§ 7.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Turton (Thirsk and Malton)
I beg to move,That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, praying that the Scheme, dated 22nd March, 1951, entitled the Agricultural Lime (Amendment) Scheme, 1951 (S.I., 1951, No. 513), a copy of which was laid before this House on 27th March, be annulled.The history of this matter, which is of importance to agriculture, is that in 1937 Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith, then Minister of Agriculture, brought in a scheme for giving producers a subsidy on the lime they used on their land. That operated throughout the war, and the present Government, when they came into power, very wisely, in my view, continued that scheme; and in 1947 they added to it by giving a subsidy of half of the cost of spreading the lime. We have had that subsidy on spreading lime now for three full years, and it has had very beneficial results. As a result, up to this year more lime has been spread each year, more machines have been used, and more mechanical spreading of lime has been carried out.
On 22nd February the Minister of Agriculture announced a change of policy. He decided that he must go back to the pre-war plan, merely giving subsidies on lime and transport, and discontinue the subsidy on the spreading of lime. At the same time, he took other similar action with the subsidies on fertilisers for grassland. He compensated for that by agreeing that the effects of the discontinuance of these two subsidies and certain other subsidies should be taken into account during the February price review.
I think it is quite clear, if hon. Members will study the statement made by the Minister of Agriculture, that the discontinuance of these two subsidies was designed to take effect after the end of spring cultivation, in the case of the spreading of lime, and in the case of the grassland fertilisers, from 1st July, so that the summer grass might receive fertilisers this year under subsidy arrangements. The unfortunate thing in this matter, of course, has been the weather. In fact, spring cultivation had not in many places been begun on 31st March, when the discontinuance of subsidy for the spreading of lime operated. The complaint I make to the House is that the Minister should not, in view of these 1923 weather conditions, have introduced this subsidy discontinuance on 21st March, but should have delayed it.
I put down a Question to the Minister on this very subject on 5th April, and I think it is important that the House should study the Minister's answer to my request that this subsidy should remain in being until 31st May in order to allow farmers to carry out the contracts which they had entered into with their merchants and get this lime spread on the land. The Minister, in his reply, said he could not do that, and said, as a reason:Unfortunately, we could not foresee what the weather conditions were likely to be when the Order was made on 23rd March, 1951."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th April, 1951; Vol. 486, c. 376.]If I may correct the Minister, the Order was, in fact, made on 20th March, 1951. However, I do not think that that is really material to the main point.
I suggest to the House that it was abundantly clear to the Minister on 20th March that the chosen date, 31st March, was far too early in view of the weather conditions. I should have thought that it would have been sufficiently clear to him by 22nd February when he made his announcement to the House. But in the intervening 30 days there has been a record for March rainfall—a rainfall I believe unparalleled in this century of our history. The position is, going by the statistics that we can collect, that the rainfall in the first three months of this year has been 13.3 inches, compared with 8.8 inches last year and 5 inches, which is the normal rainfall for the first three months of the year, in 1948.
The effect of the Minister's action in this matter has been disastrous. I believe that the figure of the amount of lime that has been spread up to 31st March—the Minister will, I think, agree—is 500,000 tons less than it was last year. Everybody connected with this branch of agriculture was expecting that the figures would be greater than last year, and, indeed, the Minister had so budgeted in his Budget estimates. Therefore, we have a picture of countryside where no work has been done and where the lime should be put on the land but has not been put on the land, which 1924 is going to have, unless remedied, very serious results for agriculture.
What has happened in the last three weeks? I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to give us greater details. Farmers, owing to the discontinuance of this subsidy, have everywhere been abandoning their contracts. Their contracts are based on figures which took in an element for the subsidy, which is, in fact, usually 5s. per ton on burnt lime and 3s. 6d. per ton on other lime. As a result of the Minister's Order, which, I hope, he will change, these contracts are being thrown over. I know in the East Riding of Yorkshire of one trader alone who has had contracts of 1,000 tons thrown over in the last few weeks—which will, I think, show that 50 per cent. of the contracts for lime in the East Riding outstanding have now been revoked. In the Midland counties 50 per cent. of the contracts for spreading of lime have been cancelled in the last three weeks.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture (Mr. George Brown)
Contracts for lime or lime spreading?
§ Mr. Turton
For spreading lime. In Cumberland, 600 tons have been cancelled in the last few days with one trader. In North-West Yorkshire 100 tons have been cancelled. In the Home Counties the position is rather different. There 5 per cent. of the contracts have been cancelled. I have been working in the last two days finding out that evidence. It is not easy evidence to get, and I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary, when he replies, will give us further details of what is happening in other parts of the country.
I think what is quite clear is that a very grave situation is developing owing to the fact that this order has been wrongly dated. I am not arguing against 22nd February decision. That is past history. Whether it was right or wrong is not for me to argue tonight, because the effect of it has been taken into account in the February Price Review. Therefore, it would be wrong for me to argue against that.
I hope the Minister will realise that in that February Price Review it was assumed that this lime would have been spread. In other words, farmers are having to shoulder an extra burden of 1925 something like £90,000 as a result of the weather conditions and the early date of this order, but the hardship is not evenly spread throughout the country and I have been at pains to try to find out the position in that respect. I have been put in a little difficulty, because, while, normally, the figures supplied by the Ministry for what lime has been spread in the months always come out on 16th or 17th of each month, for some reason, of which I am not aware, in this particular month it has been varied so that they are not available to the farmers or to the trade today; for a curious reason they are two days late.
Therefore, I must confine my figures to January and February of this year, the two current months, and compare that with the previous year. In my own district of the six Northern counties of England, in these two months last year 200,000 tons of lime were spread on the land. This year the figure has dropped to 128,000—a shortfall of something like 72,000 tons. But that is very uneven. In my own county the figures have dropped from 26,000 tons to 16,000 tons, yet in a county like Westmorland, which normally enjoys a very heavy rainfall at this and other times of the year, more lime was, in fact, spread in those two months than in the same two months in the previous year. That shows how very uneven has been the effect of the untimely withdrawal of this subsidy. Looking at the position in the other areas, we find in the Eastern area that the drop has been from 124,000 tons spread to 80,000 spread—a drop of about 50 per cent. For a county like the Isle of Ely the drop has been from 8,600 tons to 4,400 tons.
I believe that the effect of this mistake on the part of the Minister—and I believe it is a mistake—is most clearly seen in the West of England. There, in the county of Somerset, the spreading this year has been only 20 per cent. of what they normally spread in the first two months of the year. Those of us who travel about the country realise that a great deal of this land is waterlogged, and that it is impossible not only to put the lime on the land but to get the lime wagons on to the farm. It is for that reason that I ask the Minister to reconsider this order, which is unfair to agriculture and is causing uneven hardship throughout the country. I ask him to withdraw this Order, 1926 and, later, to introduce a new order discontinuing this subsidy, possibly from 31st May, or, as I believe the trade are asking, from 30th June or 31st July.
