HC Deb 03 May 1937 vol 323 cc905-9

9.48 p.m.

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I beg to move, in page 5, line 8, to leave out from the beginning, to "for," in line 13, and to insert: make and submit a subsidy scheme to the Ministers and, if the Ministers by order approve the scheme, to carry it into effect. (2) A subsidy scheme may provide. This is consequential upon the remarks I addressed to the House upon a previous Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made:

In page 5, line 22, leave out "arrangements," and insert "scheme."

In line 22, at the end, insert: (3) The Ministers may, before approving any subsidy scheme submitted to them by the Commission, make such modifications in the scheme as the Ministers think proper."—[Mr. W. S. Morrison.]

9.51 p.m.

Mr. H. G. Williams

I beg to move, in page 5, line 22, at the end, to insert: Provided that before submitting a subsidy scheme to the Ministers which provides for determining the places at which animals may be certified for the said purposes the Commission shall—

  1. (i) cause to be published in the Gazette and in such other manner as they think best adapted for informing parties affected a notice of their intention to submit such a scheme specifying the place where the scheme may be inspected and copies thereof obtained and the price at which such copies will be supplied and stating that the Commission are prepared to receive any objections to so much of the scheme as provides for the determining of such places as aforesaid which may be made in writing within such period after the date of the publication of the notice, not being less than one month as may be specified in the notice; and
  2. (ii) give to any person by whom any such objections have been made before the end of the period specified in that behalf in the said notice a reasonable opportunity of being heard upon such objections and take the same into consideration."
I think that the purpose of the Amendment is clear on the face of it. It relates to the second Sub-section of Clause 5, which deals with certain aspects of the subsidy arrangements and the places in respect of which certificates are required for the purpose of this Part of the Measure. When a scheme is submitted to determine the place at which animals may be certified for the purposes of the Commission, bearing in mind that certain places where transactions have taken place in the past will not be certified, it is only proper that every kind of opportunity to make protests be given to those affected, if protests are called for. If they are to have that opportunity it seems desirable that proper notice should be given in advance.

The proper official way of giving such notice is publication in the "London Gazette." It will be noticed that I go beyond that provision, because very few hon. Members read the "London Gazette." Certainly very few people in the countryside do so, except those who may be immediately affected. The general bulk of the people do not read it. Therefore, in addition to the official notice in the "London Gazette," I suggest, in the first paragraph of my Amendment, that notice shall be given in such other manner as they think best adapted for informing parties affected a notice of their intention to submit such a scheme. We ought not to make any important change affecting the countryside without the people there having the chance to protest and without letting them know in advance what is intended to be done. The sole object of the Amendment is that proper publicity shall be given, and that when publicity has been given the persons who are affected, whether adversely or otherwise, should have the opportunity of making representations in the right quarter. I hope that the purpose of the Amendment is now sufficiently clear.

9.55 p.m.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I beg to second the Amendment.

I would briefly add that under the existing system a place which is not now a certification centre and is or is not a market area, may be made a certification centre, and a place which is now a certification centre and is also a market may be discontinued as a certification centre. In the case of either of those eventualities, positive grave hardship may be inflicted upon interested parties, and it seems fair that they should be allowed a chance of their objections being heard. The Government have been so reasonable in regard to the claims which have been made that I hope they will give consideration to this further extension.

9.55 P.m.

Mr. Ramsbotham

The most serious objection which I have to this Amendment is the delay that it would involve. It is desirable that the appointed day on which the new subsidy should become payable should be fixed as soon as possible after the Bill gets the Royal Assent, and there is bound to be a short delay between the appointment of the Commission and the appointed day. If this Amendment were passed, there would be a very long delay indeed before the new scheme could be submitted to the Ministers concerned, which would certainly hang up the date of operation of the subsidy and cause considerable loss to the producer. For that reason alone, I am disposed to recommend the House not to accede to the Amendment.

I do not in any event think it is a necessary Amendment from the point of view of the interests concerned. The existing Cattle Committee has been carrying on for about three years, and only five of these certification centres have been closed in that time, and as far as I know the ground of closure in all five cases has been for disciplinary reasons, in consequence of irregularities. The Livestock Commission would be able to act immediately in such cases to prevent further irregularities and to secure a good and uniform standard of grading. Obviously, the desire of the Commission will be to facilitate the distribution of the subsidy as best it can, and it would not wish unduly and unnecessarily, as past experience shows, to curtail the points at which certification can be made available. I might go so far as to give the assurance that any market which would be a real market under this Bill would be continued as a certification centre as long as the supply of cattle was maintained and so long as it was conducted properly and efficiently. It is essential that the Commission should have a full discretion in its administration, and I hope my Friend will consider the point of view of delay and the point of view of the position which the Commission must occupy as a public service, and that he will not press his Amendment.

Mr. H. G. Williams

The Minister said that it was not likely that places where irregularities are taking place would be continued, but surely he will give some kind of control.

9.58 p.m.

Mr. T. Williams

The cattle producers are informed fairly well where the certification centres are, and as under the terms of the Bill they are to receive for first quality fat cattle a subsidy of 7s. 6d. per cwt. or, shall we say, £3 10s. or more for every head of cattle that they send to the certification centre, they will know all about the certification centres and just where they are.

9.59 P.m.

Mr. Gallacher

I was in the Scottish Standing Committee discussing a similar Bill, and the proposal was made there that notification should be given in the "Edinburgh Register," but the representative of the Government argued against it and said that the people did not read the "Edinburgh Register." He opposed vigorously the use of it because it would not serve the purpose, and he said that, on the contrary, other measures would have to be taken so that the people in the country could get to know what would be decided and would be in a position to make representations. Now we are told that it does not matter for the people in the country.

Mr. H. G. Williams

Having regard to what I will call the moderately satisfactory explanation given by my hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions, I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

10 p.m.

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I beg to move, in page 5, line 23, to leave out Subsection (3).

This and the next Amendment are consequential on the Amendment which I last moved.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 5, line 27, leave out Sub-section (4).—[Mr. W. S. Morrison.]