asked Her Majesty's Government, If they are now prepared to state what facilities will be given this year for the cultivation and preparation of tobacco in the United Kingdom? When he asked the Question the other day, the noble Lord opposite (Lord Sudeley) mentioned that the Government was waiting for the Report of the Royal Agricultural Society. He (Lord Harris) believed there were one or two Societies which were quite willing to make experiments, and he trusted that the noble Lord would be able to give such an answer as would encourage attempts to be made.
§ LORD SUDELEY (for the Treasury)
The Government are willing to facilitate experiments in the growth of tobacco in the hands of responsible persons; but they are bound to guard the exercise of the power with certain restrictions, so that the experiments may be made without risk to the Revenue. The Government had hoped that before now the Royal Agricultural Society or some other kindred body or person interested in agriculture might have undertaken the experiments themselves, or have ascertained the names of fitting and responsible persons to carry out such experiments. In the event of that being done, the Authorities of the Inland Revenue will be prepared to give facilities to such persons under 1287 proper conditions. It would be impossible at present to give general licences to all the world; though, if the experiments should prove successful, the expediency of establishing a general system hereafter might be considered. The Government regret that the subject was not brought earlier under their consideration, as it is feared that the period of the season we have arrived at is somewhat late for this year; for whatever experiments might be made, in order to their thorough success, they ought to have been carried out somewhat earlier.
§ THE EARL OF RAVENSWORTH
said, he wished to say one word in justification of the Council of the Royal Agricultural Society. They had arrived at the decision which they did arrive at, because the experience of tobacco growth in Belgium which their Secretary was able to bring before them did not, in their judgment, justify them in applying any part of their funds to experiments of a like description at the present moment.