§ Motion made, and Question proposed [17th February], "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £5, be granted to His Majesty to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1911, for the salaries and expenses of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, and of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, including certain Grants-in-Aid. "
§ Question again proposed. Debate resumed.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I would like to say a few words upon the general Vote. Last Friday I asked the hon. Baronet in charge of the Vote (Sir E. Strachey) if he would give us some information in regard to certain items. I beg to thank the hon. Baronet for the courtesy with which he received my communication then, and also for the courtesy with which he gave me certain information in the Lobby. I should like in order that this matter may be recorded that he would give the information here. I want to say a few words on the question of horse breeding. When this Vote was last before the Committee the hon. Member for the Tavistock Division of Devonshire (Mr. Spear) made a suggestion that a stallion should not be allowed to be used for breeding purposes unless there was a certificate by a veterinary surgeon that the animal was sound. I have the old-fashioned objection to the State interfering in a man's private business, and I do not think in this matter the State ought to come in and insist on certain rules and regulations being carried out. I would like to point out that many veterinary surgeons differ in their opinion of what constitutes soundness. You may get an opinion from one veterinary surgeon that a horse is sound, and from another veterinary surgeon that it is unsound. That is a point upon which I do 2273 not think it would be advisable to attempt to enforce regulations. I made an interjection when the Vote on Account was under discussion, and the hon. Member for Stoke said that we on this side wanted everything. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] That is cheered by hon. Members below the Gangway opposite. All through the Debate I thought that Vote was going to be a failure because a large number of people would anticipate great results from it and that the results would be very small. The results are going to be very small; it is true that £40,000 is going to be spent in connection with horse breeding, but that will not go very far. Many people will be disappointed, and the evil passions, which I always dislike, may be aroused. Envy and malice will be accentuated, and for my part I always endeavour to pour oil upon troubled waters.
I am sure there will be great complications between different people competing somewhat actively in order to get the money. It is a most important thing, as everybody knows, except the Labour party, that the supply of horses should be increased on account of the demand for them for Army purposes. I happen to have the management of a considerable number of horses, and I have purchased about 2,800 altogether. I find that the demand for heavy horses is as good as ever it was, notwithstanding motor-cars, and the price, if anything, is a little dearer. The demand for light horses is not very great, but curiously enough the supply is very short. Only yesterday I bought a certain number of horses, and my buyer, who acts for me, bought only five or six light horses. I asked him how it was that he had got such a small number of these horses, and he said it was an extraordinary thing that, notwithstanding motor traction, it was very difficult to obtain these horses, that they were going out of the country, the foreigner buying them all. I said it was a very curious thing, because their must be motor-cars abroad. He said that they buy them for Army purposes. That is a very important thing to remember. I do not object to the foreigner buying horses. I believe if we keep the price of the horse up we shall increase the desire of people to breed because the only solution is to make it practicable for a breeder to produce a fair horse at a fair remuneration for himself. I am afraid that merely giving £40,000 in a desultory way to different people will not have the effect that is desired. I am sorry that hon. Members below the Gangway should have objected even to 2274 this small amount. I trust that the Board of Agriculture will consider whether or not they cannot give a little bit more for the price of the horses that are bought for the Service. That is really the point. If they could recommend the War Office to give a little bit more money——
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am sorry for having made the slip. I think the Committee owe a considerable debt of gratitude to the Board of Agriculture for having taken some step, although they have not gone so far as they might, in dealing with this very important subject. I hope that the hon. Baronet will remember what I said about the pleuro-pneumonia Vote and give me a short explanation upon that point.
§ Mr. BURDETT-COUTTS
To my great regret I was not able to be here last Friday, but I have read very carefully the Debate that took place on that occasion. I confess I am faced with very great difficulty in dealing with the matter by your ruling, because I do not know whether it is really a War Office Vote or a Board of Agriculture Vote. On the face of it it is a Board of Agriculture Vote, but I do not quite understand whether it is so exclusively a Board of Agriculture Vote that we cannot refer to the question of Army horses or to such questions as the want of Army horses in time of peace and in time of war, or to any question such as the price which the Army is to pay for the horses or the purchase by the Army of horses three years old. If I cannot refer to those matters, it makes it very difficult to carry on an intelligent discussion on the subject. If I may give an illustration, the question of the purchase by the Army of horses three years old——
§ The CHAIRMAN
That question is clearly out of order. This is a grant of money which is being spent on the improvement of light horse breeding. To some extent, the demand for light horses must be considered in regard to the question of whether the right steps are being taken in regard to breeding, but otherwise than that the Army demand does not come in.
