§ Considered in Committee under Standing Order No. 71A.
§ [MR. ROBERT YOUNG in the Chair.]
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That it is expedient that the limitation of one hundred and forty thousand pounds imposed by section eighteen of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894, on the moneys which may be provided by Parliament towards defraying the costs in such section mentioned and be paid to the cattle pleuro-pneumonia account for Great Britain shall not apply to moneys so provided in either of the financial years ending on the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and twenty-four, and the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and twenty-five."—[King's Recommendation signified.]
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Noel Buxton)
The Resolution deals with a clear necessity arising from melancholy circumstances which have aroused great interest in the country. Not only have numberless farmers been brought into dire trouble, but several hon. Members of this House have also suffered from the epidemic of foot-and-mouth disease in such a way as to call for our deepest sympathy. The Resolution paves the way for a Bill which will enable the Ministry to meet the cost of the present visitation, which has proved very much in excess of the statutory limitation imposed by Act of Parliament. Section 18 of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894, provides that any expenditure under the Act in excess of an annual sum of £140,000 shall be charged upon the local taxation accounts, but there has been a practice for at least 25 years to regard expenditure on foot-and-mouth disease as a charge borne by Imperial rather than local funds. Consequently, although for convenience funds to defray the expenses by way of compensation and so on have been obtained in the first instance by drafts on the local 1420 taxation accounts, it has been the practice to recoup the accounts by votes of Parliament. That was the procedure up to 1922. In that year there was an outbreak very much greater than any that had occurred for a very long time, and it cost £751,090. The then Government decided to depart from the usual practice, and that only one-half of the cost should be defrayed from Imperial funds, leaving the remaining half to be borne on local funds. A Bill was passed to give effect to that decision.
In regard to the present epidemic the late Government had to decide what should be done to pay for it, and not long before they left office it was agreed that the greater part of the expense should be borne by the Exchequer. The present Government have decided to follow that procedure. Of the maximum sum of £140,000, which, by the Act of 1894, may be voted annually to defray the cost of dealing with diseases of animals, £40,000 has always been kept back for swine fever, so that only £100,000 is left for dealing with other diseases. This outbreak is estimated to cost the enormous sum—comparatively speaking—of £3,250,000. It is proposed that the share of the expenditure chargeable to the Local Taxation Account, in the case of England, shall be limited to a sum estimated at £250,000. The amount chargeable to the Local Taxation (Scotland) Account will be 12/88ths of the share borne by the English account. In view of the possible contingency that it may be necessary to exceed next year the amount allowed by Statute, it is proposed to remove the limitation for two years.
As the matter has attracted very wide interest, I should like to review the history of the series of outbreaks which occurred in the last eight. mouths. A very abnormal outbreak it has been—unlike anything which has occurred for 40 years past. The first case occurred in August at Rotherham. Since that date 2,600 outbreaks have occurred in 37 different counties in England and Wales and 11 counties in Scotland, and these have involved the slaughter of 89,000 cattle, 30,000 sheep, 42,000 pigs and 111 goats. The estimated expenditure on compensation alone—I have had the latest figure just given me—is £2,851,000. A new feature, and a very disturbing feature, in this recent outbreak is represented by the number of apparently unconnected centres of the disease estab- 1421 lished in widely spread localities. Another is the extreme rapidity with which infection has spread from farm to farm. Several hon. Members know how rapidly it spread in Cheshire and Shropshire. Until the third week of November the new centres, excepting in the Cheshire area, were stamped out. On the 18th of November some pigs which arrived at Newcastle from Scotland contaminated the railway sidings, and no less than 160 further outbreaks in the Midlands resulted from that contamination. That was a most serious state of things, and it caused a sudden rush of work on the part of the Ministry's Veterinary Department. Since December the situation has rapidly improved, and whereas in the last week of that month there were 319 outbreaks on separate farms, in the past week there were only 55. There has been a very rapid and a great improvement, and it encourages the hope that the disease is now well under control and the hope that the restrictions which are still in force over a very wide area may soon be removed. But it has been found necessary, as I have said, to provide for the removal of the limitation on public expenditure for another year in order to be on the safe side.
The figures are grave enough, but when we consider the total number of cattle in the country, the matter takes on a form which is a little more reasonable. The mortality amounts to 1…3 per cent. cattle, 0…15 per cent. sheep, and about 1…5 per cent. pigs, but in Cheshire the losses have been extraordinary. There, about 50,000 cattle, including 42,000 cows, or 34 per cent. of the cow population of the county, have been slaughtered. The Ministry decided early in January that the isolation policy instead of the slaughter policy could be safely adopted in certain circumstances and it was adopted especially in connection with very valuable herds, and 26 premises in the Cheshire area have been isolated in accordance with this decision. Before saying a word about the slaughter policy, which naturally has given rise to a good deal of discussion, I would to get the House to realise the extraordinary difficulty of the situation. I asked that I myself should be taken to see the procedure which is followed when an outbreak occurs. I visited a farm in Middlesex and saw what takes place on farms quite near to large centres of 1422 population, where you are attempting to establish isolation. You have policemen at the gate. Everybody going in and out has to be disinfected. The footpaths are disinfected. The officials of the Ministry are there and at great expense an attempt is made to establish complete isolation but the boundaries of a farm could not be certainly isolated without barbed wire entanglements which would run to many hundred of miles if that policy were to be attempted all over the country. The particular farm which I visited illustrated the extraordinary difficulties under which we are working. On this day week a cow developed the symptons. Notification was sent out and the following morning six more cows had become infected and before a party of slaughterers could be brought on the scene, pigs had been infected and, in one case, calves were at the point of death already from the disease alone, before they were slaughtered. There were only six cows actually affected but 80 cows had to be slaughtered and 60 pigs. The features which struck me were the extraordinary rapidity with which the disease worked—the rapid deterioration which occurred in the affected cattle in almost a moment of time—and the impossibility of isolating a farm, especially in a rather thickly populated part, where there is nothing on earth to prevent, for example, poachers in the neighbourhood from rabbiting in any part of the farm at any time they think fit.
The slaughter policy has been called into question and very naturally is a subject of great public interest. Apart from the isolation just mentioned, the Ministry has maintained the policy of eradication by the immediate slaughter of all infected animals. That policy was subjected to an exhaustive review two years ago by a Committee of which Mr. Pretyman, formerly Member for Chelmsford, was Chairman, and that Committee reported on the whole strongly in favour of the policy. Owing to the highly infective nature of the disease, isolation has, as a rule, been adopted only in a few eases of pedigree stock of very high value. Prior to 1922 the slaughter policy was very successful, and the average annual cost to the Exchequer for 30 years before 1922 was £9,000 a year On the Continent, where the disease is endemic, isolation has been adopted of necessity—it would be impossible to 1423 stamp out foot-and-mouth disease in most Continental countries—and the annual loss, for instance, in France, is said to be about £5,000,000, and in Holland the amount lost is estimated at £2,500,000. Despite the heavy cost which the slaughter policy involved two years ago and the still greater cost now, it has never been in question whether the policy of mere isolation is not a failure compared with our policy. I have thought it over carefully, and in order to get a complete review of the situation I have asked Mr. Pretyman to preside over a Committee which will consist of some other gentlemen, as well as himself, who were members of the former Committee—the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry, Mr. H. German and Mr. Alexander Batchelor. I have asked them not merely to review the whole situation and the procedure adopted, but to go again into the comparative results and to state their opinion between one policy and the other.
This country has an unusual chance. I think I may make some remarks upon the subject as it is attracting so much interest, although the central question is sub judice. I feel it is very important to know that this country, being an island, is capable of getting clear much more easily than other countries. Experience also shows that the results of slaughter have given satisfaction in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden. The United States had the disease in 1914–16 and they eradicated it by slaughter at an expense of £1,500,000, since when they have been entirely free. In the same way, [...]rinderpe.st has been completely stamped out in this country, as well as other diseases which we hardly hear spoken of now, but which sonic of us remember to have been very common in this country. If the disease were to become established and endemic here, as it almost certainly would become if isolation were adopted, among the subsidiary results would be the serious effect upon our export trade which we all know is a highly valuable item. Isolation not only requires too elaborate an organisation to be effective, but even in the few cases in which it has been adopted recently it has been very difficult to control the spread of the disease, and a. few cases have usually been traced to infection from premises on which isolation had taken 1424 place. The buildings an most farms are quite unsuitable for isolation, and you would require something much more elaborate to snake the system a real success. Up to now we have the opinion of the majority of British agriculturists in favour of the slaughter policy, and during the present attack both the Councils of Agriculture for England and Wales and the Statutory Agricultural Advisory Committee have approved of the policy of the Ministry. Another important consideration is that Great Britain has had extraordinary success with the policy in the past, and that the difficulty of isolation would be greater here than elsewhere because of the much greater stock of sheep in this country. Other countries have a much lower stock of sheep, and we have an unusual area of pastures on which sheep run together and on which it would be impossible to carry out any effective isolation.
There was, unfortunately, delay at the height of the epidemic in Cheshire which led to very distressing results. It may be asked why the disease took such a special hold upon Cheshire. One reason was that infection was carried to the railway sidings at Crewe, and there a large number of animals were infected, which spread over a very considerable area within reach of Crewe, and the Ministry, which, with proper economy, normally maintains only a nucleus staff, was suddenly called upon to get together a perfect army of men to deal with the outbreaks. Fences are not good enough to snake isolation easy, and difficulty was experienced in obtaining the necessary butchers in the short time. Therefore, when 6O to 80 outbreaks a day were occurring, to my mind it is marvellous that the outbreaks were dealt with as rapidly and as efficiently as they were. Restrictions are still being maintained over all infected areas within a radius of 15 miles. No movement of animals is allowed out of these areas, but movement of fat stock is permitted from one area to a slaughter house in another, and there are some other exceptions, details of which I shall be glad to give if any hon. Member wishes to have them. Hunting is prohibited, of course, in all these infected areas, and I hope the House will approve of my action in presenting an obdurate front to the demand for relaxa- 1425 tion of the hunting restrictions. The matter is far too serious to play with on account of any interest. All the areas are kept watched continually, and expenditure, of course, on such a large staff is very great indeed.
The reference to the Committee which I have appointed will, I hope, meet with the approval of the House. It is:—To examine into the circumstances of the recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, to review and report upon the slaughter policy and the procedure adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture, to advise whether any further precautions should be taken to guard against the introduction and spread of the disease, and to consider whether a scheme of insurance can he devised as an alternative to the existing system of compensation for slaughtered animals.One other subject remains on which I would like to say a few words, and that is the question of research. Research, to my mind, presents the only aspect of interest and satisfactory work on which we can dwell with pleasure in connection with animal disease. There is very magnificent work done at the laboratories of the Ministry, and at other laboratories, some of which the Ministry assists with money, up and down the country. The possibility of such a visitation recurring, to my mind, necessitates much greater attention being paid to research, both into the causes of the epidemic and also into the possible means of immunising stock against infection. The idea has prevailed hitherto that we were putting our foot upon the disease, and, therefore, research did not get very serious attention in this country till a few years ago. Prior to 1920, I find, there was no particular investigation, and, indeed, it was because of the extreme danger of spreading the disease. In 1912, a Commission was sent to India, with instructions to begin the investigation of the origin and means of transmission of the disease, but they found it was impossible to make any satisfactory progress with their studies because of the universal prevalence of the disease in a mild form, so that animals for experiment could not be found that were either free from the disease or not to some extent immune from it.
Following that, in 1920, a Committee was appointed, under the Chairmanship of Professor Muir, of Glasgow, which made investigations into the artificial cultivation of the virus and into the 1426 visibility of the microbe, the bacillus, but no success has as yet been met with in that respect. The Committee established a laboratory at Harwich, they asked the Admiralty for a disused warship, they anchored two lighters, on which the animals lived, alongside this ship, and for seven months they carried on research, but at the end of that time they came to the conclusion that it could not be profitably carried any further. The number of animals was too limited, there was great difficulty in maintaining a supply of virus, and another trouble has been that the virus, when brought from a distance, loses its virulence with great rapidity, and most variably and unexpectedly. The pathologists in charge failed to discover within the period any method of cultivating the virus, and the Committee concluded that they had better stop, unless it could be continued on a much larger scale, preferably on an island. They spent £13,000 on that piece of work.
For many years there has been continuous and organised investigation by the efficient veterinary staffs of countries where the disease prevails widely, such as France, Germany, Switzerland, and Holland, and in spite of all that, the greatest difficulties have been met, owing t to the fact that the virus is ultramicroscopic. This is a general question of interest, not only in connection with foot-and-mouth disease, but scientists all over the civilised world are working at this matter of visibility or ultra-invisibility, and when that has been advanced, foot-and-mouth disease, with other diseases, will be dealt with with far greater ease. There is work being done all over the world on what is really the basis of research, but so far these investigations have not succeeded. They have not cultivated the organism, and they have not found a vaccine. Quite lately, a German investigator was said to have made a very great advance, and the German Government gave permission for him to discuss the matter with one of our representatives. One of our officials has been sent, and we are awaiting his report.
There are experiments being carried out under the Ministry's chief veterinary officer, and we are examining the possibility of further investigations. Sir Robert Sanders referred the question to the well-known scientist, Sir William 1427 Leishman, as to the proper sphere of inquiry, and I propose to appoint a Committee, consisting of both veterinarians and human pathologists, with instructions to frame a scheme of investigation, and then to allocate to each branch of [...]16 the particular individuals who are most suitable, the Committee to supervise and to co-ordinate the results. That will cost money, and we have obtained the consent of the Treasury for a sum sufficient to carry on that work for some years. We cannot anticipate that this very difficult inquiry will come to an end for a very long period. It might be several years before any adequate results were obtained. I think we may hope that such an exhaustive inquiry, which has not been necessary before in this country, may lead to very valuable results, which have never been gained in this country up till now. I think that is all I had better say now. It seems to me that from this very sombre subject one very fine thing emerges, and that is the unremitting work done by those concerned with the outbreak, and the untiring labours connected with the research which has already been carried out.
§ Mr. EDWARD WOOD
I wish to associate myself at once, most wholeheartedly, with the right hon. Gentleman's concluding observation as to the acknowledgment that all parties, I am sure, would wish to pay to those public officials and other scientific individuals and organisations who have been doing their best to com[...] but the plague with which this Money Resolution is concerned. I think the Committee will not be other than grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for the fact that he has taken advantage of the occasion of the introduction of this Money Resolution, on which he proposes to found his Bill, to give the Committee a general review of the position as he sees it to-day, and to give some extremely valuable information as to the Departmental action that has been and is being taken, and that he has also in more immediate contemplation. Everybody who has had any experience at all of what this outbreak has meant to the agricultural community—to farmers who have watched and waited day by day, week by week, with anxiety as to when their turn might come, and who, if their turn has not come, have borne patiently and without com- 1428 plaint, in a vast number of cases, the extremely onerous restrictions that it has been necessary, in their own interests and in the interests of their neighbours, to place upon them—will appreciate how much this subject has loomed in the atmosphere of the whole agricultural community.
