HC Deb 03 May 1937 vol 323 cc808-12

4.4 p.m.

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I beg to move, in page 3, line 39, to leave out Sub-section (4), and to insert: (4) There shall be constituted three subcommittees of the Livestock Advisory Committee, one for England, one for Scotland and one for Wales (which sub-committees are hereafter in this Act respectively referred to as 'the English sub-committee,' 'the Scottish sub-committee' and 'the Welsh sub-committee'), and each of the said sub-committees shall, subject as hereinafter provided, consist of such members of the Committee as may be designated by the appropriate Minister: Provided that, in relation to any of the said sub-committees, the appropriate Minister may appoint to be members of the subcommittee persons who are not members of the Committee, but who appear to the said Minister to be representative of one or more of the interests referred to in sub-section (2) of this section; but not less than two-thirds of the members of the sub-committee shall be members of the Committee. (5) Any matter falling to be considered by the Livestock Advisory Committee shall, if it is a matter arising in relation to England only, in relation to Scotland only or in relation to Wales only, stand referred to the English sub-committee, the Scottish subcommittee or the Welsh sub-committee, as the case may be, who shall consider the matter and report thereon to the Committee. (6) For the purposes of the last two preceding sub-sections, Wales shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Wales and Berwick Act, 1746, be deemed not to be included in England, and Monmouthshire shall be deemed to be included in Wales. This Amendment is the result of representations made to me that there ought to be a separate sub-committee of the Livestock Advisory Committee to deal with Welsh agriculture. The Amendment was not moved in Committee, but representations have been made to me and I promised to consider them and to see whether anything could be done. A difficulty that I foresaw was this: If I appointed a separate sub-committee for Wales, including representatives of all interests which have to be represented on the Livestock Advisory Committee, that might have the undesirable consequence of making the Livestock Advisory Committee too large. But the words which I have now moved get over that difficulty by providing that the sub-committee for Wales shall consist, as to two-thirds, of representatives of the main Livestock Advisory Committee and as to one-third of additional representatives appointed by the Minister. I can assure the agriculturists of Wales that I am very conscious of their special problems, which arise from geographical and other differences, and I recommend this course as providing machinery whereby Welsh agriculturists can co-operate in the work of the Livestock Commission.

4.7 p.m.

Mr. T. Williams

While we welcome the right hon. Gentleman's concession to the principality, in conceding to them a sub-committee of the Livestock Advisory Committee for the purpose of any central slaughter-house scheme that they may have, I am a wee bit doubtful whether the right hon. Gentleman has not gone too far in his concession to hon. Gentlemen sitting behind him, who in Committee were very anxious indeed that the Livestock Advisory Committee should be almost wholly made up of interested persons.

Brigadier-General Clifton Brown


Mr. Williams

The hon. and gallant Member says "No," but if he will look back at the Order Paper when the Bill was in Committee, and if he will read the Debates over again, he will find that the one thing his hon. Friends wanted more than all else in discussing the Livestock Advisory Committee was that the interests should be fully and adequately represented and over-weighted beyond any mathematical calculation. The right hon. Gentleman simply says in the Amendment that there shall be three subcommittees, that two-thirds of the memberships of each sub-committee shall consist of members of the Livestock Advisory Committee, and that one-third of the Committee shall be interested persons. How is that going to work out in practice? The Livestock Advisory Committee is to be made up of four additional Members, when one of the right hon. Gentleman's Amendments has been accepted—persons representing producers, local authorities, auctioneers and others concerned in the marketing or preparation of livestock for sale and so forth. To begin with, therefore, we have an absolute maximum of four additional Members; four sets of interests have to be represented, and two-thirds of that section will make up the sub-committee and one-third will be persons who have an interest in the production, auctioneering or preparation for sale of livestock.

I am rather suspicious, in view of the very important duties imposed upon the Livestock Advisory Committee. From Clause 3 of the Bill onwards the Livestock Commission can scarcely do anything without first of all calling upon the Livestock Advisory Committee for advice. I rather suspect that this concession is too much of a concession to the interests, which may delay marketing schemes, the full application of the slaughtering scheme or any one of the re-organisation proposals embodied in the Bill. I regret that the Minister has seen fit to extend the representation of interested persons, because on looking at the Order Paper to-day one can see just what is the view of the Bill taken by hon. Members opposite. I looked through the list of Amendments on the journey to London to-day and I made a remarkable dis- covery. There are four Parts of the Bill. One Part is to give the Board of Trade power to restrict the imports of beef and veal. The second Part is designed to provide improved marketing. The third Part is to provide improved slaughtering. The fourth Part is to provide £5,000,000 per annum for beef producers. I notice that there is just one Amendment to the restriction Part of the Bill, and that Amendment is designed to make restriction more definite than before; there are 17 Amendments to the marketing proposals; there are 14 Amendments to the slaughtering proposals; but there is not a single Amendment on the Paper to the proposal to give livestock producers £5,000,000 per annum. I am referring to hon. Members opposite, many of them recipients of the subsidy. I do not think it is a wise policy for the right hon. Gentleman to over-weight with interests the committees that are appointed for the purpose of re-organising ultimately in the interests of livestock producers. I regret that the right hon. Gentleman has seen fit to weight the balance in favour of the interests and to yield to pressure from his hon. Friends. I think his Amendment is calculated to upset the real and true effectiveness of the marketing and slaughtering proposals.

4.13 p.m.

Mr. Ernest Evans

I rise only to express the thanks of the Members of the Welsh Parliamentary party to the Minister for having produced this Amendment and for having given an opportunity to Wales of establishing a special sub-committee which will have the interests of that country under consideration. I have pressed this matter on the right hon. Gentleman for good reasons. I thank him for having accepted them, for I think his Amendment will help the Bill very much.

Sir R. W. Smith

I thoroughly approve of these appointed members for the subcommittees but I have a difficulty in understanding on what terms they are to be appointed. I have looked through the Bill. The Second Schedule provides for the appointment of the Livestock Advisory Committee and states the terms on which they are to be appointed, but I can find nothing in the Bill which will apply to these appointed members of the sub-committees. I would like to have an assurance that there will be an Amendment to the Second Schedule to make it applicable to these appointed members. There is so far nothing in the Bill to show for what period these members are to be appointed or to state what are the terms of their appointment.

Mr. W. S. Morrison

Consequential Amendments to that now before the Committee are on the Paper and will be moved later.

Sir R. W. Smith

Where are the Amendments to the Second Schedule?

Mr. Morrison

They are near the bottom of page 1203.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 4, line 9, after "Committee," insert "and of the said sub-Committees."—[Mr. W. S. Morrison.]