§ Mr. BURDETT-COUTTS
What I was going to point out was that if the Army purchase three-year-old horses, it might be a more potent instrument to secure the object of this Vote and advance the agricultural interest, than even the methods included in the Vote.
§ Mr. BURDETT-COUTTS
Then the result of such a proposal upon the interests of agriculture, as an alternative to this scheme, or as complementary to this scheme, cannot be referred to. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture, of course, took an attitude which followed your ruling and said that the object of this Vote is entirely an agricultural one, and is not to provide remounts for the Army, and a little further on he repeated in much stronger terms that the sole object was to benefit the agricultural interest. If that is so, why does he confine the scheme to the breeding of horses which are suited for the Army? I think that he said that horse breeding brought profit to the farmer. Is it suggested that the breeding of cart horses, to which the right hon. Baronet has just referred, does not bring profit to the farmer, or the breeding of harness horses, in spite of motors; or the breeding of ponies? I do not quite understand the position taken up by the hon. Baronet in stating that his sole object is for the benefit of agriculture, and then confining the object to the provision of what are practically Army horses and hunters. Cart horses, as we all know, are heavy horses; and from what we have heard from the right hon. Baronet there is considerable profit in breeding them. I think harness-horses will be required, and these horses are bred by the farmer; but there is no assistance given to him generally in horse breeding. There is no consideration in the scheme which is adopted of what is done in foreign countries in Europe, where they provided Government haras. There they provide the stallion, but here you engage the stallion. There they provide various sorts of stallions, so that the farmer can take his mare to the stallion which he thinks best suited to produce valuable stock, according to the conditions of his land and of his market. There is no attempt at all to do that in this scheme, and that is the first criticism that I make upon it. The fact that these two considerations—the Army question and the agricultural question are interwoven, and the fact that the farmers have to meet both, the one benefiting the community in advancing a certain industry, and the other securing to the State the provision of Army horses, really makes intelligent discussion of the subject a little difficult. I think the relationship between these two 2276 objects that are to be secured—the agricultural object and the Army object—both of which, I believe myself, the Government have in view in making this Grant, goes rather further than the mere matter of your ruling, Sir, or the regulations of Debate in this House. I myself have always been an opponent in the past of Government assistance in horse-breeding as long as that industry could be based on sound economic conditions, and could follow the ordinary and natural laws of supply and demand. We have always seen in the past that the breeding of good horses was a most valuable industry, created, maintained, and provided by individual energy, by perseverance, and by the intelligence of the breeders of this country. As long as the breeds could be kept excellent, I was always against nursing an industry of that kind by Government aid.
