HC Deb 10 December 1945 vol 417 cc16-7
Mr. T. Macpherson

asked the Minister of Agriculture when the Report of the Farm Buildings Committee is to be published; and what action he proposes to take on the recommendations contained in the Report.

Mr. T. Williams

The Farm Buildings Committee appointed by my predecessor in November, 1942, to consider and make recommendations regarding the lay-out, design and construction of farm buildings after the war, reported to him in March of this year. The report is to be published tomorrow. I am circulating in the Official Report a statement of the action I propose to take on its recommendations.

Following is the Statement:

The recommendations of the report of the Farm Buildings Committee provide a sound basis for developing the intentions announced in the Government's recent statement on agricultural policy that agricultural land should not only be properly farmed but also properly managed and equipped. An extensive programme of new construction on farms cannot be contemplated for the next two or three years. New buildings there will have to be, if full production is to be secured; and there are substantial arrears of repairs and maintenance to be overtaken. But for some little time, the quantity of building labour and materials that can he spared from the housing programme will be small in relation to needs.

I propose, therefore, that my Department shall, on the lines indicated in the Report, explore to the full the use of substitute materials and simplified methods of construction. They will be assisted in this by the findings of a Mission on Farm Buildings appointed by

my predecessor and his colleague the Secretary of State for Scotland which has recently returned from America and whose report is also being made available to the Press tomorrow. The erection of farm buildings is subject to licensing by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Works, and plans for new buildings in England and Wales are referred to the Ministry of Agriculture for examination. It is intended that this examination shall be conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Farm Buildings Report so as to ensure the fullest productive use of the available supplies of labour and materials. In the meantime, my Department will press on with the work of investigation on the recommendations made by the committee, so that when development is possible on a large scale, it will take place on sound lines. It is proposed to include advice on farm buildings within the scope of the National Advisory Service. I am, in the first place, referring the report to the Agricultural Improvement Council, with a request that they should consider its recommendations and should set out a programme of investigations to be put in hand forthwith.