HC Deb 05 June 1947 vol 438 cc498-505
Mr. Vane

I beg to move, in page 57, line 11, after "Committee," to insert: shall appoint an Estate Management Subcommittee and. The Subsection will then read so that a county agricultural committee shall appoint an Estate Management Subcommittee and may with the approval of the Minister, and shall if the Minister so requires, appoint one or more sub-committees. We consider that the estates management sub-committee is in a different position from all other sub-committees which the county agricultural executive committee may think fit to appoint. Hon. Members on both sides will remember that the war agricultural committees grew up as farming committees, dealing definitely with the farmers' problems—with tenant farmers' and occupiers' problems, and the staffing of those committees both as regards members and professional advisers was based on those original grounds. Under this Bill parallel functions are being added, and we now find that a county agricultural executive committee will be in a position to exercise the same discipline, with the same sanctions, against an owner of land as it has for some time exercised against occupiers. I think hon. Members would agree that the professional training necessary to assess estate management problems is something rather different from the training and experience necessary to assess farming problems. Whereas the professional training of an estate agent, as I am sure will be borne out by hon. Members on that side as well as on this, includes a certain knowledge of farming, I do not think the training of a farmer or of an agricultural worker by and large includes training in estate management problems. It may perhaps be an improvement if in the future it does, but at present it does not, and therefore I would suggest that if the problems which will arise are to be properly assessed it is necessary that the people who do the assessment should be qualified by some appropriate training.

It may be advanced that this subcommittee is only one of several, but I submit that it is different, because in some counties, for instance, horticulture may play a sufficiently big role for it to be thought worth while to set up a hor0ticultural sub-committee. In other counties it may not play such a big role. In some counties the number of agricultural workers employed in proportion to the number of independent farmers may be very large. In others, where the family farmers are the rule it may be very small so that in some counties the work of such a body may not be great. In some counties it will be found that the problems of estate management are now going to be on an equal basis with the problems of practical farming. Since the Minister has told us a hundred times if he has told us once during the Debates on this Bill that all he wants is to build a structure, in which all parties to the industry will have confidence, I feel that he can do little less than accept this Amendment.

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

I beg to second the Amendment.

Those who served on the Committee upstairs know that the Minister is sympathetic towards this particular proposal. In fact, if I may remind the Minister, the question was raised upstairs by the hon. Member for Westmorland (Mr. Vane), who moved this Amendment when he asked the Minister to consider making it compulsory for county executive committees to appoint an estate sub-committee. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister thereupon, in the words of the OFFICIAL REPORT "indicated assent." The question was consequently not pursued because of that desire for brevity and economy of time, which has characterised the Opposition in their desire to accelerate the Bill, and we left the matter and went on to consider another point. It is, therefore, with considerable hope that we move this Amendment. We hope that the right hon. Gentleman will go further than merely indicating his assent by nodding his head and that he will accept this Amendment.

This is a very reasoned Amendment, because estate management forms almost half of the Bill apart from Part 1. Certainly one half of Part 3 of the Bill deals with estate management, and it is with such technical work that the county executive committees will have to deal. In order to do it it is essential that they should have persons upon the committees who will know this business. They will have to be co-opted, because they will have to have experience in what is a very highly technical and highly qualified profession. Therefore, in order to ensure that they have advantage of professional advice, which they may require at any time and under certain circumstances, we feel that it should be possible to have these sub-committees operating. They will add to the stability of the committees, and if these permanent sub-committees are always at the beck and call of the executive committees it will be to the general advantage.

In a provision which will subsequently be before the House on the Ninth Schedule, it is laid down that: A County Agricultural Executive Committee may add to any sub-committee established by them persons not being members of the Committee who shall continue as members of the sub-committee for such period as the Committee may determine. Therefore, they have the power to do this, and all that we want is to ensure that those powers are used, because it is of no advantage to the well-being of the agricultural community if the powers which are granted in the Bill are not put into operation. We believe that it is essential that there shall be this background of technical knowledge available in regard to all the manifold problems which will come before the committee, and we move this Amendment which is to render it obligatory to have a technical subcommittee.