But the position now is not a natural one—it is an artificial one. It is artificial in this way: We want horses for the Army, we want horses in time of peace, and, what is far more important, we want a reserve of horses kept in this country for the calls of a great war. The second somewhat artificial consideration, or the second consideration that makes up the artificial position of this question is that the industry of horse breeding itself is in a dangerous state in this country. I say dangerous—I mean in danger almost of extinction. That is owing to the fact that foreign Powers have been importing what the Noble Lord the Member for Maidstone (Viscount Castlereagh) calls the "capital of horse breeding"—that is the mares. They have been importing that capital from this country, giving a higher price than anyone here could give in order to produce an income from it in the shape of horses that they send over here for sale. That capital and that industry—if I may use the word without giving offence to hon. Gentlemen opposite—requires some protection on account of this gradual disturbance of the bedrock of the industry. It is important that the industry should be maintained in this country on account of the Army, and in order that we should be able to meet demands in the event of a great war as well as on account of the agricultural interest itself. There is required some sort of protection such as the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has given in his Patent Acts. It may not be in the same form, but it amounts more or less to the same thing. That Act protects English 2277 inventors, and ensures that the articles of foreign inventors shall be manufactured in England. English breeders are in the same position as English inventors. By their perseverance these breeders have created an English industry, and I think it is quite right that they should have a measure of assistance, whether you like to call it protection or not, such as this Grant will give them. May I illustrate this from the policy which is pursued in the United States in regard to horses. The United States put an enormously heavy duty, a duty of nearly 40 per cent. on geldings, that is, horses for harness and for riding. That duty is put upon all horses, in fact, that are not of the recognised breed, and are not registered in the stud books. But in the case of a stallion or mare that is registered in an English stud book, it is admitted absolutely free of duty. What has been the result? The result has been that they have got the raw material over into their country and that they have reproduced the breed in their own country. They admit the raw material into their country in that way by charging no duty upon it, while they charge a very heavy duty upon what might be called the manufactured article. We have been exporting raw material very largely, and it is necessary to adopt some artificial means of saving horse breeding in this country from the results of this continued and increasing process. I do not think it necessary for me to answer the objections made by two or three Gentlemen below the Gangway. I noticed in the report of the Debate last week it was said that this is a scheme to aid landlords and that it is not a grant that would help the people. That is an entirely mistaken view. The horse breeding industry is particularly an industry which must be carried on by the individual. I have always maintained that this subordinate industry ought not to be carried on by farmers under conditions which would necessitate his buying extra food, or taking extra land, or getting extra buildings put up. If it is confined to those limits the farmer can give the personal attention which the horse requires from the very earliest years. There is no extensive scheme that would be really so successful in horse breeding as when it is left to the individual farmer. Surely the individual farmer is not a person whom hon. Members below the Gangway opposite are willing to prevent deriving some benefit from this Government Grant. There were two valuable suggestions made 2278 by the Noble Lord the Member for Thirsk (Viscount Helmsley). One was that the mare should be left with the owner to throw a foal, and when she was three years old taken for Army uses. That is a very important suggestion. It is the practice which I have in my own horse breeding always carried out; or at least something very similar to it. I have always bred from a mare when she was under three years old, and then have always tried to follow her up, and, after her working years were over, possibly buy her back, if I had sold her, to breed from. The advantage of that system is that in the first place you are able to judge and know the sort of foal the mare has produced, and you are able to judge what the mare herself has done, and, therefore, you get the double information as to whether the mare is valuable or fit for breeding from. The suggestion that a county committee should buy cast mares from the Army for the purposes of breeding really goes with the two suggestions I have mentioned. None of those suggestions can be carried out unless there is a system of very careful registration of all the animals that come under the operation of the grant. In foreign countries that is the real secret of their being able to improve the breeds. Every horse has its papers, which accompany it from owner to owner, and from which you are able to find out at any period the horse's career and what it has done. That system, which is necessary in any scientific organisation of this industry, is, I believe, almost unknown in this country. At the time of the South African War there was the finest opportunity in the world for working that system. We might have had a definite record to-day of where the horses came from and the counties from which the most valuable horses came, and of the horses which would be best under similar circumstances for the country. Nothing of the sort was attempted. I do earnestly urge, for any ordered scheme of horse breeding like this, that this matter of watching and recording the careers of all the horses that are connected with it should be carefully considered by those in charge.
