HC Deb 21 March 1960 vol 620 cc33-9

Lords Amendments considered.


Lords Amendment: In page 3, line 19, at end insert: (3A) Where any such condition as to capacity is framed by reference to land occupied for the purposes of a horticultural production business, the scheme may provide that if there is any land so occupied which is not eligible to be taken into account in ascertaining whether the condition is satisfied,—

  1. (a) in so far as the benefit to be derived from any proposals is attributable to that land, it shall be disregarded for the purposes of subsection (4) of the foregoing section;
  2. (b) where the applicant satisfies the appropriate Minister, at any time before that Minister has determined whether to approve his proposals, that the cost of the proposals has been increased by their being designed for the provision of specified facilities both for the said land and for land which is eligible to be taken into account as aforesaid, and agrees with the Minister what proportion of the cost is to be treated as referable to the eligible land, paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (5) of the foregoing section shall apply in relation to that proportion.

3.33 p.m.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. J. B. Godber)

I beg to move the Amendment in page 3, line 19.

This is a very complicated Amendment at first glance, but I hope to show that it is not quite so complex as it appears. We found it necessary to introduce this in another place to overcome a technical difficulty that had come to light during the preparation of the draft of the statutory scheme which, incidentally, I hope that we shall be able shortly to lay before the House. The proposals set out in the White Paper provided that the eligibility of a horticultural production business for a grant under the scheme should be assessed by reference to the area of land used in the course of business for the intensive production of horticultural crops during a period of two years prior to the application.

Our intention has always been, and it was agreed with the farmers' unions, that in deciding whether a proposal was admissible for grant we should consider whether its scope and capacity was appropriate in relation to the "eligible" land of the horticultural production business concerned. We discovered, however, that under the Bill as drafted there was no power to provide for this in the statutory scheme. This Amendment, therefore, is necessary to put beyond doubt our ability to give effect to these arrangements.

Mr. Frederick Peart (Workington)

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary said that this is a complicated matter. We agree with him, we understand why the Government are doing this, and we certainly welcome it. As the hon. Gentleman has rightly said, the proposals set out in the White Paper provide that the eligibility of a horticultural production business for grant under the scheme should be assessed by reference to the area of land used in the course of business for production of horticultural crops during the period of two years prior to the application. We accept this in principle. We believe that it will improve the Bill. We think that it will provide more flexibility. We welcome the fact that the Government have had second thoughts on the matter.

Question, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment, put and agreed to.—[Special Entry.]


Lords Amendment: In page 6, line 25, leave out from "section" to end of line 27.

Mr. Godber

I beg to move the Amendment in page 6, line 25.

Sir James Duncan (South Angus)

On a point of order. That is the second time that my hon. Friend has moved an Amendment without saying, "I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment".

Mr. Speaker

I had hoped that towards the end the hon. Gentleman might be reformed.

Mr. Godber

I apologise to you, Mr. Speaker, to my hon. Friend, to hon. Members opposite and, indeed, to anyone who happened to be listening, for that gross omission.

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

I wonder, Mr. Speaker, whether we might consider with this Amendment the next Lords Amendment, in page 8, line 28, at the end to insert: and, subject to the consent of the Ministers, shall include any other functions which the Council may determine to be expedient to be exercised for the purpose specified in subsection (1) of the foregoing section". which, I think, goes with it.

Mr. Speaker

Yes. With the leave of the House, they can be considered together, but the hon. Member will ask for agreement on them separately.

Mr. Godber

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

These two Amendments fulfil an assurance which my right hon. Friend gave during the Recommittal stage of the Bill that he would see that the proviso to Clause 10, which prohibits the Council from undertaking any trading activities except by way of experiment or demonstration, applied to any functions, additional to those specified in Clause 10, which the Council might undertake with the consent of the Ministers.

As we have given at length on previous occasions the various reasons why we on this side think that it would be quite wrong for the Council to be enabled to undertake trading activities, I do not think that there is any need for me to go over that ground again. As I think it was made clear during the Recommittal stage, it has always been our intention that the proviso to Clause 10 should apply to all the functions of the Council, and these two Amendments are intended to put the matter beyond all doubt.

I know that hon. Members opposite would like to see the Council given trading powers. Their Amendments designed to give the Council these powers were defeated upstairs and by the enthusiasm with which they sought to read into the Amendments that were made before it was clear that they were

very anxious that the Council should have trading powers. I am sorry this Amendment discourages them, but I am sure that we have made our reasons clear, and I think that there is no need to go over that matter again.

Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)

I shall have nothing to say about the second Amendment if I fail to persuade the Parliamentary Secretary by what I say about the first. We should accept the second Amendment as an improvement to the Bill.

We are, howerver, sorely disappointed about the first Amendment, which is to remove from the Bill some very desirable words which were inserted into the Bill by the Minister on Report. The least we can say is that it is gross incompetence for the Minister himself to put forward an Amendment, to resist the appeals that were made to him from his own benches, and then, within a week or two, to take out the words in another place.

When we discussed the Bill we suggested that we should extend the powers of the Horticultural Marketing Council. We were anxious that the Council should have all the powers that it felt necessary to protect the producer. We put forward this viewpoint unsuccessfully in Committee. The Minister himself produced an Amendment, as his hon. Friend has said, which we regarded as satisfactory. Now the Minister has retreated somewhat from that satisfactory assurance. I do not wish to traverse the arguments again, but I must ask my hon. and right hon. Friends to divide against the Amendment, because we much prefer the words which the Minister originally introduced.

