HC Deb 27 February 1941 vol 369 cc626-7
47. Mr. de Rothschild

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in the case of disagreement between a farmer and his agricultural executive committee with regard to the suitability for ploughing of land in the occupation of the farmer, there is any right of appeal from the decision of the committee; and if so, to whom?

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. R. S. Hudson)

No, Sir.

Sir Henry Morris-Jones

Will my right hon. Friend re-consider his answer, in view of the fact that there are often cases of serious disagreement between farmers and the agricultural executive committees concerning the suitability of land for ploughing up?

Mr. Hudson

The committees are composed of practical men who have firsthand knowledge of the areas for which they are responsible. It is obvious that in many cases the individual farmer is reluctant to plough up land, but the committees, being aware not only of the position of the individual farmer but of the necessities of the nation, must have power to decide.

Mr. de Rothschild

Is the Minister aware that many people think that the agricultural executive committees are judging this matter in a rather partial manner? Would it not be better to have an impartial tribunal or a judge to arbitrate if a case arises between a farmer and the committee?

Mr. Hudson

No, Sir. That would mean in practice setting up a new series of executive committees. All these things must be decided by the men who have local knowledge not only of the land but of the farmer himself. The hon. Member's suggestion would mean duplicating the whole machinery and would involve delays.

Major Mills

Is it not the case that besides practical farmers, there are also theoretical experts on the committees, and do not the theoretical experts very often desire to try experiments which would be very expensive for the farmers concerned?