The hon. Baronet referred to the show of breeding stallions that was about to take place. He stated that the best class of stallions would obtain premiums. What does he mean by the best stallions? Does he mean the best looking or does he mean the stallions that have produced the best 2279 stock. I have watched very carefully what has been done hitherto by the Royal Commissions with regard to premiums, and I confess it has given me great surprise when I have seen, year after year, ignored altogether what is the only logical course with regard to stallions, and that is as to the stock they produce. I have been at this business of horse breeding for twenty-eight years, and I can assure hon. Members that I would rather breed from the veriest old crock in the country which I knew produced good stock, than I would from the finest looking show horse that ever went into it. I do earnestly impress upon the hon. Gentleman this point that it is infinitely more important with regard to the class of horses the breeding of which he is encouraging, those bred from the thoroughbred, and from what is called the hunter stud book stallion, than it is with regard to cart horses or other breeds. I will explain why. The cart horse and the hackneys and breeds of that kind had in their pedigrees, generation after generation, exactly the proper ties that you want to produce in the stock you are trying to get. The law in breeding is that the prepotence to produce particular qualities, and special qualities, is in proportion to the length of time those qualities have been in the background. I noticed that this law applied with almost certainty, so that when the bolt from the blue, in the shape of motors, came to the breeding of harness horses, I had arrived at the point in horse breeding which I think is very rare—where I could practically in the great majority of cases, produce what I wanted. With regard to thoroughbred horses, it was pointed out last Friday that for 150 years or more, you have been breeding thoroughbred horses for one purpose only, and that is speed. All the other characteristics that you want in the class of horse which this Vote is intended to encourage have been ignored. This has been done to such an extent that if you go to one of the yearling sales at Newmarket you will see a thin slab-sided yearling whose grandfather was second or third in the Derby fetch a higher price than the most perfect hunter that goes into the ring. My argument is that the property of speed, which has been perpetuated in the thoroughbred, although it indicates one valuable quality, is not the one that you want in order to produce the class of horse you are aiming at. You want other properties, and you 2280 can only judge whether the thoroughbred horse will produce those other qualities by seeing his stock. Therefore, I strongly urge, now that you have your County Committees established, that through their instrumentality you might add to the process of judging and awarding premiums some record and some judgment as to the stock the thoroughbred has already produced. I would express my strongest approval of the effort that has been made by the Board of Agriculture in respect of horse-breeding. I think this is an intelligent specimen of the thing that this country needs above all things. Although I am a thorough "whole hogger," I think there is one thing that this country needs even more than and before Tariff Reform: it is a thing in which our rivals have gone tremendously ahead of us; I mean the scientific organisation of industry, and this is a very useful instalment of the recognition of that principle.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have ruled that that question is out of order. This is a grant made by the Development Fund Commissioners, and if hon. Members desire to criticise their administration of that fund they must do so when the Estimate for the Grant comes before the Committee.
§ Mr. WATT
The object for which this money is being used is not one that will be suitable for Scotland. Scotland is not interested to any large extent in horse breeding, therefore this money, according to the views of Scotland, will be wrongly used. Of course, it comes about in this way: that the Development Commissioners are an English body. Scotland has only one representative on that body. She has no Development Commissioners for herself. That being so, the English majority on that Board have overridden the minority, and the scheme suits England better than it suits Scotland. We are getting quite used to that ill-treatment of our country nowadays. Apart, however, from that point, there is this second point, that this money for breeding horses will get into the pockets of the landowners. There is not a Member of the Front Bench who did not object to the Agricultural Rates Acts, because the relief there given would pass into the pockets of the landowners. I daresay the War Secretary was quite eloquent to the electors of Haddington that such would be the 2281 effect of that Act. In the same way this £40,000 from the Development Grant will pass through horse breeding into the hands of the landowners. Notwithstanding the observations made by the last speaker, I believe that would be so. A margin is allowed for tenants, and the balance, because of the competition nowadays in farming, will go into the hands of the landowners. On these two grounds I enter my protest against this money being used for this purpose.
§ Sir THOMAS ESMONDE
I listened with very great attention and interest to the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. Burdett-Coutts), who made a most weighty and valuable contribution to our Debate. We are very glad indeed to listen to the views on the very important question of horse breeding of one whose experience is so extensive as his is. On the general question I should like to say that I am very glad indeed that the Department of Agriculture has at last wakened up to the necessity of doing something in this matter. It is a most extraordinary thing, after all, that in these islands, which have been for so many centuries pre-eminent in the question of horse breeding, the Government so far has practically taken no steps to encourage this most important industry—this great national asset. Other countries which started, as the hon. Gentleman reminded us, if not centuries, at all events generations behind us, have made enormous strides in the direction of improving the breed of the horses of their respective countries, and with the most extraordinary success. I do not know that on the whole, now that the Government of this country has started to deal with this question of breeding horses, that it is going the right way about it. My own view has always been that we ought to follow the example set by foreign countries and establish Government stud farms. I think that would be a very much better, a very much more practical way of dealing with the question than the method which is proposed to be adopted now. However, the proposal is a step forward, and on that ground we welcome it, though I do not imagine it will eventually be found to have the general success that would be desired. The great danger with us in Ireland is the danger of losing our brood mares; that is an old grievance with us. Every important fair you go to in Ireland and even many fairs which are supposed not to be important, you will find there numbers of foreign horse dealers 2282 who secure all the good brood mares. They have been engaged in the process of denuding the country of brood mares for many years, and the breeding of horses in Ireland has been very injuriously affected in consequence. I do not think the allocation of the money now proposed will stop this evil to any large extent, I would prefer to see a larger sum of money devoted to encourage farmers to keep their brood mares at home. The small farmers are not above the temptation of a good sum of money when it is offered them for likely mares, and, for a comparatively small price, therefore, these foreigners carry away the most promising of our brood mares. Not many years ago, I was a member of a Horse Breeding Commission that sat in Ireland. We examined a very large number of witnesses and carried on our proceedings for a considerable time and produced a very voluminous report, which, I presume, was subsequently thrown into some waste paper basket. This Commission, ten or fifteen years ago, reported that this danger of the depletion of Ireland of brood mares was a very serious question, yet it is only now that some small step is taken in the matter, and I do not think that that step is altogether wisely conceived.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Can the hon. Baronet say how he proposes to keep the mares in Ireland? It is a very important question; perhaps he might throw a little light upon that subject.
