Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29

Other Food Taxes

Other Food Taxes.

On the following other articles of food and condiment the duties are as follows:—
Salt beef, fish (salt, dried, or preserved), sago and tapioca in bulk, saltpetre 2s. a cwt.
Butter, cheese, dried fruits, hams and bacon, prunes in jars, sugar, treacle and molasses 1d. per lb.
Chocolate and cocoa, raw coffee, chicory, and spices 3d. per lb.
Ground coffee 5d. per lb.
Tea 6d. per lb.
Vinegar 6d. per gal.

Curry paste and powder, fish, fruit, and vegetables (dried, paste, or preserved in syrup), preserved ginger, gelatine, jams, jellies, and marmalades; meats and soups, potted and preserved; mustard, sauces, pickles, bottled olive oil, syrups, and all nuts except cocoanuts, 10 per cent, on declared value.

Of the whole of these articles, £910,865 worth were imported in 1876. The following deserve special notice :—

The value of sugar, molasses, and treacle, imported, was £441,448; duty collected, £128,431, or more than 29 per cent, ad valorem.

The value of tea, coffee, cocoa, etc., imported, was £229,324; duty collected, £84,276, or nearly 37 per cent.

Of vinegar, £11,816 worth was imported; duty collected, £2,777, or 23£ per cent.

On the balance, £228,277, the duty paid may be reckoned at 10 per cent., or £2,283.

But the consumers are charged at least 35, 44, 28, and 12 per cent, respectively, through the intermediate profits on duty, more than they would pay if the articles were free of duty.

On the articles which are not produced in the Colony, I add nothing for protective action on price: but on grain, flour, &c., as above explained, the "cost to public" includes the addition to the price of the whole consumption, both imported and local, because the foreign article cannot be imported at cost price. Thus we have:— page 9
Table F.—Taxes on Food.
Class. Value Imported. £ Duty Paid. £ Cost to Public. £ Remarks.
Grain, Flour, &c. 151,918 17,580 205,237 As above.
Sugar, Molasses, & Treacle 441,418 128,431 154,507 Adding 20 per cent, to duty for intermediate profit.
Tea, Coffee, Cocoa, &c. 229,324 84,276 100,902 Adding 20 per cent, to duty for intermediate profit.
Vinegar 11,816 2,777 3,332 Adding 20 per cent, to duty for intermediate profit.
Other articles 228,277 2,283 2,739 Adding 20 per cent, to duty for intermediate profit.
Total £ 1,062,783 235,347 466,717

The Government would, in round numbers, by the abolition of all duties on food, lose £235,000; being more than 22 per cent, on the value of imported food. But the whole people would gain £467,000, or £1 0s. 9d. a head in the reduced price of food alone: a yearly gain of £5 3s. 9d. to the family of five.

It may be argued, that all the above articles are not "necessaries." I reply that all except the 10 p.c. articles, and even some of them, are necessaries; and that for a consideration of less than £2300 in revenue, it is not worthwhile to make any exception to the total abolition of duties on food and condiments.

It has been argued especially in favour of the duty on sugar and molasses, that they are largely used for distillation and brewing purposes. Allowing this to be the case, I would tax it only when so used, at public breweries and distilleries, where the duty could be collected by the inspectors who ought to be our guardians against adulterated beer and spirits.