Mr. T. Williams

While I am unable to accept the Amendment, I can give the hon. Gentlemen a definite assurance that it is our intention to have an estate management sub-committee associated with every county executive committee. I am sure that the hon. Gentlemen will appreciate that we shall require a horticultural sub-committee in some areas where horticulture is of importance. We shall also require a labour sub-committee and a machinery sub-committee in every area, but if we embody in the Bill a statutory requirement to appoint one kind of committee I shall never be able to persuade the horticultural counties that they will also have theirs. I will, however, give a definite and clear-cut assurance that in every county executive committee there will be an estate management sub-committee as soon as this Bill comes into operation.

Major Mott-Radclyffe

While we are very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his assurance—which we accept as being given in perfect good faith—we do not follow his argument. If he gives an assurance that every county committee will have such a sub-committee, surely he could put this in the Bill? He agrees with our contention that estate management is a technical subject. In his own words, the State is to be a model landlord, and therefore those who conduct the management of estates on behalf of the State have to be very highly efficient in the profession of estate management. There is no difference of opinion about that. We accept the Minister's assurance, but why not put it in the Bill? The argument that because you insert in the Bill a statutory obligation to set up an estate management subcommittee every other interest that may be involved when the State takes over an agricultural holding must also have a subcommittee, is a completely false one. I must press the point that although throughout the Committee stage upstairs and, indeed here yesterday, we had a number of assurances from the right hon. Gentleman, all of which we accept as being given in perfect good faith, we are not legislating only for the time during which the right hon. Gentleman occupies the position he now holds. If another Minister should take his place what would be the fate of these assurances then?

Mr. T. Williams

The hon. and gallant Member himself might be the next Minister, and surely we could trust him to continue to implement them?

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 86; Noes, 230.

