckland Geddes.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

I beg pardon, I mean Sir Eric Geddes. So able are these brothers that a compliment would apply equally to both. We know the success of Sir Eric Geddes in this House, and we can imagine what will happen if he desires to form a combine—and the temptation, naturally, will be great. When they are freed from foreign competition, and the various people interested come together, prices will be raised. At any rate, we ought to do a thing like this with our eyes open; we ought not to be led aside by all this cant about the McKenna Duties. A case could be justified for continuing duties that were on for a great many years, but, even with all the War conditions, with all the pressure on cargo space, the Government of that day did not think fit to put a tax on tyres. There was a very good reason for that. We used to have a wheel tax, and the wheel tax was, perhaps, as unpopular as any that we have ever had in this country. This is a wheel tax. We understand that it is going to bring in a revenue of £300,000, and it is said that the foreigner is going to pay the tax, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer is under no illusion as to that. It is quite clear that anyone who wants to buy tyres made in Italy, France, Germany, or America will have to pay the full extra duty of 33⅓ per cent. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is under no illusion on that point.

We had a new experience the other day in the case of the tax on matches. No doubt the public will think that the foreigner will pay the tax, but the matter has been discussed recently, and there has been a correspondence in the Press. The buyers of matches, people who earn a living by hawking matches—some of the poorest people in the towns—and small tradesmen, will find that not only are they paying the full match tax, but they are paying a considerable percentage more, because the wholesale dealer is not merely wanting the whole amount of the extra duty, but a profit on the duty as well, and the buyer of matches is having to pay. Tariff Reformers in their palmiest days never expected to get a duty of 33⅓ per cent. like this. The most they ever asked for in Mr. Joseph Chamberlain's campaign was 10 per cent., but here is a Free Trade Chancellor of the Exchequer coming forward and asking for a 33⅓ per cent. duty, with not even a pretence of inquiry under the Safeguarding machinery. Ministers will do anything to keep office and gain popularity with their party, and this shows that at last the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been converted—not under conviction, because I am sure he is far too intelligent to be convinced of that; but, under the pressure of his party, he has thrown over his convictions, and become a Protectionist Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

The House divided: Ayes, 206; Noes, 125.

Division No. 88.]AYES.[9.18 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelGanzoni, Sir JohnNuttall, Ellis
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)Gates, PercyOrmsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George AbrahamPenny. Frederick George
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnPercy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Glyn, Major R. G. C.Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)Goff, Sir ParkPeto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Atholl, Duchess ofGrace, JohnPeto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Atkinson, C.Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)Plicher, G.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyGrenfell, Edward C. (City of London)Pilditch, Sir Philip
Barnett, Major Sir RichardGrotrian, H. BrentPower, Sir John Cecil
Barnston, Major Sir HarryGuinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.Pownall, Sir Assheton
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)Preston, William
Berry, Sir GeorgeHall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)Price, Major C. W. M.
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryRadford, E. A.
Bourne, Captain Robert CroftHarvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)Raine, W.
Bowater, Col. Sir T. VansittartHarvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Ramsden, E.
Braithwalte, Major A. N.Haslam, Henry C.Rawson, Sir Cooper
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveHawke, John AnthonyReid, D. D. (County Down)
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeHeadlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.Remer, J. R.
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Rice, Sir Frederick
Buckingham, Sir H.Hills, Major John WallerRichardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William JamesHogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)
Bullock, Captain M.Holt, Captain H. P.Ropner, Major L.
Burman, J. B.Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.
Burton, Colonel H. W.Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Butt, Sir AlfredHopkins, J. W. W.Rye, F. G.
Cadogan, Major Hon. EdwardHopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)Salmon, Major I.
Campbell, E. T.Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Carver, Major W. H.Hume, Sir G. H.Sandeman, N. Stewart
Cassels, J. D.Hurd, Percy A.Sanderson, Sir Frank
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester. City)Hurst, Gerald B.Savery, S. S.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)
Chadwick, Sir Robert BurtonJackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Jacob, A. E.Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Chapman, Sir S.Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Christie, J. A.Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston SpencerKidd, J. (Linlithgow)Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeKing, Captain Henry DouglasStanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)
Clayton, G. C.Kinioch-Cooke, Sir ClementStrickland, Sir Gerald
Cobb, Sir CyrilKnox, Sir AlfredStyles, Captain H. Walter
Colfox, Major Wm. PhillipsLamb, J. Q.Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Cope, Major WilliamLane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Couper, J. B.Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipSykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.Little, Dr. E. GrahamTasker, R. Inigo.
Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn., N.)Lougher, LewisThom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)Lynn, Sir Robert J.Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)Macintyre, IanThomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Cunilffe, Sir HerbertMcLean, Major A.Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Dalziel, Sir DavisonMcNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald JohnTryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.Macquisten, F. A.Waddington, R.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)Makins, Brigadier-General E.Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Davies, Dr. VernonMargesson, Captain D.Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Dawson, Sir PhilipMarriott, Sir J. A. R.Watts, Dr. T.
Dean, Arthur WellesleyMeller, R. JWells, S. R.
Dixey, A. C.Merriman, F. B.Wheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Drewe, C.Milne, J. S. WardlawWilliams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Edmondson, Major A. J.Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Ellis, R. G.Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)Winby, Colonel L. P.
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Erskine, James Malcolm MonteithMoore, Sir Newton J.Wise, Sir Fredric
Everard, W. LindsayMoore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.Withers, John James
Fairfax, Captain J. G.Moreing, Captain A. H.Womersley, W. J.
Falle, Sir Bertram G.Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur CliveWoodcock, Colonel H. C.
Fermoy, LordNail, Colonel Sir JosephYoung, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)
Forestier-Walker, Sir L.Nelson, Sir Frank
Foster, Sir Harry S.Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Fraser, Captain IanNicholson, O. (Westminster)Captain Lord Stanley and Captain
Gadie, Lieut.-Col. AnthonyNield Rt. Hon. Sir HerbertBowyer.
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Ammon, Charles GeorgeBarker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Barr, J.
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Baker, WalterBatey, Joseph
Bondfield, MargaretHenderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Henderson, T. (Glasgow)Smillie, Robert
Briant, FrankHirst, G. H.Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Broad, F. A.Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)Smith, H. B. Lees. (Keighley)
Bromfield, WilliamHopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Smith, Rennie (Penistone)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Buchanan, G.Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)
Cape, ThomasJones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Stephen, Campbell
Charleton, H. C.Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Clowes, S.Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Sullivan, J.
Cluse, W. S.Kelly, W. T.Sutton, J. E.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.Kennedy, T.Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Compton, JosephKirkwood, D.Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Connolly, M.Lawson, John JamesThurtle, Ernest
Cove, W. G.Lee, F.Tinker, John Joseph
Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Lowth, T.Townend, A. E.
Crawfurd, H. ELunn, WilliamTrevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Dalton, HughMackinder, W.Varley, Frank B.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)Viant, S. P.
Day, Colonel HarryMarch, S.Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Dennison, R.Montague, FrederickWatson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)
Duncan, C.Morris, R. H.Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Dunnico, H.Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellfy)Mosley, OswaldWellock, Wilfred
Gibbins, JosephMurnin, H.Westwood, J.
Gillett, George M.Naylor, T. E.Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Gosling, HarryPalin, John HenryWhiteley, W.
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Wiggins, William Martin
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Greenall, T.Ponsonby, ArthurWilliams, David (Swansea, E.)
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Potts, John S.Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Groves, T.Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Grundy, T. W.Ritson, J.Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)Windsor, Walter
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Rose, Frank H.Wright, W.
Hardie, George D.Scrymgeour, E.Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Harris, Percy A.Sexton, James
Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. VernonShaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hayday, ArthurShepherd, Arthur LewisMr. Fenby and Major Owen.
Hayes, John HenryShort, Alfred (Wednesbury)

Fourth Resolution read a Second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

