§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD CLINTON
My Lords, this Bill, which I am asking your Lordships to read a second time is introduced for the purpose of amending the Seeds Act of 1920 and is of considerable importance to farmers and other growers of potatoes. 449 It is laid down in the Seeds Act that the vendor shall deliver to the purchaser on or before sale or delivery certain particulars prescribed by the Act or by subsequent regulations dealing with the class and variety of the seed or seed potatoes which he sells. Under the Summary Jurisdiction Act any proceedings regarding any false statement as to the class and variety of such seed or seed potatoes have to take place within six months of the date of the commission of the offence and I am asking your Lordships to extend that six months to twelve in the case of potatoes. It is unnecessary in the case of ordinary seeds because they can be identified at a very early stage, but it is different in the case of potatoes because the tuber itself does not furnish sufficient means of exact identification and they have to be grown and the flower has to be developed before an inspector can say with certainty if they are in accordance with the guarantee. Consequently, as seed is frequently bought in December or January and is not developed in the ground until July or August, the six months have generally elapsed before any proceedings can be taken for alleged offences, with the result that the administration of the Act or regulations under it cannot be properly carried out unless the extension of time is granted. I do not know that I need explain the matter any further and I hope your Lordships will agree to the Second Reading of this Bill.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a—(Lord Clinton.)
§ LORD BLEDISLOE
My Lords, on behalf of the Department I represent I welcome this Bill as strengthening very greatly the Bill of 1920 in relation to the sale of seed potatoes. I may add that potatoes are peculiarly subject to adulteration and, in fact, this has become a very important matter in what are called wart-infested districts. There is no real protection against wart disease in the Act of 1920, and we welcome this Bill and hope your Lordships will pass it.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.