On one point of comparatively minor importance I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that he has, as indeed he has on the large issue, the full sympathy of all those who are concerned. He expressed the hope that he would have general support in maintaining what I think he described as an obdurate front to the question of the retaining of restrictions upon hunting. As one who occasionally allows himself to indulge in some small degree in that often misunderstood sport, I can assure him that he has the good will of the whole hunting community in that attitude. I think I am also right in saying that in those cases where restrictions on hunting have been relaxed, in nine cases out of ten they have been relaxed at the express wish and suggestion of the farming community in the neighbourhood. The right hon. Gentleman was, of course, entirely correct in saying that this Financial Resolution follows up the policy of the late Government, and, in the course of his review, he quoted enough figures to show how serious and how overwhelming are the difficulties with which those who have had to fight the disease have been confronted. He especially dwelt upon—this, I fancy, is not a new feature, but it is, at all times, a baffling one—the rapidity of the disease, and the I unconnected character of the outbreaks, and 1 believe that it is scientifically true that the microbe that is supposed to be responsible for the causation of this disease is one that defies the microscope, and evades the filter, and is obviously, therefore, extremely difficult to pursue. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned that there had been—and we all welcome it—a considerable reduction in the number of outbreaks. I do not actually recall his figures, but I think he said that in one recent week there had been outbreaks to the number of 63. That, of course, is still very serious, and I would have thought it was almost too serious for the right hon. Gentleman to be able to claim with confidence that the outbreak was well under control. I hope, with all my heart, that 1429 in so claiming he is right, but it would seem that there is a long way still to go.
1 do not propose to trouble the Committee with any observations in general upon the policy of slaughter. As the Committee know, and as the right hon. Gentleman reminded them, it has more than once formed the subject of careful expert inquiry, and has been canvassed with extreme vigour on both sides in either direction by the whole farming community. I think the right hon. Gentleman is quite entitled to say, as far as I have been able to form a judgment, that among experts, and also, I think, the general farming community, the balance of opinion has emerged in favour of the slaughter policy; but in considering a slaughter policy, it is, of course, quite right, and it is necessary to bear in mind, that our experience of the slaughter policy, up to now, has been on a scale totally different from that with which we have lately been confronted, and up to now, as he reminded us, we have been able to get through at a comparatively small cost. It is at that point, I think, that we appreciate the extreme importance of what the right hon. Gentleman said upon the subject of investigation and research. It is quite evident that if this country were to be faced with the danger of a constant recurrence of the sort of expenditure on slaughter we have had to face in the last few months, there would be an almost overwhelming demand for a reconsideration of that policy, and I doubt very much whether you could stave if off by pointing to the undoubted difficulties and disadvantages of isolation. People would say, we are paying these large sums of money for, apparently, no result. Therefore, I, personally, attach the utmost importance to what the right hon. Gentleman has just said about investigation and research. When I heard him read the terms of reference to the Pretyman Committee, I was not very sure that they covered the whole field I could wish to see Covered, and it is rather difficult to judge—
§ Mr. BUXTON
May I make it quite clear that another Committee, consisting of scientists, will deal with research?
§ Mr. WOOD
What I was going to say, when I heard the terms of reference read, was, not that they were unsatisfactory but my dissatisfaction was almost, if not, I think I might say, entirely removed 1430 when the right hon. Gentleman proceeded to announce he was going to appoint a separate Committee to deal with scientific research. I doubt whether in this, or, indeed, in any other field of scientific research, we have done nearly enough up to now in this country. The fact of being an island, and of having been fairly immune, has all tended to dull our sense of the necessity of acquiring, improving and developing our scientific knowledge, and no part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech will have been more welcomed than that in which he said he proposed to establish a really comprehensive inquiry. I am quite sure on this side of the House there will be no tendency to grudge the right hon. Gentleman any money he needs for the prosecution of such an inquiry.
I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman, if I may, one or two questions. It is rather difficult, I think, to follow this Financial Resolution. It is not the fault of the Financial Memorandum; it is the fault of the intricacy of the way in which the nation keeps its accounts, and I think it is rather difficult for a layman to follow exactly what is proposed. I think, however, I am right in saying that the custom of ear-marking £40,000 for swine fever does not rest on a statutory obligation. As I read it, the only limitation in Section 18 is what I may call an upward limitation, which debars the Minister, or responsible authority, from spending more than £40,000 on swine fever. And, therefore, I take it that the statement in the Memorandum that £40,000 is earmarked for swine fever must be the result of administrative practice rather than of a statutory obligation. But what I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman is this. In the last paragraph but one of the Financial Memorandum, it is stated that the expenditure chargeable to the Local Taxation Account shall be limited to a sum at present estimated at £250,000, representing the amount by which that part of the Estate Duty Grant payable into the Local Taxation Account exceeds the average of the corresponding receipts for the preceding five years. If that figure of the Estate Duty Grant varies in the forthcoming year, will the £250,000 limit of grant on the Local Taxation Account also vary? Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman or the hon. Gentleman, if he replies in the course of the discussion, will be able 1431 to tell us whether the £250,000 is a fixed figure for the forthcoming year, or whether it will itself vary if the Estate Duty Grants, on which the original figure is based, have themselves varied.
A rather more serious question I should like to put is this. I do not quite follow the necessity for the last paragraph of the Financial Resolution suspending the limit for two years instead of one. Here we are, in February 1924, suspending the limit for the year 1923–24. The right hon. Gentleman is also asking us to suspend the limit for the year 1924–25. 1 should be inclined to suggest that if retrospective legislation is bad, prospective legislation is also open to objection, because neither the right hon. Gentleman nor anybody else can in the least tell what will be the position this time next year, or whether, indeed, it will be necessary to remove the limit under which Parliament, in its wisdom, has, up to now, regulated this expenditure. If it is so necessary to remove it, I would suggest. it would not be a very serious thing for the right hon. Gentleman to come down to this House, and ask it again to do what, he is asking it to do for 1923–24, and in doing so, give the House an opportunity of subjecting the whole matter to a careful review. What he is really asking us to do—I do not complain of it in the least with regard to this year—is to give him a comparatively blank cheque for whatever expenditure he may find it necessary to incur. I do not complain of that in the least, but I do say when the House of Commons is asked to do that, it ought also to have the opportunity of informing itself what has been the line of administration that has made such a suspension necessary, and give the Minister an opportunity of making a statement of such extreme value as we have had the opportunity of hearing this afternoon. Therefore, I would ask my right hon. Friend to take that consideration into account, and see if he could not meet the feeling of a good many of my friends, and, I feel bound to add, the general constitutional position of the House of Commons, by not asking at this stage for more than he really wants.
I have only one other word to add that arises directly out of this Financial Resolution. There is, as I think the right hon. Gentleman knows probably much better than I do, a considerable feeling among 1432 farmers that there have been cases in which infection has been carried through a certain failure to take proper precautions. I do not mean by the officers of the Ministry or by the persons responsible. The kind of person whom I think I have heard blamed rather freely has been the casual slaughterer who has been brought in in order to speed up slaughter, and who, after doing his job on the farm, has gone away before he has been satisfactorily disinfected. I do not know whether there is any foundation for that charge or not. It may be that it is baseless, but I think it would reassure the farming community if the right hon. Gentleman, or the hon. Gentleman who will perhaps reply, was able to state definitely that the fullest precautions were taken in all respects that ingenuity could suggest. One other observation I would make. I do not think—I may be wrong, and I have had no opportunity of actually refreshing my mind—I do not think any compensation is payable to farmers for anything but stock that is slaughtered. It is quite evident that when you have an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease on the farm, a great many other things ought to be, and in well-regulated cases have been, burned. For example, you have an outbreak among sheep in a field. You ought at once to burn the sheep nets. In farm buildings you should burn the farm utensils. I know a great many farmers burn the men's clothes and give them new sets. That kind of precaution is being taken by the most progressive farmers. You will not get the less progressive farmers to do it unless under compensation. You may condemn them. In part they do not realise the necessity for it, and in part they would have been disposed to think they have been badly off and they do not think they should be at any further financial loss for which no cover is available. I suggest that it would be worth while considering whether, if we have to pay this vast sum of £3,000,000 for compensation, it would not be worth while as well to go a further step and hold out that inducement to farmers to thoroughly disinfect their premises by burning everything that has been in contact. That has not been suggested to me by farmers, but it has been my observation of what has been done by the most up-to-date farmers and not by 1433 the less up-tot-date farmers. On the whole, we, as indeed we are bound to be, are at one in sympathy with what the right hon. Gentleman is asking the Committee to do, and I can assure him that they have heard with great sympathy and pleasure, as far as he was able to make it satisfactory, with regard to administration and his policy of investigation, and that every help we on this side can give him in pursuit of those ends we shall be happy to give.
§ Mr. ACLAND
I need make no more excuse for intervening in this Debate than the fact that I also, during the time I was officially connected with the Ministry of Agriculture, had an opportunity, as part of my duties, actually to see one of those outbreaks. Fortunately, it was a short one, which was quickly suppressed. No one could have seen the disease actually in progress on the farm from day to day without being impressed, first, with the terrible pace at which it spreads; second, with its virulence; thirdly, with its appalling infectivity—no animal within reach of the infection has a chance of escape; and, fourthly, with the extraordinary mystery of its causation. It is a most terrible thing to see the sufferings of the animals alone, without taking into account the loss which falls on their owners. Also we all realise that the loss that we in this country sustain by these outbreaks is not measured in any way by the amount of compensation which falls on the national funds. The loss—quite irrecoverable by any scheme of compensation—which must have fallen on some of those who have kept those dairy herds in Cheshire, herds which they had probably built up through many years' herds of milk-recorded stock, with well-known pedigrees and connections for which they have built up a connection among their friends in that and other countries—it is almost like losing your wife and children to lose your stock which you have built up in that way, sometimes from generation to generation on a particular farm. There is this further loss to us, quite apart to the loss from the man whose herds have to be destroyed, that is the loss, continued over months, of the export value of our pedigree stock on which we largely depend in this country and upon which, other countries depend for introducing new blood into their herds. Export is stopped immediately an out- 1434 break comes. Herds go down in value by enormous sums Os soon as they lose their market. I should like to make one point with regard to the financial matter about which my right hon. Friend opposite spoke. 1 want to give the Minister of Agriculture fair warning that when we get to a later stage and have to consider on Thursday a Supplementary Estimate, he will be called upon to explain the most difficult sentence I have ever seen written in any Government document which has ever been issued. I thought I was accustomed to the phraseology of these things. I must not quote the sentence now. I read it three times the right way round, and I read it twice the wrong way round, and T believe 1 understood it more readily reading it backwards than forwards. [An HON. MEMBER: "You would! "] I am quite certain nobody will understand it, and the right hon. Gentleman will have to explain it when the time comes. I imagine that he or the Parliamentary Secretary will he able to show good reason why we have now to be asked to act for two years. It must already be evident that a very considerable sum will fall to be paid in connection with this outbreak in the next financial year, and it seems to me that, in itself, may he considered some justification for what my right hon. Friend proposes to do.
With regard to the question of slaughter, I am glad the Minister of Agriculture made this point: that we ought to take rather a long view and consider, not merely the cost direct and indirect that is falling upon us this year and in recent rather heavy and expensive outbreaks, but to look at it as spread over a period of years and more or less average it up. It would not he right to consider it apart from the average loss falling on the country over a series of years, unless it could be shown either that the disease is becoming more virulent or rapid in its action or more prevalent on the Continent, from which, no doubt, the infection come, than it was five, 10 or 15 years ago. There is little indication of that. Although outbreaks of recent years have tended to be very severe, one has to look at it over an average of a considerable period, and I think there is no doubt that, taken in that way over a series of years, the policy of slaughter puts a less burden on the country than the policy of 1435 isolation, which practically means that we should have to regard the disease as endemic, as it has unfortunately to be regarded on the Continent. He has stated that at a certain period of the outbreak in Cheshire the policy of isolation was allowed. I would like to ask him or the Parliamentary Secretary to tell us more clearly at what stage in an outbreak, at what size of the outbreak, that change from the policy of slaughter to the policy of allowing isolation was made. I know it is difficult to define, hut it is an extraordinarily important matter on which we should like to have more information. I think the House would like to be reassured as to the conditions under which isolation is allowed.
We are approaching, within the next four weeks, the period on which migration of little birds begins. Coming in from the Continent and passing up through the country, creeping along from field to field, and passing along a good long way from the time they first settle in the country until the place where they finally settle and nest is reached, I have a feeling that in the time of bird migration the infection of this disease is more likely to be carried from farm to farm than at other times. We should like to know that isolation, which no doubt in some cases will be going on when bird migration begins, will at any rate be isolation under cover and not isolation in fields open for the passage of birds, dogs, foxes, and so on. The main point I want to make is in regard to what I think is the only thing we can work at with some chance of getting to the bottom, namely, further schemes of research into the causes of the possible cure or immunisation against this terrible plague. We have been told the difficulty. The bacteria, like that of some human diseases, are ultra-microscopic and ultra-filtrable, and the matter therefore becomes, as in these human diseases, extraordinarily difficult. I do feel—and I am glad steps are being taken which may bring that about—that this is to be tackled on a perfectly different scale from that on which it has been hitherto tackled.
Looked at properly, this is an enormous international problem. Here are half the countries of Europe losing millions of pounds a year. It would be well worth their while, before really deciding on 1436 what scheme of research and experiment could be made, calling together an international conference of the scientific authorities in the different countries to work out a joint programme. If necessary, you might take a small country—there are plenty of small countries knocking about Europe now—for carrying on over a series of years, as no doubt will be necessary, researches into this disease. It would be well worth while for the countries of Europe to earmark £10,000,000 or £20,000,000 to work out over a series of years, by a great measure of team-work, researches which might possibly shed light on this matter. It is not a question simply for the veterinary surgeon. In fact, as happens so often in research in other matters than this, from the most unexpected sources a ray of light comes which really gives you the key. It does seem to me to be a matter—not only in this case but in others—in which you might get a real team to work together, not only of veterinary officers, but of chemists, physicists, pharmacists, pharmacologists, and so on. No scheme, provided it was really based on scientific advice, should be too great or too expensive, if really necessary and set on foot in co-operation with other countries in respect to this matter, and I think it must be done mainly abroad.
We cannot, of course, afford to have on our ships nor on our coasts the disease continuing in our country when it can he stamped out. That goes without saying. The difficulty in India has been referred to. At some great stations abroad where the disease is practically endemic and where any scheme in concert with other countries can be arranged, our investigators must be required to leave their country for their country's good, so as to work these things out with the people of these other countries. I am sure the Minister of Agriculture requires no urging in this matter. I do hope that this Committee will be hacked up by the Treasury in the work they have to do. Perhaps the suggestion that I am now about to make may seem somewhat stupid, but what was said by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture brought this little suggestion to my mind. The House will remember that he said that investigation was difficult in India because they found there the disease in a very mild form. Surely, however, that would suggest to this Committee that, by having put the disease 1437 through many generations of stock, it may be possible to get a form mild in this country. That line of consideration and that point of view might be considered, and we might arrive at a method of immunising which would not be the immunising of infection in the ordinary way. We have not tried anything of that kind here. I know that over a certain period experiments tried on sheep had to be abandoned for the lack of material, but as we all know the disease is more virulent in pigs, less virulent in cattle, and, again, less virulent in sheep. It seems to me that the possibility of infecting sheep from one to the other in the long series, dozens or scores, might lead to obtaining a mild form of disease, and that further experiments with infection and that the mild form might possibly be tried and might conceivably have effect. That is such an amateur suggestion that I almost hesitate to make it, and would hardly have done so had it not been for the suggestion of my right hon. Friend on the subject. Work of that description requires to be long continued and thoroughly carried out, by way of r search, in the districts where it may be possible to have access to the infection and plenty of animals on which to experiment. Do not let us be afraid really of a big scheme of national research; and by scientific research deal with the original problems which may surround these subjects. Whatever the expense, if the work was crowned with success, it would be well worth the money as an insurance of our flocks and herds in this and other countries in the future.