§ 8.4 p.m.
§ Mr. Hurd (Newbury)
I beg to second the Motion.
It is the view of many of us who are directly concerned with the farming industry that the Order which the Minister of Agriculture has made withdrawing the subsidy on the spreading of lime is both unseasonable and unreasonable. It has been Government policy right through from the war years until now—and a very wise policy—to encourage farmers to use more lime, and particularly to get economic working at the lime works to encourage farmers to apply this lime to the land during the winter months.
Obviously, it is desirable to spread the load of getting lime, getting it transported and distributed on to the land. Fortunately, there has sprung up the practice of the suppliers of lime spreading the lime that they bring to the farms for the farmer—a practice well liked, not only by farmers but by farm workers, because lime spreading can be a very uncomfortable and unpleasant job. Therefore, the arrangement of the subsidy covering not only the actual lime but the spreading of it on the ground has suited all sections of the agricultural community, and I would stress that it has been an agreed policy for a good many years that as much of this lime as possible should be put down in the winter.
In this Order, to which we object, the Minister brings to a sudden end the subsidy on the spreading of lime, and he has chosen a very strange date at which to apply this edict. Our farms, whether in the North or in the South, have been waterlogged from November until March. Indeed, the official rainfall figures show that between November and March in this immediate past winter, we have endured no less than 22 inches of rain as against 16 inches in the winter of 1949–50, and only 11 inches in the winter of 1948–49. It has been an exceptionally wet winter for all of us, and with the land waterlogged, as it has been, it has been impossible to get lime delivered to the farms, and, more particularly, to get it spread on the land.
1927 Now, of course, conditions are entirely different. I was at home on the farm this morning and it was a real delight to see everybody busy, and not only doing their cultivating and sowing but also applying lime. But these are jobs which should have been done in February and March, and which the Minister no doubt imagined were being done, and thought that the winter liming season would have been finished at its normal time by the end of March.
In fact, this year it has happened differently, not through any fault of the farmers but because we have had this exceptional rainfall, and it has just not been possible to get on to the land. We now find that this particular form of assistance, the spreading subsidy, has been removed, and some farmers are put in a difficult position. It is a difficult position also for some merchants who have undertaken contracts to supply and spread lime, who now find that they must break that contract which they have made with their farmer customer because there is no longer this Government subsidy applying to the spreading of lime.
The Minister of Agriculture told us last Thursday that he could not foresee, on 23rd March, when he said the Order was made, that the Order was so bad. Surely it is a matter of the Order having by that date been already so bad. It was obvious to anyone who had any close contacts with agriculture that the land just would not carry the lorries and distributors to apply the lime. It is very strange that the Minister did not know this. One wonders whether there are any windows in Whitehall out of which he could look to see that it was raining, and so realise what effect that must have on the land.
Does no one in the Ministry of Agriculture read the reports which the Ministry publishes from time to time on farming conditions? I should like to refresh the Minister's mind on the wording of the report published by his Ministry on 9th April, 1951, under the heading "Weather Conditions." This is what the Ministry said:The weather during March continued cold and wet. Frequent heavy storms, following the abnormal rainfall of the previous months, have resulted in considerable flooding and waterlogging in low-lying land.1928 The Department of Agriculture for Scotland also publishes a monthly report on farming conditions, and no doubt the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland had an opportunity of studying this report. This is what St. Andrew's House said:Weather, Frost, snow, sleet and rain hampered progress with ploughing and other outdoor work, which remained considerably in arrears.That is what the official reports said, one from Whitehall and one from St. Andrew's House, but Ministers, both in London and in Edinburgh, seem to have been sublimely unconscious of what was happening on the farms.
It may be said that the Minister cannot be expected to follow what is happening in the farming world or to recognise the implications of changes in Government policy, and that he must be guided by the advice that is given to him by his officials, or possibly by the officials of the Treasury, who are anxious tidily at the end of the financial year to close this part of the lime subsidy. Surely it is the proper responsibility of the Minister to weigh tidiness, as put forward by his civil servants, backed no doubt by the Treasury, what will be the effect on the land and upon food production. I know that the present Minister has not the benefit of the liaison officers from the counties that the previous Minister of Agriculture had during the war, but he has contact with the county agricultural executive committees, and many other people upon whom he can call for advice.
For example, the National Farmers' Union are not very far away from Whitehall. They are in Bedford Square. They were very close to Whitehall recently, and I should have thought that the Minister could have called upon Sir James Turner, or someone in close touch with farming conditions, and told him what he proposed. He might have looked though the window and said to Sir James: "It looks to me as though there has been a lot of rain. There are some puddles in Whitehall. Is this going to affect the farms? Will it mean that the lime which should have been applied to the land has not been applied?" He would have got a straight answer from the N.F.U., as he always does to any question he puts to them.
This kind of practice from the Minister of Agriculture of going about blindfold 1929 and simply having regard to what is administratively tidy but not necessarily desirable in practice, brings the Minister into disrepute with farmers and with the merchants who have to supply farmers' requirements. That is unfortunate, because the Ministry of Agriculture earns good marks in comparison with other Ministries with whom farmers and other traders in the rural areas have to deal, but in this case it seems that the Minister did not have any practical advice about the steps that were proposed.
I am not arguing whether the lime subsidy is good or bad or whether it should be continued indefinitely. I have my own views about farm subsidies generally, but this is not the proper time to expound them. We have to decide tonight, on this Prayer, whether it is reasonable for the Minister to cut off part of the subsidy at a moment when farmers have been unable to complete the lime-spreading operations of the winter season. I woud stress the point to the Parliamentary Secretary that some farmers have had the benefit of the subsidy in spreading their lime because they were in an area, possibly East Anglia, where they did not have the heavy rainfall that we had in the West, in Scotland and in Yorkshire.
Some farmers have been fortunate. Winter ended earlier for them than for the rest of the country. In my own county of Berkshire we have been middling lucky and middling unlucky, so far as the application of lime is concerned. In February of this year we got 1,450 tons spread and in January 1,418 tons. Those two figures for February and January, 1951, run out at 2,800 tons, compared with 3,500 tons of lime applied to the land in Berkshire in February and January of 1950. So we have not been able to get through as much lime-spreading work in the present winter as we did in the previous winter.
I would say to the Minister—and I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will listen—that he can even now act reasonably. He cannot recover the mistake that he has made in fixing the date for the end of this lime-spreading subsidy, but he can act reasonably by accepting this Prayer and allowing the main Order to run on until the end of May. Then, if he thinks fit, he can bring forward this Order, which we say is unseasonable and 1930 unreasonable today. If he brings it forward in May we shall say: "Right. Everybody has had a fair chance to complete his liming operations for the winter season which has been unduly and exceptionally prolonged. We shall have no objection to the lime-spreading subsidy being cut off."
