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the County Councils, and should formulate some project for raising otherwise the 36 millions a year at present derived from the drink duties.
Compensation. The fate of any project for reforming the liquor law depends largely on this question. In another Tract,* the history of the subject is given, and the case against compensation fully stated. The Fabian Society, however, has always contended that any particular portion of property taken (except by taxation) for public purposes must be paid for by the community, and that the transfer of land and capital from private to public ownership must not be effected at the sole cost of the individuals in possession. Any such expropriation would be not unreasonably condemned as robbery, and would, in the end, bring about reaction.
Now it may fairly be contended that licences are an actual, though' perhaps not a legal, property. They are reckoned as personalty by the Inland Revenue authorities, and probate duty is charged upon their values. That they are freely bought and sold at enormous prices is notorious; and the faci that in a few obscure cases renewals are refused by the justices, through no fault of the holder, indicates the theory rather than the practice of the law. It must, however, be remembered that the introduction of high licence will greatly simplify compensation by depriving public-houses of much of their present speculative value.
In our view, therefore, the matter is eminently one for compromise. On the one hand, it is certain that no Bill which provided for purchase of licences at the present market value could pass the House of Commons. On the other hand, the opposition to any proposal involving the wholesale confiscation of licences would be irresistible. Both proposals would have the same practical result : nothing would be done. The difficulty could be partly met by providing a period of notice, for five or more years, during which holders should be guaranteed possession of their licences subject to good behavior. In addition, a tax might be levied on the private licenceholders who remain, for the benefit of those whose licences are extinguished; and, where the municipality takes over the whole of the licences, a court should have power to award equitable annuities payable out of the profits of the trade, to those who have suffered loss by the transaction. Moreover, provision should in all cases be made for employees who suffer, temporarily or permanently, by loss of work. On some such lines as these a solution of the difficulty will probably be found.
Side Issues, We have not dealt with a large number of debateable matters, such as Sunday closing, closing on election days, sale of liquor to minors, licences for clubs, hotels, etc. Our view is that these are not matters over which local authorities should have legislative control. Parliament must decide upon the hours and times of opening
* Fabian Tract No. 85.
and closing, and the law, whatever it is, must be a general one. to clubs and hotels, the difficulties connected with them are no doubt important, but they are by no means insuperable. It is not necessary here to set forth detailed plans as to their inclusion in our scheme. If the broad lines of our proposal should be adopted, there will be no great difficulty in bringing clubs, hotels and restaurants within their scope.
Conclusion. Our task is now at an end. We have condemned local option and local veto because they would not effect the object for which they are designed, that is, the diminution of drinking and drunkenness, and because they are not designed to interfere with the private ownership of a monopoly created by law yielding enormous profits which are now used for the encouragement of excess and the corruption of politics.
We have proposed to meet this evil by transferring the value of licences to the public purse, and by encouraging municipal management of the traffic, thus destroying the power of “the Trade over politics, removing the incentive to the retailers to force drink on unwilling consumers, and allocating the profits, not to extension of trade, but to such educational or recreative purposes as are likely to materially compete with the attractions of drink.
POSTSCRIPT TO THE FIFTH EDITION. For further information on the subject of this Tract consult The Case for Municipal Drink Trade, by Edward R. Pease (P. S. King and Sons; 1904. 25. 6d. net).
The preceding pages have been reprinted from the stereo plates of the second edition, which itself was but little altered from the first edition. A few points must be noted in which the statements made are no longer correct.
Page 2 (second paragraph).—The late Conservative Government passed two Licensing Acts, one reforming various administrative details, and the other creating a system of compensation. Moreover the Reports of the Royal Commission are more valuable than we anticipated.
Page 3, line 12.—Erratum. Kansas City is not in Kansas State, but in Missouri, and was consequently under local veto and not prohibition.
Page 3, line 30.-For “last year” read "in 1897."
Page 4, par. 3.—This was written before the origin of the Passive Resistance movement, which, however, does not affect its validity.
Page 5, par. 3.-The present compensation law would not apply to the condi. tions suggested. See next page.