§ Captain FITZROY
The importance of foot-and-mouth disease fully justifies the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Agriculture in speaking at some length and some detail, not only as to the origin, but the course that the disease has taken. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that anything I have to say, so far as I can speak for hon. Members on this side of the House, will be in order to assist him in overcoming this disease rather than in putting any obstacles in the way. There are one or two things on which I should like some information. First, as regards the compensation that has been paid. This Money Resolution before us is to obtain funds to pay the compensation. The right hon. Gentleman has given us 1438 some figures of the amount and cost of the expenses incurred by other countries, who do not pursue the same policy that we do in their endeavours to stamp out this disease. I think he referred to France. Upon what basis are these figures compiled in relation to the losses and payments in France? The figures that he gave were entirely based on the compensation, cost of administration, and so on. If we were to add to the cost of compensation and the cost of administration the cost of slaughter and the losses incurred in this country by the farmers who have been infected by this disease, it would add an enormous sum to the estimate, because in very many cases the farmer who has not had this disease amongst his flocks and herds has incurred much heavier loss than the farmer who has been compensated for the loss he has suffered. The farmer who has the disease is fully compensated for the slaughter of the cattle, whereas the other one who happens to be in the restricted area is hampered and hindered in the sale of his stock which is ready for the market, for the animals are kept from sale for a great deal longer than otherwise would be the case. The losses incurred by farmers in this respect it is almost impossible to state.
I am glad to hear that the Minister has appointed a small Committee further to investigate the origin of the different outbreaks, and the methods best to be employed to deal with them. My hon. Friend opposite was a member of a similar Committee some years ago. That Committee went very exhaustively into the origin and the history of the disease which was then very prevalant throughout the country. I think that the Committee came to the unanimous conclusion that the slaughtering which he had hitherto pursued was the best. I should not like to say overmuch in any discussion upon the merits of slaughter, isolation or other methods connected with stamping out the disease. We ought to remember that never before, or rather not for a long number of years, have we had to deal with an outbreak of such dimensions as that which has taken place in the last few months, and that while slaughter has undoubtedly been successful in the past, unless it is successful now the whole question must really be considered. I understood the Minister to say that they considered that they had now really got the matter under 1439 control. I was exceedingly glad to hear it, though I must say that, to my view, he was more optimistic than the position justifies. The other day there were not only fresh cases in the immediate neighbourhood where they hitherto existed, but we had fresh cases in quite different areas far removed from where the disease has been hitherto. If that is the case, and it continues to go on, really it makes a very serious position of affairs, and I am only too glad if the whole question is to be considered by the right hon. Gentleman. I do not propose to discuss the merits of one method or another. I think we ought to get full information as to the policy of slaughter, and how it has been carried out, and whether or not to the full satisfaction of the Ministry in all cases. It is very difficult for those of us who are not able to get first-hand information to speak on the matter, and we have to rely more or less upon rumour. A rumour reaches me of cases where the slaughter has been ordered and for some reason or another—perhaps because so many men were employed—the slaughter has been delayed till—in one case—the animals were really getting better when they were slaughtered. That is not a satisfactory state of affairs. I cannot, of course, say that the present Ministry is to blame, because they have just assumed office, and they are not responsible, but these kind of stories are in circulation, and anything of the kind going about creates in the mind of the agriculturists a want of confidence in the administration of the Ministry and as regards the carrying out of proper instructions and methods.
There is one other thing, that is the granting of licences. If you want to be successful in stamping out an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease you must endeavour to gain the complete confidence of the farmers throughout the country. In your work there undoubtedly will be considerable inconvenience. Rut if the farmers believe, in doing the best they can, with you, to carry out instructions, that that inconvenience is justified they will work; but leniency must not be given in one direction and not in another. I must say that I think that points have been stretched in granting licences to dealers for the movement of their cattle from one district to another. Take, for example, the case of a farmer through whose farm 1440 a public road runs, and he has land on each side. It may be a by-road. He will have great difficulty in moving his cattle from one side to the other in the operation of his farming, and he has to get a licence to do it, and sometimes that is very difficult. He may find a herd of 50 or 60 cattle being driven along the road after arrival from Ireland, and they may be driven through an infected area under a licence. There may be some justification for granting a licence under those conditions, but what I want to point out is that the dealer is able to move his cattle about the country with much greater facility. What I really want to know is whether my fears on this question are grounded on facts or on mere rumour?
With regard to the actual money Resolution I should like to support the appeal which has been made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon (Mr. E. Wood), that it is not necessary for us to ask for sufficient money for two years instead of one year. That proposal does not appear to me to be financially sound, and I cannot think that the Ministry will press that point, because it is obvious it would be financially sound not to ask for more money than is wanted this year. That course would give a favourable opportunity, if we have a continuance of the epidemic, to review the situation again. I understand that the Ministry have come to the conclusion that the only thing they can do at the present moment is to proceed with a policy on exactly the same lines as that which has been adopted hitherto. This seems to be a primitive way of dealing with any disease of this kind.
In speaking on agricultural questions I have always supported money being spent on research in order to find out the best, methods of dealing with these diseases, and I believe more good can be done to the agricultural community by scientific research in really enabling us to grapple with these diseases on scientific lines, instead of being satisfied with this most primitive method of slaughtering the animals affected. If the Minister in the course of this Parliament makes proposals for a grant of money still further to carry on the research work, not only on this question but upon many others connected with agriculture, I can assure him that he will receive not only my support but also that of my fellow Members on this side of the House.
§ Mr. ROYCE
I wish, in the first instance, to congratulate the Minister of Agriculture not only on the very lucid statement which he has made but also on the manner in which it has been received by the House. The right hon. Gentleman has certainly disarmed anything in the nature of criticism by his action, and I think there is no one who would have the courage, were he entering upon the duties which have fallen to the lot of the Minister, to dare to adopt, under the circumstances, any other course. The policy pursued is certain to command the support of those who have worked on the same principle during the last Parliament. I want to know if the Ministry keep a record of the number of cases where isolation occurs, and what is the effect and the result of isolation, that is, the number of cattle infected, and the number that recover in consequence of isolation.
The suggestion has been made that an international arrangement might be made to study the disease, and that some country should be selected for an experiment. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will confiue his investigations to this country. I have seen diseases of cattle in other countries, especially amongst oxen, and I know that the effect of various diseases is quite different in various countries. I have heard of foot-and-mouth disease in South Africa, and I have known cases of rinderpest and pleuro-pneumonia, and other diseases. These diseases are quite different in different areas and countries, and therefore I do not think experiments in other countries would necessarily have more than a comparative relation to what is suitable for this country. I hope the Minister will not make investigations beyond these shores. I congratulate the Minister on his statement, and I am sure the House will be well advised to proceed on the lines which he has proposed, especially in the matter of research. We are all agreed that research is necessary, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will stiffen up the administration in order to prevent any maladministration.
§ Mr. FREDERICK MARTIN
In what I am going to say I wish it to be under-stood that I have no intention whatever of making any reflection upon the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, because nothing is further from my mind. All I wish to suggest is that there has been a 1442 s'ight error of judgment in one case. I want to draw attention to the experience which Aberdeenshire has had with regard to foot-and-mouth disease This is interesting because it affords some evidence as to the comparative methods of slaughter and isolation I need not remind the House of the importance of the cattle industry. Aberdeenshire is the premier cattle breeding county of Scotland and probably of Great Britain. It contains a large number of herds of cattle and most unfortunately for Aberdeenshire this disease, when it broke out in November, did so amongst the pedigree shorthorn cattle. Therefore the disease came, like other questionable importations, from the South, and it did not originate in Aberdeenshire. It was imported arid unfortunately it occurred in a pedigree herd.
In my view, if there were any county in Scotland or in Great Britain where the policy of slaughter would be justified, I think it is Aberdeenshire, a centre where there are so many invaluable herds, the names of which are quite familiar to all agricultural Members. In this particular case the Ministry of Agriculture decided not to slaughter because the disease had occurred in a pedigree herd. Two official reasons are given for avoiding slaughter in this case. The first is that the compensation would cost a very great deal of money; and the second is that if a general policy of slaughter were pursued with regard to pedigree herds, you might at the end of the epidemic find yourselves with no pedigree stock to breed from and raise again the herds of the country. Nevertheless, I think it was a mistake and a great hardship on Aberdeenshire that slaughter was not carried out, because within a very few days of the outbreak the disease broke out on two neighbouring farms where there were commercial cattle, and they were slaughtered.
A week elapsed and the disease broke out in another part of the county over the border in Banffshire. Immediately the 15-mile area of control was put into operation, and from that day up to the other day the principal industry of Aberdeenshire has been at a standstill. Within the area under control it so happens that there exists no adequate slaughtering facilities, and the Minister would not allow stock to be removed from the infected area to a free area for 1443 slaughter. The result was that the farmers were unable to dispose of their stock at the Christmas market when the animals were in prime condition for the butcher. They did improvise certain slaughtering facilities, hut the returns obtained were very disappointing, and the result has been that all that trade has been held up. Farmers have been unable to get their spring stores, and they have had to spend a great deal of the keep in putting additional and superfluous fat on their already fattened stock. They had to take in store cattle, and they now have very small stores for them. That is a very serious position for a county like Aberdeen.
Repeatedly the local authority in one case implored the Ministry to slaughter these pedigree cattle and the Ministry, for the reasons I have stated, decline to do so. The disease continued to spread and further representations were made to the Ministry, and when I was asked to intervene and went to the Ministry I was told that these pedigree cattle were now recovering and the Minister could not authorise slaughter. I have been wondering whether that was the origin of the rumour which has been referred to in this Debate. There was another case where one of the herds developed symptoms of foot-and-mouth disease, and the local authority urged the Ministry to slaughter the cattle, but as a matter of fact in the end the local authority undertook slaughter on its own responsibility.
As to the question of compensation in this case the herd was not one of national importance although it was a good herd but not a first class one, and it was valued for Income Tax purposes as £6,013. An arrangement was come to by which the owner agreed to accept commercial prices for his cattle for slaughter, and ultimately the county council undertook to pay £4,000 in compensation, less salvage. That action was taken in order to get the disease stamped out of the county. What I am going to ask the Minister is this: I think it only fair, under all the circumstances, that the cost of slaughter should be charged to the State. The cost of the slaughter of that herd should be borne not by the county but by the State. If the money is to be raised by the local rate it will be a very serious matter for 1444 the ratepayers. Take one small market town situated not far from the seat of the outbreak. It is a town which depends entirely upon its agricultural and cattle markets. It has not had a cattle market since November, and the result has been disastrous to the tradespeople. One is shortly to be held, I believe, but if the whole of the agricultural ratepayers in this small town are to be asked to pay their share of the estimated outlay of £4,000, it will be regarded as a very serious matter indeed.
I am making no complaint against officials. I think they are carrying out their duties under most trying and difficult circumstances in a very excellent manner.I hope, however, that the Minister will include in his Bill this small provision for Aberdeen, for, after all, the local authorities felt quite justified in carrying out the slaughter when they did. The resulting loss to the county through damage to business and the inability of the farmer to market his stock has been enormous, and I think it would be only fair that the country should bear this slight cost, for, of course, it will be very slight when it is spread over the entire country instead of being put on the shoulders of the county itself. There is only one other thing I desire to say, and it has to do with the matter of research. 1 hope the right hon. Gentleman will keep in view the claims of Scotland when he comes to deal more particularly with this matter. If there are investigations to be instituted in various centres, I hope he will pay some attention to Scotland where agricultural research has always been carried on in a very satisfactory manner. That is practically all I have to say.
I apologise to the Committee for having brought in local matter. I think it has some importance in view of the delay and the danger to the herds by the presence of disease in the county. The agricultural community is in favour of slaughter being carried out immediately the disease is discovered, because they hold that if that were done there would be an immediate end to the outbreak, and a good deal of money would be saved. The Minister has a right to expect and is justified in expecting the loyal co-operation of the agricultural community in his efforts to stamp out the disease. By making this small concession to the agricultural community the right hon. Gentleman will maintain the 1445 goodwill of agriculturists, and I am sure that, if he will consult his technical advisers and the local authorities, and the farmers in Aberdeenshire, he will find they have been most public spirited in their action in this epidemic. I will give one instance showing how extremely careful local authorities have been. One of the leading councillors, who happened also to be chairman of the educational authority, discovered that children residing on the farm first affected were still going to school. I believe there is no law preventing children resident on infected farms attending school, but this member of a local authority took upon himself the responsibility of making a law excluding children from going to the school. This shows that they are doing their utmost in this circumscribed area to get rid of the disease, and I therefore make a very strong appeal to the Minister for consideration of the suggestion I have put before him.
§ Lord COLUM CRICHTON-STUART
As representing Cheshire, one of the counties which has suffered more than any other under the present outbreak, I agree with hon. Members who have congratulated the officials on the work they have done. They have strained every nerve to do the best they could to remedy the evil. But I do want to mention to ho Minister one criticism which I hear often in Cheshire. I hear it from experienced men who agree with the policy of slaughter. The suggestion is hat the administrative methods of the Ministry are not such as to secure the slaughter of the herds as quickly as it ought to be done in order to secure the most desirable economy. There arc too few officials employed. In the division I represent there are seven fully qualified veterinary surgeons, and there are at least three auctioneers capable of doing the work of valuators, yet I believe only one or two of the veterinary surgeons and only one valuator has been called in to deal with the outbreak. Although calling in extra staff might be more costly at the moment, in the long run the economy would be, greater, because you would get rid of the disease by destroying the herds at the earliest possible moment. A question has arisen with regard to getting qualified men to carry out the work of slaughter. In regard to that, it is probable the use of instruments, such as 1446 pistols instead of the pole-axe, might lead to persons not usually engaged in slaughter doing the work, and this also might lead to the speeding up of the suppression of the outbreak. I have in mind a farm on which an outbreak occurred within one mile of the places of business of a veterinary surgeon and of a valuator, but neither of those gentlemen were employed by the Ministry, and delay was occasioned until officials could be brought from a distance, probably of 15 miles, to deal with the matter.
We have heard a good deal of the losses caused by the destruction of the herds. I would like to mention the sad condition of large numbers of labourers. I believe there are 600 men out of work through the prevalence of this disease in one town in Cheshire alone. We have heard a good deal about the unemployed benefit and of the difficulties and hardships felt by industrial workers, but the lot of the agricultural worker is still more hard because they usually reside a long distance from where they can obtain relief. I would beg the Minister to consider this question, and to see if some special method could not be introduced to facilitate the means for bringing relief to these men on the spot. There is another point to which I should like to draw attention. A suggestion has been made of loans on easy terms to enable the farmers to restock their farms. There are large areas where the disease has been stamped out, and where the farmers are desirous of restocking, and I am sure any announcement by the Minister on that subject would be received with gratitude by large numbers of farmers in many different parts of the country—unfortunately not in Cheshire, because in that county such progress has not yet been made as to stamp out the disease in any single part' of it. I hope that any observations I have made will not be taken as strictures upon the work of the officials engaged n stamping out the disease. We realise fully that that part of their work which we criticise is clone with the object of securing economy, and the suggestion we make is that in the long run greater economy will be achieved by a heavier expenditure at the start of any outbreak.
§ Mr. GAVAN DUFFY
I very much regret that I cannot join in throwing 1447 bouquets to the officials and experts of the Ministry of Agriculture. We have to look at the problem as it appears to us to-day. We have here a Government Department that has been in existence for many years, that has had the resources of the State behind it, that has had the power and the right to engage the most eminent scientists, not merely in this country, but in the world; and they have blundered from generation to generation and from year to year, and it is only when an outbreak such as we have at the present time, which has devastated our country during the last eight months, that we hear of the experts and officials of the Ministry of Agriculture at all. Let the House imagine, if it can, in the case of an outbreak of small-pox in a street, the scientists and officers of the Ministry of Health saying, "Yes, kill everyone in the street, and then you will stamp it out." Of course you will stamp anything out by a policy of extinction. You will cure a man's toothache if you cut off his head. But the penalty is too severe, and, in the opinion of a large number of practical farmers—I am not a practical farmer; I do not speak as one, but I speak as representing some of the farming element—there is a large and growing intelligent opinion among farmers that, if the Ministry of Agriculture had taken the proper steps at the proper time, it would have been possible to eliminate this disease, or, at any rate, if not to eliminate it entirely, to reduce it to such a minimum as to make it hardly worth counting.