I hope that the Minister will consider that suggestion. He will get pretty complete agreement on both sides of the House if he will withdraw this Order tonight, agree with us, and bring it forward in May, when we shall say: "We think you are doing quite rightly and reasonably."
§ 8.18 p.m.
§ Mr. Snadden (Kinross and West Perthshire)
I want to add a word in support of what has been said, particularly with regard to Scotland. I see that the Parliamentary Secretary has just gone out of the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I beg his pardon. I hope that he will not use his debating skill in order to exploit the position. He is a very good debater but I hope he is not going to fall back upon telling us that this matter has been taken into account in the price review and that the increased cost of spreading lime is being looked after there. The increased cost is taken into account in the review in respect of the period 1951–52 but the price review for 1950–51 did not include the increased costs which fall upon industry in consequence of the removal of the subsidy for spreading.
There is another point which should be taken note of. Even if it were a fact that the removal of this subsidy had been taken into account in this year's prices, no account has been taken of the fact that very large schemes of land reclamation are in process at the present moment in Scotland for which for many years there will be no return in the form of prices for the lime that is being applied to the land. Therefore, these people are subject entirely to these increased costs. Although we may differ about this matter in this House, I do not think that any agriculturist would—
§ Mr. G. Brown
I am not quite sure about the hon. Member's last point. He said that Scotsmen who have put the lime on and therefore have had the lime-spreading subsidy—which they would not have got if they had not put it on—had 1931 borne the whole cost. How can that be? They have had the subsidy, and they can have no complaint?
§ Mr. Snadden
What I am saying is that the reclaiming of land which has been broken up and spread with lime will not be reflected in the price review for a considerable number of years.
§ Mr. Snadden
It is being taken away because they have not put the lime on their land yet. I do not think the hon. Gentleman has followed my point. We are all agreed about the need for liming from the point of view of soil fertility and putting bone into cattle. Scotland has a very high proportion of marginal and poor land. Some 10 per cent. of our farms are marginal farms, and there is an enormous need for lime to be applied to them. The figures for Scotland reflect a very substantial response to the land fertility scheme of 1937, which was amended in 1947. In 1938–39 we applied 234,000 tons and in 1949–50 the application of lime had increased by 40 per cent. These figures are taken from the Report of the Department of Agriculture for 1950.
An increased subsidy was made available for spreading in 1947. The main problem of farmers at present is how to keep down the cost of production while at the same time maintaining soil fertility. The figures I have just given show that the assistance given in 1947 has proved a very valuable incentive for the application of large quantities of lime all over the country. We are not asking for the revocation of the Order, but merely for the postponement of its operation. The effect of the removal of the subsidy will be to raise costs and discourage farmers from applying lime, especially to the poorer land; and the marginal areas are the areas from which we expect to receive the major impetus in our expansion programme.
We are merely asking the hon. Gentleman to postpone the operation of the Order because of the abnormal weather conditions which we have suffered. I 1932 have been farming for the best part of 30 years, and, with one exception, I do not remember a year when we have had to put up with more appalling conditions. We had a frightful harvest. In Scotland the hay stood out until well into November. That has, however, proved to be very valuable to the hill farmers, even though it was what we call "badly got," because it could still be sent to the hill farms, and today it is keeping the hill herds in the glens "ticking over" in the middle of blizzards and snow storms. That was followed by one of the worst springs we have ever known.
It amuses me when I hear people talking about efficiency and saying that our lime should be spread by this time. I thought I was efficient, but I am beginning to think I have been extremely inefficient. I got my lime early, and it is spread on the land, but if I had been sensible I should have held up the spreading because probably hundreds of tons of the lime that I put on my farm have been washed down the drains. If I had waited until now and got my lime delivered direct to my fields and had it spread immediately by a contractor—as the efficient farmer does—I should probably have been a good deal more efficient. If it is true, as the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. S. N. Evans) says, that agriculture has been "feather-bedded," all I can say is that this year the feather bed is extremely wet.
This is the crux of the issue. The good farmer spreads by contract. He cannot store his lime for the winter because he requires the space to store ordinary fertilisers like sulphate of ammonia, superphosphates, and so on, and so the majority of farmers have their lime brought to the fields direct and spread immediately. I do not know anyone in my part of the world who has been able to do anything at all on the land since Christmas, and the Order will be extremely hard on many farmers who placed their contracts in the autumn for the delivery of lime but told the contractors to postpone the delivery of the lime as it could not be spread, because they will now lose the subsidy on the spreading which would normally have taken place.
The removal of the assistance will hit the small man more than anyone else. The small man does not have the machinery to spread lime on his land, and in any event this year no farmer will have 1933 the time to do it now because he will have to crowd into one month the work of three months. The small farmers who had arranged a contract for the delivery of the lime to their fields and for its spreading by a contractor will be penalised unless the lime was delivered before 31st March.
The Minister ought to have realised the effect of the removal of the subsidy. I cannot imagine anybody in his senses not realising months ago that this would be one of the worst seasons we have experienced. The land has remained waterlogged throughout the winter, and if the soil is heavy clay—many acres of our land are—it takes a long time to dry out. I should have thought that the Minister would realise that by bringing forward such an Order he would be penalising producers in many areas of the country who are doing their best.
I ask him seriously to consider the reasonable plea put forward by my hon. Friend, simply to postpone the operation of this Order. We are not asking for it to be abolished, but for a reasonable chance to be given to men who are attempting to do their best in the national interest and who are today facing ever-increasing costs. Surely it is not impossible even now for the Minister to reverse the decision and so allow these people to get the benefits others have had.
§ 8.29 p.m.
§ Major Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)
I will not detain the House long, but I want to emphasise the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) that so far as the Isle of Ely is concerned we have spread only half the lime we spread last year. Despite what my hon. Friend the Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd) said later, I can assure the House that we have had a winter in East Anglia which has certainly been the worst for a long time, probably within living memory. The hon. Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Dye), who I see in his place, will bear that out. I am sure.
To give some indication of how backward we are with the programme this year, only last week I was talking to a senior member of the sugar beet industry who told me that, normally, by this time of the year over 10,000 acres are sown in the district of the Ely factory and that only 600 had been sown by the 1934 beginning of last week. Obviously, from the figures quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton for the Isle of Ely for January and February, of 8,600 tons last year and only 4,400 this year, we rank for as much consideration as the hon. Member for Newbury who, I thought, was trying to imply that Berkshire had had a worse winter than we had. If he had been to East Anglia, he would have known what a bad time we have had.
This is not just a plea for the farmer alone. Cancelled contracts affect those industries which are ancillary to agriculture but which are essential to it, without which agriculture could not hope to carry on, and to which the farmers are anxious to play fair. I do not think it is out of spite that these contracts for spreading have been cancelled. It is far more likely that the farmers are so behind that they feel they will not be able to put the work in hand.
