Front Page Titles (by Subject) STATE OF THE REVENUE—REPEAL OF THE HOUSE AND WINDOW DUTIES 6 March 1821 - The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 5 Speeches and Evidence
STATE OF THE REVENUE—REPEAL OF THE HOUSE AND WINDOW DUTIES 6 March 1821 - David Ricardo, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Vol. 5 Speeches and Evidence 
The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, ed. Piero Sraffa with the Collaboration of M.H. Dobb (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005). Vol. 5 Speeches and Evidence 1815-1823.
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First published by Cambridge University Press in 1951. Copyright 1951, 1952, 1955, 1973 by the Royal Economic Society. This edition of The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo is published by Liberty Fund, Inc., under license from the Royal Economic Society.
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STATE OF THE REVENUE—REPEAL OF THE HOUSE AND WINDOW DUTIES
6 March 1821
Mr. Maberly proposed a series of resolutions for the retrenchment of public expenditure and for a reduction of 50 per cent upon all duties on inhabited houses and windows. The motion was opposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and by Mr. Huskisson, who contended ‘that we were not at liberty to take off taxes, unless we preserved the Sinking Fund.’
Mr. Ricardo reminded the right hon. gentleman, that the proposal of this night was not to reduce the Sinking Fund two millions, but to reduce the taxes to that amount; not by taking from the Sinking Fund, but by increased economy. The object was, to relieve the country from a part of the burdens under which it at present laboured. If, however, the motion had been to reduce the Sinking Fund, it should have met with no opposition from him. He considered it a delusion which was encouraged and made to amount to a certain sum, that ministers might be enabled finally to lay their hands upon it and devote it to purposes of unnecessary expenditure. Though the loan of last year amounted to 24,000,000l. there were 9,000,000l. of exchequer bills and 17,000,000l. of Sinking Fund, so that there was in fact a surplus of 2,000,000l. On the other side, it was asked whether it was intended to diminish the Consolidated Fund, which was the security to the public creditor? Yet ministers had been doing so year after year, until the deficiency amounted to 8,000,000l. Now, however, they were greatly alarmed at such a proposal, when in truth the object of the hon. mover was merely to reduce the expenditure. For the year ending the 5th of January, 1821, the Sinking Fund was estimated at 2,500,000l. He hoped it would turn out so; but his opinion undoubtedly was, that it would be considerably below that amount. It appeared to him that the diminution of the unfunded debt, between 5th January 1820, and 5th January 1821, amounted to very nearly 8,000,000l. while the Sinking Fund for the present year was 17,000,000l. making together 25,000,000l. This was in diminution of the debt; but, on the other hand, what had been added to it? The chancellor of the exchequer took a loan of 17,000,000l. and funded exchequer bills to the amount of 7,000,000l. so that an amount of stock equal to 24,000,000l. was added to the debt. Besides this there was a deficiency of the Consolidated Fund to the amount of 400,000l. Deducting therefore 24,400,000l. debt, incurred from the 25,000,000l. debt reduced, 600,000l. was the only real decrease; and he could call nothing a Sinking Fund, but what operated a reduction of the national debt.
The House divided: For the motion, 83; Against it, 109. Ricardo voted for the motion.