Many Members of the House are in the position of not understanding this Resolution very clearly, for it appears to be of a highly technical character. May we have a full explanation of it from the Chancellor of the Exchequer before we are expected to deal with it? So far as I can understand its rather intricate phraseology, it is a proposal to bring within the duty on imported cinematograph film certain film which is exempt at the present time. Why have such films been exempt hitherto, and what new circumstances have arisen which make it desirable in the opinion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that they should be subject to the duty in future? I do not suppose there is very much revenue in it; perhaps he will tell us what he expects to get. But it does seem rather curious that, at the time the cinematograph industry is receiving protection in the Films Bill, a proposal of this kind should be made. When we have heard the Chancellor's explanation of the Resolution—which will no doubt be a very lucid exposition of its proposals—we can determine what our attitude to the Resolution will be.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

As I explained in the course of the speech which I made in opening the Budget, this particular Resolution is not to rectify any error on the part of the Government, nor to impose any new duty or burden upon the public or upon the trade, but to correct the consequences of an unexpected judgment, which has been obtained in the Court of Appeal as the result of a lawsuit pressed stage by stage to its conclusion. The question of the assessment of blank films has been one which had never arisen upon the particular width of the film. It was suddenly discovered that, when the width of the film was different from the standard width, according to the Court of Appeal, the duty did not apply. I brought in this Resolution, therefore, to make sure that the whole duty, which has been imposed for some years, is no longer rendered null and void and utterly sterile from the point of view of the revenue by bringing the films of this particular width within its ambit. All we do is to make clear and make persistent and effective the will of Parliament and the decisions of past Parliaments in regard to the taxation of imported films, which wish and will have been upset by the decision obtained—on grounds of law. There is no reason why the correcting legislation should not be brought into operation at the earliest possible date. There is no gain to the revenue in this; there is the prevention of a serious loss to the revenue. I am bound to say that this is one of those subjects on which all parties would be agreed, except those parties out of doors who have, through the quite unexpected verdict of the Courts, secured a means of rendering the revenue completely ineffective upon this subject.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

The right hon. Gentleman has informed the House that, the action in the Law Courts having nullified some previous decision, it was found necessary to bring in this further Resolution, which will enable the Chancellor to apply the financial code laid down in some previous Budget. The ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer sought information which the present Chancellor has not given to the House. Will he tell us what the original purpose of this taxation was, what was the amount of money that was expected to be derived from the taxation of imported films, and how that taxation was likely to affect the general community? The right hon. Gentleman tells us that there is no intention to inflict further burdens upon the general community. He told us the same thing during his Budget speech about the taxation upon tobacco, but in a very short space of time the effect of his Budget statement was that almost all over the country people were having to pay extra halfpennies on the tobacco they purchase.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

I never said they would not. On the contrary, I said it was a matter for doubt as to what extent the duty now imposed would be passed on to the consumer. I doubted whether the whole of it would be; nor has it been.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

I have no desire to anticipate future discussions which will take place on the question of the increased tax on tobacco. But since the Chancellor has repeated the statement that he has no desire to enforce further burdens upon the community, when we already have evidence that his previous prophecy has been proved to be entirely wrong, we are entitled to ask him to give us much more information than we have at the moment. When he first imposed a tax on imported cinematograph films in sheets or strips he obviously desired to produce a certain amount of revenue. Apparently, there is no sort of intention to safeguard any particular industry. Therefore we are entitled to ask, and I imagine he will tell us, what is the real object and purpose of this film taxation, what amount of money did they expect to receive had it not been for the decision of the Law Courts which nullified at least a part of the anticipated taxation, and what are we expecting to receive in one financial year if this Resolution is allowed to go by, for only when we know the amount he is likely to derive shall we be able to judge whether or not the community are going to have further burdens imposed upon them. Before this Resolution is allowed to go by, I expect the right hon. Gentleman will tell us in terms of pounds, shillings and pence what it means to those who are obliged to purchase these films. Then we shall know whether we ought to accept his prophecy, in view of his previous falsified prophecies, and decide whether or not we will oppose the Resolution.

Photo of Mr Frederick Macquisten Mr Frederick Macquisten , Argyll

There is one point that occurs to me. I see these are celluloid films, and we know that they are very dangerous, whether they are made in this country or abroad. I believe it is now possible to make films which do not catch fire and this might be made the means of using safer films, by putting heavier taxation on the dangerous films, which would be a valuable addition to the safety of picture houses.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

I sympathise with the right hon. Gentleman in his desire to stop up the bung-holes by which revenue leaks away, and if this tax were one of which we on this side approved, I think we should be willing to support this proposal to prevent leakage. But I understand this was originally one of the McKenna Duty taxes, that is to say, it is a protective tax under another name. It is a very good example of its kind, because it is on what is at one and the same time a manufactured article and a raw material. So far as the making of these sensitised film blanks is concerned it is a manufactured article, and hon. Members opposite who favour the protective principle naturally desire to protect this manufacture of blanks against the wicked foreign manufacturer. But from the point of view of the man who is making real cinematograph films this is a raw material, and you get in this instance an example of the process of increases one after another from the raw material up to the final finished product. The fact that you are putting this tax upon blank cinematograph films tends to increase the price of the blanks. It makes it more difficult for the manufacturer of cinematograph films to succeed in holding their own and it is one of the reasons why you have the Government bringing in a Bill to protect the makers of cinematograph films, because they have had this additional price to pay, and all along the line that is the natural cumulative effect of these protective duties. Therefore, though I quite appreciate and sympathise with the Chancellor in trying to prevent leakage, I, and I believe others, will vote against this proposal because it is in pursuance of the evil policy of Protection, which is cumulative in its effect from the raw material to the finished product, and this is an intermediate stage to which we take exception.

Photo of Mr Ernest Thurtle Mr Ernest Thurtle , Shoreditch

I should like to reinforce my hon. Friend's appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to give us a little more information. He says he is stopping a gap in the revenue. Will he be more precise, and tell us the extent of the gap? Will he state in pounds, shillings and pence how much is actually being lost at present? If he would do that, it might alter the view of some of us. I understand from the right hon. Gentleman's explanation that this is going to extend the scope of the present taxation of films. It is going to bring within the purview of the law a film which is not now within the law. Clearly it is going to give him power to tax which he does not possess at present, and it is extending the scope of the taxation of the film. That I think he will not contest. As we have never agreed to the principle that films should be taxed, I do not think there is any reason why we should support him in extending the principle. Because he has committed evil at some time in the past, that is no reason why we should facilitate the extension of that evil in the present. That is what we should be doing if we agreed to this extension of the Film Tax. The burden of the tax is increasing the burden on the general community. Presumably, the people who are having to pay the tax as it stands at present are those who go to the pictures, because the raw film is part of the cost of production of the entertainment, and to the extent to which that is taxed, the cost of the provision of the entertainment is affected, and the people who have to pay ultimately are those who go to see the entertainment. Therefore, by this addition to the Film Tax he is increasing the general burden upon the community, and we have no alternative but to resist this extension of the tax.

Photo of Mr William Mackinder Mr William Mackinder , Shipley

Did we understand the right hon. Gentleman correctly to say the effect of the Resolution was to bring within taxation something which had escaped as the result of the decision in the Courts?

