HC Deb 01 May 1922 vol 153 cc976-7
84. Mr. ROYCE

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that the action of his Ministry in ordering the cessation of payment of travelling allowances to members of County Agricultural Committees prevents poor members nominated by the Ministry from attending meetings; and, seeing the value of the services of this class of representation, will he take steps to remove this difficulty?


The question whether travelling allowances shall be paid to members of County Agricultural Committees is a matter for the decision of the county council concerned and not of the Ministry. It is true that the Ministry has decided that it will not repay such expenses in future, but there is nothing to prevent any county council from continuing the allowances if they think fit. I recognise that if the allowances are not continued the difficulty of poor members in attending meetings may be increased, but in view of the need for economy I cannot hold out any hope that the decision of the Ministry will be altered and I may point out that expenses have never been paid in respect of attendance at meetings of any other committee of the county councils.


Does the right hon. Gentleman recognise that his action in refusing to recognise the expenses of men of this class renders it utterly futile to appoint men who are unable to attend because of the cost?


I regret the decision, but I was unable to come to any other. It does not render it any more futile in the case of these committees than in the case of any other committees which are exactly in the same position.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say what is the total cost of the Government in regard to this matter?


Perhaps my hon. Friend will give notice of that question.