HC Deb 19 February 1963 vol 672 cc259-74

4.20 p.m.

Mr. R. H. Turton (Thirsk and Malton)

I beg to move, in page 8, to leave out lines 12 to 15 and to add: situated in an area consisting predominantly of mountains, hills, or heath, being land which is, or by improvement could be made, suitable for use for the breeding, rearing and maintenance of sheep or cattle but not to any material extent for the production of crops in quantity materially greater than that necessary to feed the number of sheep or cattle capable of being maintained on that land". The Amendment is designed to alter the definition of "winter keep grants". There was a considerable discussion of this matter in the previous Committee stage and the subject was left there. We tried to seek a better definition between then and Report, but, so far, nothing on those lines has been forthcoming. I have, therefore, made my own attempt to do that and I submit to the Committee that the definition in the Amendment would improve the Bill.

The object of the winter keep grant, as was mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, is to give an alternative to the ploughing grant in upland areas. When we discussed this in Committee my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland said: The purpose of the winter keep proposal…is to help the farmers who, from the natural conditions and circumstances of their farms, have had difficulty in providing winter keep for their livestock, and who have found that the lack of winter keep is a limiting factor in making the best use of their farms and in running the largest number of livestock they can."—[OFFICIAL. REPORT, Standing Committee E, 11th December, 1962; c. 171.] Clearly, this is an important Clause, the proposal of the Minister is most desirable and we should all be anxious to see that it works effectively, and particularly fairly in upland areas.

I appreciate that the Minister has chosen the existing definition because it is administratively convenient to use a definition which his officials already know. However, I hone that my remarks will persuade him that what may well have been the correct definition for the purposes of the Livestock Rearing Act, 1951, is an incorrect one for the purposes of the Bill before us. I am convinced that it is necessary to have a definition of some sort, so we can remove the possibility of not having one out of our consideration. It is also better that we should have a proper definition than merely to leave it as a matter of discretion, for it would be too great a burden on the officials concerned if they were not provided with guidance about which farms should be selected.

If hon. Members compare the Amendment with the definition in the Livestock Rearing Act they will see that I and my hon. Friends have selected all that part of the Act which deals with the geographical area of the land and what is produced on the arable land. We have cut out the destination of the livestock on that upland land and I suggest that this is the correct attitude to adopt towards this question of winter keep.

It is not a case where one is dealing with a farmer who wants to put up buildings, or who wants to make improvements for a farming venture. We are dealing with the case of a man who, by the nature of his farming, is unable now to provide the necessary winter keep for his livestock. Whether or not the livestock may be sold as store cattle or store sheep or may, if he is a more enlightened farmer, be finished off as fat and come as early beef to the market, is, I submit, immaterial. Equally, if the upland farmer sells milk, while that is a material factor for his buildings, it is quite an immaterial one for the purposes of winter keep.

We have moved some way in these upland areas since 1951. A great many of these farmers have diversified their farms and, therefore, if one is using the definition of 1951 now one will find that there will be a curious inequality of treatment among certain areas. As my right hon. Friend knows, there is in my constituency this type of upland area. I find one farm which is still raising stores while the next, probably at the end of his road, has two or three churns if he is selling milk as well as raising stores.

This farmer has gone to great expense to bring his byre up to the T.T. standards. He has been selected by the Ministry's officials as having a suitable farm for combining store raising with the selling of milk of high quality. In the third farm I will find a man who is probably using new methods to get his calves to market early, perhaps at 15 months, and so to get early and mature beef.

Surely it is wrong, considering the activities of these three farmers, who all have the same problem of providing winter keep for their cattle—and the same argument can be applied to sheep—to say that the first should be allowed to have the winter keep grant and can have the choice between having a ploughing grant and a winter keep grant, while the other two farms cannot. That is the real heart of the Amendment and, I suggest, the definition as drafted by the Minister in the Bill is not suitable.

