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Illicit Distillery, Glasgow

Volume 154: debated on Monday 15 May 1922

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that a distillery was recently discovered in premises at the corner of Aber-corn and Burnside Streets, Glasgow; and that the said distillery was equipped with 20 fermenting barrels, a proper worm, and 35 casks, and was capable of distilling 240 gallons of proof spirit per six days, involving a loss of revenue in respect that the proprietors or shareholders of the distillery paid no duty on their product, which is said to be of exceptional quality, of nearly £1,000 per week or £50,000 per annum; whether the said distillery is believed to have existed for a long period; whether there are suspected to be many such distilleries in the country run by evildoers who wish to evade the duty upon whisky of £3 12s. 6d. per gallon; and whether, seeing that the existence of such illegal distilleries accounts largely for the falling off of revenue from spirits of £7,500,000, he will consider whether a reduction of duty would be the best method of combating such practices and securing as great a revenue as the present high duties?

I am aware that a seizure of an illicit spirit distillation plant, materials and spirits has been made on the premises in question. Proceedings have been instituted against the alleged offenders by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise. There is no reason to believe that the illicit operations had been carried on for any long period. I am not prepared to accept the suggestion that the practice of illicit distillation is widespread, nor am I able to concur in the hon. Member's conclusions.