Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

resist the Motion, which is rejected by 258 to 122—Mr. Bass afterwards moves that the Malt Duty be reduced one-halfThis also is negatired by the HouseMr. Frewen attempts a Repeal of the Hop Duty, but without success Lord Naas twice defeats the Government on his Motion with respect to the mode of levying Duties on Homemade Spirits in Bond; and Lord Robert Grosvernor once, upon a Proposition for repealing the Attorney's Certificate Duty- The Chancellor of the Exchequer ultimately succeeds in reversing the decisions as to both.

W

TE have already described the sistently with the maintenance of

very unfavourable reception public credit, and the establishthat was given to the first financial ments which were necessary for statement of the Chancellor of the the welfare of the country. The Exchequer, which, though not the all-pervading objection to his proavowed cause, was generally be- posals was that he had thought it lieved to have contributed in no necessary to retain some margin of small degree to the temporary ab- the surplus to meet sudden emerdication of the Whig Ministry. gencies—a policy the wisdom of On their resumption of office, it which had been verified by exfollowed, in accordance with the perience—and to maintain the prevailing expectation, that the public credit. He saw no reason financial schemes of the Govern- to alter his estimate of financial ment underwent a reconsideration, receipts, or of the disposable surand a remodelled budget was pro- plus; with this surplus he did duced, which avoided some of the not attempt to effect any great principal objections to the ori- operations, but in fact the great ginal propositions.

monopolies had been already deOn the 5th of April Sir Charles stroyed. The principle which had Wood submitted his amended actuated all his schemes was the plans to the House. He began desire to relieve and benefit the by saying that time had been great mass of the population, Goafforded him to reconsider the pro- vernment being instituted for the posals he had made to the House, benefit of the many and not of the and he had had the advantage of few. It was for their sakes that hearing the course of financial he had supported the remission of policy which Lord Stanley was pre- the duties on corn, meat, foreign pared to pursue. The two propo- cattle, and foreign sugar. With sals were before the country, which the same view of cheapening their could decide which of the two was provisions and their clothing, he most conducive to the welfare of had advocated the reduction of this great empire. He admitted duties on raw materials. There that his proposals had not given still remained one matter of vital general satisfaction, but he had importance to the poorer classes, been surprised at the manner in their dwellings. It was with the which they had been received in view of improving their condition some quarters. The main demand in these respects that the duty on made upon him had been for a re- bricks was abolished in the premission of taxation to which he ceding session, and that it was felt it impossible to accede con- now proposed to reduce the duty on foreign timber. So far as the had so urged him on this subject ? country labourers were concerned, Not that they came to ask a rethat relief might be deemed com- mission of pounds, shillings, and plete; but there was another class pence, but to ask the removal of a which still required consideration burden affecting the dwellings of -he meant that part of the labour- the poor, and one which pressed uning population who were cooped fairly on the assessment of houses. up in dark and unwholesome The principle of an uniform tax dwellings in the towns. Sir C. on old and new houses was unWood referred in some detail to doubtedly the just one; but no unithe evidence which had been eli- form rate would give anything like cited by inquiries on this subject. equal relief. Sir Charles Wood It had been his endeavour, in his therefore proposed to omit all reformer propositions, to remove the ference to the number of windows evil so much complained of, and, leaving it out of consideration so far as financial measures could what number of windows or openeffect that object, to improve the ings there might be, and getting rid sanitary condition of the poor by of every objection which could be allowing the free admission of stated upon sanitary grounds, and light and air into their dwellings. affording great relief to all or This measure, at least, he still nearly all parties. “I propose to hoped to carry. Referring next take a uniform rate of 9d. upon to the subject of coffee, Sir C. dwelling-houses, and 6d. upon Wood said that it was impossible those houses which contain shops. to meet the incessant complaints It will be remembered that I promade of its adulteration by send- posed before, as to new houses, that ing an army of excisemen into all a duty of 1s. in the pound should the grocers' shops, but he had pro- be imposed upon dwelling-houses, posed to meet the evil in the most and a lower rate of duty upon legitimate way, by reducing the those dwelling-houses a portion of duty and cheapening the price of which was used as shops, or which the imported article. With regard were occupied by innkeepers, or to the reductions of the local charges used as farm-houses. Shops pay for lunatic asylums, and of the duty at present a lower rate, and I proon agricultural seeds, so much ob- pose to continue that distinction. jection had been made against them The duty which I shall propose by those for whose benefit they were will be an uniform rate upon all intended, that he should not at- houses, old and new, of 9d. in the tempt to force them upon parties pound upon their annual value, who repudiated the favour. and 6d. upon any house a part of

Sir Charles Wood then pro- which is a shop, or which is occuceeded to explain his intentions as pied by victualler or held for the to the Window Tax. A loud de- occupation of land. It will be remand had been made on him for an membered that I proposed to unconditional repeal of the Win- exempt from taxation altogether dow Tax : it was enough for him to all houses not exceeding 201. in answer, that the Window Duty was annual value; I propose to retain 1,856,0001., and the surplus that exemption." In this way, they 1,892,0001. What had been the would get rid of all reference to language of the deputations who windows in any shape whatsoever; reduce the number of houses pay- a total exemption, because very ing tax at all from 500,000 to few farm-houses, where that was the 400,000; exempt, for the first amount of rent, would be assessed time, shops, victuallers' houses, at 201. a year or upwards. and houses used in the occupation The effect of the alterations Sir of land; and diminish taxation to Charles explained by a mass of the amount of 1,136,0001.--for the instances. “In Marylebone and tax he would retain would be about St. Pancras, the amount at present 720,0001. instead of 1,856,0001. In paid for Window Duty is 92,0001. ; reference to the incidence of the under my plan it will be 50,0001., tax, Sir C. Wood said—“ It is true being a reduction of 42,0001. In there are some few cases in which Regent Street the present payeven under this proposal a house ment is 22001. ; it will in future will be raised in taxation; there are be 19001., being a reduction of some cases so anomalous, that it is 3001.

3001. In Finsbury Square the utterly impossible to deal with present payment is 7251.; the them on principle. I find, for future will be 2501., being a saving instance, that in one street in of 4751. In Portman Square the Liverpool there are two houses present payment is 7401. ; the which have eight windows, paying future will be 6101., reduction 18s. ld. and assessed at 1301. 1301. In Belgrave Square there a year: a proof of the inequality will actually be an increase of 101.; of the Window Tax, and of its utter the present payment is 9901., the unfairness in reference to value.” future will be 1000l. The gentleThe better streets, where the

who reside in Belgrave value was high, would not be re- Square, however, will probably lieved to the same extent as those have houses in the country also, in which the value is depreciated. and the reduction of the tax upon Houses in the country, where the those will indemnify them for the value was less in proportion to the slight increase in the duty payable number of windows, would be re- on their town houses. Taking the lieved more than those in the two things together, they will be fashionable parts of town. The as much benefited by the alteraold-fashioned houses of country tion as those who do not live in so gentlemen would be relieved-he fashionable a quarter as Belgravia. could not speak as to new houses. It is difficult to get any return The houses of most country clergy. showing the operation of the tax men would be relieved. A relief in an exclusively rural district. I would be extended to farmers pay- have, however, procured a return ing between 2001. and 3001. a year, of 42 of the best houses—those which would not be afforded by paying the largest amount of Winany reduction of Income Tax; for dow Duty--in six counties, and I farm-houses upon farms of 2001. find that the effect of the change a year paid Window Tax, but there I propose will be the reduction of was no Income Tax upon a rent of the duty payable by them from less than 3001. a year, whereas, by 20401. to 5671. In Liverpool the the present proposal, in almost reduction will be from 19,6001. to every case there would be a very 9500l. ; in Manchester, it will be material reduction of the tax paid, from 30,0001. to 15,0001.; in and in most cases of this amount Birmingham, from 18,4001. to

men

be

84001. In the town represented stant, should have been forestalled by my noble Friend who takes so by anticipatory objections; but he much interest in this question hoped the House would pause (Lord Duncan, Member for Bath), before it consented to make that which I am afraid is not so fashion- tax perpetual, as was involved in able as it used to be, the relief the propositions before them. Mr. afforded will be in greater propor- Henley remarked on the contrast tion than in the cases I have al- between the high-flown principles ready referred to, for the charge announced respecting public credit for duty will be reduced from and the maintenance of a surplus, 23,0001. to 75001. The greatest with the reservation of such a amount of relief will be afforded miserable sum as 300,0001. in the case of those houses which After some sarcastic remarks by have a larger number of windows Mr. Disraeli on the Chancellor of or openings than is proportionate the Exchequer for having forto their annual value.” The grand gotten his sympathy with the agriresult would be, that of the cultural interest because he was 3,500,000 houses in the kingdom, laughed at for the insignificance of 3,100,000 would be exempt, and his boons, the House agreed to the the tax levied only on 400,000 of pro formá resolution of continuing the most valuable houses.