It is interesting to note the words of Lord Williams of Barnburgh when introducing the Second Reading of the Livestock Rearing Bill in December, 1950. He recognised this problem of diversity on the upland farms and he drafted that Bill, he thought, to allow for that difficulty. He said: I ought to say that the production of milk and milk products, such as butter, cheese or cream, on a farm devoted mainly to stock rearing, or which could properly be so used, will not disqualify it for assistance it the suggested improvements are for stock-rearing purposes. Much the same will apply to farms producing pigs, poultry or seed potatoes as a subsidiary part of the farming business."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th Dec., 1950; Vol. 482, c. 828.] That was the line taken by the then Minister of Agriculture when the Livestock Rearing Bill was going through the House.

4.30 p.m.

I hope that the Minister will see the difficulty of using this definition in this curious legislation by reference. Under the Livestock Rearing Act, one can take one improvement and say, "Yes, we can allow this, because it is for the livestock rearing part of the man's business and not for his milk, cream or butter production, but we cannot do it when we come to winter keep". Therefore, if the Minister keeps the Bill as it is, we will have the anomalous position that a man who may have a grant under the livestock rearing provisions for the store-raising part of his business will be disqualified from getting the winter-keep grant because a substantial part of his activities is directed to milk production. In my constituency, and in others in my part of the country, there are a number of farmers who have been able to get livestock-rearing grants or hill-farming grants are in milk production because the grant was directed to that part of their operations.

I hope that I have said enough to make the Minister realise that this is an important point. I do not, of course, say that my draft is the right way of overcoming the difficulty. I have based that on the Livestock Rearing Act definition, as I thought that would be a watertight definition. There must always be borderline cases but, if we are to surmount this problem, we must look at the geographical area, the upland area, with very poor grass and see what use the farmer makes of his arable land. Quite clearly, if he is selling the produce of his arable land, he is not in need of the winter feed grant, because he is in surplus production for keep, but we do want to help the other man who is in deficit.

Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)

I agree with the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) that it is rather difficult to say which wording would guarantee all that the Amendment seeks, but everyone will be inclined to argue the point according to some special circumstances in his own area. In my area, I have circumstances that are, in a way, unique. The Slamannan Plateau is in the middle of an industrial area. It is not high enough to be considered mountainous, or fertile enough to be considered a good arable or cattle-raising area, or even a good milk-producing area yet, in the middle of it, farmers try to make a living, and if it is to remain populated they must get a living.

Circumstances change from time to time. Sometimes that living can be got by more milk production, sometimes by the production of more beef, and sometimes, perhaps, by different use of the arable land. I take it that, to some extent, the Bill's provisions will replace the M.A.P. grants to maintain such farms in existence, but if milk is barred altogether it may make just the difference between those farms being cultivated, or the farmers packing up altogether, as I have heard them suggest they would.

That would be a tragedy for such an area, and I should like to know whether the original Clause does not provide sufficient flexibility to give grants where they are necessary and desirable to maintain farms in existence without necessarily maintaining something so uneconomic that it should go out of business. I understand that the Government are now blowing a very cold wind on uneconomic farms, and that that breeze may eventually blow some of them out of existence. That may be so in some areas, but as I believe that not to be the intention here I want to be sure that the Bill is sufficiently flexible for its purpose.

There is a tendency nowadays to breed double-purpose animals—milk cows being used as the mothers of calves that can be used for beef, so getting an income of a double kind. Would that still be permissible under this provision? That practice is developing more and more, and as science proceeds I think that it will become prevalent in some areas. I want to be sure that this provision will not wipe out some farmers merely because of involvement in technical words.

Mr. J. A. Stodart (Edinburgh, West)

I was interested in the reference made by the right hon. Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) to what he described as the Slamannan Plateau, which, I can quite understand, may well be affected by one of the new Clauses on the Notice Paper. The right hon. Gentleman is, I am sure, well acquainted with the initials M.A.P., which denote one of the considerably valuable subsidies or grants given to Scottish farmers. That scheme did not cost very much—seldom more than El million out of £40 million—but it probably yielded more dividends than almost any other scheme. The problem is that there are some farmers, perhaps not many, who were benefiting under M.A.P., but were not qualified to receive the livestock rearing subsidy.