That would have an effect which I should think the hon. Gentleman will want to bear in mind. That is, it would affect the fertility of our land, although probably only to a small degree. Let us not forget, however, that for nearly 10 years now we have been producing from our land as intensively as possible. If we ignore some process of our farming which ought to be done, which is designed to keep up the fertility of our land, we shall be making a great mistake.
The trouble is that if we let it go for one year we may get into the habit and repeat that another year. We have already seen a tendency to overcrop in East Anglia, particularly in the Fen area, and to rely too much on artificials. However, perhaps this is not the place to debate a subject which Lady Eve Balfour would like to deal with, namely, whether we should dispense with artificials altogether. Most practical farmers would agree that we want a mixture of farm manure, lime and other fertilisers. All have a part to play in heartening the fertility of our land. Lime plays a specially important part and we should make a great mistake if we did not do everything possible to encourage farmers to put lime on their land this year.
I am not quite certain why this Order has been introduced at this time. Considering the winter, considering the 1935 February Price Review, so far as it affects dairy farmers particularly, it can be said that farmers have had a rough winter both financially and physically. This seems to me to be almost adding insult to the injury which the weather had done them.
It has been said in the House from time to time that one of the reasons why we are wedded to 1st April for so many things in this country is not so much the fact that we tend to be fools, but rather the fact that on one occasion the Chancellor of the Exchequer was suffering from influenza on 31st December. Therefore, we have to have our financial year starting on 1st April.
I cannot help feeling that one of the reasons why the Order has been introduced is because its date of operation happens to tally with the beginning of the financial year. I humbly suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary and to the House that this is a matter which we must be careful not to allow to develop into the position where the convenience of the individual is overridden by the convenience of the State. If it is considered necessary—and I am sure that it is by the Government—that there should be a subsidy or that the subsidy should be taken care of inside the February Price Review, then if, purely for the sake of administrative convenience, we deny the right of any number of persons to take advantage of what is considered to be necessary, we are making the person subsidiary to the State. I still maintain that the State should exist for the convenience of individuals, no matter how few they are.
I am not prepared even to estimate the number of farmers who are affected, but nevertheless just because it suits the Department better to have the Order introduced on 1st April and to run for a full year, that is no reason why we should not make quite certain that farmers who, through no fault of their own, have been delayed in having lime spread over their land, should be deprived of what other farmers have been allowed to get and which has been considered to be necessary for them.
I hope, therefore, that the hon. Gentleman will agree to the proposal of my hon. Friend simply to delay the operation of the Order. One of these days we shall have to find some way of amending 1936 Orders instead of having always to reject the whole of an Order. How much simpler it would be if tonight we could amend merely the date of operation of the Order. As it is, we have to reject the whole thing, which means that the Department have to go through the rigmarole of representing it. In present circumstances, that is the only thing they could do. Let us hope that some day we can make small alterations to Orders, without wasting a great deal of the time of the Department or of the House. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be conciliatory in this matter and will delay the operation of this Order.
§ 8.37 p.m.
§ Mr. Dye (Norfolk, South-West)
I have listened with interest to most of the debate and I am sorry that I missed the opening speech of the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton). It seems to me that everybody now knows about the weather conditions and that farmers have experienced, perhaps, their worst season in preparing the land for crops for the coming year. This, obviously, will have a very big financial effect upon the incomes of the farming community. Many millions of pounds less will be received because of the smaller crops and the adverse effect also upon stocks.
Therefore, if we look at the problem from the point of view of weather conditions on the farms, the amount of money that will be saved in the payment for the spreading of lime is infinitesimal and can-not be weighed in the balance. If, therefore, the Minister gave considerable notice that the subsidy on spreading would cease this year, and this was taken into account at the February Price Review, I cannot see where the argument arises.
§ Mr. Turton
The hon. Member comes from Norfolk, which has not suffered over the withdrawal of the lime subsidy nearly as much as other counties. Norfolk had a short-fall of only 1,000 tons out of 30,000 tons in the first two months. The answer is that the benefit would go to the waterlogged counties, to people who have really suffered losses by the weather. That is why I am asking the Parliamentary Secretary not to help Norfolk, for instance, where conditions are favourable, but to help counties like Somerset.
§ Mr. Dye
I do not know what the hon. Member knows about Norfolk. I came 1937 from Norfolk this morning. I was up on my farm at 6 a.m. and did a day's work before I came to the House, so I do know what I am talking about. I did not leave home until the afternoon and I drove all the way here. I know exactly what are the conditions in Norfolk and all the way up by road. It is quite true that adverse weather conditions in Norfolk have been as bad as in any other part of the country.
Some hon. Members opposite are more used, of course, to adverse weather conditions in parts of Yorkshire and Scotland and they ought not to find it necessary to grumble so much about them. They have been brought up under those conditions and experienced them all their lives. Even under Conservative Governments there have been adverse weather conditions at times but in those days the farmers did not have the privilege of grumbling about a small subsidy being taken off because the subsidy was not there to be taken off.
Hon. Members are trying to argue that contracts have been broken, and that if this Prayer is successful tonight, and the Order is withdrawn, the contracts will be carried out. The lime will be delivered and spread. If it has been delivered before 1st April it can be spread at any time within three or six months and it makes no difference to the subsidy. But if, now, instead of being delivered by 1st April a date in May is put in the Order by some means or other contracts entered into will be carried out and farmers, already harassed by arrears of work, will add to their work by spreading more lime, or having it spread for them.
Surely, as soon as the farmer can get on his land he will get on with the essential job of cultivating. [Interruption.] Surely the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin) is not going to interrupt. Only a few days ago he told the House that we did not want any more subsidies. He would like to see them all go and the guaranteed prices go with them; let us have a free scramble with high prices.
To argue that we can alter the whole business and alter the February Price Review to bring it all in line with a new date does not seem to make sense. No one expected this type of subsidy to remain a permanent feature of British agriculture. Quite rightly, such subsidies were introduced as incentives to 1938 do the right thing by the land and to produce the crops and stock which the country needs. But we cannot go on for ever with a system of subsidies to induce farmers to do a certain thing. Good farmers ought to do the right thing, whether there is a subsidy or not. [An HON. MEMBER: "And stop it raining?"] Rain has come down, off and on, for centuries, and will do so long after we are dead. It cannot be argued that because of rain a farmer should have a subsidy. At some time in the year the farmer is glad to see rain.
It is suggested that there should be an incentive to the seller of lime to go to the farmer and say, "If you will only buy 20 tons of lime from me the Government will pay half the price of the lime, and if I come and spread it they will also pay me for spreading it." We cannot go on along those lines because, clearly, it is possible for some of that lime to be wasted. The time should now have arrived when every farmer knows the value of lime and when his fields require it. If he does not he should go to the Agricultural Advisory Service and get them, not the lime merchant, to assist him.