I disagree with one observation of a right hon. Gentleman who spoke from the Front Opposition Bench, that it was only the non-progressive farmers who did not supply their assistants with disinfectants and new clothes when an outbreak had subsided. The progress of a farmer is like the progress of any other man—it is limited by his banking account. There is a large number of farmers who cannot afford to do these things, and the fact still remains that the recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in this country has brought ruination to scores of farmers—men who have spent the whole of their lives in bringing up a herd to their own satisfaction, and have developed a huge milk trade. That trade is gone, and there is not a penny of compensation for them. The manure that they had to put on their land in the spring has gone, 1448 and there is not a penny of compensation. The hay that they had for feeding their cattle has gone. They could not sell it, and had to destroy it without a penny of compensation. The seed that they brought in for the coming spring has gone without a penny of compensation. We are told that this fell disease comes from a microbe which cannot be perceived under a microscope; neither can the compensation of the farmer be perceived under a microscope.
I am sorry that the Minister of Agriculture is not in his place, but I hope that his representative will convey to him my strong appeal, that something ought to be done to give compensation for the things to which I have referred. It is all right to prescribe a 15-mile area and bottle up a man's business entirely, so that he cannot buy a beast or go out of the area, and the markets are stopped and his trade is stopped, it may be, for three months or six months. What is he to do? You give him the bare cost of the stock at the time they are killed, and then he has to depend upon the valuer. There are good valuers and bad valuers; there are competent and incompetent valuers, and he has to run the risk of that. Whatever the decision of the valuer may be, he has to accept it, and in regard to other things there is no compensation of any sort or kind. As regards the policy of slaughter, from the evidence that I have been able to get together there seem to me to be two opinions among the farming community, and the line of demarcation seems to be that if a man is more a dealer than a farmer he is in favour of slaughter, but if he is more a farmer than a dealer he is in favour of isolation and treatment.
Living, as we do, in these days of scientific enlightenment, one can hardly believe that it is impossible to find a remedy for this disease. Therefore, I want to put in a word on behalf of the farmers whom I have the honour to represent, and to ask the Minister of Agriculture to take into consideration the compensation which ought to be paid. If it is it the interest of the community, in the interest of the nation, to destroy these men's goods and stock, then some compensation ought to be paid for them. We heard a good deal last Friday about the compensation that ought to be paid for licences being taken away, but here you are taking away the living of these men, 1449 and that is a far more worthy case for compensation than the other. In regard to the general matter, I feel sure we shall not grumble at anything that the Minister of Agriculture may ask the House of Commons to grant. It is a matter of supreme importance, when we take into consideration the statement of the Minister to-day, that, during this present outbreak, 89,000 head of cattle and 40,000 sheep have been destroyed. That huge amount of splendid human food has been absolutely destroyed. It is not only the farmer who suffers; the nation suffers. Consequently, we say to the Minister of Agriculture: "Go on with your work. If it is possible to get a bayonet, or something equally strong and sharp, to get the scientists to work to find out a remedy for this disease, get it done without regard to cost." The large amount of beef and mutton that has already been destroyed is a loss to the nation; it increases the cost of food because it brings about a scarcity, and there is also the tendency to reduce the milk supply of the country, which is the children's food. On those grounds I urge the Minister of Agriculture to take into consideration the full question of compensating the farmers for all their loss, and not for a part of it.
§ Captain TERRELL
I do not intend to follow quite the same course as the hon. Member who has just spoken. One might have thought, from one part of his speech, that, instead of being a supporter of the Government, he was one of its opponents. I hope and trust that before long he will come over on to this side of the House, and then I am sure his searching and caustic remarks will have much more effect. I should like to join with other Members in congratulating the Minister of Agriculture on the very clear and lucid statement which he made to the Committee. I only wish it were possible for us on this side of the House always to congratulate that Minister. If it were, I should have had much pleasure in doing so at Question Time this afternoon. I have no doubt, however, that, if he does ultimately deliver the goods, and produces an agricultural policy which will assist this industry, he will vary readily come to be looked upon as the fair-haired boy of the family, and we shall all shower compliments upon him, 1450 I desire to support the Minister in order to assist him to secure the assent of the House of Commons to the Financial Resolution under discussion. I do so because I am convinced that, in the first place, it is absolutely necessary, in fairness to the people in the industry who have had to suffer such heavy financial losses in this present serious outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. The Minister, in the course of his statement, said that he estimated the cost of the present unfortunate outbreak at £3,250,000. I do not think that that is a great deal when one considers the fact that, if the Ministry had not taken steps to destroy the cattle affected, the loss might have been very many times that amount. It is rather interesting to recall the fact that this outbreak is the worst that this country has experienced for, I believe, over 30 years. The Diseases of Animals Bill was introduced, I think, in 1892, and, throughout the 31 financial years since that date, the sum paid in compensation has never before exceeded £1,000,000. Of course, I know quite well that, directly there is an outbreak on anything like a large scale, all sorts of critics are ready to discuss the methods adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture for dealing with it. I am not going to dive into a controversy of that kind, but I am quite prepared to accept the policy of slaughter as a correct one, because, in the first place, it is on record that, throughout the period of 31 years which I have mentioned, where the policy of slaughter has been adopted the outbreak has in every single case been stamped out Again, the policy of slaughter, as against that of isolation, is supported by the National Farmers' Union, which, after all, is a very important organisation, having something like 100,000 farmers as its members. Then, again, that policy is agreed to by the farmers who are unfortunate enough to have outbreaks on their farms. In other countries there is a good deal of difference of opinion. The Minister for Agriculture told us of the cost of the policy of isolation in France. I understood him to say that the policy of isolation costs France £5,000,000 annually. I do not think that is quite accurate. I believe it did cost that amount for two years, but recently they had a serious outbreak, and I do not think he means to indicate that that is the annual cost. Again, it is interesting to 1451 see what happens in Holland. Some years ago they were in favour of the policy of slaughter, and two or three years ago a serious outbreak took place there. They carried through the policy of slaughter for some considerable time until the expenditure reached £500,000, and then they began to get a little panicky, and they reverted to the policy of isolation, and it is on record that they have endured the very serious loss of £2,000,000. I am convinced that Great Britain is more unsuitable for isolation than the Continent, as here sheep stock preponderate, and these cannot be successfully isolated because they move about in very large numbers, in fact in thousands, and they go on to common pasture land, and therefore it is a totally different state of affairs in this country from that which exists on the Continent.
Owing to this serious outbreak, a good deal of attention has been paid to foot-and-mouth disease in the Press, and I have noticed that some papers have practically treated this sum of money as a sort of special grant for assistance to agriculturists. It is, in a certain way, a grant for assistance, but we must not forget that it is compensation to which they are legitimately entitled, because, after all, they are only receiving this money for stock which they have lost themselves. Farmers in this country are often hit pretty badly as compared with the rest of the country. What other trade is there, for instance, which has all its stock destroyed. where prohibition comes in for a considerable period and dues not allow any fresh stock, where its expert staff necessarily gets scattered in the case of an outbreak such as we, have now, and where again the movement of the stock is so restricted? I hope the Minister for Agriculture will not delay in settling the claims which are being made against his Department for stock which has had to be destroyed. Already there are a good many complaints at the delay. I appreciate the fact that that is not the fault of the Ministry, but if this grant is passed I hope they will not delay in paying out the money to the people who are entitled to it. I should like to ask if all this money goes to the farmers or whether the farm labourers are entitled to any part of it. Is there any 1452 way by which the Ministry has control over the money once it is paid to the farmers? Because the last speaker told us that in Cheshire there were several hundred agricultural labourers thrown out of work owing to this outbreak, and if that be true in one county it must be true in all parts of the country, and I am going to ask the Minister whether or no it is possible to see that some of these benefits which will ultimately be paid to the farmers will be passed on to the agricultural labourers who have been thrown out of work owing to this very serious outbreak.
§ Major Sir HARRY BARNSTON
There is generally a sort of rule in this House that Whips are to be seen and not heard, but in view of the fact that I represent one of the greatest dairy constituencies in England, and that my constituency has, I think, suffered from this outbreak more than any other, I hope the Committee will forgive me if I make a few remarks and ask for a little information. I do not believe anyone realises who has not lived in Cheshire, as I have done, the awful agricultural condition of that county. The House dislikes personal statements, but I think it likes information at first hand. I happen to own a small property just under 3,000 acres. [An HON. MEMBER: "How much more do you want?"] I said "small," because it is small compared with the property that surrounds it. On that 3,000 acres there are some comparatively large farms, and on the whole of them not one tenant possesses a single cow or pig. May I give another example? I live in the centre of a large dairy industry surrounded by nothing but grass farms, hut I cannot to-day buy milk in Cheshire for my own household. I can get a little from one of my small tenants for an invalid sister and an old servant, but as regards my house we are drinking the awful stuff we used to drink in France I support very strongly the contention of my right hon Friend, who suggested that this thing should only be done for a year and that we should not make provision for a second year. It seems to me more in keeping with the traditions and the constitution of the House, and more practicable, that if money is wanted in the future the Government of the day should come and ask for it, if, unhappily. we have future outbreaks.
1453 The Minister stated that the restrictions would shortly be removed. Of course, one knows they will not he removed until after outbreaks have terminated, but I should like to know how soon after outbreaks have terminated farmers will be able to re-stock? I should also like to ask what is the opinion of the officials of the Ministry as regards herds which have been isolated—I mean as regards their condition—because in Cheshire it is impossible to form an opinion? You meet a man who is in favour of slaughter, and he tells you all the herds are in a shocking state, with their hoofs dropping off; and you meet a man who is in favour of isolation, and he tells you they are absolutely all right and giving more milk than ever they did before. I was exceedingly glad to hear that we are to have more money, as I understand, spent in research. I am sure money spent in that way is money well spent. As regards the other investigation, I think perhaps it would have been better if Members had been put on that Committee of Investigation, as regards slaughter and its wisdom, who have not previously expressed such pronounced views as some of those Members have. An hon. Member opposite spoke of the losses which farmers and those connected with the land are undergoing. I have even heard people speak as if farmers are in some way benefiting by it. I should like the House, once for all, to drop the word "compensation." It is riot compensation. The Ministry buy the stock of the farmer at valuation. You cannot call that compensation. The farmers and indire[...]tly the landowners are seriously affected. In my own case I shall make some reduction of rents next May to those of my tenants whose stock have suffered from the disease. The farmer must lose an immense amount of money through this outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. He will lose in several ways. In the first place, we must remember that for three months his business is closed down, and he does not make any profits of any sort. He will, I am afraid, when he comes to re-stock, have to pay a considerably higher price for his cattle than he got for those slaughtered. In my district so many thousands of cattle have been destroyed that the price, naturally, will go up. In addition to that, many of the farmers 1454 have hogs of turnips and mangolds which have cost a great amount of money and labour, and they will be useless now in many cases, and will not in their hogs. Marigolds and turnips become squashy in May and June, if not before then. That is absolutely a. dead loss to the farmer. Therefore, I hope we shall drop talk about compensation, because in nearly every case the farmer must inevitably lose considerably through this outbreak. In some counties—I do not think it will be quite so bad in my part of Cheshire, because we go in for a certain amount of market gardening—the labourers will suffer severely. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary will answer the questions which I have addressed to him. I congratulate the Minister of Agriculture upon having made such a clear statement.
§ Sir HENRY CAUTLEY
I beg to move, to leave out the words "either of" ["either of the financial years "].
I am old enough, or almost old enough, to remember the time when whenever a farmer went into the market and bought cattle, he expected to find that the cattle he bought would, have foot-and-mouth disease, and he adopted, and every farmer adopted, a plan which was very effective. If it was summer time, he put the cattle that he had bought into a field and dressed their feet with Stockholm tar, and their mouths with salt, and left them. If it was in the winter, he put the cattle into the yard and used the same treatment, and left them. The cattle recovered. The loss was less than one per cent. only one-half or three-quarters per cent. Therefore, there is not the least doubt that this disease can be cured. As time went on, as the milk supply became more important, as the loss of cows in milk was infinitely greater than the loss of lean stock, as the growth in pedigree herds increased, and our export of pedigree cattle, became a most valuable trade, the losses sustained by continually having foot-and-mouth disease were such that it became more profitable to stamp out the disease than to suffer the loss and the restrictions caused by isolation and the treatment of the cattle. Therefore, the Act of 1894 was passed, which authorised the Minister of Agriculture to adopt the policy of slaughter for foot-and-mouth disease, as well as a number of other diseases.
1455 What worries me about this thing is that the policy of slaughter succeeded steadily and steadily as years went on, and the policy has been adopted ever since, but it must be borne in mind the reasons made slaughter preferable to isolation or any attempt at cure. That went on, and was so effective under the then officials of the Board of Agriculture that for a number of years, and up to two or three years ago, the actual cost of carrying out this policy was about £9,000 a year—a mere bagatelle. What I want to know from the Minister of Agriculture is this: How is it that his officials and the Officials of his predecessor are now failing to keep this disease in check? There is no suggestion that I know of that the disease is more virulent. On the contrary, as far as we know, and as far as any evidence I have seen goes, it is just of the same character as it always has been, and I differ entirely from the words of encomium that have been used of the Ministry in regard to their efforts to stamp out this disease, not only on the present occasion, but on the occasion of the last serious outbreak in 1922. They did their best, but what. I am anxious to see, and what I press the Minister to give us, is some thorough investigation as to the means that have been adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture during this last outbreak since last August in stamping out the disease and in getting control of it, more particularly in the earlier months.
I have heard, and anybody who mixes up in agriculture will have heard, all sorts of stories as to the delay on the part of the Ministry. It may possibly be and very likely is the fact that owing to the sudden rush that came upon the Ministry, and for which they were unprepared, some of the delays may have been impossible to avoid. On all hands we are told of cattle, and some of us have seen cattle, after they had been slaughtered. lying unburied cattle with this disease upon them, lying for days, even up to a week, I have heard, before they have been dealt with men who have been employed as slaughterers going about from one farm to another, without supervision or inspection persons being allowed to go on to these farms while the disease was rampant, and going on to other farms. We have heard reports of that kind. What are we now offered after this terrible experience, 1456 when damage amounting to £3,000,000 has been incurred in the value alone of cattle that have been destroyed? We are offered a Committee of four to inquire. I have nothing to say against members of that Committee, I should be glad to see them on a Committee, but every one of the four sat on the Committee that was appointed to investigate the doings of the Ministry in 1922, when, if my memory serves me, they made a Report that the Ministry had done everything that was possible at that time. The nation which is finding this money, and the farmer who are suffering under this scourge and under this treatment by the Ministry, have the right to demand that this Committee should be enlarged, that fresh blood should be brought on to it to assist the present members, so that we may have all the questions that arise approached from an entirely fresh point of view.
If that view commends itself to reasonable persons, I should like to know whether the Committee will allow this Money Resolution to go through in its present form. What is the Minister attempting to do? He is attempting to get from the Committee a Vote not only of this huge sum of £,000,000, which has to be paid for losses already incurred, but he is getting a Money Resolution on which to found his Bill, which will provide him with means without coming here and without this House having an opportunity to question the action of his Ministry, not only for this year but the whole of the next financial year I cannot understand why the Resolution is framed in this way or why these large powers are being sought. Under the Act of the money that could be devoted from Parliamentary funds to make good the value of the animals that are destroyed was £140,000. If we pass a Money Resolution to do away with that for one year, that will enable the whole of the financial business for this year to be cleared up, and will enable the Vote to be taken for the £3,000,000 which is asked for, and which is amply sufficient for this disastrous business for the time being. I would be no party to allow the House of Commons to lose control of this matter of cattle disease, and the money which we have to pay for it and the way in which the Diseases of Animals Act is being worked, more par- 1457 tieularly with regard to foot-and-mouth disease, and with that view I move the Amendment to the Resolution.