Photo of Sir George Gillett Sir George Gillett , Finsbury

I should like to ask whether the item we are discussing is the item that appears on Page 17 of the Statement, where it says the estimate for the last year was £200,000, and the receipts were approximately £221,000. I should like to ask whether this legal decision is going to affect the amount of those receipts and whether he will be liable to pay back any of the money he has received on account of the legal decision having gone against him. I see that the estimated receipts for the present year amount to £240,000. I should like to know whether the increase of £40,000 between the two estimates is based upon what the right hon. Gentleman thinks will be the effect of the Resolution that we are now discussing or how far the figures have anything to do with the Resolution which is now before the House. The point I want to get at is whether this £200,000 is the whole sum affected by the legal decision which has been given.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

I can only intervene by leave of the House, but I should be obliged if the House will permit me to give some reply to the various points of detail. The object of this Resolution is simply to preserve the McKenna Duty upon imported manufactured cinematograph films. The effect of the Resolution is to include within the duties sensitised celluloid sheet—which I may point out to the party opposite is really uncut blank film and nothing more or less—to preserve that within the ambit of the duty notwithstanding that it is not of a standard width of 1⅜ inches, the duty being calculated according to the proportion it actually bears to the standard. That is the object of the Resolution. I will not weary the House with quotations to show that this was the original intention of Mr. McKenna and the other Liberal Coalition authorities of the McKenna Duties in this respect. [An HON. MEMBER: "Including yourself!"] I was not, as a matter of fact, responsible for these duties, but I accept the fullest responsibility at this moment for carrying out the original purpose of their founders. That was their purpose and on that basis we have proceeded for a considerable time. But as hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite know, at the point at which taxation has now reached, it is frequently contested by the most acute minds of the country and by the most elaborate legal proceedings with a view to ascertaining whether this or that process or method is wholly included within the net the Treasury throws or is entitled to relief therefrom. On 29th July, 1926, Messrs. Pathé of France, Limited, brought two test actions in the High Court in which they claimed that no duty was payable under the section of the Finance Act, 1925, which re-imposed the McKenna Duties in respect of the following two commodities: (1) Films of 9½ millimetres in width (that is less than the standard width) imported for use in a toy camera and projector, described as a baby cine apparatus—(ii) A sheet of celluloid coated with an emulsion in order that it may receive a picture or photograph, and imported in a roll 3 ft. 9 in. wide, and over 40 yards long. The operations of slitting to size and perforating would be performed after importation in order that the sheet might be used as cinematograph film or the material for such film. In both actions judgment was given by Mr. Justice Talbot in the King's Bench Division in favour of the plaintiffs, and the effect of the judgment was that cinematograph films of a greater or less width than 1⅜ inches could be imported into this country free of duty. In addition to finding that cinematograph films not of standard width are not chargeable, the learned Judge held that the sensitised celluloid sheet was not a cinematograph film at all. In consequence of this and subsequent legal proceedings, which were a little complicated, and costly to everyone, except the legal profession, we found ourselves in the position where we were liable to lose considerable revenue quite unexpctedly from the duties on imported blank cinematograph films. I must point out that the figures quoted by the hon. Member on the second or third bench above the Gangway deal, I think, with the general yield of the Cinematograph Film Duty. So far as blank film is concerned, the House may like to know what the revenue has been in the last five years. In 1922–23 it was £84,000 odd, in 1923–24, £108,000 odd, in 1924–25 it sank to £11,000, in 1925–26 it was £11,000, and in 1926–27, for 11 months, £49,000 was received. There is a complicated story about the revenue for 1924–25 which I will not trouble the House with, but I am advised that the actual sum of money which is now at stake is not less than between £50,000 and £100,000 a year, and in these circumstances, unless the duty is to become a dead letter, it is absolutely necessary that this Resolution should be agreed to by the House. You may say that on general grounds you disapprove of the McKenna Duties on all foreign imported luxuries. That is a perfectly reasonable point of view, and one to which many people hold very strongly, but once the principle is conceded that imported manufactured luxuries are fit subjects for taxation at a time when revenue is required, I am sure that the purposes of Parliament should not be frustrated by a perfectly legitimate resort to the Courts on the part of the parties concerned.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has not answered one question put by my hon. Friend behind me, and that is whether the Revenue is to refund the duty it has received under the operation of the duty.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

I do not think there is to be any such refund, but, if so, we have to obey the law the same as any private firm.

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

The House divided: Ayes, 242; Noes, 133.

Division No. 89.]AYES.[9.55 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelForestier-Walker, Sir L.Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Albery, Irving JamesFoster, Sir Harry S.Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)Fraser, Captain IanMoore, Sir Newton J.
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)Gadie, Lieut.-Col. AnthonyMoreing, Captain A. H.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Ganzoni, Sir JohnMorrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Gates, PercyMorrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George AbrahamNall, Colonel Sir Joseph
Atholl, Duchess ofGilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnNelson, Sir Frank
Atkinson, C.Glyn, Major R. G. C.Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyGoff, Sir ParkNewton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Grace, JohnNicholson, O. (Westminster)
Barnett, Major Sir RichardGraham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)Nuttall, Ellis
Barnston, Major Sir HarryGrenfell, Edward C. (City of London)O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Grotrian, H. BrentOrmsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.Pennefather, Sir John
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)Gunston, Captain D. W.Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Blundell, F. N.Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)Perkins, Colonel E. K.
Boothby, R. J. G.Hall, Capt. W. D. A. (Brecon & Rad.)Perring, Sir William George
Bourne, Captain Robert CroftHannon, Patrick Joseph HenryPeto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Bowater, Col. Sir T. VansittartHarvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)Pilcher, G.
Braithwaite, Major A. N.Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Pilditch, Sir Philip
Brass, Captain W.Haslam, Henry C.Power, Sir John Cecil
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveHawke, John AnthonyPownall, Sir Assheton
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeHeadlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.Preston, William
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P.Radford, E. A.
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Raine, W.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)Herbert, S. (York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by)Ramsden, E.
Buckingham, Sir H.Hills, Major John WallerRawson, Sir Cooper
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William JamesHogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)Rees, Sir Beddoe
Bullock, Captain M.Holbrook, Sir Arthur RichardRemer, J. R.
Burman, J. B.Holt, Capt. H. P.Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Burton, Colonel H. W.Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)Rice, Sir Frederick
Butt, Sir AlfredHope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Cadogan, Major Hon. EdwardHopkins, J. W. W.Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)
Campbell, E. T.Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)Ropner, Major L.
Carver, Major W. H.Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A
Cassels, J. D.Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Cayzer, Sir C (Chester. City)Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)Rye, F. G.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth. S.)Hume, Sir G. H.Salmon, Major I.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Hurd, Percy A.Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Chadwick, Sir Robert BurtonHurst, Gerald B.Sandeman, N. Stewart
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Iliffe, Sir Edward M.Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Chapman, Sir S.Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.Sanderson, Sir Frank
Christie, J. A.Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)Sandon, Lord
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston SpencerJacob, A. E.Savery, S. S.
Churchman, Sir Arthur C.Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeKennedy, A. R. (Preston)Shepperson, E. W.
Clayton, G. C.Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Cobb, Sir CyrilKindersley, Major G. M.Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Colfox, Major Wm. PhillipsKing, Captain Henry DouglasSmith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Cope, Major WilliamKinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementSmith-Carington, Neville W.
Couper, J. B.Knox, Sir AlfredSomerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)Lamb, J. Q.Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)
Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)Lister, Cunliffe-. Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipStanley, Lord (Fylde)
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)Little, Dr. E. GrahamStuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Cunliffe, Sir HerbertLooker, Herbert WilliamStyles, Captain H. Walter
Curzon, Captain ViscountLougher, LewisSueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Dalkeith, Earl ofLucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh VereSugden, Sir Wilfrid
Dalziel, Sir DavisonLumley, L. R.Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Davidson, Major-General Sir John H.Lynn, Sir Robert J.Tasker, R. Inigo.
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Davies, Dr. VernonMcDonnell, Colonel Hon. AngusThompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Dawson, Sir PhilipMacintyre, IanThomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Dean, Arthur WellesleyMcLean, Major A.Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell
Dixey, A. C.Macmillan, Captain H.Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Drewe, C.McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald JohnTryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Edmondson, Major A. J.Macquisten, F. A.Waddington, R.
Ellis, R. G.Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-Wallace, Captain D. E.
England, Colonel A.Makins, Brigadier-General E.Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)Manningham-Buller, Sir MervynWarner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Erskine, James Malcolm MonteithMargesson, Captain D.Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Everard, W. LindsayMarriott, Sir J. A. R.Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Fairfax, Captain J. G.Meller, R. J.Watts, Dr. T.
Falls, Sir Bertram G.Merriman, F. B.Wells, S. R.
Fermoy, LordMilne, J. S. WardlawWheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Fielden, E. B.Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple-
Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)Wise, Sir FredricYoung, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)
Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)Withers, John James
Wilson, M. J. (York, N. R., Richm'd)Wolmer, ViscountTELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)Womersley, W. J.Captain Bowyer and Mr. Penny.
Winterton, Rt. Hon. EarlWoodcock, Colonel H. C.
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Harris, Percy A.Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. VernonShiels, Dr. Drummond
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Hayday, ArthurShort, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Ammon, Charles GeorgeHayes, John HenrySimon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)
Baker, WalterHenderson, T. (Glasgow)Smillie, Robert
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Hirst, G. H.Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Barr, J.Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)Smith, H. B. Lees (Keighley)
Batey, JosephHore-Belisha, LeslieSmith, Rennie (Penistone)
Bondfield, MargaretJenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Briant, FrankJohnston, Thomas (Dundee)Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)
Broad, F. AJones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Stephen, Campbell
Bromfield, WilliamJones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Sullivan, Joseph
Buchanan, G.Kelly, W. T.Sutton, J. E.
Cape, ThomasKennedy, T.Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Charleton, H. C.Kirkwood, D.Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Clowes, S.Lawson, John JamesThorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)
Cluse, W. S.Lee, F.Thurtle, Ernest
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.Lowth, T.Tinker, John Joseph
Compton, JosephLunn, WilliamTownend, A. E.
Connolly, M.Mackinder, W.Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Cove, W. G.Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Varley, Frank B.
Crawfurd, H. E.Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.Viant, S. P.
Dalton, HughMarch, S.Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Montague, FrederickWatson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)
Day, Colonel HarryMorris, R. H.Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Dennison, R.Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Duckworth, JohnMosley, OswaldWellock, Wilfred
Duncan, C.Murnin, H.Westwood, J.
Dunnico, H.Naylor, T. E.Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Fenby, T. D.Owen, Major G.Whiteley, W.
Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.Palin, John HenryWiggins, William Martin
Gibbins, JosephPethick-Lawrence, F. W.Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Gillett, George M.Ponsonby, ArthurWilliams, David (Swansea, East)
Gosling, HarryPotts, John S.Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianetly)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Ritson, J.Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Greenall, T.Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)Windsor, Walter
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)Wright, W.
Groves, T.Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Grundy, T. W.Rose, Frank H.
Hall, F. (York, W.R., Normanton)Saklatvala, ShapurjiTELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Scrymgeour, E.Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr.
Hardie, George D.Sexton, JamesCharles Edwards.
Harney, E. A.Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)