§ Mr. EMMOTT
I must remind the hon. Member there is a grant for Ireland, and the question how to keep brood mares in Ireland does not really arise here except by way of illustration.
§ Sir THOMAS ESMONDE
I will not pursue the subject. I really rose only to emphasise the interest we take upon this subject and with a view to appealing to the Government in future years when allocating this grant to find out, as they could by a little inquiry, what would be the best way of inducing the farmers both in England and in Ireland to keep their brood mares at home.
§ Mr. GRETTON
I am anxious to corroborate and emphasise as far as I can what has just fallen from the hon. Baronet who 2283 has just sat down. I entirely agree with him that the whole crux of horse breeding requirements and success is to keep the brood mares at home. Unfortunately, we are losing in this country, as they are in Ireland, the old brood mares upon which we relied for our stock. They are all being sold abroad. I remember for several years in succession going to a fair, and I took the trouble of going round the horses for sale, and I found every likely-looking mare was being bought by foreign buyers. Before any other buyers appeared agents of the foreign buyers went round and bought and paid for the best of the brood mares. You cannot produce horses regularly and successfully unless the mares are good. A farmer sometimes gets hold of a good-looking mare. She may be a very good performer in harness, or under the saddle. He works her probably too long and then puts her to the stallion, and you cannot tell in the least what the progeny will be like. Such a mare may breed one good foal, but there is no telling what the next may be. I have tried to breed large saddle-horses, and I have had cases where the first foal is excellent and the second very unsatisfactory, though the stallion has been the same. If we are continually breeding horses in this country we must have a better knowledge of what we want to produce and how to produce them. I agree with what was said by the hon. Member opposite that the right way to set about this business is to get the best mares we can, and I think this money would be better applied in making experiments for the production of good brood mares and distributing them about the country. In that way we should build up the foundation of a more successful method of breeding horses and disseminating that knowledge on the subject which is so much required by agriculturists. I am afraid that this wholesale distribution of prizes will be very wasteful, and will only touch the surface of this great problem. The first thing we have to make up our minds upon is what kind of horses we want to produce, whether for Army purposes, transport, cavalry, or mounted infantry. When we know this we can set to work. When we have got the mares to produce these classes it would pay agriculturists to take part in an industry like that. This is a most important question—in fact it is a national question affecting the whole prosperity of the nation, and if we do not deal with it it will inevitably affect our national proficiency in time of war.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
I have had on former occasions to protest against the purposes to which this money is to be devoted. It has been said that this horse-breeding business will provide work for more men. I have gone into the question with landowners and agriculturists, including the hon. Member for Leith Burghs, and I have come to the conclusion that the spending of this money does not provide employment. Instead of being used for the development of the land the hon. Member for Leith Burghs agrees with me that, on the contrary, it devastates the land. The rougher and more desolate the country the better it is for the purposes of horse breeding. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh."] I am giving the Committee the opinion of those who can speak with authority on these matters, and it must be obvious, even to those who do not profess to understand the subject, that you cannot cultivate land whilst you are breeding the horses. I wish to protest against this money being devoted to this purpose. I cannot find in the Development Act any words authorising the allocation of money for the purposes we are discussing this afternoon. I would like to know how this money was obtained. Did they, in the first instance, develop a scheme and submit that scheme to the Development Commissioners? Upon what ground did the Development Commissioners grant the money at all?
