HC Deb 15 July 1946 vol 425 cc864-5
52. Mr. Medlicott

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will take steps to institute a scheme of mutual insurance, whereby farmers and smallholders may obtain some recompense for storm damage to their crops as has recently occurred in Norfolk.

Mr. T. Williams

There is already in existence a farmers' mutual insurance society which is prepared to give facilities for insurance against storm damage; and similar factilities can also be obtained from other insurance companies

53. Mr. Dye

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware of the damage to crops in south-west Norfolk by hailstorm on 2nd July; and what steps he proposes to take to assist the farmers to carry on who have lost the whole of their crops.

56. Mr. Stubbs

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he has considered the damage to crops caused by the recent storms in the Newmarket and Soham district of Cambridgeshire; and if he will consider some form of compensation to the small farmers involved.

Mr. T. Williams

I naturally feel great sympathy with those who have suffered, and in their interests as well as in the interests of food production I have asked the chairmen of the agricultural executive committees for Norfolk and the other counties affected to ensure that the committees render all the assistance that is within their power, both by way of help in the rehabilitation of holdings where damage has occurred, and in securing alternative employment for men and machinery rendered idle. I regret that I can hold out no hope of Government financial assistance on account of losses caused by weather.

Major Legge-Bourke

Will the right hon. Gentleman give further consideration to the possibility of providing feeding stuffs for those people whose home-grown feeding stuffs have been completely destroyed?

Mr. Williams

That is, of course, one of the items which the county executive committees will take care of.

Mr. Stubbs

Is my right hon. Friend aware that some of the small owners involved in this calamity have lost everything, some of them ex-Servicemen, and does he not think that some provision should be made to meet a calamity of this kind?

Mr. Williams

As I have already explained, action has been taken through the county executive committees to render all possible assistance to those who have suffered as a result of the storms referred to. Unfortunately, however, this is not one of those cases where the Government have felt disposed to render direct financial assistance as a result of disaster caused through storm.

Mr. R. A. Butler

Have instructions been sent to the Essex War Executive Committee and others, because we have had damage there?

Mr. Williams

I was not aware that Essex had had any damage, but, if it has, I assume that its war agricultural committee will be communicated with.