49. Mr. De la Bère
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he can now make some statement of progress in connection with the scheme for the provision of additional cheap credits for agriculture which the Government are considering?
There is no new scheme of this sort, but certain additions have been made to the existing Schemes. County war agricultural executive committees are now authorised to provide such additional services as ditching, drainage, hedging, and removal of bushes and stumps, repayment by owners or occupiers of that part of the cost not covered by grants being permitted by instalments, with interest, over periods up to three years. The credit thus made available is, of course, in addition to that which farmers can obtain from banks and merchants or under the Agricultural Requisites Assistance Scheme.
Mr. De la Bère
Is it not the intention of my right hon. Friend to speed up agricultural output in every possible way, and how can he possibly claim that this is being done when the banks are still allowed to charge 5 per cent. for loans to farmers? It is an absolute scandal.
I have no reason to suppose from anything that I have heard during my travels round the country that there is any lack of credit to assist an increase in food production.
Mr. De la Bère
It is not a question of lack of credit but of too high charges. In view of the unsatisfactory Reply, I shall raise this matter at the earliest opportunity, and I shall go on raising it and raising it.