§ The CHAIRMAN
Over and over again I have ruled that question out of order. The hon. Member must not pursue it.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
Is it not permissible, after all, to discuss the purpose for which this money is to be devoted?
§ The CHAIRMAN
It is quite in order, and I did not interrupt the hon. Member when he was doing that. He is now complaining of the distribution of the money by the Development Commissioners, and that does not arise on this Vote.
§ The CHAIRMAN
It is not in order to discuss the source from which the money came, if by that the hon. Member means the Development Commissioners, or to criticise their distribution of the money on these Estimates. It will be in order when the Development Commissioners' Grant comes up in the Estimates.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
Of course, I must bow to your ruling. I do not want to use strong 2285 language, but I certainly do feel strong upon this, and I want to declare that in my judgment this is a piece of jobbery. I am more deeply concerned with the development of the physique of the class to which I belong, which is being decimated by want of employment, than I am for horse breeding; and it is in that sense that I rise to make my protest. If you rule that, I must watch the Estimates on future occasions; and I shall certainly raise a strong protest when the Estimate comes along which shows the Development Commissioners have granted this money for this purpose.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
I am certainly not going to follow the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow (Mr. Watt) as to whether it is a good plan to spend money in horse breeding, because it puts more money into the pockets of the landlord. It would be perfectly futile, and would not add in the least to the interest of the Debate, but I would put this point to him. Even if that were the case, would it not be better to help a man who is sinking his money in the country than on possibly what I may term the idle rich. We know certain Gentlemen who may happen to have made lucky speculations and therefore think they know all about horse breeding, but who have not found land sufficiently big for them and are still budding landlords. I have no doubt, however, the hon. Gentleman before very long will take a different view. The hon. Gentleman stated that in Scotland horse breeding was not required. Possibly in the College Division of Glasgow it is not required, and would be rather difficult to carry out, but there are other parts of Scotland where I would like to remind him we can breed extremely fine horses, and some of the best horses in the country. If the farmers of Scotland have any complaint at all, it is that they have not enough of the Development Grant. I do not think it is perfectly fair for the hon. Member for Leith to say that he objects to it simply because it is going to horses. From whatever point of view he may take it he cannot deny that we are short of horses in this country. We have not yet got universal peace: the hon. Member has not even got peace in his own party. But until we do get universal peace, we must do something to keep our Army prepared for war, and, in these days of motor cars, it is essential to do something to promote horse breeding.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Noble Lord is getting rather wide of the subject. The question of the men of the Army has nothing to do with it.
MARQUESS Of TULLIBARDINE
I was tempted and I fell. I apologise. The hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow must remember after all that this is only one of many Grants, and if Scotland should only have a small portion of it the probability is she will absorb nearly the whole Grant for afforestation.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
This matter is only in an experimental stage, and it is not fair to criticise the allocation of the funds until we have a little more experience. Lest the susceptibilities of the hon. Member for Glasgow may be injured, I may tell him there are no fewer than eight Scotchmen on the Advisory Committee.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I have listened to many speeches of absolute futility in this House, but never to one more futile than that of the hon. Member for East Leeds.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I regret to say I was in an attitude of wakeful boredom. The hon. Member said the rougher the country the better it was for horses.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
I said nothing of the kind. I was quoting the late right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I do not care whence the hon. Member got this illuminating statement, but he used it as an argument for opposing this Vote, and it is a statement worthy to be ranked with the case of the hon. Member, who declared it was easy to get troops from India to Egypt, because the two places were only a few inches apart on the map. I think it right that a protest should be made against this kind of speech, and I hope the hon. Member will not think me personally discourteous when I say it appears to me the acme of narrow-mindedness to object to the Vote on the grounds he put forward. He 2287 objects to the Vote because he says it is one which is intended to help the industry of horse breeding. While so many people in the country are starving and out of employment that was the great objection he took to the Vote. But does he not recognise that when that industry is paying, employment is found for the people and that it is one of the industries of the country which will bring back prosperity to the country. One would imagine that the only thing that was useful in connection with the unemployed was that the Poplar or West Ham local authorities should put on a number of people to sweep up the leaves from the path. That is the view of the hon. Gentleman and those who sit beside him as to useful employment by which these hundreds of men may be kept from starvation. I am sorry to think that speeches of the kind made by the hon. Member should be delivered in this House, and I trust that the Government will for once have the courage of their convictions and will proceed with this Vote and will not allow the opposition of the hon. Gentleman to stand in the way.