Page 13.-London Vestries are now converted or combined into Metropolitan Boroughs. School Boards are abolished, and the Technical Education Board of the L.C.C. has no longer a separate existence.
Page 15, par. 3.-Parish Councils are now elected for three years, and the force of the objection to their management of the liquor traffic is therefore modified.
Page 17.—The statement that redundant licences had been refused by justices only “in a few obscure cases was true when written, but the practice afterwards became more general, and the cases were no longer obscure.
Since the first publication of this Tract in 1898, the question dealt with has attracted wide attention and much has happened, which however does not materially affect the arguments and illustrations used.
The additions to the literature of the licensing question are very large.
Messrs. Joseph Rowntree and Arthur Sherwell have written a series of books beginning in 1899 with their Temperance Question and Social Reform (Hodder ; 6s.), which states the case for public management with a wealth of invaluable detail, and including British Gothenburg Experiments and Public House Trusts (Hodder; 1901. 2s.6d.); Public Control of the Liquor Traffic (Richards ; 1903. 2s. 6d. net), and other works, all of high value.
The Final Report of the Royal Commission on the Operation and Administration of the Laws relating to the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors
, consisting of a Majority Report, a Minority Report (drafted by Lord Peel and often called by his name) and appendices, was issued in 1899, and is a valuable storehouse of facts. Price 3s. 3d.
The Case for Municipalization has been set forth by Edward R. Pease in the volume noted at the beginning of this Postscript ; whilst all that can be said against it is given in The Commonwealth as Publican, by John Walker (Constable; 2s. 6d. net), to which Public Control of the Liquor Traffic, mentioned above, is a crushing rejoinder.
A striking book which impartially reviews the question, and criticizes with effect some arguments used by municipalizers (in this Tract, amongst other places), is Drink, Temperance and Legislation, by Arthur Shadwell. (Longmans; 1902. 5s. net).
A bibliography up to 1904 is given in the Case for Municipal Drink Trade.
The vexed question of compensation, under the existing law, has been settled by the Licensing Act of 1904, which provides that compensation shall be paid for licences whose renewal is refused on the sole ground of redundancy, and that the compensation money shall be charged on the other licences within the Quarter Sessions area. It must be observed that this compensation is based on the present system of private ownership of licences, and could not be applied to any transfer of licences to a public authority or any system of local veto. So long as private owners have a monopoly of the supply of a district, the compensation for a few cancelled licences can and may fairly be charged on the rest. But were all the licences refused in any area or part of an area, there would be no possibility or no justice in charging compensation on the remainder. And if any local authority took over all the licences, it is clear the compensation to be paid could not be made chargeable under this scheme. Our arguments on page 17 are not therefore materially affected by the change in the law, though the paragraph would now be written in a different manner, and the alteration of the law does not directly affect the question of municipalization.
In respect of new licences, however, the Act of 1904 makes a great advance. On all new licences granted the justices are now required to secure to the public the monopoly value, either by taking other licences in exchange or by charging an annual licence-rent or a lump sum ; and the money so received is used for general public purposes. Moreover the justices may attach to new licences any conditions they ihink "proper in the interests of the public." New licences may be granted for terms not exceeding seven years. Another reform effected by the Act is the cancelling of the special immunities of the ante-1869 beer houses.
Meanwhile the principle of public control has made great advances in other directions. The Central Public House Trust Association (15 Dean's Yard, Westminster, S.W.), started by Earl Grey in 1901, has organized throughout nearly the whole of England county associations for acquiring public houses to be managed in the interests of the public. After payment of a moderate fixed dividend to shareholders, the balance of profit is devoted to purposes of public utility. These companies have been formed under the most distinguished auspices; they have already acquired over 233 public houses ; dividends have been paid by 13 out of 38 companies; but the process of securing licensed premises by private arrangement must be a slow one, and cannot in any reasonable period extend very far.
The People's Refreshment House Association, working on the same lines, has also made progress, and the Co-operative Public Houses movement, begun at the Hill of Beath mentioned on p. 15, has also spread to other villages. Particulars of all these are given in several of the volumes mentioned above, and the latest statistics. can be obtained from the Central Public House Trust Association.
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