Division No. 239.] AYES [9.44 p.m.
Amory, D. Heathcoat Conant, Maj. R. J. E Galbraith, Cmdr T D.
Baldwin, A. E. Cooper-Key, E. M. Grant, Lady
Barlow, Sir J. Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C Gridley, Sir A.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)
Birch, Nigel Crowdar, Capt. John E Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.
Bower, N. Darling, Sir W. Y. Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Davidson, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Braithwaite, Lt-Comdr. J, G. Donner, Sqn.-Ldr. P. W. Hope, Lord J
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W Drayson, G. B. Howard, Hon A
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T Dugdale, Maj. Sir T (Richmond) Hurd, A.
Carson, E. Duthie, W. S. Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)
Challen, C. Fletcher, W. (Bury) Jeffreys, General Sir G
Channon, H Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone) Jennings, R
Clarke, Col. R. S Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M Joynson-Hicks, Hon L W
Clifton-Brawn, Lt.-Col. G Gage, C Lambert, Hon. G
Law, Rt Hon. R. K. Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C. E Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.
Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H Neven-Spence, Sir B Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Lindsay, M. (Solihull) Nicholson, G Thorp, Lt.-Col. R A. F
Lloyd, Maj Guy (Renfrew, E.) O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H Vane, W. M. F.
Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral) Osborne, C. Ward, Hon. G. R.
MacDonald. Sir M. (Inverness) Peto, Brig. C. H. M. Wheatley, Colonel M. u.
Mackeson, Brig. H. R Ponsonby, Col. C. E. White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Maitland, Comdr. J W Raikes, H. V. Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Marlowe, A. A. H. Ramsay, Maj. S. Willoughby de Eresby Lord
Marshall, D (Bodmin) Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury) York, C
Marshall, S. H. (Sutton) Ropner, Col. L
Maude, J, C. Sanderson, Sir F TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Molson, A. H E. Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow) Mr. Drewe and Mr. Studholme
Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury) Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W
Adams, Richard (Balham) Gooch, E. G Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)
Adams, W T. (Hammersmith, south) Goodrich, H E. Murray, J. D.
Allen, A. C (Bosworth) Gordon-Walker, P. C. Nally, W
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Greenwood, A W [...] (Heywood) Neal, H. (Claycross)
Alpass, J H. Grey, C F. Nichol, Mrs M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Anderson, F (Whitehaven) Grierson, E Nicholls, H. R (Stratford)
Attewell, H. C Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Noel-Baker. Rt. Hon. P J (Derby)
Ayles, W. H Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side) Noel-Buxton, Lady
Ayrton Gould, Mrs[...] Gunter, R. J Oliver, G. H.
Baird J Guy, W. H. Paget, R T.
Barstow, P G Haire, John E. (Wycombe) Paling, Rt Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)
Barton, C. Hale, Leslie Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Battley, J R Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R Palmer, A. M. F
Bechervaise, A E Hannan, W (Maryhill) Pargiter, G. A
Berry, H. Hardy, E. A. Parker, J.
Beswick, F Hastings, Dr. Somerville Parkin, B T.
Binns, J. Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Paton, J. (Norwich)
Blenkinsop, A Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick) Pearson, A
Blyton, W. R Herbison, Miss M, Pearl, Capt T. F.
Boardman, H. Hewitson, Capt. M Poole, Major Cecil (Lichfield)
Bowden, Fig.-Offr. H. W. Hobson, C R Porter, G. (Leeds)
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton) Holman, P Price, M. Philips
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge) Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth) Proctor, W. T.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham) House, G Pursey, Cmdr. H
Brook, D (Halifax) Hoy, J Randall, H. E
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell) Hudson, J. H (Ealing, W.) Ranger, J
Brown, George (Belper) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Rees-Williams, D. R
Brown, T. J (Ince) Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.) Reeves, J.
Buchanan, G. Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.) Reid, T. (Swindon)
Burke, W A. Irving, W. J. Robens, A.
Butler, H W (Hackney. S.) Isaacs, Rt. Hon G A. Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Byers, Frank Janner, B. Roberts, W (Cumberland, N.)
Chetwynd, G R Jay, D. P. T. Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Cobb, F A. Jeger, G. (Winchester) Rogers, G. H. R.
Cocks, F S Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St Pancras, S.E.) Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Collindridge, F Jones, J. H. (Bolton) Royle, C.
Collins, V J. Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin) Sargood, R
Colman, Miss G.[...] Keenan, W Scott-Elliot, W
Comyns, Dr. L. Kenyon, C. Segal, Dr. S.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K (Camberwell, N W.) Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr E Shackleton, E. A. A
Corlett, Dr. J. Kinley, J. Sharp. Granville
Corvedale, Viscount Kirby, B. V Shawcross, C N (Widnes)
Cove, W. G Lavers, S. Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)
Crawley, A. Lee, F (Hulme) Shurmer, P
Davies, Clement (Montgomery) Lewis, A W. J. (Upton) Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Davies, Edward (Burslem) Lewis, T (Southampton) Simmons, C J.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield) Lipton, Lt.-Col M Skinnard, F. W
Davies, Hadyn (St Pancras, S.W.) Longden, F Smith, C (Colchester)
Diamond, J Lyne, A. W Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Dodds, N. N. McAdam. W Smith, H. N (Nottingham, S.)
Dumpleton, C. W McGhee, H G Smith, S. H (Hull, S.W.)
Ede, Rt. Hon J C McKay, J (Wallsend) Soskice, Maj Sir F
Edelman, M. Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.) Sparks, J A
Edwards, John (Blackburn) McKinlay, A S Stamford, W
Evans, John (Ogmore) McLeavy, F. Steele, T.
Evans, S N (Wednesbury) Macpherson, T. (Romford) Stephen, C.
Ewart, R Mallalieu, J. P. W. Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Fairhurst, F Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping) Sylvester, G. O
Farthing, W. J Marquand, H A Symonds, A. L.
Fernyhough, E Mathers, G. Taylor, H. B (Mansfield)
Field, Capt. W J Mellish, R. J, Taylor, R J. (Morpeth)
Foot, M. M Middleton, Mrs. L Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Fraser, T. (Hamilton) Mitchison, G. R Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford) Monslow, W Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Ganley, Mrs. C. S Moody, A. S. Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Gibson, C. W. Morgan, Dr. H. B Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Morley, R. Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Thurtle, Ernest Wells, P. L. (Faversham) Wise, Major F. J
Titterington, M. P Wells, W. T. (Walsall) Woods, G. S
Tolley, L. While, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.) Wyatt, W.
Turner-Samuels, M Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. Yates, V. F.
Ungoed-Thomas, L. Willey, F. T. (Sunderland) Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Vernon, Maj. W F Williams, D. J. (Neath) Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Viant, S. P. Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove) Zilliacus, K.
Wadsworth, G Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst) Williams, W. R. (Heston) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Warbey, W. N. Willis, E. Mr. Snow and Mr. Popplewell.
Webb, M. (Bradford, C.) Wills, Mrs. E. A