Question put: —

The House divided: Ayes 155, Noes 110.

Division No. 56.] AYES [3.41 p.m.
Allason, James Bourne-Arton, A. Cary, Sir Robert
Arbuthnot, John Bowen, Roderlc (Cardigan) Channon, H. P. G.
Ashton, Sir Hubert Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Chataway, Christopher
Balniel, Lord Boyle, Sir Edward Chichester-Clark, R.
Barber, Anthony Brooman, White, R. Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)
Batsford, Brian Browne, Percy (Torrington) Cordeaux, Lt-Col. J. K.
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Bryan, Paul cordle, John
Berkeley, Humphry Billiard, Denys Corfield, F. V.
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth) Butcher, Sir Herbert Costain, A. P.
Biggs-Davison, John Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron walden) Coulson, J. M.
Bingham, R. M. Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Courtney, Cdr. Anthony
Bishop, F. P. Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)
Bottom, Clive Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Crowder, F. P.
Cunningham, Knox Jackson, John Ridsdale, Julian
Curran, Charles James, David Robertson, Sir David
Davies,Rt.Hn.Clement(Montgomery) Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Roots, William
Deedes, W. F. Jennings, J. C. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Eden, John Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Russell, Ronald
Emery, Peter Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Scott-Hopkins, James
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Kerr, Sir Hamilton Sharples, Richard
Farey-Jones, F. W. Leavey, J. A. Simon, Sir Jocelyn
Farr, John Leburn, Gillmour Skeet, T. H. H.
Fell, Anthony Lindsay, Martin Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'rd & Chiswick)
Finlay, Graeme Litchfield, Capt. John Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)
Forrest, George Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Button) MacArthur, Ian Stevens, Geoffrey
Gammans, Lady McLaren, Martin Stodart, J. A.
Glover, Sir Douglas Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Tapsell, Peter
Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Maddan, Martin Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Glyn, Col. Richard H. (Dorset, N.) Maitland, Cdr. J. W. Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Goodhew, Victor Marten, Nell Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Gresham Cooke, R. Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Turner, Colin
Grimston, Sir Robert Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Hall, John (Wycombe) Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald Vane, W. M. F.
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Vickers, Miss Joan
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Mills, Stratton Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Montgomery, Fergus Ward, Rt. Hon. George (Worcester)
Harvie Anderson, Miss Morgan, William Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Heath, Ht. Hon. Edward Nabarro, Gerald Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Neave, Airey Watts, James
Hiley, Joseph Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Wells, John (Maidstone)
Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Noble, Michael Whltelaw, William
Holland, Philip Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Williams, Paul (Sunderland, 8.)
Holt, Arthur Percival, Ian Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Hopkins, Alan Peyton, John Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Patricia Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Pott, Percivall Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Hughes-Young, Michael Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.) Woodnutt, Mark
Hulbert, Sir Norman Prior, J. M. L.
Hurd, Sir Anthony Rawlinson, Peter TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hutchison, Michael Clark Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Mr. Legh and Mr. J. E. B. Hill.
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Ainsley, William Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Prentice, R. E.
Albu, Austen Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Randall, Harry
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Hayman, F. H. Redhead, E. C.
Bacon, Miss Alice Healey, Denis Reid, William
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Henderson,Rt.Hn.Arthur(RwlyRegis) Robens, Rt. Hon. Alfred
Beaney, Alan Hill, J. (Midlothian) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Holman, Percy Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Benson, Sir George Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Ross, William
Blackburn, F. Hunter, A. E. Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Blyton, William Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.) Janner, Barnett Skeffington, Arthur
Bowles, Frank Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Boyden, James Jeger, George Small, William
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent.C.)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Summerskill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Edith
Callaghan, James Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Sylvester, George
Carmichael, James King, Dr. Horaoe Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Lee, Frederick (Newton) Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Chetwynd, George Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Colllck, Percy Lipton, Marcus Wainwright, Edwin
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Loughlin, Charles Warbey, William
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Davies, Ifor (Cower) MacColl, James Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Deer, George Mackie, John Wheeldon, W. E.
de Freitas, Geoffrey McLeavy, Frank White, Mrs. Eirene
Dodds, Norman Mallalleu, J.P.W.(Huddersfield,E.) Whitlock, William
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Willey, Frederick
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Marsh, Richard Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Fletcher, Eric Mason, Roy Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Foot, Dingle Mendelson, J. J. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Mitchenson, G. R. Winterbottom, R. E.
George, Lady Megan Lloyd Monslow, Walter Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Ginsburg, David Oram, A. E.
Cordon walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Pavitt, Laurence TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Gourlay, Harry Peart, Frederick Mr. Sydney Irving and
Greenwood, Anthony Pentland, Norman Mr. Lawson.

[Special Entry.]

Subsequent Lords Amendment agreed to.—[One with Special Entry.]


Lords Amendment: In page 10, line 23, leave out "one hundred pounds" and insert: fifty pounds in the case of a first offence or one hundred pounds in the case of a second or subsequent offence.

Mr. Godber

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

In Committee in another place, the view was expressed by several noble Lords that the maximum penalty for failing to comply with the requirement to register, keep records or furnish information was too severe for a first offence. On consideration, the Government agreed with that point of view and therefore we accepted the Amendment.

Mr. Willey

We welcome the Amendment. I believe that it was moved in another place by Lord Stonham, whom we remember with affection as Mr. Victor Collins. This is another example of an occasion where a Bill has been improved by suggestions made by the Opposition. The Bill is considerably improved and I hope that it will help horticulturists, as both sides of the House intended that it should do.

Question put and agreed to.