HC Deb 23 February 1939 vol 344 cc713-4

10.34 P.m.

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I beg to move, in page 2, line 22, at the end, to insert: (4) In Sub-section (4) (which relates to interpretation) the following paragraph shall be substituted for paragraph (a)— (a) the expression "the ascertained bacon price" means, in relation to the bacon made from a pig, such as the Development Board may satisfy the Minister to be a sum which has in accordance with regulations under this Section been determined by the Board (by reference to transactions carried out by such curers as may be specified from time to time by the Minister, after consultation with the Bacon Marketing Board, acting independently of the Development Board) to represent the average market value per hundredweight to curers, during the month beginning with the sixteenth day of the month during which, under the provisions of the contract, the pig is due to be delivered, of whole sides of green Wiltshire-style bacon of all selections produced by the tank-cure process from pigs produced in Great Britain; and.' This Amendment arises from the fact that there have been found loopholes in the principal Act with regard to the ascertainment of bacon prices. We dealt with this on the Report stage of the Financial Resolution, and I do not think the House will expect me to say much more about it. The Bacon Marketing Board, I under- stand, while they are in entire agreement with the purpose of the Amendments, namely, to close the loopholes that have been found, and while in general agreement with the draft regulations which will be made intra vires by the Amendments to the Bill, nevertheless feel some apprehension that the Amendments, which are necessarily in a general form, would permit regulations to be made of a character inconsistent with the intentions of the Act. Though they do not anticipate that the present Minister or the present Government, or, indeed, any Minister or any Government are likely to make such unreasonable regulations, they feel that they cannot in duty to their registered producers support in principle an Amendment which makes such regulations possible.

I have some sympathy with the point of view expressed by the Bacon Marketing Board. Nevertheless, they have agreed that it is necessary to close these loopholes, but neither I nor the board have been able to suggest any other effective way of doing what everybody recognises is necessary and what everybody wants to do. I should like to assure the Committee that it is neither the intention nor the desire of the Government to make regulations under this Section of the Act other than in the fullest co-operation with the Bacon Marketing Board and with the fullest desire to give effect to the intentions of the principal Act.

10.37 P.m.

Mr. T. Williams

There is no intention of dividing against this Amendment, but we do think that an Amendment of such fundamental importance might have been anticipated when the Bill was introduced. I agree with the explanation of the Minister, and I think that this paragraph is quite the proper thing to put the Bill in order.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 2, line 23, leave out "which relates to interpretation."—[Sir R. Dorman-Smith.]

Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.