HC Deb 02 March 1944 vol 397 c1578
51. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in connection with the Ministry of Agriculture leaflet, No. 4724, on "Grant Aided Water Schemes," he will consider amending the instructions contained in the leaflet so as to provide for the reclassification of glasshouse property from market garden holdings, which are not eligible for the grant, to a category which is eligible, in view of the necessity for water for these glasshouses for tomato growing.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture (Mr. Tom Williams)

The purpose of the Government grants in respect of schemes of water supply is to encourage developments necessary in connection with war-time food production and in particular the ploughing of grassland and the maintenance and increase of milk production. The grants are not intended to assist the provision of water in cases where such provision would, in the absence of war-time conditions and in the ordinary course, be undertaken by the owner. In the circumstances and in view of the shortage of labour and materials I regret that it is not possible to extend the scope of the grant-aided water supply schemes on the lines suggested.

Mr. De la Bère

Has not the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Agriculture repeatedly urged on these small growers the need for maximum production? If maximum production is wanted, it must be organised.

Mr. Williams

There is nothing to prevent an owner of glass houses installing the necessary water supply at his own expense. Indeed, the Ministry will gladly help him in providing licences for materials to enable him to get the supply.

Mr. De la Bère

They cannot afford it.

Mr. E. Walkden

Are not the glass house people making far more profit than the farmers?