HC Deb 19 November 1959 vol 613 cc1329-30
28. Mr. Denzil Freeth

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will introduce amending legislation to enable buildings which, if they were erected by individual farmers, would qualify for a grant under the Agriculture Act, 1957, to be eligible if erected by farmers' co-operatives or farmers' machinery syndicates.

Mr. John Hare

My hon. Friend's idea has its attractions, but I am afraid I cannot at present hold out prospects of introducing new legislation.

Mr. Freeth

Will not my right hon. Friend agree that he has found it possible to include co-operatives among the bodies which may get grants of public money for buildings and so on under the Horticulture Bill, the Second Reading of which is to be moved today? If it is possible for horticulturists, why should not it be possible for other kinds of agriculturists also?

Mr. Hare

As I told my hon. Friend, this idea has its attractions; but, according to the legislation passed by this House in the Agriculture Act, 1957, I am not entitled to help in the way he suggests. On the other hand, it would not be impossible to have legislation at a future date, but I cannot give any guarantee about it.

Mr. Willey

Will the right hon. Gentleman undertake to look at this matter sympathetically in view of the number of co-operatives and because, as he said, we want to learn from experience? We all agree about that. Will he consider publishing a White Paper on the Farm Improvement Scheme and the Small Farmer Scheme so that we may see how they are working and possibly suggest improvements?

Mr. Hare

I shall certainly consider what the hon. Member has said.