It is a good thing to remove some of these subsidies and for the Government, when they are removed, to take into account, when prices are being fixed in February, the over-all selling price of cattle and crops.
§ Major Legge-Bourke
The hon. Member is pursuing a false hare. The argument here is not whether or not a subsidy should be taken into account in every price review, because that has already been done for the coming year, but whether those people who were not able to take advantage of the subsidy by the date the subsidy expired should be given an extension. That is the issue. I quite agree that there is a good deal of point in the argument the hon. Member has put forward in relation to the situation as it was before the last February Price Review, but let him not forget that some people have had the advantage of that, and we are trying to protect some who have not been able to have that advantage because of the weather.
§ Mr. Dye
I have no false hair, and I am not pursuing a false hare. But as for saying that the weather has prevented 1939 some farmers from having their lime delivered, but has enabled others to have theirs delivered and that the latter will, therefore, get a subsidy, that will happen whatever the date may be at which the line is drawn.
But who will get much advantage this year out of liming his land? Practical farmers—and the hon. and gallant Gentleman will know more about this the further he continues in his farming operations—know that liming is a long-term operation and that if their land is deficient of lime this year's crops will benefit very little if time is wasted in applying lime. Indeed, one will eventually lose in respect of one's crop in a year like this when speed in getting the land cultivated and the crops sown is essential.
Therefore, I do not admit that there would be any advantage to farming now if this Order were withdrawn, and if more lime was delivered on to the farms and spread this year. I have had a good deal of experience of spreading lime. I have done it myself and have done so when very few others in the district did so. I have found that the best time in the interests of the farmer, is to get lime in the summer or early autumn. That is the time when one gets more lime and less moisture, and when it is more easily spread on the land and mixed in the soil.
All those who have had a great deal of experience knows that is true. To deliver wet lime and try to mix it with wet soil does no good to the land. The lime cakes like putty and can be ploughed up many years afterwards, having been of no advantage to any crops that have succeeded its application. To take full advantage of lime one needs it as dry as possible and under dry conditions, and to spread it as evenly as possible over the areas which are deficient in lime.
From a practical point of view, I can see nothing whatever to be gained by the farming community through the postponing of this Order. That being so, I fully support the Government's policy of reducing the number of direct subsidies which are provided as a kind of incentive to do something which ought to be done in the interests of good farming. Farmers should now be able to face up to this, and make full use of the agricultural advisory Service in treating their fields 1940 requiring lime. That should be the basis on which all this kind of work is done.
I hope that we shall pursue a policy which the Minister announced some time ago—I have forgotten the exact date; it might be three months ago—when this spreading subsidy was terminated. Ample notice was given, and it does not seem to me to matter what month it was, because there will be some who got in before the end of the preceding month and some who were left out. I think it fair to take a particular date, and as the date was indicated some time ago I think the Order might stand.
§ 8.51 p.m.
§ Mr. Fort (Clitheroe)
The hon. Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Dye), comes from a very fortunate farming part of this country if he can look forward to long periods of summer weather dry enough to be able to spread his lime. He does not have to battle with the caggy, heavy conditions which, as the hon. Member for Chorley (Mr. Kenyon) knows well, is the frequent misfortune of our farmers in Lancashire.
Looking at the schedule supplied by the Agricultural Lime Department, it seemed to me that Norfolk had a very much lower requirement of lime per hundred acres—or on any other basis which hon. Members like to choose—than the lime-poor soil of Lancashire, where, along with the West Riding, we have the largest estimated lime requirement of any part of England. Indeed, it was because of the lime deficiency of much of Lancashire's soil that the whole scheme of subsidies for liming originated with the Lancashire branch of the National Farmers' Union, resulting in the first lime land fertility scheme of 1937. For that reason I am particularly pleased to have the opportunity of speaking this evening as one of the Lancashire Members who should certainly be concerned with the application of lime to our land.
Since that scheme started, Lancashire farmers have taken the fullest possible advantage of it when the season allowed. In the 12 months ending 31st March, 1950, they had the heaviest application of lime of any county in England other than in the West Riding, where the geological and climatic conditions are similar to those in East Lancashire. The result of taking advantage of the subsidies for 1941 lime and lime spreading has been, as I think all concerned with Lancashire farming will agree, an extraordinary improvement in our pastures and in the general condition of grass, on which depends the milk production. This is far and away the most important of the agricultural products in East Lancashire. The past appalling winter started with us early in November and has continued until, I was about to say almost this very day—but certainly until last week-end when I was travelling round my constituency during a blizzard. As a result, the spreading of lime has fallen from an average of 18,000 tons for the first two months of 1950 to an average of 13,300 tons in the first two months of 1951, the last date for which I have comparable figures.
It is by choosing these examples from various parts of England that we may be able to bring home to the Parliamentary Secretary the need for another Order so that for another two months our farmers can enjoy the spreading subsidy and get lime spread on the ground where, on many of the farms I know, it has been ever since last autumn. Despite what the hon. Member for Norfolk, South-West, says about his part of the world, it would still benefit much of our high grassland if we could get the lime spread even as late as this.
§ Mr. Fort
I am sorry if I misled the hon. Gentleman. Of course, he is right. Where it is already on the ground, the farmer will get the subsidy. But as he will know, or as his hon. Friend the Member for Chorley could tell him, it has been impossible to get the lime up to many of the hill farms, because of the early winter which closed in at the beginning of November. It is to enable the lime to be delivered there now for spreading that I support the request that this subsidy should be enjoyed for another two months.
It is an important subsidy, especially for small farmers. I am always in favour of subsidies which help to bring our land into better heart and to keep 1942 it in a good state of cultivation. The cost of spreading lime in my part of the country is about 5s. per ton. For proper and regular liming of our lime-deficient soils in East Lancashire, probably about 30 cwt. an acre would be needed. It would not be unfair to say that on the average farm of about 40 acres it would cost the farmer an extra £12 or so if he had to pay the full cost of spreading in this difficult year. It is for these reasons that I support the request of my hon. Friends that farmers should have another two months in which to enjoy this subsidy.
§ 8.59 p.m.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture (Mr. George Brown)
We have had an interesting and not too short discussion, and I hope that the House will agree that it will be convenient if I now give the reasons which led the Government to take this course. Then, perhaps, we might be able to come to a decision. There has been a good deal of lack of perspective in much of the argument we have heard tonight. It is important to remember, as was pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Dye), that this spreading subsidy is a recent innovation and that it is a small part of the whole of the lime subsidy.
There is no intention of taking off either the whole of the lime subsidy, or indeed the major part of it. I hope to show that the Estimates of my Department this year provide for as much to be spent on the lime subsidy in this year as has ever been spent before. Indeed, that total has only been reached once before and that was in a particularly good year. We are not reducing in the Estimates the total provision for this matter. What we are doing is to limit the provision to a figure of about six million tons and not to allow it to rise thereafter.