§ Major WHELER
I have great pleasure in seconding the Amendment. I do so because not for one moment do I Want to hold up in any way the money which we know is essential to those [...]iho have suffered because of this serious disease, through the loss of their herds, but because, as has been said by the Mover, it is essential that in a matter of this sort we should have an opportunity of reviewing the whole situation from time to time as occasion arises. The course which is proposed by the Minister is an unusual one. It is proposed to free him from having to speak on this subject for perhaps two years. This is essentially wrong, bearing in mind the serious situation which exists to-day because of this terrible disease. It is not only those who have received compensation, as it is called, for animals which have been destroyed who have suffered, but it is the whole community in the radius which is made around the affected area who suffer. As one who has had a dairy farm not far from an infected area, I know that on one occasion, although not a single animal on my farm was affected, there was an extraordinary hindrance in carrying on my dairy farm, and the House knows the loss which must ensue from this sort of thing to a whole agricultural community for which no compensation is given. That being so, it is more essential than ever that we should keep this control in the hands of the House of Commons arid that we should have an opportunity of reviewing the situation not once or twice but frequently if we find it desirable.
I think that the situation is very serious. I would ask the Minister whether in the case of some of those isolated outbreaks the Department have got some idea as to how those outbreaks arose, and whether they came from straw or something of that sort because in certain places there are suspicions which may be ill-founded that there are some bad motives at work causing this disease, and, unfortunately, many instances are quoted. In one of the papers in the north—I have not got it with me, but the right hon. Gentleman may know something about it—it is stated that an owner of pigs received a parcel with two pigs feet. He thought that it was only a joke and did not bother about 1458 it. According to the report in the paper he threw these pigs feet into his yard. Very soon afterwards his pigs came into contact with this, and there was an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease on that pig breeders premises. I do not know whether that is true or not but I have seen it in the paper.
§ Major WHELER
Is any effort being made to find out where they were sent from? I understand that in all these cases the animals are to be burned. How, therefore, does anybody get hold of pig's feet from an infected pig and post them to some other district, thereby causing damage as in this instance? Are there any suspicious cases known in which evil persons may be endeavouring to spread this disease—I do not know why, but we can never explain the motives of some people. Are there any suspicions of such cases, and, if so, are the Ministry looking into these cases, and trying to find out the cause, especially when they discover isolated outbreaks occurring in districts in which there has been no outbreak before? We had three different outbreaks in one place which had been isolated entirely from any place where outbreaks had occurred. We should clear up the suspicion which exists in the minds of many people, that there is something wrong and that some of these cases have been caused by evil-minded persons. That is a suspicious which many people have, and if the Ministry have any doubts on this matter I hope that they will explain them to us, because everybody in this House wants to stop that sort of thing going on. On the surface it seems to he a clear case of malicious intent, and if there is any truth in that view we ought to know. I ask the Ministry to reconsider their decision about the two years, not because we want to hamper them at all, or to stop money that is most essential for those who have suffered these losses, but because we consider that it is entirely inadvisable for the House to relinquish control for a period of two years.
§ Mr. HARDIE
In listening to this Debate I have been struck by one or two points, particularly the references to methods adopted for isolation. During the month of December last I lived for 1459 two weeks on a farm that was just outside what was called an infected area. On this side of the infected area there was a stock of 5,000 Cheviots, and these were permitted to go right up to the fence.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
Is the hon. Member in order in discussing the general question on this Amendment, which raises only the very narrow point whether provision should be made for the present financial year only or include the next. financial year?
§ Mr. HARDIE
I was referring to what was said in support of the Amendment. On the question of money we have to deal with inspection. The hon. Member who seconded the Amendment said something about pigs' feet.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I suggest that I have a right to speak about the way in which the money shall be spent, and that, of course, includes inspection. When we have heard an expert who is a breeder of cattle, for instance, the layman has surely a right. to come in to protect the consumer? What I wish to speak about is the protection of the consumer against unsound meat.
§ The CHAIRMAN
There is an Amendment before the Committee, and it is in order to discuss that Amendment only.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of AGRICULTURE (Mr. W. R. Smith)
Some explanation should be given regarding the points covered by the Amendment. Later on I may be permitted to speak on other points raised during the debate. I hope that the Amendment will not be pressed. We are treating this question from the standpoint of anticipation that this outbreak will continue until the next financial year. We are merely taking powers to deal with compensation which will have to be given after 31st March. If the Resolution is not 1460 carried in its present form it will mean that another Bill will have to be brought before the House in order to make payments, though those payments will really arise out of the present outbreak.
§ Mr. SMITH
Yes. I would emphasise the desirability of the Ministry being placed in a position to meet any claims that may be made for compensation in connection with the latter part of the outbreak, as well as in cases that have occurred up to the present. This is really a facility to enable the Ministry to meet claims that will occur at a later date and to obviate the necessity of bringing in a fresh Bill.
§ Viscount WOLMER
I am sorry that the Parliamentary Secretary has not accepted the Amendment, because what the Government is proposing is not strictly in accordance with the principles of Parliamentary control. I can show in a very few words that it is extremely desirable that the principle of Parliamentary control should he maintained in all cases, and particularly in this case. The Parliamentary Secretary has suggested that unless the Resolution is carried as printed, the Ministry will not have sufficient funds during the next financial year to pay compensation and to deal with the outbreak. Surely, my hon. Friend will not contend that that is the case. He knows that the Ministry of Agriculture has not been hampered in the matter of funds for dealing with the present outbreak. Therefore, the question of hampering the Ministry does not arise. If the Amendment had in any degree the effect of tying the hands of the Ministry in dealing with this appalling epidemic, I am certain that my hon. Friend would not have moved it, and I certainly would not support it. All that my hon. Friend is trying to do by the Amendment is to secure Parliamentary control of expenditure. It is exceedingly important that the House should invariably insist that money voted in a year should be spent only in that year, and that money required for the following year should be voted in the following year.
We should not vote large sums years ahead, in the manner of the German Navy Law and other laws under which foreign countries finance their expenditure. That has never been the principle of this 1461 House, and the only way in which we can secure efficient financial control is to insist that Supply should be limited strictly to the current financial year. On that principle, I submit, the whole financial control of this House is based. A really important issue is at stake. I am Sure the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary will agree with me that an essential element in successfully combating this outbreak is that the Ministry should enjoy complete public confidence in the steps they are taking. Unless they have the confidence not only of the agricultural community but of the whole country, they will be severely handicapped in taking the drastic steps which they are forced to take. I warn my hon. Friends that in what has been described as the less progressive section of farmers, there is considerable suspicion and misgiving as to the very drastic steps the Ministry has already been compelled to take. I will give an instance. Only a few days back a small farmer told me that he had had an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease on his farm in the 'seventies, and cured it by putting tar on the cows' feet and giving them beer to drink. He said they all got. well, and he could not see why—
§ Mr. PRINGLE
On a point of Order. Is the Noble Lord in order in discussing the cure of foot-and-mouth disease on this Amendment?
§ Viscount WOLMER
I am not doing so. If my hon. Friend will do me the honour of listening to me, he will see that I am merely giving an instance of the supreme necessity—
§ Viscount WOLMER
—of securing public confidence in the steps the Ministry is taking, by frank and free discussion in this House. If sections of farmers are inclined to take the view I have just indicated, it is absolutely necessary that the Ministry should have the general opinion of the farming community behind it in the steps which are being taken. It is advisable that this matter should be brought up in this House every year as long as the Ministry feels compelled to take these steps, and that the Minister, whoever he may be, should lay before Parliament the reasons for the course he is taking, so that criticisms may come from every quarter of the House, and suggestions may be made. It is only by 1462 such means that there can be full publicity and a full ventilation of the facts, and it is only by such means that the confidence and support can be secured of those men with whom the Ministry is dealing very hardly. We must remember that in many cases the actions of the Ministry have brought those men to something approaching ruin. I hope the Government will see their way to meet the Mover of the Amendment in some manner. I, personally, having listened from those benches opposite to the oratory of the Labour party when they were on this side, expect to find in them upholders of the privileges of the House of Commons. I hope the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Pringle) who sits now in the seat formerly occupied by Lord Banbury and who fills Lord Banbury's place—even to the elegant manner inn which he raises his top hat—will discharge the task which Lord Banbury once discharged, and will support us in our demand that the usual constitutional practice should be followed in this case.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. ACLAND
On this Amendment I think the Committee should have a little more light from the Front Government Bench. I tried to follow, and I think I did follow, what the Parliamentary Secretary said, but it did not appear to me to agree in the least with the interpretation of the Noble Lord who has just spoken. The Noble Lord's point was that we were voting money now, for next year. I do not understand that we are doing anything of the sort, but I hope before we come to a decision the Minister him self will clear up the matter. On this question the House have to take a considerable number of stages this year, and enter into a considerable number of discussions. We have this Debate to-day; there will be the Report Stage of the Resolution; then we shall have a Bill founded on the Resolution, and, finally, a Supplementary Estimate, which brings the whole question up again, and for the first time deals with the total expenditure for this financial year. If what the Government are now asking for is going to take the matter out of the control of the House, so that there will be no chance of further debate on what, unfortunately, I fear we can already foresee, namely, residuary expenditure on this work 1463 falling into the next financial year, then I think the House, with all respect to the Government, would be unwilling to abandon its control. If, however, as I imagine, the only effect of this Resolution and its consequential stages will be to make a further Bill unnecessary at this time next year—while making it necessary for the Government, at some convenient time, to bring forward a Supplementary Estimate, if the expenses, as we fear may he the case, exceed £140,000—then it seems to me the Resolution may be agreed to Perhaps the Minister himself will clear up two points—first, shall we have it as a Supplementary Estimate, and second, shall we have it as a Supplementary Estimate whether it exceeds £140,000 or not? If we are bound, in spite of passing this Resolution, to have the matter before us as a Supplementary Estimate, so that the House will not lose control, then I think the matter assumes another form. The House does not want to lose control, but provided it is assured of control, I do not think it will insist upon having all these various stages of procedure gone through again this time next year in connection with this same outbreak.
§ Mr. BUXTON
I assure the Committee that in the proposals we are making there is no desire that the House should lose control. My right hon. Friend who has just spoken is perfectly correct in his description of what we are doing this evening. We are going through an elaborate procedure in order to get money to pay the farmers who have already been waiting for weeks. Control will not be lost if hon. Members allow the Resolution to go through as it stands. It leads up to a Bill, and under that Bill no money at all can be granted without a Vote of the House. I can definitely undertake that, if the occasion should arise for snore money to be paid next year, we should come to the House to ask for that money, and the Debate of to-day, which presumably will clear up the foot-and-mouth disease question, would take place in similar fashion. As to my right hon. Friend's question in regard to a Supplementary Estimate, it would be necessary, if the amount required exceeded the statutory limit under Section 18 of the Act of 1894. For anything in excess, therefore, of the £140,000, we should have to come to the House. I can definitely give that assur- 1464 ance, and, under the circumstances, I hope my hoe and learned Friend may see that his Amendment is not necessary.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
There are one or two matters which I am afraid my right hon. Friend has not made sufficiently clear. This Resolution contemplates provision for two years. Under these circumstances, I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Estimates for the Ministry of Agriculture, now ready for presentation to Parliament, do not contemplate provision for the next year of the total amount under this Resolution, because, if the Estimates which are to he presented to Parliament, the main Estimates, provide for the total amount which may he paid under this Resolution, then we are not going to have a Supplementary Estimate, and the means of control mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman will not be available. Obviously, they are in a position now, and have been for some time, to estimate for the total amount contemplated under this Resolution. If so, the probability is that the Department will have placed this in the Estimates. Therefore, there will he no Supplementary Estimates, and consequently no means of control, as suggested.
There is another point. The right hon. Gentleman has appointed a Committee to investigate the disease, a fact which shows, for one thing, that the present state of knowledge of his Department and of the experts advieing it is not adequate, and that some further research is necessary in regard to the exceptional experience through which the country has been passing in relation to this disease. It is, therefore, important that the House should preserve all means of control. We have no security that. there will be a Supplementary Estimate, and it is possible, therefore, that the main Estimate for the Ministry of Agriculture in this matter may go through under the Guillotine, and the House will be robbed of any opportunity of discussing any new departures which may commend themselves to the Ministry in consequence of the investigations of the Committee. I think, therefore, the Committee will rant a little more adequate answer than has been given by the Government before it decides to reject the Amendment.
§ Sir DOUGLAS NEWTON
I shall support the Amendment, and I hope it will 1465 not be withdrawn unless and until it is made abundantly clear that we do not lose control of these financial matters in the forthcoming year. Not only are we in this House concerned in this matter, but the local authorities throughout the country are concerned, and their local budgets will also be affected. In saying that, I would like to draw attention to the White Paper which has been issued in connection with this financial Resolution. I am afraid one cannot congratulate those who are responsible for the drafting of this White Paper. It is almost more difficult and more complicated to deal with, I think, than the disease itself, and I would like to urge that, if it be found necessary in future to issue a White Paper, it should be made longer if that is necessary to make it intelligible to the ordinary reader of thiskind of literature. I should like to point out, in support of the Amendment, that a five years' average is being taken, and that that average is being based, not on normal, but on abnormal and exceptional years. If you are to take a period of time, you should either take five normal years, or else you should take a much longer period, such as 10 years, for which averages would he more likely to work out fairly and reasonably. The question raised in this grant reaches much further than appears to be the case. It touches the question of Estate Duty grants, and—
§ Sir D. NEWTON
I was endeavouring to give an illustration of the ramifications of the Amendment and of this proposal, but if I am not allowed to touch on the other questions, such as research, which are closely connected with this matter, I will close by saying that I congratulate the Department on the way in which it has tackled this outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Slaughter is a barbarous and a cruel policy, and there cannot be a single Member of this House who does not wish to see it done away with, but—
§ Sir D. NEWTON
Perhaps, Sir, you will be able to give me an opportunity later of dealing with that point. At the same time, I should like to support the 1466 Amendment, because I feel that it is essential that this House should keep and continue to maintain a tight grip on financial questions of this kind annually, and that they should not be allowed to run from one year over to the next.
§ Mr. E. WOOD
I very much hope the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and the Minister of Agriculture have not said their last word about their view of this Amendment. As I understand it, the position is quite simple. Either the right hon. Gentleman will want the extra money for this existing outbreak, which, in his anticipation, will be prolonged into the next financial year, or he will not. If he does want the money, I suggest to him that there is nothing unreasonable in his having to come to this House in regular form for authority to take the money in the next financial year. He himself, indeed, sees nothing unreasonable in that, in that I understand he is prepared to give an assurance that if and when that necessity arises, he will conic to the House in some form or other, and apparently tell them what he is doing. If he is prepared to do that, wherein lies the difficulty in coining to the House in regular form, by way of Financial Resolution, and, if needs be, of a Bill?
