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Public House Licences

Volume 65: debated on Tuesday 28 July 1914

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, before the Finance Act of 1909, the City and County of London paid one-eighth of the total sum paid for licences for public-houses and beer-houses in the United Kingdom, exclusive of London; whether, for the five complete years ended 31st March, 1914, the aggregate duties have been no less than £3,207,000 for London and £14,683,000 for the whole of the United Kingdom, exclusive of London, equal to nine-fortieths; whether, if the old proportion had been maintained, London would have paid £1,300,000 less during the five years, equivalent to an excess for London of over £250,000 a year; whether the rate of increase has been in London 193 per cent. and the rest of the United Kingdom 76 per cent., and the average payment has risen from £28 to £87 in London, and in the rest of the United Kingdom from £14 to £20; and when he proposes to redress this state of affairs?

Before the Licence Duties were increased by the Finance (1909–10) Act, 1910, the city and county of London contributed about one-ninth of the total sum paid for licences for public houses and beer houses in the United Kingdom, and if this proportion had been maintained London would have paid about £1,980,000 out of the total amount collected in respect of those licences for the five years ended 31st March, 1914. The amounts which have actually been paid for the city and county of London for this period are not shown in the official records, for the reason explained on the 1st May, 1913, in a reply I gave to the right hon. Gentleman who was then Member for East Worcestershire, and I am not therefore in a position to check the comparison made by the hon. Member. As regards the last part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for East Nottingham on the 25th ultimo.

Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to do anything to redress this manifest injustice?

As the hon. Member knows very well, I have done my best to induce the licensed victuallers to supply mc with information which would enable us to introduce a Bill to levy on the basis rather of the trade done. That would be very much better adapted to the case. Up to the present I have not succeeded, because the interests of the London licensed victuallers and those of the country are in direct opposition.

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the information he asked for was perfectly useless for the purpose?

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the fact that this injustice affects not merely licence holders, but the ratepayers of the whole of London, because the other ratepayers have to make up the reduction in the rateable value of licensed premises?

I agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman that it Has an indirect effect undoubtedly on the rates.