The basic reason for that has not been touched on at all. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are able to play a very amusing Parliamentary game. I do not complain of it; I have no doubt that one day I may be able to play it myself—not in the near future, but some day. What they are able to do is to play the very amusing game of demanding one thing one week through one set of players and putting in a different team the following week in order to demand the opposite. We spent 1943 the whole of last week, with a different set of speakers for the Opposition, urging on the Government that they ought to be saving rather more money than they are doing now, and that they ought to be spending less. It will be within the memory of the House that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton) declared that, though we were saving £130 million, we might very well save another £50 million on top of it.
It is not mere perverseness on the part of the Ministry or the fact that the Minister does not know about the weather, but it is a fact that some economies in Government expenditure must be made by all Government Departments in order to deal with the problem of re-armament and so on. The Ministry of Agriculture, like all the others, has to make economies, and it is because of the importance which my right hon. Friend attaches to agriculture that the economy has been made in this way.
§ Mr. Snadden
Surely we do not want to economise at the expense of people who, through no fault of their own, happen to be in particularly wet parts of the country?
§ Mr. Brown
I am coming to that, but the whole point is that one does not want to economise at the expense of anybody. It would have been much more to the point if the hon. Gentleman had drawn that fact to the attention of his Front Bench during the Budget debates, when they alleged that we could have made very many more economies than we have done, and in which they said that those economies we have made did not amount to very much.
What we have tried to do this year is to look at everything and try to pick out the least depressing of all the directions in which we could economise, and we came to the conclusion, having regard to all the circumstances and after having discussed the matter with Bedford Square—the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd) did not appreciate how close 55, Whitehall and Bedford Square can be on occasions, and I had it put to me that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish which is which—after discussing this matter with everybody concerned, we came to the conclusion that to remove the spreading subsidy was perhaps the 1944 least troublesome—I do not mean in an administrative sense, but in terms of agricultural production and policy—way to do it, and we were fortified, as we so often are, by the words of the hon. Member for Newbury.
When I cannot find the hon. Member for Newbury to support me, I can often find the Agricultural Correspondent of "The Times." and, in this case, since I cannot find the Agricultural Correspondent of "The Times" as being on record in any useful way, I naturally turn to the hon. Member for Newbury. In HANSARD of 9th February, 1949, the hon. Gentleman delivered himself of a speech on subsidies thus:I would say to the Minister that while subsidies may he justified in order to get farmers to change their ways quickly to meet the needs of the times, the period of such subsidies should be strictly limited. Needs do change…."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th February, 1949; Vol. 461, c. 409.]and so on. Then the hon. Gentleman went on to say that the price structure must be kept right, and that this would call for a good deal of co-operation between the Ministers. Earlier in the same speech, he made the same point:I hope, therefore, that the Minister will set a time limit to the subsidies…When the Minister has once given the first impetus, the price that the farmer will get for his milk or meat should be right to give him the incentive to grow the right crops…in the right way."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th February, 1949; Vol. 461, c. 406.]That was a very excellent speech. The only regret I have is that the hon. Gentleman did not make the same speech tonight and that he so obviously forgot what he said on that occasion.
§ Mr. Brown
The hon. Member is, on the whole, not making a bad recovery, but there he is on record, and, fortified as we were by the speech of the hon. Gentleman, we thought, as my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, Southwest, so clearly said, that in this respect we had introduced in 1947 a specific and additional incentive to persuade farmers to do what it is in their own clear interest to do, to lime their land, to make up for 1945 the past deficiency of lime, and to maintain the current nutrient that is being taken out of the land.
But, having had four years of this special additional subsidy, we felt that we were probably meeting the dictum of the hon. Member for Newbury by assuming that it had done its job, and that we could revert to the pre-1947 position. That is, in fact, what we are doing, and we are doing it for the reason that some economies in Government expenditure have to be found, as we were told by the Opposition. This is a very modest economy and is not a large part of the total sum spent on agricultural subsidies.
§ Mr. Turton
Will the hon. Gentleman explain exactly what he means, because when the Minister announced the subsidy he said it was not an economy, but that it would be fully taken into account in the February Price Review?
§ Mr. Brown
My right hon. Friend is not too far away from me at the moment, so the hon. Gentleman must be very careful not to get me into any difficulties.
There is nothing different in what I am saying from what my right hon. Friend then said. It is an economy in Government expenditure. It reduces the total amount of our Vote this year. It became one of the items to be taken into account in the general February Price Review settlement, which is what the hon. Member for Newbury obviously thought it ought to be. Therefore, we have carried out not only the whole of our own undertaking, but have followed very courageously, I should have thought, on this occasion the general request made to us by hon. Gentlemen opposite that that was what we should do.
I repeat that it is not the major part of the subsidy. Let us get it into perspective, and I will talk about the details later. If, for example, a farmer has an order for 20 tons of lime, how will he be affected if he had it delivered before 1st April and how will he be affected, if he had it delivered after that date? On the figures I have been able to get, if he had it delivered before 1st April, he will get a subsidy of something like £20. On the other hand, if he had it delivered after 1st April, he will get a subsidy of something of the order of £17, so that the difference in subsidy on an order of 1946 20 tons of lime will be in the region of £3.
§ Mr. Baldwin (Leominster)
Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that it costs only £3 to spread 20 tons of lime?
§ Mr. Brown
I almost despair of the hon. Gentleman. No, what I am suggesting is that half of £6 is £3. We are only subsidising half of it instead of the whole lot. Therefore, if we get the thing into perspective, it is not so enormous, and, quite frankly, will not have the discouraging effect that has been suggested.
The hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) gave some figures. I have no later figures, and I am sorry that those which he thought would be out on 16th March are not yet available. I can assure the House that there is nothing sinister about that. I have made inquiries and am told that it so happens that March being the end of the financial year, the staff engaged on producing these statistics are under particularly heavy pressure at this time of the year. Therefore, I do not know that his figures are wrong, but, quite frankly, I do not think it is true to say that the cancelling of contracts at this moment has anything to do with people being frightened off from applying lime.
What has happened, I think, is that contracts have been made on one set of prices and on one set of issues which have changed, and that the contracts have been broken. But I have no doubt that they will be mended, as my hon. Friend said, at new prices which take account of the new circumstances.
I do not doubt that that is in fact what will happen. If one looks at the figures over the years, that is probably borne out. There has been a very considerable increase in the subsidy steadily over the years from 1937–38, when it began, until last year, 1950–51. Each year the subsidy has been about one-sixth of the total cost—in fact, somewhat less than that. I see no reason to think from these figures that there has been any tremendous increase by virtue of paying for the spreading. The sum has mounted through the years from £500,000 in its first year to £800,000 and £900,000 in subsequent years, then to more than £1 million, more than £2 million and more than £3 million, with a slight drop towards the end of the war. After that it went on to £5 million 1947 in 1948–49 and £6 million in 1949–50—a good year for spreading—with a slight drop last year to £5½ million.
