HC Deb 21 April 1961 vol 638 cc1557-9

11.17 a.m.

Mr. Brian Harrison (Maldon)

I beg to move, in page 2, line 24 after "produce", to insert: or persons engaged in forestry". Would it be convenient, Mr. Speaker, to discuss at the same time, the other five Amendments in my name on the Notice Paper?

Mr. Speaker

Yes. That would be convenient.

Mr. Harrison

This is a very small Amendment, but an important one. When the Bill was introduced by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin) it was thought that the definition of a co-operative society, in Clause 2, would include forestry societies. There has been a growth of co-operation amongst forestry societies, which is of great benefit to the preservation of woodland. The purpose of the Amendment is to make absolutely certain that persons engaged in forestry or forestry co-operative are included in Clause 2.

Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Govan)

The Committee discussed this matter and there was general agreement about it, when I indicated that I would accept Amendments to meet the desires of the Committee. I have much pleasure in accepting them now.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 2, line 25, after "producers," insert: or persons so engaged.

In line 26, leave out "or."

In line 27, after "horticultural," insert "or forestry."

In line 38, leave out "or".'

In line 38, after "horticultural," insert "or forestry."—[Mr. B. Harrison.]

11.20 a.m.

Mr. Rankin

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

We have now reached the final stage of the Bill in this House. I am indebted for the help which I have received from all quarters in carrying the Bill through, from the Minister and his Department, those concerned with the Bill in the Public Bill Office, and hon. Members on both sides of the House.

As its progress has shown, the Bill has met with general acceptance from both consumers and producers in co-operative organisations and there is little purpose now in prolonging proceedings which have been so happily conducted during the Second Reading, Committee and Report stages.

11.21 a.m.

Mr. George Darling (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

This will be a useful and somewhat important Measure to many agricultural co-operative societies. At this stage we ought to thank my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin) for using his luck in the Ballot to introduce the Bill.

We all know that many agricultural and horticultural co-operatives need additional capital, and it is preferable for them to get that capital from their own members and also desirable that as far as possible they should get it in the form of share rather than loan capital.

I am glad that we have extended the Bill to cover forestry. I was always under the impression that in legislation the word "agriculture" covered forestry, but if there was any doubt about it, I am glad that the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. B. Harrison) has been able to put forward his Amendments to make the matter perfectly clear.

For simplicity and ease of operation, the Bill covers all industrial and provident societies, although we do not expect that the consumer co-operatives will take advantage of it, at least not on any scale, for the time being. On reflection, I am rather glad that the provisions of Clause 1 (6) makes societies go through some procedural operations before they can increase their maximum shareholding by rule, if they do not do it right away.

The Bill is very well drafted and will serve its purpose admirably, and again I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Govan for introducing it.

11.23 a.m.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. W. M. F. Vane)

I intervened very briefly on the Government's behalf during the Second Reading, and I do not want to take up too much time this morning.

I again express our thanks to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Go van (Mr. Rankin) for what he has done and the amount of work he has put in, not only in introducing the Bill, but in helping to shape it according to the will of the House and for giving us what is an extremely useful Measure.

Happy the man, as the hon. Member is, who can produce a Bill which gives pleasure to both producer and consumer! It is not always that way, as well I know in my present Department. The view of the Government is that the Amendments accepted during proceedings on the Bill are logical and have improved it, especially the not unimportant matter which we have considered today. It was a logical extension to apply the provisions covering agriculture and horticulture to forestry. I hope that it will not be long before the Bill is part of the law of the land.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.