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New Clause—(Amendment Of 10 Edw Vii, C 8, S 48)

Volume 155: debated on Tuesday 27 June 1922

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Section forty-eight of The Finance (1909–10) Act, 1910 (which provides for a duty on purchases of intoxicating liquor to be supplied in a club), shall have effect as if "threepence" were therein substituted for "sixpence."—[ Mr. Robert Richardson.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

I am prepared to accept the principle of the Clause. A similar Clause was moved last year by the hon. and learned Member for York (Sir J. Butcher), and on that. occasion I promised to give close consideration to the question. I realised there was great force and cogency in the argument that this was a tax upon a tax and that the increased duty put upon intoxicating liquor had had the effect of increasing the club tax to some- thing more than five times the original imposition. I promised I would go closely into the matter, and I must confess the hon. and learned Member for York has not allowed me to forget that promise. I do not think he has let me off for more than a month at a time. His efforts have been reinforced in recent times by suggestions made to me by the hon. Member for Middleton (Sir Ryland Adkins). I came to the conclusion the claim was justified; accordingly I am prepared to meet what is required by this proposed new Clause, the particular form of which is not, however, entirely agreeable. If it is withdrawn now, I shall on the Report stage, in another form, do what the Mover of the Amendment desires—namely, see that the club duty is decreased by half.

I desire, on behalf of those who have acted in this matter, to thank the Chancellor for having met the Amendment so fairly. It was moved almost on the same day of the month last year. It came on at four o'clock in the morning, and, with most commendable consideration, the Government gave us fairplay in regard to the Clause and promised us to reconsider it this year. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has now fulfilled his pledge, and I desire to thank him most sincerely.

Usually on an Amendment the Chancellor of the Exchequer meets it with a simple statement of the cost of the Amendment to the Exchequer. He has not given us that statement, and I think it is due to the Committee to be told exactly how much revenue he proposes to sacrifice by the concession which he has just announced.

If I have failed in my duty to the hon. and gallant Member, I shall be prepared at once to respond to his question, but I presumed the Committee was well aware of the sum, as this matter was discussed at great length on the previous occasion. The cost to the Exchequer of this concession will be £189,000.

As the official head of half a million clubmen who have plied the Chancellor habitually with resolutions on this question, I wish to thank him very warmly for his concession.

In asking leave to withdraw my Clause, may I say that I heartily thank the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on behalf of a million and a quarter of clubmen?

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.