Fifth Resolution read a Second time.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

The three Amendments to this Resolution are not in order, the first Amendment—in line 3, to leave out "twenty-seven" and to insert instead thereof "twenty-nine"—because it would have the effect of imposing a tax which would not come in the current year, and the others—in line 4, to leave out the words, "not being Empire products," and in line 5, leave out from the word "table" to the end of the paragraph—because they would increase the charge over that approved by the Committee of Ways and Means.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

I am quite sure the House will not be willing to pass this Resolution without some explanation from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Like the Resolution just dealt with, this is of a highly technical character. I do not profess to be an authority upon wine, and I would like some explanation of the points in this Resolution dealing with degrees of proof spirit. There are others in the House, perhaps amongst my hon. Friends behind me, who have more acquaintance with this subject than I have, and I have no doubt they will supply my deficiency. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be conferring a favour upon me, at any rate, and possibly upon other Members, if he would explain what is meant by a degree of proof spirit, and also explain how it is that there is a progressive increase in the rate of duty as the number of degrees of proof spirit increases. For instance, with 25 degrees of proof spirit the rate of duty is to be 3s., that is, about 1½d. per degree of proof spirit. When the degrees of proof spirit are between 25 and 40, the rate of duty is 5s. extra for only 17 degrees of increase in proof spirit. Then: for every degree or fraction of a degree above 42 degrees there is an increase of 8d. in the duty. Whereas up to 25 degrees the duty is only 1½d. a degree, above 42 degrees the duty is 8d. a degree. These are some of the technical points we wish the Chancellor of the Exchequer to explain.

Further, we would like to have an explanation of what is going to be the probable effect of this upon the retail price of the commodity, a matter upon which, no doubt, many Members of the House as well as of the general public are personally deeply interested. I suppose the right hon. Gentleman will not contest the assumption that this is a duty which will be passed on to the consumer. He does not put this in the category of the increased Tobacco Duty, which may or may not be passed on. We would like to know to what extent these increased duties will raise the price to the consumer. The Chancellor of the Exchequer knows quite well that with an article of this sort, which is of the nature of a luxury, the law of diminishing returns is apt to operate at a not very high point. He will remember, no doubt, that some years ago a predecessor of his increased the duty upon cigars to a very considerable extent, and the result was a loss of revenue rather than an increase of revenue. And there is a possibility that something of the same sort may happen if these increased duties should considerably advance the price of the article. In recent years there has been a considerable rise in the consumption of wines, and that may be accounted for to some extent by the very high price of spirits. I do not drink either wines or spirits, but if there is to be an increase of consumption, I would very much prefer to see a large consumption of wine than a large consumption of spirits, because although both of them may be regarded as deleterious, there are degrees of evil. These are some of the points about which we would like some information, and I would particularly ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for a lucid explanation of degrees of proof spirits.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

I am sure everyone has been very glad to see the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) giving proof by his activities to-day that he has entirely recovered from the indisposition which overtook him when he took part in the Debates on the previous stage of these Resolutions; and I congratulate him on the physical and mental vigour which has enabled him at one and the same time, not only to make a recovery from that indisposition, but to engage in so minute and careful a study of the increased duty on wines. The right hon. Gentleman asked me various questions, and without atempting unduly to plunge into the purely technical field, which may well be further explored in the later stages, I will endeavour to give a brief answer to him. In order to understand what has been done to the wine duties, and what it is proposed to do in the present Budget, it is absolutely necessary to invoke the great name of Mr. Gladstone, a name which is received with reverence below the Gangway on the Opposition side, and with a certain amount of respect by some hon. Members who sit opposite. [HON. MEMBERS: "What about yourself?"] I occupy the impartial position of historian.

Mr. Gladstone, when he dealt with the wine duties in the year 1862, laid down a principle, general and deep in its application, which I think, even after the lapse of all these years, will commend itself to the good sense of the average man and of the average Member of the House. His principle was that the taxation of wine should be treated in two branches, two sections—the one the section of the natural wines and the other the section of the fortified wines. Wines below a certain strength were to be lightly taxed, and wines above a certain strength were to be more heavily taxed. Wines which owed their super-strength to fortification by spirituous ingredients were to be more heavily penalised than wines which owed their strength to their own natural and native alcohol. For 50 years, under various Governments and many parties, that principle has been respected, and has animated our treatment of the wine duties. Mr. Gladstone fixed the dividing line at 26 degrees, equivalent to 27 degrees on the hydrometer tables now in use. I must explain for the information of the right hon. Gentleman—for he particularly pressed me on the point—that when we speak of these degrees what we mean is degrees of proof spirit, and when we speak of degrees of proof spirit, what we mean is these degrees.

