HC Deb 09 May 1918 vol 105 cc2415-7

Resolution reported, That it is expedient to authorise the payment, out of moneys to be provided by Parliament, of the Expenses of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, of the Board of Agriculture for Scotland, and of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland, which may become payable under any Act of the present Session to regulate the use of stallions for stud purposes provided that no more than £20,000 be paid in any one year.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."


I have on one or two occasions spoken on this Resolution already, and I have sought to get some information from my hon. Friend (Sir R. Winfrey) as to the allocation of this particular sum between the three Kingdoms. The Bill, of which this is the basis, deals with the three Kingdoms, as I have again and again told my hon. Friend, and this is allocating the money to the Board of Agriculture of the three Kingdoms. But I have sought again and again to get some indication from my hon. Friend as to the amount of this money which will be given to Scotland and to England and Ireland. I have had no reply whatever from my hon. Friend, and I do not blame him, because he is in no way responsible to the Board of Agriculture in Scotland. He is only responsible to the English Board of Agriculture. I blame most emphatically the Secretary for Scotland, who, although this measure has been up before this House on three or four occasions, has never, either by himself or by any of his deputies, put in an appearance here. He has allowed Scottish business to be taken in this House, and to be mismanaged, as it really was in the first instance, and then put right, without taking the slightest interest as to whether the proper sum was allocated to us or whether we should get any at all. I want to know what the Secretary for Scotland is paid for if it is not to attend to the interests of Scotland and to measures in this House which deal with Scottish matters! I wish, therefore, to say that I consider it is not right, and that the Secretary for Scotland and his Lord Advocate and his Solicitor-General are not doing their duty properly to Scotland when they are allowing Scottish matters again and again to come up in this House without putting in an attendance at all. I would conclude by again asking my hon. Friend, or his right hon. Chief, whether he can tell us how much of this £20,000 is to be devoted to England? No doubt he knows that, and we can infer what will be left to Scotland and Ireland between them. It may be that the right hon. Gentleman is not able to tell us the exact sum which will be given to Scotland and Ireland, but it is that I am desirous of knowing. Scottish Members are sent here to see that they get a share of the taxpayers' money, and the proper share to which Scotland is entitled, but as my hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) told us last night, it is eleven-eightieths, or practically one-seventh, of the money. If the right hon. Gentleman can assure us that we will get the share that we are entitled to I shall be entirely satisfied. At the same time I would repeat my earlier observation, that the Secretary for Scotland should be in his place on such an occasion.

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Prothero)

I should say, in reply to the observations of the hon. Member (Mr. Watt), that the Secretary for Scotland entrusted me and my Department with bringing in this Bill, and I think that is the explanation of why it is he has not been present during the discussions. I am very sorry it happened that an answer was given as to the sum required by the three countries which applied only to England. Originally, the sum mentioned as being the sum that England might require was £10,000. I think it was accepted as a suggestion from some Member in the House. That is a sum which is more than England is likely to require, and the sum that the three countries will require may safely be put at £20,000, though the exact proportion in which these sums will be allocated to Ireland and Scotland and England entirely depends upon the number of stallions which have to be registered, and the necessary expenses that have to be incurred. That is not a point which we can settle.

It being a Quarter-past Eight of the clock, and there being Private Business set down by direction of the Chairman of Ways and Means under Standing Order No. 8, further Proceeding was postponed without Question put.