HC Deb 19 December 1935 vol 307 cc1955-6
106. Mr. BROOKE

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the resentment among the county boroughs and boroughs in the River Ouse (Yorks) catchment area by reason of the offer of only 33⅓ per cent. by the Government towards the cost of a scheme of works in the Ouse catchment area costing £1,190,000; that although the Catchment Board have passed a resolution accepting the offer, the county borough representatives voted against the resolution; that the county boroughs find 60 per cent. of the cost of the schemes and the expenses of the board, but their representation on the board is only 38 per cent.; that the county boroughs' representatives on the board have recommended to their councils that they should take no more part in the work of the board until the present constitution of the board has been altered, and to withhold payment of such portion of the precepts issued by the board as represents expenditure on new works and the improvement of existing works, which the Minister cannot compel the Catchment Board to carry out; and what action does he propose to take to remove the antagonism of the county boroughs?


I am aware that the representatives of the county boroughs on the Yorkshire Ouse Catchment Board have expressed dissatisfaction with the finance of the proposed expenditure on improvements, but, in view of the fact that the authority concerned has decided by 20 votes to 11 to proceed, I hope very much that all concerned will now devote themselves to the task in any event, will take several years to complete.


Is not the Minister aware that the county boroughs' persistence in their opposition may hold up this scheme for 10 or 15 years?


We feel that that question rests with the authorities concerned.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that those 11 votes came from the county boroughs?

107. Mr. BROOKE

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that certain farming and landowning members of the Ouse Catchment Board stand to profit financially by the operation of the board's schemes; and whether he will take prompt steps to prevent them voting on such schemes or, indeed, on any schemes at meetings of the board?


The board has been set up in accordance with the Land Drainage Act, 1930, and I have no power to take steps such as the hon. Member suggests.