Mr. Gladstone selected this as the best dividing point, to lighten to the utmost the burden on the lighter wines naturally strengthening themselves, and to increase as much as possible the revenue yield from the heavier wines, and those wines, particularly, which had this adventitious spirituous aid. We have decided, to alter the dividing line which Mr. Gladstone fixed at 26 degrees. We have decided to lower that line, so as to throw a much larger proportion of the wines into the higher scale of duty, and consequently on to a larger burden of tax. We have not only proposed to do that, but we have also laid an extra burden over the whole field, including the light wines. The extra burden on light wines is very small. It is no more than an increase of the duty under 25 degrees, from 2s. 6d. to 3s., an increase of only 6d. But when you come to wines of between 25 and 30 degrees, the existing duty is raised to 8s., and when you come to wines exceeding 30 degrees, but not exceeding 42 degrees, it is raised to 8s., not from 2s. 6d. but from a basis of 6s. The middle class of wines was the class in which there was the least possible yield to the revenue and the greatest possible results to the consumer. We must be fair in these matters, and the question is one where judgment must be based on results. The right hon. Member opposite also laid down the principle that all consumption of spirits was bad and all consumption of wines was good.

Mr. SNOWDEN indicated dissent.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

The right hon. Gentleman hardly put it in that way, I know, but as far as emphasis went it was strongly in favour of the consumption of wine and strongly adverse to the consumption of spirits. But there are wines which have an alcoholic strength very formidable and which fill an obvious gap in the Wine Duty, and which are advancing through that gap, to the detriment, as an hon. Friend below the Gangway is waiting to point out, to the damage of our national product of whisky. A great deal more alcoholic emphasis can be obtained from a good quantity of heavily loaded port than can be obtained from a properly diluted equal quantity of whisky. The tax must endeavour as far as possible—we could not possibly apply it completely throughout, for that would ruin wine, but as far as possible—to make these very heavily fortified wines pay their proper share of the revenue. That is the meaning of these very complicated changes. Incidentally, in fixing the new division of the scale at 25 degrees, we have had to make a slight exception in the case of Dominion wines. We have fixed the line for them at 27 degrees. The reason is this, following entirely the principle of Mr. Gladstone, with whom we never lose touch for one moment, that the Australian wines develop naturally greater alcoholic strength than their foreign competitors. Consequently, a form of preference is given to them and also, in accordance with the general principle which has governed wine duties, we have fixed the degree of 25 for the foreign wines as the line of demarcation between light and heavy and 27 for that between natural and sweet wines from our own Dominions.

So much for the fixing of this point. In addition we have increased the duty by 6d. on light wines and by 2s. on the old heavy wines, and have moved the point of demarcation between heavy and light further down the scale. In the middle class of wine, which hitherto escaped the higher duty, the increase of duty is from 2s. 6d. to 8s. The right hon. Gentleman asked me a very proper question: Are you going to strike a deadly blow at the consumer, and is revenue going to suffer? He pointed out that the surtax on cigars had to be withdrawn. He might have mentioned also the ad valorem surtax on sparkling wines which had a most unfortunate career and a brief career. I can only say that we took the greatest pains to study the convenience of the trade. Observing a secrecy which was very creditable, and which was not broken, they came and discussed at great length and in detail these matters with the Customs and Excise authorities. Of course we did discuss the matter on the basis that we were going to have more money. That was the basis on which we started. I cannot contend for one moment that these were duties which the trade would have come forward and desired us to put on. But after very careful consideration with them, we arrive at the conclusion that we could get the sum of money which we required—in the neighbourhood of £1,250,000 rising to £1,500,000 a year—by this means, without interfering unduly with consumption and not only without injuring the trade in any serious way, but in a way which favourably affected the development of the healthiest aspects of the trade and, at the same time, we were able to bring into this scheme a feature of the wine duties which has been very much welcomed in the Dominion affected—in Australia—and which I think will impose no severe burden upon the consumer. Of course I quite agree that we do not suppose that these Wine Duties will not be passed on to the consumer. No doubt they will, but I have not heard of any very serious cases of want or suffering which have arisen, since the imposition of these duties, in consequence of the increased charges which have been added and which, in some cases, are no more than 6d. a bottle, and in others about 1s. In general, I think this proposal is entirely in accordance with precedent and with the incidence of the duty, and is also in harmony with our desire to extend the consumption of Imperial products, and above all it satisfies that indispensable requisite, which is a substantial accretion to the revenue.

Photo of Mr Frederick Macquisten Mr Frederick Macquisten , Argyll

I hold that it is probably wise to increase the duties on the heavy wines, but if this had been accompanied by a reduction of the Whisky Duty it would have been fairer. The Chancellor is taking more and more from the one commodity and is not making any abatement on the other. It may be that the proposal will have its repercussions on the whisky trade by raising the duties on the heavier wines. These wines are used for many purposes, and I am not divulging any secret when I say that some of the heavier port wine, what is known as Spanish red, a good, heavy, perfectly wholesome port, is being very largely used in industrial districts simply because the real product of Scotland has been made so dear. I am speaking of Scotland, of course, and of what is used in Scotland, because I do not admit that you get very much whisky in England. It is not the real Scotch product at all that you get here. The ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer knows neither the one nor the other, and, therefore, he cannot be the slightest authority upon the question. He is absolutely unsound in his statement that wine is more wholesome than Scotch whisky, for any doctor will tell you that, if anything of that kind is to be taken, the most wholesome thing is the good Scotch product, and I am sure that if St. Paul, instead of living in Palestine, had lived in Scotland, his advice would have been to take a little whisky for the stomach's sake.

The real danger of heavy wines is this, that in many districts, owing to the high price of whisky, the very fine red wine is bought, and, not being strong enough, it is used with methylated spirit, simply because the wine itself has been made so weak. It came over in large quantities, with a duty prior to this Budget of 10s. per gallon proof spirit, against the 72s. 6d. duty on the Scotch product, and the preference thus given to the foreigner was shameful. I should have been pleased to see the duty on the heavier wines even if it had been heavier, but only if the duty had been reduced on the typical Scotch product which has made the name of Scotland revered all over the civilised world, because there are few places where you will not find the Scotch product being sold, and I regret to say at about one-third of its cost in this country, and very often of better quality in foreign parts. I suppose that is really to get a better sale, but these duties are, on the whole, sound.

Photo of Mr Thomas Shaw Mr Thomas Shaw , Preston

I would like to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer a question or two. I have thoroughly enjoyed what he said about Mr. Gladstone's remarks in 'eighty-four. [HON. MEMBERS: "In 'sixty-two!"] If some of my hon. Friends go to a music hall, they occasionally hear a song about what Mr. Gladstone said in 'eighty-four, and it deals specifically in one of its verses with this question of intoxicating liquors. What I wanted to know was this. Will the real effect of these duties be to make a great distinction between the wines from Spain and Portugal and the wines that we import from France? Will they put the wines from Spain and Portugal in the position of having a heavy differentiation against them as compared with South African heavy wines and Australian heavy wines, and is there any danger at all that Spain and Portugal might consider themselves very unfairly treated as compared with other countries from which we import wines?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

I do not think there is any danger of that. We have had to be governed by the Anglo-Spanish Treaty hitherto, and six months ago, with a view to having a free hand in regard to duties on wine, I availed myself of the opportunity presented by the lapse of that Treaty to make this new arrangement. A new Treaty has been negotiated. As far as the Portuguese wine is concerned, I believe that, on the whole, these arrangements which we have made are to a very large extent not unsatisfactory, but as between one nation and another we have not dealt with the matter in any invidious spirit. In regard to our Dominions, we have gone as far as possible to develop their wines, which fill a very great want, but I do not anticipate any difficulty of a serious character with foreign countries.

