HC Deb 06 July 1931 vol 254 cc1874-8

I beg to move, in page 4, line 1, to leave out the words "together with," and to insert instead thereof the words: and except in the case of a substitutional scheme. I have a series of Amendments dealing with the same subject, and I ask leave to deal with the whole of them on this Amendment. The question at issue is that of amalgamating schemes. If the Bill meets with the success which the Minister anticipates, there will be a considerable number of schemes eventually in existence, and probably the next step will be that two or more might wish to amalgamate and form a bigger scheme. If the Bill is to be complete, some machinery to allow for amalgamation must be included. The position at the present moment is this. If there are two schemes covering areas A and B wish to amalgamate into a combined scheme covering area C, only one course is open, and that is for the Minister to revoke schemes A and B. That means that in order to form scheme C you have to go through the whole process of setting up a virtually new scheme. Consequently you have delay, an intermediate period. My purpose is to get over that difficulty, and I am suggesting that schemes which are revoked by subsequent schemes shall continue in an altered form until the subsequent scheme is set up. But I do want to see whether there are not certain cases where one can, to some extent, get over the interregnum between the scheme being formed and coming into full operation. I want to devise a particular machinery to a particular class of scheme. The particular class of amalgamated scheme I propose to call a substitutional scheme. The definition of a substitutional scheme is contained in an Amendment to Clause 18, on page 21, Briefly it is this: That any person who is entitled to register in either of the existing schemes shall be entitled to register under the substitutional scheme, and no person who is not entitled to register under one of the existing schemes shall be entitled to register under the substitutional scheme. Therefore, the people who are to be entitled to register under the substitutional scheme are to be those who are entitled to register under the other schemes, neither more nor less. To that particular class of scheme, the substitutional scheme, the alteration in machinery which I propose is this: That the formation of the substitutional scheme shall not operate entirely as if it was the formation of a new scheme, but rather as if it was merely an Amendment to the two existing schemes which it is proposed to amalgamate. That will have the effect of getting over the period of interregnum before the poll is taken.

Let me draw attention to what takes place when an Amendment of an existing scheme is suggested. If it is desired to amend a scheme, the scheme has to be put to the board; it is put to the various producers, who may agree with it, or, if a certain number of them demand a poll, the poll is taken, and if the poll goes against the scheme the Amendment is defeated; but if there is a sufficient majority the Amendment goes forward to the Minister himself, for his approval, and is then laid before Parliament. That is the machinery which at present operates when you want to amend a scheme. I propose to apply that machinery in toto to the formation of a substitutional scheme. It will have the effect that all the people to be affected by the substitutional scheme will have a complete opportunity of demanding a poll and, if necessary, recording their votes. The point is that when the Amendment or the substitutional scheme—they are one and the same thing—is finally approved by the Minister and by Parliament it can come into operation at once, coincident with the order for revoking existing schemes which have been amalgamated. That is the object of the Amendment. In, the case of all other schemes I do not think it is desirable or possible to facilitate the machinery by which amalgamation can take place. In rendering amalgamation schemes easier in certain cases we should be carefully on guard against making an amalgamation too easy, so that it may possibly go through to the injury of some persons. Except for the Amendment which I shall move later and which obviates the necessity of the Minister revoking subsequent schemes which infringe on the areas affected, as far as I am concerned I propose that the machinery with regard to the formulation of new schemes and amalgamated schemes shall remain unchanged.

The Amendment I am moving is simply one which says that in the case of substitutional schemes all the members of the board of the new substitutional schemes shall be persons named in the scheme. In the case of any initial scheme they are all named in the scheme, with the addition of two members who are nominated by the Minister. In the case of substitutional schemes, I propose that the Minister's nominations shall be named and that the whole of the personnel of the board shall be persons named in the scheme.


I beg to second the Amendment.


I must cordially congratulate the hon. Member on the ingenuity which he has displayed in this matter. He contributed a good deal to our discussions upstairs on this very technical and interesting point. The whole idea was to see how we could devise arrangements so as to secure that the agreed schemes which were in substitution of, or amendments of, other schemes were brought into operation without any delay and without any unnecessary machinery attached to them. He suggested this scheme in Committee, and I said I should be glad to enter into friendly consultation with him and his hon. Friends between then and the Report stage to see if we could devise suitable machinery. I think the hon. Member deserves much credit for suggesting this very ingenious series of Amendments, and I am very glad to accept the Amendment now before the House and those which follow.

Viscount WOLMER

I am sure the Minister is wise to accept my hon. Friend's plan, and I should like to congratulate him on the way in which he has done it. I think it is a real improvement to the Bill, for it provides greater elasticity. If you are trying a new plan, you must endeavour to make it adaptable to as many different circumstances as possible. One of the great difficulties in dealing with agriculture in the general terms of an Act of Parliament is that agriculture is not one single industry but many different industries carried on in many different circumstances in different parts of the country. Therefore, you must have a great variety in procedures available for the development of these schemes so that that which may be most suitable can be provided. I think my hon. Friend's plan does meet the case of either the amalgamation of all schemes identical in every respect except in regard to locality, and also other schemes. It is really a great improvement in the Bill, and I am delighted that the conferences between him and the Minister have resulted in this series of Amendments which I hope will have the support of all parties in the House.

Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

I should like to draw the Minister's attention to Sub-section (5, b), which says: (b) no scheme shall ho modified so as to be applicable to any area to which it would not have been applicable without modification. If there is an amalgamation of schemes, it is possible that you may have to alter those words, because although it may not be a modification in the technical sense, these words may mean that if there is an alteration in a scheme it will be difficult for it to come within the terms of Sub-section (5, b). Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will meet the point, if necessary, in another place.


If a scheme were modified, it could not apply to an area to which it could not originally apply. I will think over the point further, but I am satisfied that these words are all right.

Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move, "That further Consideration of the Bill, as amended, be now adjourned."

There was an understanding that we should try to make a certain amount of progress, and I think we have made a satisfactory beginning.

Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), to be further considered To-morrow.

It being after half-past Eleven of the Clock, Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the Rouse without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned at One Minute before Twelve o'Clock.