I should like to refer to something which was said by the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow (Mr. Watt). My Noble Friend who has just spoken referred to his speech, but I also should like to put on record that the hon. Gentlemen was guilty of making a most amazing statement with regard to Scotland. The hon. Gentleman, with a great air of speaking about something which he knew, said in Scotland there was no horse-breeding to speak of. But all I can say is that he could never have heard of the Clydesdale breed of horses, or of Shetland ponies. The hon. Member is quite wrong, because in Scotland there is an industry for breeding horses. I challenge the hon. Member to go to any agricultural division in Scotland, the most Radical that he can find, and get up before the farmers there and make the statement which he made this afternoon. The whole of this opposition which is given to this Vote this afternoon is founded on one thing and one thing alone—class hatred. I believe these hon. Gentlemen in some mysterious way have come to the conclusion that in consequence of this Vote money may come to flow into the pockets of the landlords. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes, they think that even though it may be money beneficially spent and even though it may be money that improves the country and gives employment, it ought not to be 2288 spent because it is money which in some mysterious way may benefit their political opponents.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
There are one or two financial points which probably escaped the attention of the Government which I am anxious to ask about either on this or on a subsequent vote. One which could be only dealt with on this vote refers to the footnote which appears on page 4 in regard to the Grant-in-Aid under Subhead F. It has never been explained what the true meaning of that is, or why the unexpended balance is going to be expended differently than any other balance. There is also the question why this Vote, in common with a great many other Votes on the Paper, is made to balance so nearly, but not quite. I do not think it is uncharitable to say this is evidently an arranged matter. It will be instructive to the Committee, on this or some other vote, which raises the same point, to know what is the true financial history of these Votes in which the Appropriation-in-Aid is very nearly made to balance the expenditure but not quite. I do not think there can be any doubt that it is an artificial arrangement.
I want to try to reassure hon. Members opposite about their apprehensions that money spent in the encouragement of any particular industry, like horse breeding, really goes to rent. It is a profound economic misconception. The money goes first of all to help an industry—it goes to help the farmers engaged in the industry. If the profit is so great that it induces him very much to increase his business the first effect is to induce him to increase the demand for his produce. Then, if his business grows still bigger, it is conceivable, though in the case of agriculture and horse breeding it is most unlikely, that it may induce him to take more land into occupation, and in that case, no doubt, he becomes a competitor in the land market, and thus, slightly and indirectly, raises rents.
§ Mr. O'GRADY
I was trying to make a comparison as to the amount of labour required in horse breeding and in cultivating the land. My argument was that there would be more employment in cultivating the land than in horse breeding.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
It is not at all likely that this branch of industry would induce the farmer to take land out of arable cultivation. The hon. Member's point is this. Land given to arable cultivation 2289 employs more labour than land under permanent pasture, which would be used for horse breeding. There is not the slightest likelihood that grants of this character and these dimensions would induce a farmer to give up land available for arable purposes and put it into permanent pasture. The general proposition is, I am sure, true that if you help an industry you increase first the profit, next you help the labourer, and lastly, but only indirectly the landlord when the industry has grown so big that there has come a greater demand for land. Hon. Members opposite believe that this Grant went almost directly into the pockets of the landowners. I am sure hon. Members are indebted to the Government for this proposal, which seems likely to be a real benefit, and the great courtesy with which the hon. Baronet has conducted the business of the Government. The Debate has been an interesting one, and the Government have met us in every possible way.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Sir E. Strachey)
The hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) asked me a question about unsound stallions. That is a question which we cannot deal with except by legislation. On the other hand, we have made arrangements that any owner who desires to get a certificate that a stallion is sound can get it. The hon. Baronet further asked what the pleuro-pneumonia account is. It comes in this way. These Grants are paid into the Cattle Pleuro-pneumonia Account for Great Britain under the terms of Section 18 (1) of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894. The second Schedule to that Act contains regulations with regard to the Cattle Pleuro-pneumonia Account, including the disposal of any balance remaining at the end of a financial year. Regulation No. 3 provides that any balance "not required for the purposes of this Act" may be paid into the Local Taxation Accounts for England and Scotland in repayment of any sums which have been paid to the Cattle Pleuro-pneumonia Account out of the said Local Taxation Account (see Section 18 (2) of the Act). In actual practice a small balance only remains at the close of a financial year, and occasion has not yet arisen for disposing of any balance in the manner contemplated by Regulation No. 3.