Photo of Mr Robert Morrison Mr Robert Morrison , Tottenham North

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has given such a lucid explanation of these duties, that I am sure he has left the House much happier than when he began, although I am not sure that he has left us much wiser. I have not any considerable knowledge of this subject from any point of view. At the same time, I am very anxious to obtain the information, which, I think, the ex-Chancellor was trying to obtain from the right hon. Gentleman, and in which I am sure the public would be much more interested than in the very excellent disquisition on Mr. Gladstone which the right hon. Gentleman has given us. On the evening that the right hon. Gentleman announced these duties in his Budget speech, I was in the company of a gentleman who is the licensee of a place within the meaning of the Act. [Laughter.] I met him in a tramcar. I have since had an opportunity of inquiring further into what he said, and I find it is the general opinion of these people as to the effect of the new taxes on a bottle of what is known among the working classes as Tarragona Port, which is retailed at about half-a-crown a bottle—a kind of port which is not consumed to any extent by Members on the other side of the House—[An HON. MEMBER: "How do you know?"]—I am perfectly sure, but which is the only kind of wine that thousands of the working people can afford to buy, which they buy as a luxury at holiday times, and also in case of long illness. The statement that this gentleman made to me was that the tax upon a half-crown bottle of Tarragona Port would be 1s. or 1s. ld., whereas on much more expensive wines it would be only 2d. or 3d. I do not give it as a statement of my own, but from figures given to me. I have seen the statement in several newspapers that on a half-crown bottle of this port, at least 9d. will be paid in tax, and this gentleman says 1s. 1d. I suggest that if that be the effect of the right hon. Gentleman's tax on what is essentially an article of consumption by the working classes—one of the few little treats they can give themselves—it is an outrageous amount to put upon such an article. I should be glad if the right hon. Gentleman would give me any further enlightenment as to whether that statement is correct.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Leicester West

Though I object on principle to indirect taxation, when it comes to the taxation of luxuries, such as wines, I am bound to say that my objections are not very strong. There are two points in regard to these proposals which seem to me to demand some consideration. The first point is, how far this is a protective duty and how far it is a revenue duty. Ordinarily one assumes that all duties are purely revenue proposals, but I understand that on this occasion the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken cognisance, for the first time, of the fact that there is a production of wine in this country, and for that reason we are to discuss the Excise Duty which follows the import Duty upon wine. I should like, therefore, on this Resolution or the next if the Chancellor of the Exchequer would say a few words as to how far the Excise Duty which he is proposing is really the equivalent to the Customs Duty on imported wines. Does he think that the two duties are precisely the same? The other point is the matter of Imperial Preference. There again, on the general principle, my objections to Imperial Preference are not so great in the matter of wines as they are on some other things on which the Government has chosen to put a preference, but I should like to know whether the Government are really of opinion that what we are doing in the matter of Imperial Preference is creating any real obligation on the side of the Dominions. I only know that one of the most important industries in my own constituency is complaining a great deal about the way they are being treated by the Dominion of Australia. I am not proposing to pursue that subject because obviously it is out of order on the present occasion, but if the Government is going to enlarge and increase Imperial Preference in the belief that they are thereby currying favour with the Dominions—the experience which we are getting suggests that they are much mistaken—I should like to know whether, in giving all these advantages to the Dominions by a preference on this and a preference on that, and now by a considerable preference in the matter of wines, the Government are getting anything like reciprocal advantages from the Dominions?

Photo of Mr Ernest Thurtle Mr Ernest Thurtle , Shoreditch

There is just one point I want to put to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He speaks with great authority on all matters connected with the Budget, and it is generally agreed that he speaks with special and almost unique authority on the subject of wines. I was interested in what he said just now, and I want to put this point to him for his consideration. I gather that the reason for imposing this new scale of duties is that he wants to raise revenue. That is the main purpose, of the new scale; and I believe he is doing it because he regards wine as a luxury. Wine undoubtedly is a luxury duty, and that being the case I cannot understand why he is not consistent in its application.

No man ever died for want of wine, although I know that a good many men have died because they have had too much wine. Therefore, wine is not a necessity, and the people consuming it are indulging in a luxury. Consequently, it is a good thing that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is imposing additional taxation upon these wines, which he says contain a very formidable alcoholic content. Having said that, I wish to say that I am rather astonished that the Chancellor is conceding to our Colonies a preference of 50 per cent. It seems to me that if the main purpose of these duties is to raise revenue by taxing luxuries of this kind, he certainly ought not to allow a preference to the Colonies of something like 50 per cent, and I should have thought 25 per cent. would have been quite sufficient. While I agree with taxing wine as a luxury, I would like the Chancellor to be consistent, and reduce very considerably the preference which it is proposed to grant to the Colonies.

Photo of Mr Robert Morrison Mr Robert Morrison , Tottenham North

I would like the Chancellor to answer my question as to whether these duties justify the imposition of an additional 1s. 1d. on a 2s. 6d. bottle of port?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

It is quite true that there are certain kinds of wine which are heavily fortified by the addition of spirit, and which will hear the brunt of this duty. On the other hand, there are certain forms of wine which contain only the natural alcohol, and which will not have any severe burden placed on them. But where the wine is fortified by the addition of spirit, the burden of the tax weighs upon it, and ought to weigh upon it, because, after all, the foundation of the tax must be the amount of alcoholic content, and to that extent it may be considered to be a burden upon that particular kind of wine. Of course, there will be other brands of wine which will not have this increased burden, if they derive their strength not from the fortification, but from the natural alcohol.

Photo of Mr Robert Morrison Mr Robert Morrison , Tottenham North

Will it be within the possibility of purchase by the working people?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

There will be plenty of other brands within the reach of working people, but I cannot guarantee that they will contain the same alcoholic fortification.

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

The House divided: Ayes, 251; Noes, 124.

