HC Deb 15 April 1929 vol 227 c61

We have been repeatedly pressed to bring the reliefs into operation at the earliest possible date. We have already hastened the freight relief upon selected traffics. Instead of the £18,000,000 in the suspensory fund which I originally budgeted for, or the £14,000,000 which was all I had a right to expect at the end of the Summer Session, we have now £22,500,000. We propose, therefore, to bring the relief of rates upon agricultural producers into immediate operation. The farming community will not have to wait until October. They will be freed from the burden of rates as from the beginning of this month. This earlier relief costs £2,500,000, a sum which in its happily reinforced condition the suspensory fund can properly bear. A short Bill will be necessary before the Dissolution, non-controversial I have no doubt, to allow this further relief and to enable the Exchequer to make good to the local authorities the £2,500,000 which they would otherwise be collecting from the agricultural producers. The Bill will be introduced immediately after the Budget Resolutions.

I have anxiously considered whether it would be practicable to ante-date in a similar way the relief to manufacturing production. The rates upon agriculture have already for many years been divided under the workings of the Agricultural Rates Acts. They have been divided between productive and residential properties and, therefore, it is a simple matter to remit the rates upon land and buildings used for agricultural production. In the case of industry the frontier line is now only for the first time being drawn between those hereditaments which fall within the scope of our legislation and those which fall outside it. There is no assured basis, therefore, upon which the relief on productive industry can be ante-dated. Industry must still wait until October, but agriculture can receive its relief at once.