HC Deb 20 March 1928 vol 215 cc349-50

I am sorry that the Minister of Agriculture is not in his place, because I wanted to raise what, to the area around Doncaster, is a very important question. Questions have been put to the Minister of Agriculture during the past few days, and the replies have led us to believe that nothing is going to happen, at least during the present year. In view of the various Reports which have been submitted by Commission after Commission, intimating that a fairly large area of land is lying derelict for want of drainage schemes, it does seem to me that the Government, in ignoring the existing facts and the recommendations of Commission after Commission, lay themselves open to the severest criticism. It is perfectly true to say that the Minister of Agriculture has scarcely had time to examine the Report of the latest Commission, but it is also true to say that the Reports of previous Drainage Commissions were such as to compel the Minister to set up a special Commission for a special area which requires priority treatment. Now that Commission has reported, and has let the Minister of Agriculture see the grave possibilities which may arise from leaving this area untouched by a special drainage scheme, and the results that are likely to follow, not only to agricultural land, but to the health of large numbers of people who are more or less dependent on that area—


At Question Time yesterday it was stated, in reply to the hon. Member's own question, that that is a matter which would involve legislation, and, therefore, it is not a matter which can be raised on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House. Only matters of administration can be raised on that Motion.


I do not intend to transgress your ruling, Sir. My only point in raising the question was that, in view of the seriousness of the problem in this area, which has been scheduled for priority treatment, it seems to me the Minister might very well be urged to examine it with a view, if possible, of dealing with it before 1929. The Minister indicated, in reply to questions, that nothing will happen this year. It is due to those who represent tens of thousands of people who are dependent on drainage schemes for their health and their livelihood to urge on the Minister to take steps at the earliest possible moment to see, first, that the land is not allowed to go completely derelict, and that people are not going to be submerged as a result of the failure of the Government to do something instantly.

Adjourned accordingly at Twenty-nine Minutes before Eleven o'Clock.