HC Deb 02 March 1904 vol 130 cc1478-9

I beg to ask the hon. Member for North Huntingdonshire, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether, in view of the desirability of providing the small farmers and agricultural labourers of Great Britain with the means of obtaining cheap credit for productive purposes, and seeing that the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland, following the example of Continental countries, advances small sums of money to co-operative credit societies working on the Raiffeisen system, he will consider the advisability of recommending the Government to adopt a similar policy for England, Scotland, and Wales in those cases where the requisite funds for cooperative credit societies cannot be obtained from private sources.

MR. AILWYN FELLOWES (Huntingdonshire, Ramsey)

As my hon. friend is aware, the Department of Agriculture in Ireland is in a position to dispose of a large sum of money in such manner as may seem to it most likely to benefit the agricultural and educational interests under its charge; while the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries in England has no such fund. The number of co-operative credit societies in England is not as large as in Ireland but, if the co-operative movement in England should hereafter attain similar proportions, my noble friend the President of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries would give careful consideration to any proposals for assistance which would not involve a serious charge or risk to the Exchequer.

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