The Committee's aim has been to try to allow payment of the new winter-keep grant to those who were outside the livestock-rearing areas, and not to confine the new winter-keep scheme rigidly to those qualified for livestock-rearing grant. I do not think that in the Standing Committee we failed to do that because the Government were unsympathetic to us, but more, and I recognise it completely, because of the difficulty of finding a suitable definition of the land involved.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) mentioned that my right hon. Friend the Minister at one stage described the winter-keep scheme as providing, as one of its objectives, an alternative to the ploughing grant. Let us face up to the fact that if the ploughing grant is to be reduced, as rumour has it—and I think that there is very strong foundation for thinking this—the sort of fanners to whom the right hon. Member for East Stirlingshire referred, who are outside the livestock-rearing scheme, will have their ploughing grant reduced but will not be eligible for the winter-keep scheme. The alternative does not exist in that case.

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland told the Standing Committee that the one thing the Government did not want to do was to encourage crop production in areas that were best suited for the production of livestock, but I think that, whatever the Government's intentions are, that is precisely what this kind of action will do because, if the ploughing grant is reduced, even if it is worth only £100 or £200 in a year, it is most likely that people will try to make up the deficit by going in for something like crop production.

My hope, however, is that there is a slight escape route for us through the words in the original Clause. These are the four valuable words "to any material extent". I hope that a liberal interpretation of these words will possibly permit winter-keep grant to be received at least on some farms which do not receive the livestock area grant.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts (Caernarvon)

I hope that the Minister will answer the last question posed by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart), that is to say, that he will say whether the words which the hon. Member quoted could be administratively used to extend to these farmers who are marginal in a rather special sense the advantages of this small but very useful grant. If the Minister were to say so now I would deprive the Committee of the advantage of my few words. If he does not rise, I shall continue to speak.

I hope that the Minister will accept the point made by his hon. Friend, because I think that in the Clause there is a certain latitude which might enable the Ministry to meet the point which was so very well put by the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton). This is once more a question of definition. Some of us remember that when the Livestock Rearing Act passed through the House in 1951 the definition then applied and adopted seemed most apposite to the purpose of that Bill. But we also remember that when the Agriculture (Improvement of Roads) Act, 1955, was before the House the same definition was used in its provisions, and very soon county committees and county councils ran into trouble for the same reason—that one farm was assisted under the definition and its next door neighbour was somewhat arbitrarily deprived of the provisions of that Measure.

Similarly, in connection with this Clause, I am sure that the kind of case adduced by the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton and other hon. Members will come up and will tend to make the administration of this new and very useful provision more and more difficult. I suggest that unless the words are accepted in the sense that the Minister is asked to accept them, the definition proposed in the Amendment should be further considered by the right hon. Gentleman with a view to there being framed a specific definition of area and qualification for this purpose.

It is high time that we left behind us the hold-all definition which in the 1951 Act applies to this general kind of farm. It is a kind of unit which within it contains very different types of farms and which, as has already been said, is continually changing. There is increasing diversification with dual purpose cattle in North-West Wales and one is glad to see this happen. It is the only way to farm that kind of land, and the only way to help this kind of farmer is to see that administratively these grants can be applied to varying conditions and circumstances.

4.45 p.m.

Mr. John Brewis (Galloway)

I welcome this grant because it gives great help to farmers in Scotland where over 70 per cent. of the land is of rough grazing capacity as opposed to only about 15 per cent. in England and Wales. As the right hon. Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) said, it is most important to keep this hill land in production. I notice that when my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland was speaking in the Standing Committee he said that we should have regard to the natural conditions and the circumstances of the land. I am sure that is how we should look at giving grants for this sort of land. We should look at what fundamentally the land is capable of producing.

