I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that, of the oversea goods brought into the markets of the United Kingdom, only six per cent. are charged a toll or duty on behalf of the public revenue, and that these latter, amounting to £32,000,000 in 1890, paid a duty of 80 per cent., one-half being raised on articles of food not producible in Great Britain and Ireland, and paying 47½ per cent. ad valorem duty, and the remainder on tobacco, paying 253 per cent. ad valorem; and whether in the coming Budget he will endeavour to readjust this inequality, and to enlarge the area of indirect taxation, giving a preference to Empire products, and admitting breadstuffs and raw materials free.
I cannot go into the details stated in the first paragraph of the question, though I do not think the figures are calculated on an accurate basis. But there is no doubt that the principle of our Customs tariff is to levy considerable duties on a few articles of large consumption. As to the second paragraph, I can only ask my hon. friend to wait for the Budget. But he knows that on some essential points I am unable to agree with him.