§ 48. Mr. Loftus
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the Livestock Commission have refused a licence for the livestock market at Bungay, which has been in existence for centuries except during a temporary abeyance in 1936; whether he has considered a petition signed by over 700 local inhabitants, the majority farmers in the neighbourhood, praying for the retention of the market; whether he is aware that recently several hundred pounds have been spent on the market to comply with the requirements of the East Suffolk County Council; and what action he proposes to take on the matter?
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
I am aware that the Livestock Commission, in exercise of their powers under the Livestock Industry Act, have refused to approve the use of certain premises at Bungay as a livestock market, and I have received the petition referred to. I am informed by the commission that no market was in operation at Bungay between 1900 and 1929, and that very few livestock sales took place during the period 1929 to 1937, there being none at all during the period referred to in Section 14 of the Act, namely, the year ended 30th November, 1936. It appears that the recent expenditure on improvements was incurred in ignorance of the position under the Act. Before arriving at their decision the commission, in accordance with the requirements of the Act, consulted interested parties and the Livestock Advisory Committee, and carefully considered all relevant factors. On the advice of the committee, however, the commission decided that the approval of the premises concerned would not be in the interests of efficiency and economy 27 in the marketing of livestock. The question of a refusal to approve the use of market premises in the above circumstances is one for the Livestock Commission, and I see no grounds for asking them to reconsider their decision regarding the market at Bungay.
§ Mr. Loftus
Before a final decision is taken will my right hon. Friend cause a public local inquiry to be held at Bungay?
§ Mr. Morrison
I can only call for such inquiries to be held when I have power to do so. Under the Livestock Industry Act, the power to refuse a licence when there has been no market in a specified time is a matter for the commission, and not for me.
§ Mr. Loftus
I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible opportunity.