There has been a steady progression all the way. There has been nothing special about the lime-spreading year. I have not the slightest doubt that this is proving to be one of the very best subsidies—that is, the general lime subsidy. It does not give an immediate financial return but is designed to improve the land. It pays enormous dividends to the farmer in terms of crops and I have no doubt it will go on doing so in much the same way even with the spreading content of the subsidy withdrawn.
Had we gone on paying the spreading subsidy as well as the general subsidy, it is reasonable to assume we would have reached something of the order of £7 million as Government expenditure this year. We are limiting it to £6 million and that will allow for something like 6 million tons to be applied this year and to draw the subsidy. We think, on the whole, that is a reasonable provision to make and there is no reason to think it will not be achieved.
Given that we have to make some economy in our own Departmental expenditure, there are only two ways of doing it. One is to withdraw the spreading subsidy and the other is to reduce the general subsidy slightly—to reduce the rate of subsidy over the whole field. We went into it very carefully and, after consulting the National Farmers' Union, came to the conclusion that the balance was clearly in favour of withdrawing the spreading subsidy and leaving the 50 per cent. as it was. We came to that conclusion for the reason that whereas the subsidy on lime, that is, on acquiring and transporting it to the farm, is 50 per cent. of the farmer's individual cost, the spreading subsidy is not. Although it is roughly 50 per cent. of the total cost, so far as any one farmer is concerned it may not be one half of his individual cost. It is a flat scale. That meant that the farmers who were farthest away, and had to get their lime spread in the most costly way, in fact had less out of this than other people.
If we remove the spreading contribution, it costs in England something like 6s. 6d. a ton to the farmer through the loss of his subsidy; in Wales it costs 1948 6s. 3d., in Scotland 7s. and in Northern Ireland 6s. 4d. If we had not done that but had reduced the general subsidy from 50 per cent. to 40 per cent. over the whole field, it would have cost the English farmer 6s., the Welsh farmer 6s. 11d., the Scottish farmer 9s. 7d., and the Northern Irish man 8s. 4d. We have chosen the method of doing this which confers, incidentally, the greatest benefit on the Scottish farmer and, more important, the greatest benefit on the man who is in the most awkward position and who, as the hon. Member for West Perth put it, probably has the greatest difficulties.
In another discussion on subsidies we heard a lot about rough justice. We were told by the hon. and gallant Member for Richmond, Yorks (Sir T. Dugdale) how much more rough it was than just. I think the same thing applies to the lime spreading subsidy, and I confidently look forward to having him on my side tonight. This was a form of rough justice. In fact, some people got a good deal more out of it than was intended. Others got rather less out of it. If we had to make some provision to pay for re-armament, this seemed a very reasonable place to do so without making very much difference at all to the total amount of money we shall have to pay.
So far as the timing is concerned, I do not make too much of this. Good notice was given and in no sense was it done at the last minute. We are covering deliveries on to the farm where they were made before 1st April, even though the spreading was done afterwards. So far as increased farmers' costs are concerned, we have tried to do the job properly by taking that into account as one of the factors in the general farm review.
I would remind hon. Members of another point which has not been taken into account by them. Spreading on farms under the hill farming schemes and the marginal production schemes will still qualify for grants. Some hon. Members have suggested that this Order will affect the very land we want most to develop—the hill land and the marginal land lower down the hills. The answer is that it will not affect them because they are already covered under other schemes.
I do not think I need say more. We are making provision this year for more lime than has ever been put on the land in any year except in that one very 1949 favourable year. We are making provision to spend more money than we have ever spent on the lime subsidy, except in that one very favourable year. It cannot be said, therefore, that we are reducing the State's contribution to liming. We are not. In fact, we shall increase it very considerably over last year if the farmers will put the lime on the land. Having regard to the history of this subsidy and to the fact that we know a good deal about the value of liming, I ask the House not to press this Motion.
§ 9.17 p.m.
§ Major Sir Thomas Dugdale (Richmond, Yorks)
I had not intended to intervene in the debate, but I should like to point out that the Parliamentary Secretary has devoted his speech to defending the Order, whereas my hon. Friends are objecting not to the Order as such but to its timing. It may well be—I hope it will be—that during the time the younger Members are in the House, and before they retire in many years' time, it will be possible to amend this procedure. At the moment we have to vote against an Order so that some amendment can be made. That has been an unsatisfactory method of dealing with matters and obviously it is becoming more unsatisfactory as time goes by.
The whole point of my hon. Friends' speeches this evening was that the Minister has forgotten the exceptional
§ weather we have had—that he did not foresee that a great deal of the lime which should have been spread before 31st March could not be spread on the land by that date because of the weather conditions. That is the whole gravamen of the charge.
§ Mr. G. Brown
If I did not deal with that point, I apologise. I did make the point that if we had chosen any other date we should not have achieved the saving we want to achieve, and by not making the saving on this scheme we should have had to find the balance of it from something in which we judged the agricultural values were rather higher. We chose this scheme because we thought it would do the least agricultural damage.
