HC Deb 17 March 1925 vol 181 cc2182-3

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £268,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment daring the year ending on the 31st day of Hatch. 1925, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, including Expenses under the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) Act, 1924, a Subsidy on Sugar and Molasses Manufactured from Beet grown in Great Britain, Loans to Agricultural Co-operative Societies, Grants for Agricultural Education and Research, Grants-in-Aid of the Small Holdings Account, and certain other Grants-in-Aid; and of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


Will the Minister give the Committee some explanation of this Estimate?


I am most anxious to give an explanation on any points on which the Committee think that it stands in need of explanation. If hon. Members have the Estimates before them, they will see that they naturally fall into three groups. The first is one concerned with agricultural wages, and it is entirely a question of machinery for bringing into operation the working of the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) Act that was passed last Session. The sum, of course, does not represent the amount that would be required in a full year, because the Act only came into operation in October. I think that all the figures speak for themselves, but, if any further information be necessary, I could, of course, give it. It is, however, purely machinery. The beet sugar subsidy we have been discussing, and I think the Committee is generally familiar with that. The last item—the Fishery Department Vote—is a small item that arises as follows. Each year it has been the policy of my Department to incur some small expenditure upon the improvement of small harbours round the coast, and to do that in conjunction with local offers that may be elicited in the same cause. I wish, myself, that we had more money to spend in this direction, because it is an extremely valuable expenditure of money. I only regret that I am not asking for a larger sum. I hope next year to be able to stand at this box and ask for still more money for the purpose.


May I ask whether this is the time to consider the Government policy with regard to foot-and-mouth disease?


I am afraid that the subject of foot-and-mouth disease docs not arise on this Estimate.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolution to be reported To-morrow; Committee to sit again To-morrow.