There is no desire, as far as I know, in any quarter to embarrass the right hon. Gentleman or to make his administration difficult. The only point upon which I fail to understand his present position is, why, if that be his intention, he finds himself unable to follow the general constitutional forms of the House, but rather invites them to establish a precedent by giving the Ministry carte blanche for two years, when, admittedly, power for one year is all that he immediately wants, and when he has an assurance from all parts of the House that if the necessity arises they will meet him with equal generosity if he comes again. I hope, therefore, that he will be prepared to reconsider his attitude towards this Amendment. There was great force in what fell from the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Pringle). On the question of Supplementary Estimates, I think the right hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Acland) is more simple than any of his colleagues have hitherto supposed him to be, if he is able to pin his entire faith in financial matters on the security of a Supplementary Esti- 1467 mate. As the hon. Member for Penistone said, it may well be that no Supplementary Estimate is necessary, but, if it be necessary, the right hon. Member for Tiverton knows perfectly well that the opportunities provided by a Supplementary Estimate may be a very insecure peg on which to hang a full review of Government policy. Therefore, if my hon. and learned Friend proceeds to a Division on this question, I shall most certainly support him; but I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to reconsider the matter.
§ Mr. BUXTON
If I may be allowed a word, the Committee no doubt will appreciate the anxiety which animates the breasts of some hon. Members opposite as to what machinations may lie behind a Labour Government.
§ Mr. BUXTON
The proposal is quite a simple one, to avoid the necessity of spending considerable time during five days while the actual Vote would come under the control of the House. The point is not very material if the House is prepared to give the time, and, as it is not in the least a point of principle, I am quite prepared to accept the Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendments made:
Leave out the word "years" ["financial years ending"], and insert instead thereof the word "year.
Leave out the words "and the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and twenty-five."—[Sir H. Cautley.]
§ Question, as amended, again proposed.
§ Sir GERALD HOHLER
I entirely object to this form of legislation. This is the first money resolution we have had, as far as I am aware, in this Parliament, and it is proposed to remove a limitation in the Act of 1894, which asserted the right of Parliament to control the expenditure of the Executive. Millions may be spent, and there is nobody to object. The hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. F. Martin) spoke eloquently in favour of compensating somebody, who, as I understand, under the present law is not entitled to compensation at all. I want to 1468 find out what the Board of Agriculture proposes to do. When a Scotsman comes to ask me for money I think it is quite time to ask what he is after. The hon. Member now wants the Government to pay on account of some arrangement between the local authority and the owner of a herd. I ask the Government to remember what the Prime Minister said the other night about economy. We shall only secure it by Parliament keeping control. Unless we do so, the way money disappears is extraordinary. The Government is only in office now, but one of their first acts, I suppose, when they get both office and power will be the Capital Levy. Let us go on meanwhile as good business men, and keep the expenditure in order.
Therefore, I wholly object to this limitation being removed. Luckily, now it is being limited to one year. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to give me some assistance. I am one of the stupid Members of this House; I make no apology for asking for an explanation. The Minister told us, if I recollect rightly, that the expenditure estimated up to the present time approximated £3,000,000, or a little over. Reference was made to a quarter of a million. I do not understand what connection that had with the £3,000,000. What provisions are being made for this year, And what is to be carried over to the following year? Where is the rest coming from? Who is going to pay? Are the local authorities to pay, or is it to he thrown over to next year? How is it proposed to meet this liability? If we are told how it is proposed to meet this liability, and what the liability is to be, I should propose to amend this Resolution by inserting in it some sum. I do not see why you should have this immense overdraft. I do not like anybody having blank cheques. I would not trust the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Pringle) with a blank cheque for anything in this world. The next worst person to trust would be the Government. I want to know what we are doing. Do the present Government desire not to increase expenditure by Supplementary Estimates expenditure since they have come into office? There may he some-in it. I should like to know. What has been happening? There has been isolation. That sounds all right if you send somebody to an isolation hospital. What does it mean on the land, in grass fields, 1469 and to adjoining owners? I want to know whether that herd was isolated after the disease had broken out. That is a very serious point.
Hon. Members opposite understand nothing about agriculture. If there had been no disease in that herd, and they were isolated with disease all round them in the neighbourhood, it seems to show that we have slaughtered wantonly and to a great waste of money. I want to know that the Board of Agriculture were not so stupid as that derisive laughter I heard just now. Will the representative of the Board of Agriculture tell us what has been the effect of isolation? I have heard a great deal to-night about the policy of the Board of Agriculture. It is delightful to know it has a policy. I understand its policy is slaughter. It is quite likely to be a policy of ignorance. In other words, is the reason why the Board of Agriculture slaughtered those animals, to our great cost when we are short of money, that they know absolutely nothing about the disease. It seems to he so. The President of the Board of Agriculture says no microscope can discover the bacillus. That seems to suggest that it does not exist. Is it that you slaughter because you do not know? It looks to me very mach like it. Do you not think it would be well to try something else to see whether you could not isolate a whole district and let them get well and see what would happen? Many of the farmers, I have been told, did ask the Board to allow them to have isolating districts and not to slaughter their cattle. It may be, after all, that the farmers know as much about it as the Labour party. If this could be made plain it would be useful to the Committee before we vote, and remove irritation. How is the money to he applied? Who makes those valuations? Are we really compensating a man whose cattle has already been struck? I can understand compensating a man whose cattle are not yet diseased, and are slaughtered, but when the disease has taken an animal, at any rate, I hope compensation is not on the basis that it was a hull that would take first prize at the Shorthorn show next year, or something of that kind. I want to understand precisely what you are doing. Make it clear to the Committee that you know what you are doing yourselves. That is so 1470 important. I shall certainly divide against this Resolution. All you are asking is to remove a limitation which a man who sat in the House of Commons in 1894 recognised as strictly Parliamentary procedure and inserted in the Act. It is just as dangerous as the doctrine of the Capital Levy.
§ Sir G. HOHLER
It was an illustration of my argument. To give this money to this Government or any Government without limitation is just as dangerous as the doctrine of the Capital Levy. I am exceedingly obliged to you, Mr. Chairman.
§ Mr. LOVERSEED
May I ask one or two questions with relation to this matter? I have friends who reside in Cheshire who have had their cattle destroyed. They were advised by the Minister to have their cattle slaughtered or otherwise they would have to take the sole risk of what happened later. Is the Minister of Agriculture quite sure that the one way out is by slaughter. I understand that in regard to one particular noble gentleman, the Duke of Westminster, who had a. pedigree herd of shorthorns, that in his case the Ministry agreed that he should isolate the cattle. There arc other tenant farmers who have herds of Shorthorn pedigree cattle in the same county who would have liked also to have their cattle isolated in the same way, but on the advice of the Ministry they consented to have their cattle slaughtered. I agree with what was said by an hon. Member opposite with relation to the way cattle had been slaughtered, and afterwards left on the ground for several days. A relative of mine who lives in the county of Cheshire had 30 beasts killed because it was reported that two of these had foot-and-mouth disease. He informs me that these beasts were allowed to lie on the ground for four or five days without anything being done. The person who slaughtered these beasts went from one farm to another. My friend is under the impression that the slaughterer must be carrying disease from one part to another.
1471 I am in touch with a great many farmers throughout the country, and particularly throughout my own county and they tell me that 40 years ago similar outbreaks in the county of Suffolk occurred, and the policy of isolation was carried cut as a cure for the disease. They were able to get over the difficulty in those times with isolation. There is a very strong feeling—they may not be expert farmers in the eyes of some people—but there is a very strong feeling among the rank and file of the farmers throughout the country that the policy of slaughtering is not the best policy, and that the difficulties could be got over by isolation. I would suggest to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, who comes from a neighbouring county, that he might very well in this connection accept the suggestion that was made, that the Committee of Inquiry might this time be changed, and that a different view of the matter be obtained. I do suggest that the total amount of £3,000,000 which has been paid for slaughtering cattle makes it a very costly business, whether, as a matter of fact, there are not serious differences of opinion in regard to this matter, and whether more consideration might not he given to the matter of isolation.
§ Viscount WOLMER
I do not propose to follow the hon. Member who has just spoken in regard to the main question of policy, and as to the slaughtering or otherwise of the animals concerned. This is a particular matter in which the Government and this House must rely upon the best expert advice that can be got. Nor will I attempt to follow the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Gillingham (Mr. Hohler). I leave that for the Government to deal with. But I should like in passing, if I may say so, to observe that I entirely disagree with him in respect of the particular complaint that he has made in regard to the form of this Resolution. He complains that another sum has not been inserted instead of £140,000. I quite agree with him that it is a sound principle that the sum, wherever possible, should be named, but I would respectfully point out to him that we are here dealing with a great emergency, and that it is not within the power of the Minister of Agriculture or anybody else to say what sum may be 1472 necessary. Therefore it does not appear to me to be reasonable to insist in this particular case that the. Ministry of Agriculture should name the sum which it should be empowered to pay. They are entitled to have a blank cheque in this matter.
Let me thank the right hon. Gentleman for the concession he has just made. I can assure him we on this side of the House appreciate very much that evidence of the way in which he desires to meet the House. Secondly, I would express regret that in his very interesting and full speech ho did not pay that tribute that, I am sure, he feels of the wonderful pluck and loyalty with which the farmers of the country have stood by the Ministry of Agriculture and endeavoured to carry out the requirements which have been made. When one realises the absolute ruin that this epidemic has meant to many men, many a man who has worked his way up from the position of an agricultural labourer to that of a small farmer owning a small herd of cattle, I think nothing grander has ever been seen than the way in which the small men, just like the big men, have done everything they could to assist the Ministry and the Government, even though it meant their own ruin.
That leads me to a question which I shall be very much obliged to the Parliamentary Secretary to touch upon in his reply. I should like to know on exactly what basis the compensation is paid. This is the sort of point that I have in mind—and it has occurred in many cases in the recent epidemic. You have one farm with a man owning a herd of bullocks. They have to be slaughtered. Their value can be assessed, and fair compensation, no doubt, paid. In the next farm you have a man who has a herd of dairy cows. What is the exact basis on which you compensate him? You must pay him for the value of his cows. But you have not compensated him in anything like the same degree as the man with the herd of bullocks. Not only in the second case is the herd of dairy cows lost, but the man, unfortunately, has lost his business, the whole of the revenue that he is getting for the milk, the goodwill of the business, and his customers. He will not be able to use the farm buildings or the farmhouse to keep his cattle in, or for another herd when he can afford to buy one, several months 1473 hence. When he tries to start in the dairy business again four months later, say, after the slaughter, he may find the whole of his good will and the whole of his customers gone. How exactly does the Ministry of Agriculture deal with a case of that sort I have heard nearly the whole of the Debate and I have heard nothing on that point. Certainly the Minister did not touch upon it. Again, should say to the Government and to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Gillingham that although I quite agree that the House scrutinised previously every penny—I agree that we must so scrutinise it—but I hope in dealing with this outbreak that something will not be saved at the expense of the farmer. After all, these precautions are being taken in the interests of the whole community. The principle has been conceded that compensation ought to be paid. As my hon. Friend said, you will facilitate your task and the work of the Ministry if the compensation is such that there is no avoidable unfairness about it. I hope it is in that spirit that the Minister of Agriculture is regarding this work of compensation.
§ Mr. ERNEST BROWN
It is very interesting to notice in this Debate how hon. Gentlemen opposite take such a great interest in agriculture from the point, of view of compensation for dairy herds. The Noble Lord who has just spoken appears to have forgotten when he was a member of the last Government that a colleague of mine put a question to the representative of the Board of Agriculture asking whether the proposal for compensation would extend to those who suffered the loss of dairy cattle through this dreadful disease. The question was also asked whether credit facilities would be given to enable them to restock their farms with cattle. The answer given to my hon. Friend by the representative of the Board of Agriculture in the last Goy, ernment was, that they were paid full compensation. I then asked a question whether the compensation applied to dairy herds, and I am pleased to hear now from members of the Opposition that the Tory party do not agree that a dairy farmer is properly compensated by simply being paid the carcase value for herds which are destroyed.
§ Mr. SHEPPERSON
I speak as one who is entirely in favour of slaughter. I 1474 understand that this question is one which ranges round the very controversial subject of slaughter or not slaughter. I recognise that there are arguments, and very strong ones, against slaughter from the sentimental point of view and from a reasonable point of view. I am in favour of slaughter, and I want to thank the Minister of Agriculture for his very clear statement this afternoon. We who represent, or try to represent, agricultural interests are up against this very difficult problem, as to whether it is possible to make British agriculture a paying concern. Only two or three days ago we heard a statement made by the Prime Minister, and another made at the end of last week oy the Minister of Agriculture, and from them we realise the future difficulties of British agriculture. I am one of those who consider that one of the means by which it may be possible in the future to make British agriculture a paying concern is by developing all possible systems of intensified agricultural processes. I submit that there is no more intensified agricultural process than that of breeding pedigree animals. This country is the home of pedigree animals of all description. It is recognised throughout the whole world that in England we have the power of breeding the best pedigree animals, and if that is the ease, then it is essential for the welfare of British agriculture that our stocks and our animals should have a clean bill of health, and that can only be obtained by a. continuance of the process which we all dislike, and that is slaughter.
Until some means are available by which we can get that clean bill of health without slaughter, then it will be necessary for us to continue that policy. I was very pleased to hear from the Minister of Agriculture that he attached very great importance to further scientific investigation into this disease, for it has occurred not only to me but to every Member of this House, that it may be possible by this investigation of the disease that in the future the animals of this country may be inoculated against disease, and then slaughter will not be necessary. I want to ask the Minister of Agriculture, who is obtaining or is anxious to obtain to-night support for this Resolution for the purpose of compensating those whose animals have been slaughtered, to be very generous in his treatment of the 1475 farmers who have to be compensated. I want to suggest that the farmers are not compensated for these pedigree stocks on which they have invested much skill and which are the products of many years of hard work. When herds are completely destroyed the work of many years of the farmer is destroyed also, and, therefore, I ask that the right hon. Gentleman should be generous in his compensation. I also want to ask him to be generous in his compensation to the owners of milking cows, herds of which have been brought together after many years' work, and when they are destroyed the farmer is not compensated by merely receiving payment for the animals, because he may have totally lost his livelihood by the destruction of the herd. It is because I feel that this Resolution, as proposed by the Minister of Agriculture, is in the interests of British agriculture that I heartily support it.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I want to draw attention to what has been referred to as the scientific investigation. The fact that lived on a farm for a fortnight last December dews not constitute my claim to speak on this subject, although some people consider themselves qualified to talk about agriculture if they have only seen a farm. With regard to scientific investigation in the areas which were affected in East Kilbride, I may say that if you want a really scientific investigation you must have real isolation. If you have an area with a stream running through it, you must have a wide path circulating round the entire area, and you must sprinkle it with some very inflammable material and set it alight.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Mr. HARDIE
I will deal with the birds in a minute. When you get that path burnt, there is only one possible danger and that is in the case of the mole, because he can travel to the other side of the line underneath. That is one method by which you can isolate any affected area. You have also to isolate the dogs, and prevent the crossing of roads by cattle. We have been told the story of the farmer who received a parcel of pigs' feet which were intended to infect his farm. That is an old story—I heard it 10 years ago—and 1476 I do wish hon. Members would think well before bringing up matters of that kind. There is the question of the consumer. This question of the herds has something to do with the question of our food supply. We are told that this scientific investigation is going to do much more than has been accomplished in the last t wo or three years, but we have no guarantee of that. What occurs in cases of swine fever? The pig breeder, directly he notices a jumping about among his animals, is aware that they are suffering from the disease, and as he gets no compensation he immediately proceeds to kill off his stock and destroy evidence of the disease. To-day such animals are being broughtt daily into the markets of our cities and sold for consumption by our population. I want the Minister to be specially particular on this point, that some date ought to be given as to the first signs of disease in the area, and as to the last killing. If it is desired to put this matter on a scientific basis, there must be some period fixed.
