§ 69. Mr. SIMM
asked the Minister of Agriculture how much of the £600,000 voted for providing work for the unemployed on drainage schemes has been used; how many schemes have been approved; and, if the expenditure has been satisfactory, is he prepared to urge the Government to increase the grant and include field drainage, with a view to absorbing more unemployed labour on work of permanent value?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
The commitments in respect of the undertakings to which the hon. Member refers are, approximately, £400,000. The number of land drainage schemes approved is 364, and, in addition, up to 1st April, eight water supply schemes had been approved, and several more are under consideration, but these are allowed for in the figure given. A proposal to extend the present facilities to field drainage, by which, I assume, the hon. Member means tile or mole drainage, or other similar work normally carried out in the course of estate management, was recently considered by the Government, but, in view of the fact that the work calls for skilled rather than unskilled labour, and that a large part of the cost goes in material, it was decided that it was not expedient to adopt it as a means of relieving unemployment.