Division No. 90.]AYES.[10.45 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelGadie, Lieut.-Col. AnthonyMorrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)
Albery, Irving JamesGanzoni, Sir JohnMorrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.Nall, Colonel Sir Joseph
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)Gates, PercyNelson, Sir Frank
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George AbrahamNewman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnNewton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)Glyn, Major R. G. C.Nicholson, O. (Westminster)
Atholl, Duchess ofGoff, Sir ParkNuttall, Ellis
Atkinson, C.Gower, Sir RobertO'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyGrace, JohnOrmsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)Owen, Major G.
Barnett, Major Sir RichardGreaves-Lord, Sir WalterPennefather, Sir John
Barnston, Major Sir HarryGrenfell, Edward C. (City of London)Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Grotrian, H. BrentPerkins, Colonel E. K.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.Perring, Sir William George
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)Gunston, Captain D. W.Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)
Blundell, F. N.Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)Pilcher, G.
Boothby, R. J. G.Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryPilditch, Sir Philip
Bourne, Captain Robert CroftHarvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)Power, Sir John Cecil
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Pownall, Sir Assheton
Braithwaite, Major A. N.Haslam, Henry C.Preston, William
Brassey, Sir LeonardHawke, John AnthonyRadford, E. A.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveHeadlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.Raine, W.
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeHeneage, Lieut.-Col. Arthur P.Ramsden, E.
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Rawson, Sir Cooper
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.Herbert, S. (York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)Rees, Sir Beddoe
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)Hills, Major John WallerRemer, J. R.
Buckingham, Sir H.Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William JamesHolbrook, Sir Arthur RichardRichardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)
Bullock, Captain M.Holt, Captain H. P.Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)
Burman, J. B.Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)Robinson, Sir T. (Lancs., Stretford)
Burton, Colonel H. W.Hopkins, J. W. W.Ropner, Major L.
Butt, Sir AlfredHopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.
Cadogan, Major Hon. EdwardHopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Campbell, E. T.Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.Rye, F. G.
Carver, Major W. H.Hudson, R. S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n)Salmon, Major I.
Cassels, J. D.Hume, Sir G. H.Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Hurd, Percy A.Sandeman, N. Stewart
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth.S.)Illffe, Sir Edward M.Sanders, Sir Robert A.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.Sanderson, Sir Frank
Chadwick, Sir Robert BurtonJackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)Sandon, Lord
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Jacob, A. E.Savery, S. S.
Chapman, Sir S.Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)
Charteris, Brigadier-General J.Jones, Henry Haydn, (Merioneth)Sheffield, Sir Berkeley
Christie, J. A.Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)Shepperson, E. W.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston SpencerKidd, J. (Linlithgow)Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)
Churchman, Sir Arthur C.Kindersley, Major G. M.Slaney, Major P. Kenyon
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeKing, Captain Henry DouglasSmith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Clayton, G. C.Kinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementSmith-Carington, Neville W.
Cobb, Sir CyrilKnox, Sir AlfredSomerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Colfox, Major Wm. PhillipsLamb, J. Q.Spender-Clay, Colonel H.
Couper, J. B.Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon. George R.Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)
Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipStanley, Lord (Fylde)
Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)Little, Dr. E. GrahamStorry-Deans, R.
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.Looker, Herbert WilliamStrickland, Sir Gerald
Crookshank, Col C. de W. (Berwick)Lougher, LewisStuart, Crichton-,Lord C.
Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh VereStyles, Captain H. Walter
Cunliffe, Sir HerbertLumley, L. R.Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Curzon, Captain ViscountLynn, Sir R. J.Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Dalkeith, Earl ofMacdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Dalziel, Sir DavisonMcDonnell, Colonel Hon. AngusThom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.Macintyre, IanThompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)McLean, Major A.Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Davies, Dr. VernonMacmillan, Captain H.Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-
Dawson, Sir PhilipMcNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald JohnTitchfield, Major the Marquess of
Dean, Arthur WellesleyMacquisten, F. A.Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Dixey, A. C.Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-Waddington, R.
Drewe, C.Makins, Brigadier-General E.Wallace, Captain D. E.
Duckworth, JohnManningham-Buller, Sir MervynWard, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Edmondson, Major A. J.Margesson, Captain D.Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Ellis, R. G.Marriott, Sir J. A. R.Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
England, Colonel A.Mason, Lieut.-Colonel Glyn K.Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Erskine, James Malcolm MonteithMeller, R. J.Watts, Dr. T.
Fairfax, Captain J. G.Merriman, F. B.Wells, S. R.
Falle, Sir Bertram G.Milne, J. S. WardlawWheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Fermoy, LordMitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-
Fielden, E. B.Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)Wiggins, William Martin
Forestier-Walker, Sir L.Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Foster, Sir Henry S.Moore, Sir Newton J.Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Fraser, Captain IanMoreing, Captain A. H.Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)Womersley, W. J.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Winterton, Rt. Hon. EarlWood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)Major Cope and Mr. Penny.
Wise, Sir FredricWoodcock, Colonel H. C.
Wolmer, ViscountYoung, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Hardie, George D.Sexton, James
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Harris, Percy A.Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. VernonShepherd, Arthur Lewis
Ammon, Charles GeorgeHayday, ArthurShiels, Dr. Drummond
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Hayes, John HenryShort, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Baker, WalterHenderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Henderson, T. (Glasgow)Smillle, Robert
Batey, JosephHirst, G. H.Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)
Bondfield, MargaretHirst, W. (Bradford, South)Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Briant, FrankHore-Belisha, LeslieSpencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)
Broad, F. A.Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Stephen, Campbell
Bromfield, WilliamJohn, William (Rhondda, West)Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Bromley, J.Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)Sullivan, J.
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Sutton, J. E.
Buchanan, G.Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Taylor, R. A.
Cape, ThomasKelly, W. T.Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)
Charleton, H. C.Kennedy, T.Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Clowes, SKirkwood, D.Thurtle, Ernest
Cluse, W. S.Lansbury, GeorgeTinker, John Joseph
Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.Lawson, John JamesTownend, A. E.
Compton, JosephLee, F.Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.
Connolly, M.Lowth, T.Varley, Frank B.
Crawfurd, H. E.Lunn, WilliamViant, S. P.
Dalton, HughMackinder, W.Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Watson, W. M. (Dunfermilne)
Day, Colonel HarryMarch, S.Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Dennison, R.Montague, FrederickWebb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Duncan, C.Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Wellock, Wilfred
Dunnico, H.Murnin, H.Westwood, J.
Fenby, T. D.Naylor, T. E.Wheatley, Rt. Hon J.
Gibbins, Josephpalln, John HenryWhiteley, W.
Gillett, George M.Paling, W.Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Gosling, HarryPethick-Lawrence, F. W.Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Ponsonby, ArthurWilliams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Potts, John S.Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Greenall, T.Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Windsor, Walter
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Riley, BenWright, W.
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Ritson, J.Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Groves, T.Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)
Grundy, T. W.Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Rose, Frank H.Mr. Allen Parkinson and Mr. Charles
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Saklatvala, ShapurjiEdwards.
Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)Scurr, John

Sixth Resolution read a Second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

The House is anxious to know exactly what "sweets" are. I understand there is a custom of importing grape juice in its natural state unfermented from abroad, and fermenting it in England and selling it in some form or another. I am not quite sure whether the so-called Tarragona Port is not this particular article. Before we pass this new duty we are justified in asking for an exact definition. Has there been a large evasion of the Wine Duty through processes of this kind? If so, is this duty sufficient to stop it? Has the revenue been robbed by some skilful scientists who have been manufacturing wine in this country? I think we are entitled to an answer to these questions.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

The official definition of "sweets" for this purpose is Any liquor made from fruit and sugar or from fruit or sugar mixed with any other material and which has undergone a process of fermentation in the manufacture thereof and includes British wine, made wine, mead, and megethlin. The ingredients in the manufacture of these wines are various—grape, grape must, raisins, currants, imported sugar, home-grown fruit, ginger, and on special occasions spirits are added. [An HON. MEMBER: "Is rhubarb fruit?"] Rhubarb is within the meaning of the Act. These wines are purveyed to the public under such names as British Sherry, Pure Grape Red Wine, and Ruby Wine. It is quite unfair to fax other articles of alcoholic consumption, and to omit from the sphere of the Excise and Customs Duties the very large and rapidly increasing production of wines which occasionally achieve a degree of proof spirit as high as 29 degrees. It is really not fair to tax whisky, the heavy ports and so on, and leave untaxed this very large production. It is a countervailing Excise duty, which all Free Traders are in honour bound to support. I am glad to say that in imposing this tax upon British wines we have very carefully considered the general principles on which we have proceeded, namely, to impose the heaviest duty on foreign imports, a much reduced duty on Dominion production, and the lightest of all being reserved for domestic production. There are three perfectly clear stages of differentiation. I am also glad to say that in the discussions I have had with the trade I believe we have arrived at a degree of duty which is not going

to be injurious to the trade, nor going to strike at an important manufacture. I have not had the pleasure myself of tasting these wines, but I am prosecuting my duties on the subject, and I hope before the Committee stage of the Finance Bill is reached to be able to give the House more authoritative information. Meanwhile, I am glad to say the imposition of the duty has not injured the quotations of the wine shares, but on the contrary the official recognition they have received has more than compensated them.

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

The House divided: Ayes, 244; Noes, 120.