§ Mr. LAMB
As representing a division which has suffered very heavily from this terrible disease, and also living adjacent to Cheshire—and 1 believe no county has suffered as badly as Cheshire—I should like to say one or two words on this subject. Reference was made by the last speaker to the question of birds. I believe that if we take this matter seriously—and it is one which should he taken seriously, not in the interest; of the farmer only, but in the interest of the community and the food supply of the community as a whole—I believe that birds arc certainly one source of great danger in the carrying of the disease from one farm to another, especially in the case of farms where the system of feeding the cattle in the fields is followed. We all know that birds will follow the cattle to the troughs where, in the natural course of things, there is the greatest amount of infection, and will carry away on their feet the infection to other farms, and thereby spread the disease. I do not wish to go into the question whether slaughter or isolation is the right policy, but my own opinion, and I hold it very strongly, is that slaughter is the only policy which is going to give us satisfactory results. It is the only policy 1477 carried out thoroughly abroad which has been attended by success, and those countries abroad which have not gone in for the policy of slaughter are the countries which are suffering most from the disease, and which, I believe, are very largely the sources of the contamination which has come to this country.
It is not the policy of slaughter, but the great difficulty in carrying out the policy at the commencement. It is quite true that the Ministry had not an adequate staff with which to deal with a large outbreak of the nature of the present one, but I would ask hon. Members whether we, as Members of the House of Commons, should not have been the first to complain if the Ministry had kept, as a standing army of officials, such a number as was adequate to deal with an outbreak of this magnitude? We should have been the first to complain, and, consequently, we ought, in all honesty, to say that we believe the Ministry has done all that it possibly could in the first stages with the staff that it had, and undoubtedly it was during the first stages that the great spread took place in this country. The other policy, that of isolation, is one which personally I do not believe could possibly be carried out in this country. In the first place, while we talk about isolation hospitals and about isolating streets and the people who live in streets, that is a very different thing from this, and all policies and all remedies have to be utilised in relation to the conditions which exist in the industry to which they are to be applied. To-day we have a tremendous amount of road transport. It is greater than ever it was before, and I believe it will increase; and that, again, is a very great difficulty in the way of isolating a farm and keeping it free from infection from other sources.
I do not think we can with any great advantage discuss to-night this matter of policy as between slaughter and isolation, in view of the fact, which pleased me very greatly, that the Ministry have stated definitely that a Committee has been set up to consider the matter. I think it will he much more profitable to leave it until the Committee reports. I should like, however, to obtain some further information from the Minister with regard to the compensation which is to be paid and 1478 what is to be included as compensation. I realise as much as anyone else, and possibly more, because I am an agriculturist and in the midst of the industry, that it is impossible for the Ministry to corn pensate up to the full damage and injury which the industry has received. It would not be competent for them to do so. The industry is so varied and so wide, and, moreover, as was stated by one hon. Member, the loss is not confined to those men who, unfortunately, have the outbreak on their farms. It goes much further. It affects the whole of the industry, and, that being so, it will be seen how wide is the necessity for compensation if it is to be adequate. I regret very much the expression used, I believe, by the hon. and gallant Member for Henley (Captain Terrell), who spoke "the benefits of compensation." It is not a benefit; it is not really compensation. It is a question of the Ministry, in the interests of the community as a whole, purchasing the stock from the farmers for the purpose of destroying it.
If it is found to be impossible for the Ministry to include in this compensation all that I believe they think they ought to include, I hope they will consider some form of loans at a cheap rate of interest—cheaper than can be obtained from the banks—to enable these men to restock their farms. The first valuations, made quite correctly and honestly by the valuers, were, naturally, the values of the stock at that time, but we can quite realise that when the whole of the valuable dairy herds of a district like Cheshire have been destroyed—and there are wide areas now with not a bovine animal upon them—that when these animals have been destroyed in such large numbers, the value of that particular class of stock has naturally gone up very considerably. Those men will have to restock their farms at the present values, and the values which they received in compensation in the early stages are absolutely inadequate to enable them to restock on anything like a reasonable scale with the hope of making their farms successful. I trust that full and favourable consideration will be given by the Ministry to the question of making loans to these men for this purpose.
I hope, also, that some consideration will he given to the men. The farmers, having suffered a loss which cannot be computed, and for which compensation cannot he asked, have continued for a 1479 long while to maintain men employed upon their farms, putting them to do work that, while of some benefit, is not of very great benefit to the farm and is not actually in itself bringing in a return. They are incurring that further loss out of sympathy with the men with whom they have worked. They recognise that they have a claim upon them, and they have accepted the obligation. The Ministry have, when and so far as possible, employed these men to dig and assist in carrying out the operations of slaughter that were necessary on the farm, but that has not been sufficient, and, after a district has been cleared, but is not free for purposes of restocking, that class of work has disappeared, and it has been impossible for the men to find employment. It is still impossible for the farmers to continue to find them employment, and I sincerely hope some of this will be given to these men in the great difficulties in which they find themselves.
Mr. T. WILLIAMS
I thought the. Debate would have been brought to a conclusion some four or five hours ago. The Committee generally agrees that compensation, or payment in some, form, should be given to the farmers, and whilst the Members on various sides of the House were in agreement that payment must be made, somehow or other they have found ways and means of continuing the Debate for four hours, though at the outset they were agreed. The Labour Government has been in office for something like a month. This slaughter policy has been carried on for the past eight months, and the Government which recently went out of office not only determined the policy that should be pursued, but also the amount of compensation to be paid and how it should be determined, and it is most remarkable to me that, after having carried on the policy of slaughter on the advice of their experts for so long and having determined how the compensation should be paid, members of the late Government now come to the Labour Government and tell them what they ought to do. It is rather too late in the day to be telling the Labour party, who are at present the Government, what ought to have been done perhaps some eight months ago. The facts as we know them are that cattle have been slaughtered on the instruction of the Government that 1480 recently went oat, a financial obligation has been incurred, and whether it is the best policy to slaughter the cattle or not is perhaps a matter for speculation. But they are now dead, and the farmers are in need of this compensation, or payment, or whatever you care to term it.
There is one side of the question which perhaps ought to have been occupying the attention of the Committee more than any other over and above the financial obligation which has been incurred, and that is the side that affects the workers who have been thrown out of work. They do not come within the meaning of unemployrnent benefit, and they have had to do for themselves what the Government in the past has failed to do for them. It is true the Ministry has taken some steps to organise suitable work for them, particularly in Cheshire. Work has been found there by the county council and the authorities have responded nobly and they have made it possible for those who have been thrown out of work to have suitable work found, and not in one single case have the agricultural workers made application for Poor Law relief. But again the Past Government did little or nothing at all towards making provision for these people, and in view of the Minister's statement that he is prepared to make arrangements to meet existing financial obligations and also to ask the Government to set aside a fairly large sum for research for the purpose of tracing this elusive germ, if possible, and preventing such wholesale slaughter as has characterised the last eight months, I think at least the Committee not only ought to have assented to the Resolution but ought to have complimented the Minister on his foresight in having conceived the idea of spending money to trace this disease to its origin, and possibly eliminate it in future. The legal expert who, I believe, represents Gillingham (Sir G. Hohler) made various overtures to the Minister in seeking information. One was prompted to interject that we might be able to solve this problem by selecting a legal Committee. He told members of the Labour party that they knew nothing about agriculture, and it seems to me if he forgot all he knew about it he would be little or no worse off, for he would not have entered into this Debate after it had been going for some 4½ hours and then put several questions 1481 bearing upon answers which had been previously given, and upon which every Member of the House during the Debate was satisfied. I did not notice the hon. Member in his place prior to his rising to speak. I do not think hon. Members ought to be absent for hours on end and then to come here and to put questions the answers to which have already been given. He wanted to know from the Minister what was the policy of slaughter and what was the policy of isolation? The present Minister has been in office for a month and he has, at least, made a conscientious statement to satisfy hon. Members who have been sitting here. He has attacked the problem as best he could and, with the aid of his officials, he has acquainted himself with the problem inside and out, and has made adequate arrangements whereby the present obligations can be met and suitable arrangements made to examine this question for the future. The Committee ought not to hesitate in passing this Motion, allowing the Minister to meet existing obligations and to see what can be done in the shape of research.
The hon. Member opposite must know that there was little or nothing from the other side which needs reply. Speeches have been made demanding information which hon. Members have already in their possession, and they have been made with the idea, possibly, of getting the Minister to give more to the farmers and the landowners than they are likely to get. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] The Minister is not likely to concede that. He is meeting the obligations contracted by the late Government. As to the future, I hope that what money he has to spare will be expended in research and not in slaughter.
§ Mr. W. R. SMITH
It may be for the convenience of the Committee if I deal with the many questions that have been raised. The right hon. Member for Ripon (Mr. E. Wood) put one or two questions of substance and upon which the Committee would be glad to have information. The first question he asked was in regard 1482 to the £250,000 to be paid out of the local Taxation Account. I am advised that the amount payable is limited to a maximum of £250,000. That was a decision of the last Government. The precise amount will depend upon the actual amount that is in the Fund.
§ Mr. WOOD
I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman, but I am not sure that he appreciates entirely the point which I had in mind. What I asked was whether the sum would be the same in the forthcoming financial year as in this financial year. As he is aware, the sum of £250,000 has been arrived at by a calculation of the average of the Estate Duty grant, and so on. If the Estate Duty varied in the corning financial year would the sum be the same?
§ Mr. SMITH
Provisions for the next financial year are being drafted as a result of the Amendment which has been moved and accepted by the Committee, and I do not think that it would be proper for me now to go further into that matter. The right hon. Gentleman also asked in regard to the efficiency of the work of disinfection and other details connected with the policy of slaughter. I would remind the Committee that this outbreak, and the number of cases which occurred within a very short period, created a real difficulty so far as the Ministry and its officials were concerned. The point has been raised also in debate, as to whether a better equipment and a larger staff might not be provided in order to deal with a question of this character. In regard to that, all the Ministry have felt ought to be undertaken in that respect is to keep in existence a sort of skeleton organisation, which would be capable of developing during such periods of outbreak as we have passed through. It is very difficult to maintain a standing number of officials to deal with something which in past years has been largely speculative. That being the case, when we get such a large succession of outbreaks as occurred during the past year it is obvious that there will be instances which are due entirely to the circumstances and to the rapidity of the outbreak.
A question was also asked as regards the more extensive use of disinfectants. This is a matter which will be dealt with by the Committee which the Ministry has 1483 appointed. One or two points have been raised in connection with the appointment of that Committee. The question was asked, "Why are the members of the Committee that investigated the outbreak in 1922 the members of the present Committee?" It was thought, having regard to the other arrangements that have been made to deal with the question from a scientific point of view, that what was wanted, so far as this Committee is concerned, was just an examination of the experience gained in connection with this outbreak, to see how far present regulations in connection with the slaughter policy are effective, whether the spread of the disease has been due to any failures in the regulations themselves, or whether possibly it may be due to the nonobservance of the regulations. Therefore, the inquiry, so far as this Committee is concerned, will be largely of that character, and not an examination of the whole question such as took place in 1922, and it was thought better that the members who then sat upon this Committee should be those who had gained knowledge and experience of investigation in 1922, and this will be really supplementary to the inquiry that then took place. That is the explanation of why the Committee was constituted in its present form. Any point of failure on the part of those who represent the Ministry in dealing with this outbreak might with great profit be submitted to that Committee, so that they could examine it in detail and find out, how far they can deal with it. Any point that my right hon. Friend opposite may have in his mind in that respect the Committee will be only too glad to receive and examine, and, if necessary, to make fresh or more stringent regulations.
The right hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Acland) referred to the great ravages of the disease in Cheshire. Any Member of this Committee who has ally knowledge of the circumstances in Cheshire will feel very deeply for the farmers in that county because of the trouble through which they have passed. It is quite true, as the Minister of Agriculture stated, that the percentage of the cattle of the country that have been destroyed during the outbreak is only very small, but when that figure is examined from the standpoint of Cheshire the percentage is very high indeed; in fact nearly one-third of the cattle in that county, or in an area of it, 1484 have had to be destroyed. Anything that may be said as an expression of sympathy towards those who have been concerned, and any suggestion that can be made to indicate further help, will be readily appreciated. The right hon. Member for Tiverton also asked when we changed from slaughter to isolation. That is not a very easy question to answer. Everything depends upon the circumstances in particular cases. Generally speaking, the policy has been to slaughter, but there has always been a power, which has been exercised, perhaps, to a limited extent, to adopt a policy of isolation.
The policy of isolation, I am advised, has been used only in regard to very valuable pedigree stock, where the value of the herds has been a very important factor. That, however, is not the only guiding reason. Generally speaking, where pedigree herds are kept the conditions on the farm lend themselves better to the policy of isolation. It may be true to say that if all farms were well equipped with buildings and were carried on under the same conditions as are the farms where pedigree herds are kept—I will not say that it would be possible to develop a policy of isolation more than it has been developed hitherto, but certainly it would be easier to give that policy extended operation. In reply to some criticisms which have been made outside the House, let me say that the policy of isolation has not been put into operation merely because the stock was pedigree stock, nor merely because it belonged to a member of the aristocracy, but because of the further fact that the conditions on a farm were such as made it possible to adopt isolation with greater advantage than would otherwise be the case.
The right hon. Gentleman also made the suggestion that there should be international conferences on this matter. The Ministry keep in close touch with other countries in regard to this subject. The disease is by no means confined to this country. Nearly all the countries of Europe have to face the same circumstances as ourselves, and I assure the right hon. Gentleman that the Ministry are in touch with the scientists of other countries in order that they may get possession of any information which may accrue as a result of research and which may help in dealing with this matter. Regarding the right hon. Gentleman's 1485 suggestion as to experiments, it is a very difficult thing to conduct experiments. One of the great difficulties in this country is that in order to conduct scientific experiments into foot-and-mouth disease, you must have the disease in existence at the place where the experiments are conducted. That creates possibilities of infection and contagion, and surrounding farmers at once raise a protest against the disease being planted in their midst. It is felt that if an island could be obtained for that purpose, it would be the best course to adopt, but you cannot manufacture an island just when you want one—not even a Labour Government can do that. The difficulty is to find some place suitable for investigations of the kind suggested.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Daventry (Captain Fitzroy) put a question as to certain losses which might arise. I think the right hon. Gentleman is already aware that if the Government were to compensate for every form of loss arising out of this disease, the sum asked for now would require to be much in excess of that contained within the ambit of this Resolution. I am advised that the Act which governs this question limits the possibility of compensation to the actual value of the animals destroyed. Another question raised was as to the basis upon which the valuation is made, and the Noble Lord the Member for Aldershot (Viscount Wolmer) quoted the instance of bullocks as against dairy cattle. A valuer of reputation in the area is generally asked to give a valuation. If the animals concerned are bullocks they arc valued as such and their market value is the basis of the valuation, and a farmer is asked to sign an agreement accepting the valuation. The same procedure applies in the case of dairy cattle. They are valued as dairy cows on the basis of their market value apart from any special qualification attaching to them as regards special milk yield.
§ Viscount WOLMER
Is any consideration given to the loss of good will which the farmer sustains through interference with his business?
§ Mr. SMITH
It may be well again to remind the Committee that this question 1486 is not one which has arisen since the present Government came into office.
The hon. and learned Member for Gillingham (Sir G. Hohler) seemed rather to suggest that he was under the impression that all this had arisen in the last four weeks, but I beg to assure him that such is not the case. The first outbreak took place on the 27th August last, and the bulk of the compensation that comes within this Financial Resolution was fixed before the present Government came into office. Perhaps I might further remind him, although he may have difficulty in believing that such a coincidence could take place, that with the coming into office of the Labour Government the number of outbreaks diminished. May I say further, on the question of compensation, that of course this Government, like all other Governments, is bound by the terms of the Act establishing that compensation, and in so far as any other loss is concerned—it applies to the cost of manures turnips, hay (which is very largely wasted because there are no animals to consume it), loss of trade, and all that kind of thing—it does not form a basis upon which any Government is allowed to compensate under the terms of the Act.
