HC Deb 10 August 1893 vol 15 cc1857-60

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

[Mr. Roby in the Chair.]

Clause 1.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)

I rise not for the purpose of opposing the Bill, but to ask for one or two explanations with regard to it, and I think that probably I shall have to move to omit Sub-section 3 of this 1st clause. The first question I want to ask is as to the principle on which the division of the funds for the purposes of the Act is to be determined as between Ireland and England? Under the Pleuro-Pneumonia Act a certain sum was awarded to England, and another sum was placed at the disposal of the authorities in Ireland. There is no mention of such a method being adopted in the present Bill. I should, therefore, like to know how much of the fund which is granted out of Imperial funds is to be placed at the disposal of England, and how much at the disposal of Ireland?


suggested that the sum should be fixed in accordance with the number of pigs in each country. He did not know what the respective numbers were.


As the right hon. Gentleman I think knows, the original proposition in the Pleuro-Pneumonia Bill was that a certain sum of £20,000 should go to Ireland, but in the practical working of the measure that system broke down, and it was found to be necessary to make grants-in-aid to Ireland out of the surplus of the amount allocated to England. We intend to follow the precedent thus established with regard to swine fever, and to allocate to Ireland as much of the money as is necessary to meet the requirements of the ease.

* MR. STRACHEY (Somerset, S.)

asked whether the recommendation contained in Paragraph 37 of the Report of the Departmental Committee, with reference to giving the Board of Agriculture necessary power to slaughter and pay all the costs of administration of the Act, was embodied in the Bill?


It was found necessary that we should have more powers than were given by the Pleuro-pneumonia Act, as it would be necessary in some cases to destroy premises entirely. The right of entry which we have for foot-and-mouth disease is not sufficient. We therefore take powers in the Bill to destroy pig-styes.

MR. H. HOBHOUSE (Somerset, E.)

said, no limit was fixed as to the amount of compensation that might be given under Sub-section 2. He imagined that the Board of Agriculture would adopt the limit mentioned in the Report of the Committee. If not, he thought the House ought to have some notice of the kind of rule which would guide their proceedings. On another point, there was nothing in the Bill to show that Great Britain would receive a due proportion of the money that was to be divided between Great Britain and Ireland.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

Is this the Home Rule Bill?


said, he was sure he would be called to Order by the Chairman if he was out of Order. Although Unionist Members had always been subjected to interruption on the Home Rule Bill, be trusted that this non-controversial measure might be discussed without interruption. He wished, further, to know whether, supposing there was a larger surplus from the Pleuro-Pneumonia Fund than the £50,000, it could be used for the purposes of the Bill?


pointed out that the allocation of a certain sum for Great Britain and a certain sum for Ireland under the Act of 1890 was done away with by the Act of 1892, which provided that the whole sum should be apportioned as the Treasury might direct. That plan had been adopted in the present Bill. At the same time, the intention was that if more money than the £50,000 was required, and there was a balance of the Pleuro-Pneumonia Fund, any portion of the balance should be used by the Treasury in aid of the expenses arising under the Bill. If these funds were not sufficient, the Local Taxation Account in Great Britain and the equivalent Fund in Ireland would be drawn upon.


I want to ask a further question on this point, because, although I understand the right hon. Gentleman to a certain extent, I do not think the whole matter is cleared up. Assuming that there happens to be no pleuro-pneumonia in existence, how can there be any funds to the credit of the Pleuro-Pneumonia Account? Do I understand that in such a case the President of the Board of Agriculture would go to the Treasury and ask for funds to be placed to the Pleuro-Pneumonia Account to be used for the purposes of the Bill? If there was no pleuro-pneumonia to be dealt with, which seems to me to be extremely probable, it appears to me that the only funds that would be at the disposal of the Board of Agriculture for the purposes of the Bill would be the £50,000 for the financial year 1894–5. If that is so, I shall be bound to move an Amendment to Sub-section 3. I have one word only to say with regard to the suggestion that has been made to limit the compensation to be given for the animals slaughtered. I hope the President of the Board of Agriculture will not entertain that suggestion. It is true that under former Acts the compensation was limited, but I think that was very hard. I know many cases of pigs belonging to labourers which, when fattened for Christmas, are worth £8 or £10. I think the amount of compensation should be left to the discretion of the Board, which, I presume, would pro- ceed under a system of valuation, in which case no harm could arise.


As far as my own information goes—and, of course, I cannot commit myself on he point—I should say that any President of the Board of Agriculture would be very unwise if he did not ask the Treasury to assent to a sum being set apart for the purpose of a Pleuro-Pneumonia Fund, because, although there may be little or no disease, of course you cannot tell what may happen. That sum, if not needed for dealing with pleuro-pneumonia, would be available for swine fever. Of course, I cannot commit any future Chancellor of the Exchequer or Secretary to the Treasury, but in my opinion it would be proper to have a sum voted for the purposes of the Pleuro-Pneumonia Act, whether the disease existed or not.


It would be in the power of the Treasury, under this Bill, to allot that sum for the purposes of swine fever?




Does the Bill provide for compensation for destruction of property if the styes are destroyed?



Mr. HENEAGE (Great Grimsby)

said, he was not quite satisfied with the opinion of the Secretary to the Treasury, that it would be in the power to set aside a sum of money for pleuro-pneumonia if there was no pleuro-pneumonia in existence, but no doubt the question would be looked into by the Government before Report.

SIR R. WEBSTER (Isle of Wight)

said, it was rather important that the Government should ascertain whether such a power existed, and he hoped it would be considered.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the third time To-morrow.