New Clause. — (Excise duties on homegrown tobacco to cease.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill. – in the House of Commons on 28th June 1922.

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Photo of Viscount  Wolmer Viscount Wolmer , Aldershot

Yes, though personally I am a pipe smoker. There are other reasons why the tobacco-growing industry should he encouraged. Tobacco is grown on the very lightest soils. It is grown on the sands round Aldershot, which will not bear an ordinary crop. For that reason it is grown in parts of Berkshire and Norfolk. Therefore, if you encourage tobacco growing, you can bring a great acreage of soil under cultivation which you cannot do with any other crop, and that soil, subjected to high manurial treatment, becomes capable of growing oats, barley, and potatoes, and can, therefore, be made a potential food reserve in time of war. It is worth while establishing this industry, which was once flourishing and was destroyed by the action of the State. It gives employment to thousands of people in France, Germany, and other European countries. You cannot establish it unless you are to give it efficient protection, not only against American tobacco but against Colonial. That was recognised by a Liberal Government, and I ask that this Government should grant a remission of Excise Duty. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer feels that he cannot go the whole way in granting us what we ask, I would ask him to receive a deputation of growers, who will be able to show him that this is absolutely necessary if the industry is to be saved. This protection is necessary for at least. 10 years before you can ascertain the exact type of tobacco which will grow beat—there are over 30 different types of tobacco—until you have generated the necessary skill for the growing process and until you have found out exactly which type of manure and which treatment produces the best results. Until the industry has passed out of the experimental stage you have got to give protection, and efficient protection, and that can he done by the most wholehearted Free Trader.