HC Deb 05 May 1948 vol 450 cc1263-4
51. Mr. Mulvey

asked the Minister of Food when it is intended to revoke the concentration scheme under the Emergency Powers Act, 1942, by reason of which the creamery concern of Mr. Patrick McDermott, Dromore, Co. Tyrone, had to be closed down in October, 1942; if he will be allowed to reopen his creamery on the revocation of the scheme; and when it is intended to compensate him for loss of business during the past five and a half years.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (Dr. Edith Summerskill)

The future of the concentration scheme and of creameries in Northern Ireland will depend on Northern Ireland Government policy. No decisions have yet been taken. Compensation for loss of business is not payable under the scheme, but an offer of an annual payment was made to Mr. McDermott in respect of the rental value of the premises and the depreciation and upkeep of the equipment. Payments on account of sums calculated on this basis have been made to him for the period since the creamery was closed.

Mr. Mulvey

Can the hon. Lady say, in view of the fact that this proprietor is losing thousands of pounds a year as the result of a Government order, whether her Department is considering the question of some form of compensation?

Dr. Summerskill

I think my hon. Friend knows that we have looked at this case very carefully. All other owners of creameries have accepted our terms, but Mr. McDermott refused, and we cannot make special terms for him.

Mr. Mulvey

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that payment for upkeep of machinery is not compensation? I ask her to review the matter again.

Major Haughton

If the responsibility for these schemes of concentration is not really in the hands of the hon. Lady's Ministry, is it not the case that the Department of Agriculture in Northern Ireland merely act as agents for the Ministry of Food?

Dr. Summerskill

The Department of Agriculture in Northern Ireland formulates the policy and we do the financing.