Mr. Chamberlain replied to his critics on Wednesday. The Budget,
he said, had been more favourably received than he expected, and no practicable alternative to it had been sug- gested. He did' not think that the. higher Wine Duties would injure France, whose own tariff had been raised against British and other foreign luxuries. His proposal to reduce the Debt by £234,000,000 this year and' by. £300;000,000 next year meant " a prodigious effort " that no other European Power could make, and should inspire confidence: He admitted the objec- tions to the Excess Profits Duty,, but he would not have reduced it last year had he foreseen that manufacturers would continue to make abnormal profits because the demand for goods far exceeded the supply. " He stood or fell " by his increase of the duty to sixty per cent. ;. " there was no going back." But if he could have a levy, on " war wealth," he would maintain the Excess Profits Duty at forty per cent. He objected strongly to a general capital levy, which would exaggerate the hardships caused by a war. that had left us poorer as a nation. But he suggested that a levy on "war wealth " might be " some approach to as equalization of war sacrifice."