The same thing applies in regard to labour, and let me say here that I am indeed gratified to find so many of my hon. Friends opposite expressing a real concern about the labourers on the farms. [HON MEMBERS: "Why not?"] I have been in n this House when discussions have taken place on Resolutions similar to this, and I have never before heard this point raised, although possibly that is due to the fact that the size of this outbreak is so much larger than anything that has occurred before. However, in regard to compensation for the labourers, there again the terms of the Act do not permit of any direct compensation being paid to them. Personally, I very much regret it, because there is a very definite loss of earnings by these labourers, and the. agricultural worker, not being covered by unemployment insurance, is at once, put into a position of very great difficulty indeed, as has already been pointed out.
I would like to say that the Ministry have done all they can to help in these cases. They have sent their representative down to the district, and have consulted the local authorities and tried to arrange for these men who have been 1487 displaced, especially in Cheshire, to be absorbed by schemes of work that might have been started in the district. It may interest the Committee to know that the information of the Ministry is to the effect that the amount of destitution that has arisen, in so far as these men are concerned, has not reached the point to have compelled them to seek Poor Law relief. I think that is very largely due to the fact that the farmers have done their best to meet the difficulties, that the Ministry have done their best to utilise this labour in the work that they have to carry out, of burning and burying the carcases afterwards, and that the local authorities also have done their best to give these men work on the roads, or in some similar fashion, which has, at least for the time being, tided them over their difficulty. I can only express the hope that if this Committee or this House should reconsider the provisions of the Act under which compensation is paid in regard to this disease, I am sure that those of us on this side will be only too ready, in conjunction with hon. Friend opposite, to see that the position of the labourer is adequately met.
§ Captain TERRELL
Is the hon. Gentleman quite emphatic in his statement that the agricultural labourers will not in any way participate in any of this money that is paid out in the nature of compensation?
§ Mr. SMITH
I do not know exactly what my hon. and gallant Friend means. If he means, are the Ministry entitled to give any compensation to the labourer, the answer is that, under the Act, they are not entitled to do so. The only form of compensation, the only basis of compensation, is what might be termed the commercial value of the animal that is slaughtered. Of course, the suggestion, which I think the hon. Gentleman himself made, that the farmers might, out of the sums they receive, pass some of it on to their labourers, is, of course, entirely a matter for the farmers themselves, and the Ministry have no real standing in the matter. The question has been asked, what is the result of the policy of isolation, and how far has it proved successful in meeting this particular disease? It is very difficult to give any exact information or statistics in this respect. That also applies to the further 1488 point that was raised as to how far the cattle which have suffered from the disease deteriorate. I am advised by the scientific staff at the Ministry that it largely depends on the severity of the disease, and also to which organs of the body the disease has attached itself with greatest virulence. In some cases the loss with regard to the animal itself is very severe, and in others slight. It is difficult to give any figure which would indicate, in a general sense, what the result of the policy of isolation would be so far as the deterioration of the animals themselves is concerned. Of course, the policy of slaughter, as distinct from the policy of isolation, is not adopted merely because it is not possible to treat the disease where that is considered advisable. The policy of slaughter is adopted as the best means of stamping out the disease once it has occurred. It is a question of destroying the virus by the quickest and best method, and the slaughter policy is adopted on that account.
It may be asked whether or not the Ministry is fully persuaded that this policy is the best one to adopt. All I can say in answer to that question is, I du not think there is any responsible body connected with agriculture which does not advocate the slaughter policy. Those who understand the question from the practical standpoint being agreed, it is somewhat difficult for those not connected with the industry seriously to argue against it as the best means of treating the disease. But if this Committee ask further whether we can let the question remain there, all I can say is, as I think the Minister has already indicated, the present Government are not content to let the question remain at that point. Perhaps I may mention here, as has already been explained to the Committee by my right hon. Friend, we are following up the work that was started by the last Government in the matter of scientific research, I think the method adopted has been a most practical and satisfactory one. The late Minister of Agriculture asked the President of the Medical Research Council if he could advise him as to the most suitable person to make a recommendation to the Ministry as to a line of procedure for investigation. Sir Walter Fletcher recommended a gentleman named Leishman, who is connected with 1489 the War Office veterinary staff. He is about to make a report to the Ministry as to how best a scientific investigation could be carried on into this disease.
I think I can say on behalf of the Ministry and the Government that every effort will he made to back up any Committee that is appointed so that they may, to the fullest extent, conduct the closest investigation into this matter with a view to finding out what is the real cause of this disease, and to find some immunising agent which will enable treatment to become so that the policy of slaughter may come to art end. None of us like this policy of slaughter as a method in itself. It is primitive and has many aspects which are unpleasing. At the moment the only alternative is a system of isolation. The Ministry feel that if that were adopted in this country at this moment the disease would sweep through the country as a whole, and the disaster that has overtaken agriculture, as a result of the present outbreak, would be nothing compared to what would happen under existing circumstances. I would emphasise that point by an illustration. If it be true that even by the operation of a policy of slaughter you have this infection spread, as it has done during the last six months; if you have, as in the case of Cheshire, where all the resources of the Ministry have been brought to bear to confine it to a given area, it spread as it has, with a policy of slaughter in operation, what would be the extent of its spread if we adopted isolation. I want to assure the Committee that the Ministry will not be satisfied merely with that policy. On the practical side, through the Committee the Minister has appointed, the closest investigation will be made to see whether destruction cannot be minimised compared with what has taken place in this recent outbreak, and side by side there will be scientific investigation going on by the Committee which will be ultimately appointed. This is a question which is causing the Ministry the greatest amount of concern as it has past Ministries. I can only hope the experience we have gained will be examined with the same advantage in the country and help to the farmers generally. I also hope that the results of the scientific investigation will lead us into a happier state than we happen to be.
§ Mr. SMITH
That is a matter to which I am afraid I cannot give any reply. It is a new point and one which will have to be examined. The Ministry fully appreciate the difficulty of the Cheshire farmers. Whether this is a matter that they have power to do at the present moment I would not say offhand.
§ Mr. A. M. SAMUEL
I beg to move, after the word "twenty-four" ["nineteen hundred and twenty-four"], to add the words:Provided that the suspension of the limitation imposed by Section eighteen shall not be held to authorise the expenditure of a sum exceeding three million pounds.Some of us on these benches think that the powers provided by the Resolution are a bit too wide. The right, hon. Gentleman made use of words as to the removal of the limit with which we so far agree; but we think there ought to be some words put in to provide that the total amount of money to be spent shall be left to the House. With that object I put forward the Amendment.
§ Captain TERRELL
I beg to support the Amendment. In doing so I entirely agree with the sentiments expressed by my hon. Friend when he said that we on these benches do not fail in sympathy with the agriculturalists in the position in which they are placed owing to this very serious outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease; we want to make it perfectly clear in supporting this Amendment that we are not doing anything in any way to hurt the agriculturists in their present plight. We put this forward for two reasons; first, we consider that this House is the proper place to control the finances of the country. We, the Conservative party, do not think—
§ Question, "That the Question be now put," put, and agreed to.1492
§ Question put accordingly, "That those words be there added."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 82; Noes, 242.1493
|Division No. 5.]||AYES||[11.0 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Rawson, Alfred Cooper|
|Allen, Lieut.-Col. Sir William James||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Gretton, Colonel John||Richardson. Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Ropner, Major L.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Roundel, Colonel R. F.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Harland, A.||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Hartington, Marquess of||Sandeman, A. Stewart|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Harvey, C. M. B. (Aberd'n & Kincardne)||Savery, S. S.|
|Briscoe, Captain Richard George||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Smith-Carrington, Neville W.|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hogbin, Henry Cairns||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Hood, Sir Joseph||Sutcliffe, T.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hope, Rt. Hon. J. F. (Sheffield, C.)||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Jephcott, A. R.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)|
|Cope, Major William||Johnson, Sir L. (Walthamstow, E.)||Vaughan Morgan, Col. K. P.|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Kindersley, Major G. M.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Lamb, J. Q.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)||Watson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Lloyd-Greame, Rt. Hon. Sir P.||Wheler, Lieut.-Col. Granville C. H.|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Lumley, L. R.||Wilson. Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Dixon, Herbert||Lyle, Sir Leonard||Wise, Sir Frederic|
|Eden, Captain Anthony||McLean, Major A.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Edmondson, Major A. J.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||Wood, Major Rt. Hon. Edward F. L.|
|Eyres-Monsell, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Ferguson, H.||Moles, Thomas|
|FitzRoy, Captain Rt. Hon. Edward A.||Penny, Frederick George||TELLERS FOR THE AYES,—|
|Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Perkins, Colonel E. K.||Mr. G. Balfour and Mr. A. M.|
|Gibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham||Perring, William George||Samuel.|
|Gilmour, Colonel Rt. Hon. Sir John||Raine, W.|
|Ackroyd, T. R.||Comyns-Carr, A.S.||Hastings, Sir Patrick|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke||Costello, L. W. J.||Hastings, Somerville (Reading)|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Cove, W. G.||Haycock, A. W.|
|Adamson, W. M. (Staff., Cannock)||Crittall, V. G.||Hayday, Arthur|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Darbishire, C. W.||Henderson, A. (Cardiff, South)|
|Allen, R. Wilberforce (Leicester, S.)||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Henderson, W. W. (Middlesex, Enfld.)|
|Alstead, R.||Dickson, T.||Hillary, A E.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Dodds, S. R.||Hindle, F.|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Duckworth, John||Hirst, G. H.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Dukes, C.||Hobhouse, A. L.|
|Baker, W. J.||Duncan, C.||Hodge, Lieut.-Col. J. P. (Preston)|
|Banton, G.||Dunnico, H.||Hoffman, P. C.|
|Barclay, R. Noton||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Hore-Belisha, Major Leslie|
|Barnes, A.||Edwards, G. (Norfolk, Southern)||Howard, Hon. G. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Batey, Joseph||England, Lieut.-Colonel A.||Hudson, J. H.|
|Bann, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Entwistle, C. F.||Isaacs, G. A.|
|Black, J. W.||Falconer, J.||Jackson, R. F (Ipswich)|
|Blundell, F. N.||Fletcher, Lieut.-Com. R. T. H.||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Bondfieid, Margaret||Foot, Isaac||Johnston, Thomas (Stirling)|
|Bonwick, A.||Gardner, J. P. (Hammersmith, North)||Jones, C. Sydney (Liverpool, W. Derby)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||George, Major G. L. (Pembroke)||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)|
|Broad, F. A.||Gillett, George M.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Leif (Camborne)|
|Bromfield, William||Gorman, William||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Brown, A. E. (Warwick, Rugby)||Gosling, Harry||Jones. T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Gould, Frederick (Somerset, Frome)||Jowett, Rt. Hon. F. W. (Bradford, E)|
|Brunner, Sir J.||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Keens, T.|
|Buchanan, G.||Gray, Frank (Oxford)||Kennedy, T.|
|Buckie, J.||Greenall, T.||Kirkwood, D.|
|Burnie, Major J. (Bootle)||Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Lansbury, George|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Noel||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Laverack, F. J.|
|Cape, Thomas||Groves, T.||Law, A.|
|Chapple, Dr. William A.||Grundy, T. W.||Lawrence, Susan (East Ham. North)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Guest, J. (York, W. R., Hemsworth)||Leach, W.|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Lee, F.|
|Clarke, A.||Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Lessing, E.|
|Climie, R.||Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Lindley, F. W.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Harbord, Arthur||Linfield, F. C.|
|Ciynes, Rt Hon. John R.||Hardie, George D.||Livingstone, A. M.|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Harris, John (Hackney, North)||Loverseed, J. F.|
|Collins, Patrick (Walsall)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Lowth, T.|
|Compton, Joseph||Harvey, T. E. (Dewsbury)||Lunn, William|
|McCrae, Sir George||Rea, W. Russell||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|M'Entee, V. L.||Rees, Sir Beddoe||Thompson, Piers G. (Torquay)|
|Mackinder, W.||Richardson, R, (Houghton-le-Spring)||Thomson, Waiter T. (Middlesbro, W.)|
|Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Ritson, J.||Thornton, Maxwell R.|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Or. T. J.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F.O. (W. Bromwich)||Thurtle, E.|
|Mansel, Sir Courtenay||Robertson, J. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Tillett, Benjamin|
|March, S.||Robertson, T. A.||Tout, W. J.|
|Marley, James||Robinson, S. W. (Essex, Chelmsford)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Martin, F. (Aberd'n & Klnc'dine, E.)||Romeril, H. G.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Martin, W. H. (Dumbarton)||Royce, William Stapleton||Viant, S. P.|
|Maxton, James||Royle, C.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Middleton, G.||Rudkin, Lieut.-Colonel C. M. G.||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Millar, J. D.||Scrymgeour, E.||Ward, G. (Leicester, Bosworth)|
|Mitchell, R. M.(Perth & Kinross, Perth)||scurr, John||Warne, G. H.|
|Mond, H.||Seely, H. M. (Norfolk, Eastern)||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Montague, Frederick||Seely, Rt. Hon. Maj.-Gen. J.E.B.(I.of W.)||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Morris, R. H.||Sexton. James||Webb, Lieut.-Col. Sir H. (Cardiff, E.)|
|Morrison, Herbert (Hackney, South)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)||Webb, Rt. Hon. Sidney|
|Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Shepperson. E. W.||Weir, L. M.|
|Morse, W. E.||Shinwell, Emanuel||Welsh, J. C.|
|Moulton, Major Fletcher||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Westwood J.|
|Muir, Ramsay (Rochdale)||Simon, E. D. (Manchester, Withingtn.)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Murray, Robert Murrell, Frank||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John||White. H. G. (Birkenhead, E.)|
|Naylor, T. E.||Smlille, Robert||Whiteley, W,|
|Nichol, Robert||Smith, T. (Pontefract)||Williams, A. (York, W. R., Sowerby)|
|Nixon, H.||Smith, W. R. (Norwich)||Williams, David (Swansea, E.)|
|O'Grady, Captain James||Snell, Harry||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Oliver, George Harold||Spence, R.||Williams, Lt.-Col. T.S.B. (Kenningtn.)|
|Owen, Major G.||Spender-Clay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H.||Williams, Maj. A. S. (Kent, Sevenoaks)|
|Paling, W.||Spero, Dr. G. E.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Stamford, T. W.||Willison, H.|
|Perry, S. F.||Starmer, Sir Charles||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield. Attercliffe)|
|Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Stephen, Campbell||Wilson, R. J. (Jarrow)|
|Phillipps, Vivian||Stewart, J. (St. Rollox)||Windsor, Walter|
|Potts, John S.||Stranger, Harold||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Pringle, W. M. R.||Sullivan, J.||Woodwork, Lieut.-Colonel G. G.|
|Purcell, A. A.||Sunlight, J.||Wright, W.|
|Raffety, F. W.||Sutherland, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Young, Andrew (Glasgow, Partick)|
|Ramage, Captain Cecil Beresford||Sutton, J. E.|
|Rathbone, Hugh R.||Tattersall, J. L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Raynes, W. R.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)||Mr. Spoor and Mr. Frederick Hall.|
Question put, and agreed to.
That it is expedient that the limitation of one hundred and forty thousand pounds imposed by section eighteen of The Diseases of Animals Act 1894, on the moneys which may he provided by Parliament towards defraying the costs in such section mentioned and ho paid to the cattle pleuro-pneumonia account for Great Britain shall not apply to moneys so provided in the financial year ending on the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and twenty-four.
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow.