HC Deb 02 March 1925 vol 181 cc18-9

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether it is the intention of the. Government to proceed with the proposed Agricultural Conference?

33. Colonel BURTON

asked the Minister of Agriculture, whether he is aware that there, exists a widespread desire that the Agricultural Conference called by the Government should meet as early as possible; and whether he can afford any information as to the date upon which the first meeting of the Conference will take place?


In view of the refusal of both of the Labour Unions to take part in the proposed conference of agricultural interests, the Government have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to establish a conference on the lines originally suggested. It was proposed by the Government in the hope that, if an agreement between the different sections of the industry could be attained, this alight prove the foundation of an agreement between political parties as to a permanent national policy. The refusal of the Labour Unions to participate in the conference has destroyed this hope.

I have carefully considered the possibility of providing representation of farm workers other than from the two unions to which invitations were issued, but apart from the fact that such action would be unlikely to contribute to that political agreement which it was the main purpose of the suggested conference to secure, I am informed that in such an event the Council of the National Farmers' Union would withdraw their representatives.

In these circumstances it will be the duty of the Government, on their own responsibility, to frame such proposals for the assistance of agriculture as are consistent with the necessity of protecting the industry from the danger of sharp reversals of national policy, and with this end in view the Government propose, in accordance with their declared purpose of arriving at the greatest possible measure of agreement, to seek the co-operation of, and invite considered suggestions from the representatives of the different sections of the industry.


Can the Minister inform the House when the Government will do this?


We propose to do it forthwith.


Is it not the case that the Scottish Conference on Agriculture is to take place?


I think that question should be addressed to the Secretary for Scotland