Overseas Trade

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Pitt contributed to a national revival through taxation policies. He introduced new taxes to raise revenue and he also streamlined the collection of the taxes. Evans describes the first strand of Pitt’s approach to taxation as ‘little more than a shuffling of the Hanoverian pack’. In other words, he was not primarily a financial innovator, but simply varied the range of luxury goods, which were subject to tax. There was a framework that was based on the principle that the government should raise most of its revenue through indirect taxation.

By ensuring that the goods taxed were those consumed by the wealthier classes. This meant that there was likely to be a sudden rise in price of basic foodstuff such as bread; people weren’t happy with the rise in price. Pitt basically introduced new taxes for the benefit of getting the government more revenue and making sure these taxes only targeted the wealthier proportion of the country. The type of products he taxed were luxuries like hair-powder, horses and products that only the wealthier could afford.

However this policy might not have worked because it might have meant an increase in black-market trade. People brought luxuries like hair-powder and horses into the country to sell to the rich illegally, so they would not have to pay tax on the products. Pitt rationalised the system of taxation rather than embark on a radical programme of reform. While attempting to meet the immediate need to raise revenue, Pitt tried to avoid the dangers of overtaxing expanding areas of commercial activity. He explored new ways to gain revenue, but often with little success.

For example he introduced tax on windows, an attempt to capitalise on the increasing trend for private wealth to be converted into housing property. However this was limited because of the tendency of the owners of large properties to respond by simply blocking up their windows. It is fair to say that Pitt did contribute to the national revival, however he did make a lot of policies that failed, like shop tax, coal tax, and an Act in 1784 which compelled bleachers, printers and dryers to take out licenses at a charge of i?? 2 per annum. This had to be abandoned the next year because of pressures from the textiles and materials industry.

Pitt did contribute to the national revival a little bit through taxation, however some of his policies did fail and cost the government money when they were supposed to be saving money. Pitt contributed to the national revival through targeting smuggling. With the country in such debt it was logical for Pitt to combat smuggling first as it accounted for one-fifth of all Britain’s imports. Pitt’s intention was to reduce the attractiveness and profitability of smuggling through a reduction in the duties on those goods, which were most subject to illicit transportation into Britain.

The Commutation Act of 1784 therefore reduced the import duty on tea – it has been estimated that 3 to 4. 5 million tons were smuggled into Britain each year. This was followed by a reduction of wine, spirits and tobacco. The Hovering Act of 1780 increased the threat of detection because it meant that officials could now search ships with suspicious cargoes 12 miles out of port. This helped the National Revival because it meant that less people would take the risk to try to bring goods into Britain and more people would be paying taxes of goods brought into the Britain.

Another policy that helped national revival was the system of bonded warehouses. It was a means of increasing the volume of legitimate trade. Before this, the importer had to pay import duties immediately on they’re landing. With the idea of bonded warehouses the importer put his goods into official storage in a warehouse, where they would be guarded, free of charge. If the goods were taken out of the warehouse for re-export then the importer would be free of charge. The importer paid the duty only when he took out the goods and only on the quantity taken out at any one time.

This proved to be a long-term success, with the value of food and raw materials rising. However this was not Pitt’s idea because it was proposed by Sir Robert Walpole in 1773. So you can not say he was responsible for the national revival because these ideas and policies he got from other people, however it mean Pitt contributed to the national revival because he implemented these idea. As a result of the American War of Independence the country was in huge finical debt. Pitt’s mechanism for dealing with the problem of the national debt was the Sinking Fund – another area of policy where Pitt ‘borrowed’ and then modified the ideas of others.

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