§ Sir T. Dugdale
I cannot accept that. If the weather had been fair we should have had lime on the land before 31st March. The only reason we did not was because the weather was foul. We maintain that the Minister could have come to the House and reversed the Order, could have revoked the scheme and have brought in another Order so as to delay the operation of this scheme for two months. That is all we ask and all we intend in raising the subject in this debate.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 258: Noes, 267.1953
|Division No. 75.]||AYES||[9.20 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Channon, H.||Eccles, D. M.|
|Alport, C. J. M||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Erroll, F. J.|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Clyde, J. L.||Fisher, Nigel|
|Arbuthnot, John||Colegate, A.||Fletcher, Walter (Bury)|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Fort, R.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert (Ilford, S.)||Foster, John|
|Astor, Hon. M. L.||Cooper-Key, E. M.||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)|
|Baker, P. A. D.||Corbett, Lt.-Col. Uvedale (Ludlow)||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M||Cranborne, Viscount||Fyfe, fit. Hon. Sir David Maxwell|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Gage, C. H.|
|Banks, Col. C.||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)|
|Ball, R. M.||Crouch, R. F.||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Crowder, Capt. John (Finchley)||Garner-Evans, E. H. (Denbigh)|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Gates, Maj. E. E.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Liverpool, Toxteth)||Cundiff, F. W.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.|
|Black, C. W.||Cuthbert, W. N.||Gridley, Sir Arnold|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Darting, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Davidson, Viscountess||Grimston, Robert (Westbury)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Davies, Nigel (Epping)||Harden, J. R. E|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||de Chair, Somerset||Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)|
|Bracken, Rt. Hon. B.||Deedes, W. F.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)|
|Braine, B. R.||Digby, S. W.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cmdr Gurney||Dormer, P. W.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm||Harvie-Watt, Sir George|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Drayson, G. B.||Hay, John|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Drewe, C.||Head, Brig. A. H.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Dugdale, Maj. Sir Thomas (Richmond)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Heald, Lionel|
|Burden, Squadron Leader F. A.||Dunglass, Lord||Heath, Edward|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Duthie, W. S.||Henderson, John (Catheart)|
|Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Maclay, Hon. John||Scott, Donald|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Maclean, Fitzroy||Shepherd, William|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.)||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Smith, E. Martin (Grantham)|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||MacPherson, Major Niall (Dumfries)||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Hollis, M. C.||Maitland, Cmdr. J. W.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Hope, Lord John||Manningham-Buller, R. E||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Hopkinson, H. L. D'A.||Marples, A. E.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Maude, Angus (Ealing, S.)||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Howard, Greville (St. Ives)||Maudling, R.||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard (N. Fylde)|
|Hudson, Rt. Hon. Robert (Southport)||Mellor, Sir John||Stevens, G. P.|
|Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Monckton, Sir Walter||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Hulbert, Wing Cmdr. N. J.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Hutchinson, Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Storey, S.|
|Hutchison, Colonel James (Glasgow)||Nabarro, G.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Nicholls, Harmar||Studholme, H. G.|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B.||Nicholson, G.||Summers, G. S.|
|Jeffreys, General Sir George||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Jennings, R.||Nugent, G. R. H.||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Nutting, Anthony||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Oakshott, H. D.||Teeling, W.|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Odey, G. W.||Teevan, T. L.|
|Kaberry, D.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh||Thompson, Kenneth Pugh Walton)|
|Keeling, E. H.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Thompson, R. H. M. (Croydon, W.)|
|Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)||Orr, Capt, L. P. S.||Thorneycroft, Peter (Monmouth)|
|Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare)||Thorp, Brig. R. A. F.|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Osborne, C.||Tilney, John|
|Langford-Holt, J.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Touche, G. C.|
|Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Pickthorn, K.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Lindsay, Martin||Pitman, I. J.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Linstead, H. N.||Powell, J. Enoch||Vosper, D. F.|
|Llewellyn, D.||Prescott, S.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (King's Norton)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)|
|Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Profumo, J. D.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Raikes, H. V.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Rayner, Brig. R.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.)||Redmayne, M.||Watkinson, H.|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Remnant, Hon. P.||Wheatley, Major M. J. (Poole)|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Roberts, Major Peter (Heeley)||While, Baker (Canterbury)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Williams, Charles (Torquay)|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Robson-Brown, W||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|McAdden, S. J.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|McCallum, Major D.||Roper, Sir Harold||Wills, G.|
|McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Ropner, Col. L.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)||Russell, R. S.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Salter Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||York, C.|
|McKibbin, A.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Savory, Prof D. L.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Turton and Mr. Hurd.|
|Albu, A. H.||Burke, W. A.||Deer, G.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Burton, Miss E.||Delargy, H. J.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Diamond, J.|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Carmichael, J.||Dodds, N. N.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Donnelly, D.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Champion, A. J.||Driberg, T. E. N.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Chetwynd, G. R.||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)|
|Balfour, A.||Clunie, J.||Dye, S.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Cocks, F. S.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Bartley, P.||Coldrick, W.||Edelman, M.|
|Bonn, Wedgwood||Collick, P.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)|
|Benson, G.||Collindridge, F.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)|
|Beswick, F.||Cook, T. F.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Cooper, Geoffrey (Middlesbrough, W.)||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Cooper, John (Deptford)||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Ewart, R.|
|Boardman, H.||Crawley, A.||Fairhurst, F.|
|Booth, A.||Crosland, C. A. R.||Fernyhough, E|
|Bowden, H. W.||Crossman, R. H. S.||Field, Capt. W. J.|
|Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Finch, H. J.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Foot, M. M.|
|Brooks, T. J. (Normanton)||Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.)||Forman, J. C.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)|
|Brown, George (Belper)||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Freeman, John (Watford)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Ganley, Mrs C. S.|
|Gibson, C. W.||Logan, D. G.||Royle, C|
|Gilzean, A.||Longden, Fred (Small Heath)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Glanville, James (Consett)||MacColl, J. E.||Shawcross, Rt. Hon Sir Hartley|
|Gooch, E. G.||McGhee, H. G.||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||McGovern, J.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||McInnes, J.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Mack, J. D.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Grey, C. F.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Slater, J.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mackay, R. W. G. (Reading, N.)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||McLeavy, F.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Snow, J. W.|
|Gunter, R. J.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Mainwaring, W. H.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Hale, Joseph (Rochdale)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Steels, T.|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Hall, John (Gateshead, W.)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Strachey, Rt. Hon J|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Manuel, A. C.||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon Ednr|
|Hannan, W.||Mellish, R. J.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Hardman, D. R.||Messer, F.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Hardy, E. A.||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Taylor, Robert (Morpeth)|
|Hargreaves, A.||Mikardo, Ian||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Harrison, J.||Mitchison, G. R.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Hastings, S.||Moeran, E. W.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Hayman, F. H.||Monslow, W.||Thomas, Ivor Cwen (Wrekin)|
|Herbison, Miss M||Moody, A. S.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Morgan, Dr H. B.||Timmons, J.|
|Hobson, C. R.||Morley, R.||Tomlinson, Rt Hon. G.|
|Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Tomney, F.|
|Houghton, D.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H (Lewisham, S.)||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Hoy, J.||Mort, D. L.||Ungoed-Thomas, A. L.|
|Hubbard, T.||Moyle, A.||Usborne, H.|
|Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Mulley, F. W.||Vernon, W. F.|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Mulvey, A.||Viant, S. P.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Murray, J. T.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Nally, W.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Oldfield, W. H.||Weitzman, D.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Oliver, G. H.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Janner, B.||Padley, W. E.||West, D. G.|
|Jay, D. P. T||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Dearne V'lly)||Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh, E.)|
|Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Pannell, T. C.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Paton, J.||Whileley, Rt. Hon. W|
|Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Peart, T. F.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Poole, C.||Wilkes, L.|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Popplewell, E.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Jones, William Elwyn (Conway)||Porter, G.||Willey, Frederick (Sunderland)|
|Keenan, W.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Willey, Octavius (Cleveland)|
|Kenyon, C.||Proctor, W. T.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Pryde, D. J.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Pursey, Cmdr. H||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Kinghorn, Sqn. Ldr. E.||Rankin, J.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don Valley)|
|Kinley, J.||Rees, Mrs. D.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Lang, Gordon||Reeves, J.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Raid, Thomas (Swindon)||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Reid, William (Camlachie)||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Rhodes, H.||Wise, F. J.|
|Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Richards, H.||Woodburn, Rt, Hon. A.|
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Woods, Rev. G. S.|
|Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Lewis, John (Bolton, W.)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Yates, V. F.|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Pearson and Mr. Sparks.|
Question put, and agreed to.