the Income Tax and the Stamp The combined loss from the re- Duties in Ireland as moved by the ductions on coffee and timber Chancellor of the Exchequer. (400,0001.) and from the window- On the 7th of April the report duty (1,186,0001.) would on this resolution by the Com1,536,0001. ; and this would leave mittee of Ways and Means having a margin of surplus amounting to been brought up, Mr. Herries only 356,0001.: or, with the Win- raised the question of the condow Tax due for the current half- tinuance of the Income Tax by proyear (568,0001.), a surplus for that posing a resolution in the followyear of 924,0001. towards any un- ing terms: foreseen demand.

"That the Income and Property In conclusion, Sir Charles re- Tax, and the Stamp Duties in Ireferred to the Opposition tactics on land, were granted for limited the Income Tax. He admitted that periods, and to meet temporary the tax was imposed to meet a exigencies; and that it is expedeficiency; but it was continued dient to adhere to the declared for a different purpose—to enable intentions of Parliament, and, in an improvement to be made in order to secure their speedy cessafinancial legislation, still unaccom- tion, to limit the renewal of any plished, by the removal of impo- portion of those taxes to such an litic restrictions on industry and amount as may suffice to provide

for the expenditure sanctioned by This statement was received by Parliament, and for the mainthe House with considerably more tenance of public credit." approbation than the original Mr. Herries expressed his great budget. Mr. Herries, however, satisfaction at the published statecomplained that the motion re- ment of the year's revenue,

the specting the Income Tax, of which result of which had exceeded the he had given notice for the 7th in- calculations of the Chancellor of

commerce.

a

the Exchequer; he rejoiced at Tax might be remitted, which this result, because it not only in- would be a relief to the extent of dicated the prosperity of the coun. 1,550,0001., far greater than the try, but reinforced the proposition removal of the Window Tax, and it he now made. He would assume would afford a prospect of the the data of the Chancellor of the ultimate extinction of an impost Exchequer, with this difference- denounced and stigmatized by that he expected a larger sur- those who now recommended its plus, believing that, instead of continuance. 1,892,0001., it would turn out The Chancellor of the Exchequer 2,200,0001. or 2,300,0001. He maintained that his proposal to assumed, further, that Sir C. Wood continue this tax, which he dismeant to continue the Income Tax liked as much as ever, was peras it now existed. This was the fectly consistent with the policy of first legitimate occasion, Mr. Sir R. Peel, which it was intended Herries remarked, of considering to carry out to its full extent. this tax under the aspect of a Almost the whole of Mr. Herries' permanent impost: it had ori- argument, he observed, had proginally arisen out of the financial ceeded upon the supposition that mal-administration during the five the proposal which he (Sir Charles) or six years prior to 1840; but Sir had made was for a permanent R. Peel originally proposed the Income Tax, whereas he had never tax expressly for special and tem- said a syllable to that effect. He porary purposes; and Lord John did not think it safe that a tax of Russell-who had previously pro- this kind should be placed upon claimed “the inequality, the vexa. the footing of an annual vote; but tions, and the frauds” inherent in Mr. Herries was not precluded this tax-in 1848 asked for its from proposing its reduction next continuance solely on the ground year. He showed the difficulties of "the almost unparalleled diffi- attending the modification of the culties" of the crisis. Mr. Herries tax, and the injustice of applying cited strong denunciations of the it, as Mr. Herries suggested, to tax by Mr. Labouchere, Lord Ireland; and then entered into Howick, Sir F. Baring, and Sir C. details as to the policy he had Wood, and called upon the Go- pursued in reducing duties upon vernment to state the grounds articles of consumption and upon upon which, without necessity, industry; observing, that the more with a surplus revenue, they pro- popular a tax was the more proposed the continuance of a tax ductive it would prove. Under admitted to be full of inequality, the Income Tax, the revenue had, vexations, and fraud, and which by a wise legislation, greatly imthere could be no doubt would, in proved; and by a perseverance in violation of the obligation which this legislation—the removal of the House had contracted with taxes more objectionable than the the country, be made permanent. Income Tax-the improvement of He then stated what would be the revenue would be accelerated. the effect of affirming his motion. It was in furtherance of this Assuming the real surplus for theory of legislation that he had 1851 at 2,200,0001., he thought proposed the reduction of the duthat two-sevenths of the Property ties upon coffee and timber, and VOL. XCIII.

[G]

« ForrigeFortsett »