HC Deb 19 July 1878 vol 241 cc1968-9

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether he would consider the desirability of allowing small farmers in Ireland to grow tobacco, which appeared to be a crop likely to repay culture?


Sir, this is a question which has been several times considered. There was an inquiry before a Select Committee of the House of Commons in 1830, and it was in consequence of the Report of that Committee that the Act was passed which prohibits the growth of tobacco in Ireland. The growth in Great Britain has been prohibited since the time of Charles II. The question was under consideration again, once in 1865, and again in 1870, and the conclusion has always been the same—that it would be impossible, if tobacco is to be maintained as a source of revenue, to allow its growth in the United Kingdom. Excise supervision would seriously interfere with the operations of the grower, and it has also been shown that the amount of duty on the produce of an acre of land, if tobacco is to be taxed as at present, would be so very large that the cultivation of it would be rendered impracticable. It was estimated on the last occasion that an acre would yield 1,500 1bs. of tobacco, and the duty would be £262, exclusive of the cost of supervision, so that it would hardly be considered a crop that could be cultivated by a small farmer.