HC Deb 02 June 1938 vol 336 cc2237-8
75 Mr. Price

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that dissatisfaction exists among occupiers of land in the West and South Gloucestershire internal drainage areas about the incidence of drainage rates, since the rateable values are too low in relation to the cost of the works which have to be undertaken; and whether he will consider how he can relieve the ratepayers, either by making Government grants to the internal drainage boards or by extending the rateable areas, thereby spreading the burden more equitably?

Mr. Ramsbotham

My right hon. Friend is aware that some dissatisfaction has been expressed with regard to the drainage rates levied by the West Gloucestershire Internal Drainage Board. My right hon. Friend does not think that there is any possibility of extending the boundaries of the internal drainage district as long as the principle of benefit embodied in Section 1 (5) of the Land Drainage Act, 1930, governs the delimitation of drainage districts other than catchment areas. I would remind the hop. Member, however, that Government grants are available to internal drainage boards under the provisions of Part III of the Agriculture Act, 1937, and that contributions can in certain circumstances be made to the expenses of an internal drainage board both by the catchment board and by any local authority, including the county council.

Mr. Price

Will the Minister consider specifically the case of the internal drainage areas of Gloucestershire under the Act referred to?

Mr. Ramsbotham

They will be considered; I think the Act is sufficiently elastic.

Captain Sir Derrick Gunston

Is my hon. Friend aware that this grant is given only when the work is done in the winter, and that it is impossible to do the work in the winter? Will he receive a deputation on the matter?

Mr. Ramsbotham

Yes, Sir.