As regards the question raised by the hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. Burdett-Coutts), I am sure the Committee, like myself, listened with the 2290 greatest interest and attention to the remarks he made. I can assure the hon. Member that his speech, with the exception of the part which he described as only Protection chaff, will receive the careful consideration of the Board of Agriculture. The hon. Member appeared to think that more attention should be given to the breeding of Army horses. I have some diffidence in differing from the hon. Gentleman, but I should have thought that horse breeding affected a great many more people than those who want to breed remounts for the Army. I know that the breeding of light horses is carried on for vans, traps, and many purposes in the agricultural districts. I know also that this is a question in which farmers take the greatest interest, not merely from the point of view of Army re mounts, for they know that the demand for that purpose is very small. It is something under 3,000 horses a year to make up the wasteage. The interest they take in horse breeding goes very much further than that. The reason why we confine ourselves to the class to which we are now giving attention is that it is the class which requires the greatest help at the present moment. The hon. Gentleman opposite takes a keen interest in the breeding of hackney horses, but that is a class supported by people who are able to pay high prices for service. I do not say that it would not be desirable to increase the number of other horses bred in the country. As regards the exportation of mares I am sure the proposals of the Board of Agriculture will do something to keep mares in this country. We propose to buy annually 200 brood mares, and we believe that will be a great help in keeping mares in the country. The arrangements we have made for a large number of free services ought to induce breeders to keep good mares. They will be able in that way to get free services of stallions which they would never be able to get on account of the fee which they would have to pay. The hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. Burdett-Coutts) asked how the selection was to be made. I think I am justified in saying stallions will be selected for the King's premiums at the Islington Show next March. I should suppose we may take it that the judges there, who are some of the most competent men in the country, will select the very best stallions in the competition. The hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow said that this money was all going into the pockets of 2291 the landlords. If that argument is true it is an argument that might be used against making any grant at all for the improvement of agriculture. The hon. Member might equally say that we should not make any grants for agricultural colleges for scientific investigation or research. If that argument has anything in it there is no use spending any money for the benefit of agriculture, because it will go into the pockets of the landlords. Personally I must confess I do not think a halfpenny of it will go into the pockets of the landlords. It will go into the pockets of the tenant farmers.
§ Sir E. STRACHEY
I can assure my hon. Friend that I have no desire to misrepresent him. I can only say that if it is said of this grant it might equally be said on other agricultural grants that it would go to the landlords. The whole object of this grant is the improvement of the breeding of light horses in this country, and like the improvement of any other particular branch of agriculture it will benefit the farmers, and the farmers themselves are certainly of opinion that this money will go indirectly into their pockets, by the obtaining of better prices for the horses that they breed. The hon. Baronet the Member for Wexford (Sir Thomas Esmonde) referred to what was going on in Ireland. He used it as an illustration of what would happen in this country. I have already dealt with that. I have already said in reply to the hon. Member for Westminster what we were doing by giving these free service nominations, and also by preventing brood mares being sold out of the country. I have answered, I hope, to the satisfaction of hon. Gentlemen the questions which have been put to me. We had a very interesting Debate last week, and another to-day. The various points that have been mentioned will be considered by this Board. It is only seven weeks ago that this Grant was made, and I hope the Committee will give us the money and so enable us to do what I feel perfectly certain the scheme will do, and that is a great deal to improve the breeding of light horses.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolution to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next.