Division No. 91.]AYES.[11.0 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelCowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islington, N.)Hogg, Rt.Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)
Albery, Irving JamesCraig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard
Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)Crawfurd, H. E.Holt, Capt. H. P.
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.Hope, Sir Harry (Forfar)
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)Hopkins, J. W. W.
Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)
Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)Cunliffe, Sir HerbertHorlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.
Atholl, Duchess ofCurzon, Captain ViscountHudson, R. S. (Cumberland, Whiteh'n)
Atkinson, C.Dalkeith, Earl ofHume, Sir G. H.
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Dalziel, Sir DavisonIliffe, Sir Edward M.
Barnett, Major Sir RichardDavidson, Major-General Sir J. H.Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.
Barnston, Major Sir HarryDavies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.Davies, Dr. VernonJacob, A. E.
Bellairs, Commander Carlyon W.Dawson, Sir PhilipJones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)Dean, Arthur WellesleyJones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)Dixey, A. C.Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)
Blundell, F. N.Drewe, C.Kidd, J. (Linlithgow)
Boothby, R. J. G.Duckworth, JohnKindersley, Major G. M.
Bourne, Captain Robert CroftEdmondson, Major A. J.King, Captain Henry Douglas
Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.Eills, R. G.Kinioch-Cooke, Sir Clement
Braithwaite, Major A. N.England, Colonel A.Knox, Sir Alfred
Brass, Captain W.Erskine, James Malcolm MonteithLamb, J. Q.
Brassey, Sir LeonardFairfax, Captain J. G.Lane Fox, Col. Rt. Hon-George R.
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveFalle, Sir Bertram G.Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeFermoy, LordLittle, Dr. E. Graham
Brocklebank, C. E. R.Fielden, E. B.Looker, Herbert William
Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R.I.Forestier-Walker Sir L.Lougher, Lewis
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)Fraser, Captain IanLucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere
Buckingham, Sir H.Gadie, Lieut.-Colonel AnthonyLuce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman
Bullock, Captain M.Ganzoni, Sir JohnLumley, L. R.
Burman, J. B.Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.Lynn, Sir Robert J.
Burton, Colonel H. W.Gates, PercyMacAndrew, Major Charles Glen
Butt, Sir AlfredGibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George AbrahamMacdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)
Cadogan, Major Hon. EdwardGilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir JohnMcDonnell, Colonel Hon. Angus
Calne, Gordon HallGlyn, Major R. G. C.Macintyre, Ian
Campbell, E. T.Goff, Sir ParkMcLean, Major A.
Carver, Major W. H.Gower Sir RobertMacmillan Captain H.
Cassels, J. D.Graham, Fergus (Cumberland, N.)McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John
Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)Greaves-Lord, Sir WalterMacquisten, F. A.
Cayzer, Maj. Sir Herbt. R. (Prtsmth, S.)Grotrian, H. BrentMaitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)Gunston, Captain D. W.Makins, Brigadier-General E.
Chadwick, Sir Robert BurtonHall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)Hall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)Margesson, Captain D.
Chapman, Sir S.Hannon, Patrick Joseph HenryMarriott, Sir J. A. R.
Charteris, Brigadier-General J.Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)Mason, Lieut.-Col. Glyn K.
Christie, J. A.Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Meller, R. J.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston SpencerHaslam, Henry C.Merriman, F. B.
Churchman, Sir Arthur C.Hawke, John AnthonyMilne, J. S. Wardlaw-
Clarry, Reginald GeorgeHeadlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)
Clayton. G. C.Henoage, Lieut-Colonel Arthur P.Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.
Cobb, Sir CyrilHennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.Moore Sir Newton J.
Colfox, Major Wm. PhillipsHerbert, S. (York. N.R., Scar. & Wh'by)Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T.C.
Couper, J. B.Hills, Major John WallerMoreing, Captain A. H.
Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes, Stretford)Thom, Lt.-Col. J. G. (Dumbarton)
Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur CliveRopner, Major L.Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Nall, Colonel Sir JosephRuggles-Brise, Major E. A.Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Nelson, Sir FrankRussell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Rye, F. G.Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)Salmon, Major I.Waddington, R.
Nicholson, O. (Westminster)Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)Wallace, Captain D. E.
O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)Sandeman, N. StewartWard, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)
Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. WilliamSanders, Sir Robert A.Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Pennefather, Sir JohnSanderson, Sir FrankWatson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Percy Lord Eustace(Hastings)Sandon, LordWatson. Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)
Perrin'g, Sir William GeorgeSavery, S. S.Watts, Dr. T.
Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)Wells, S. R.
Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)Sheffield, Sir BerkeleyWheler, Major Sir Granville C. H.
Pilcher, G.Shepperson, E. W.White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-
Pilditch, Sir Philipsimms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)Wiggins, William Martin
Power, Sir John CecilSlaney, Major P. KenyonWilliams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)
Pownall, Sir AsshetonSmith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)Williams, C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)
Preston, WilliamSmith-Carington, Neville W.Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Radford, E. A.Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Raine, W.Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Ramsden, E.Stanley, Lord (Fylde)Wise, Sir Fredric
Rawson, Sir CooperStorry. Deans, R.Wolmer, Viscount
Roes, Sir BeddoeStrickland, Sir GeraldWomersley, W. J.
Remer, J. R.Stuart, Crichton., Lord C.Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)
Rentoul, G. S.Styles, Captain H. WalterWoodcock, Colonel H. C.
Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray FraserYoung, Rt. Hon. Hilton (Norwich)
Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)Sugden, Sir Wilfrid
Roberts, E. H. G. (Flint)Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Major Cope and Mr. Penny.
NOES.
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shotland)Rose, Frank H.
Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)Hardle, George D.Saklatvala, Shapurji
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. VernonScurr, John
Ammon, Charles GeorgeHayday, ArthurSexton, James
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Hayes. John HenryShaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Baker, WalterHenderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)Shepherd, Arthur Lewis
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Henderson, T. (Glasgow)Shiels, Dr. Drummond
Batey, JosephHirst, G. H.Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)
Bondfield, MargaretHirst, W. (Bradford, South)Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Briant, FrankHore-Belisha, LeslieSmith, Ben (Bermondsey, Hotherhithe)
Broad, F. A.Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip
Bromfield, WilliamJohn, William (Rhondda, West)Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)
Bromley, J.Johnston, Thomas (Dundee)Stephen, Campbell
Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)
Buchanan, G.Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Sullivan, Joseph
Cape, ThomasKelly, W. T.Sutton, J. E.
Charleton, H. C.Kennedy, T.Taylor, R. A.
Clowes, S.Kirkwood, D.Thorne, G. H. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Cluse, W. S.Lansbury, GeorgeThurtle, Ernest
Compton, JosephLawson, John JamesTinker, John Joseph
Connolly, M.Lee, F.Townend, A. E.
Dalton, HughLunn, WilliamVarley, Frank B.
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)Mackinder, W.Viant, S. P.
Day, Colonel HarryMaclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen
Dennison, R.March, S.Watson, W. M. (Duntermilne)
Duncan, C.Montague, FrederickWatts-Morgan, Lt. -Col. D. (Rhondda)
Dunnico, H.Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney
Fenby, T. D.Murnin, H.Wellock, Wilfred
Gibbins, JosephNaylor, T. E.Westwood, J.
Gillett, George M.Owen, Major G.Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.
Gosling, HarryPalin, John HenryWilliams, David (Swansea, East)
Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)Paling, W.Williams, Dr. J. H. (Lianelly)
Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)
Greenall, T.Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)Ponsonby, ArthurWilson, R. J. (Jarrow)
Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)Potts, John S.Windsor, Walter
Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)Wright, W.
Groves, T.Riley, BenYoung, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)
Grundy, T. W.Ritson, J.
Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)Robinson, W. C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)Mr. Charles Edwards and Mr.
Whiteley.

Question put, and agreed to.

Photo of Mr Philip Snowden Mr Philip Snowden , Colne Valley

May I suggest, Mr. Speaker, to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that this would be a convenient time to adjourn the Debate. We have made very considerable progress to-day. The next Resolution is the Tobacco Duty, which is one of the most important Resolutions, and it would be advisable that we should not discuss it at this late hour. Therefore, I respectively submit that we might now adjourn.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

I beg to move, That the consideration of the remaining Resolutions be now adjourned."

The Government are, of course, in the hands of the House in a matter of this kind. We only wish the Opposition to select the points of attack and arrange to bring them on in a manner which will secure the utmost publicity possible, within the limits of time that we can afford to supply. I must admit that we have made good progress to-day, and I think it is appropriate that the Tobacco Duty should come on in the best period of the day. It is well that it should be discussed with the fullest possible prominence. Therefore, we are ready to close the proceedings now, but I would like to make it quite clear that we do so on the understanding that the proceedings will be brought to an end on Thursday night in good time, by which I mean about midnight. [Interruption.] I think hon. Members who protest will find that with all to-morrow, and the next day right up to 12 o'clock, they will have an opportunity of making their points. On the understanding that we can have this stage finished at a reasonable hour on Thursday, I am quite willing to defer further consideration till to-morrow.

Seventh and subsequent Resolutions to be considered To-morrow.

The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.

Resolved, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Commander Eyres Monsell.]

Adjourned accordingly at a Quarter after Eleven of the Clock.