asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether, in case of the renewal of the Commercial Treaty with Italy, the Government intend to lower the high duties levied on imports of food into the Island of Malta, and to adopt a tariff more in conformity with the principles of free trade?
Considerable difficulty has been experienced in raising an adequate revenue in Malta, which island, it must not be forgotten, is an important fortress as well as a colony. I am led to believe that no new taxation could well be substituted for the duty on grain, to which the inhabitants are accustomed, and which does not press heavily upon them. This tax is, moreover, in accordance with the views of the Colonial Legislature, to which, upon a local fiscal question especially, it would naturally be the wish of Her Majesty's Government to defer as far as possible.
gave Notice that in consequence of the reply of the hon. Member he should take an early opportunity of bringing the question before the House.