I have noticed quite often that a farm which has been badly farmed seems to receive grants under the Livestock Rearing Act whereas a well-farmed farm may fail to receive them. There are other anomalies. Where a farm is in the occupation of a farmer who also has a farm on low ground, that farm is often excluded. What we should look at is the marginality of the land rather than the type of farmer and the type of farming. I come from an area which is traditionally given over to dairying and where a few dairy farms have been in receipt of M.A.P. grant up till now. Under the definition in the Bill, I understand that they will be automatically excluded.

I do not think that this is the way we should go about reducing the flow of milk. We should be stopping people having dairies on land on which cattle can be fattened, such as in Cheshire and East Anglia, and not trying to drive out of production farmers who own the size and type of farm which cannot carry on any other economic activity. Many of these farms have buildings adapted only for dairying. The farmers have been encouraged to make their premises as efficient as possible and to install storage tanks and dairy equipment. All of this is quite useless for stock-rearing, but they have exactly the same problem of winter keep. I hope, therefore, that my right hon. Friend will consider whether he can accept the Amendment.

Mr. John MacLeod (Ross and Cromarty)

I should like to support the Amendment. A case has been made out for widening the definition of livestock rearing areas and I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Mahon (Mr. Turton) that there must be some definition and demarcation. These grants are of enormous benefit to my part of Scotland.

The question has been raised of the possibility of the ploughing grant being reduced or withdrawn. In that event I wonder how many farmers who are now receiving the M.A.P. grants and who will need the new winter keep grant will not be receiving it. There will be borderline cases, and if the ploughing grant is now to be withdrawn from these people they may be in very difficult straits. We want to see more flexibility, but I appreciate the difficulty of going round and defining who shall receive these grants.

I should like to take up the point about the small dairy farmers. There is no doubt that one of the main objects of this is to try to drive out the small uneconomic dairy farmer from land on which he could really be producing livestock. But we do not want to see this carried too far. It has already been carried too far in my own area, in the Highlands of Scotland, where we have the Milk Marketing Board going miles out delivering bottles of milk at great expense to itself. It should be possible, I would think, for farmers in some of these areas to produce, as the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Mallon said, the two or three churns of milk which they could sell in their own area to the great advantage of everyone in the area.

I should lake to see that happen because it is very important, particularly in my area where depopulation is going on steadily, that we should, if at all possible, keep people on the land there. That is why I welcome this winter-keep scheme and I hope that it is going to take the place of—we do not yet know what the grants are to be—and ultimately be a big improvement on M.A.P. For these reasons, I should like to see a little more flexibility.

Mr. James H. Hoy (Edinburgh, Leith)

We discussed this matter at considerable length in Committee, and I think that what perturbed many of us was that if M.A.P. and the ploughing grant were to go there might be a certain number of farmers in the country who would fall between the two and who, in the process, would get nothing at all. It is extremely important that people who farm in these parts should be maintained and, if possible, given some sort of security.

We are indebted to the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) for putting down this Amendment, because at one time it was thought that officers of the right hon. Gentleman's Department might be the best people to decide whether or not a particular farm qualified for this grant. Many of us in the Committee rejected this proposal for two reasons. In the first place, we thought that it was placing too great a responsibility on the inspectors of the Department to have to decide whether or not certain farms qualified for grant. Secondly, we thought that if, in fact, there was no guidance, and therefore no limitation, abuse might take place. I think that every hon. Member in the Committee was in favour of action being taken to provide these winter keep grants for those farmers who had in the past enjoyed other facilities.

I am bound to say that we are a little disappointed to find that the Minister did not put down an Amendment on today's Notice Paper to cover the promise then made. During the Committee stage the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland said that if the Amendment which was then before the Committee were withdrawn he would undertake, along with his right hon. Friend, to find some words which would cover the proposals that the Committee had in mind. Unfortunately, he has been unable to do so, and so the right hon. Gentleman has provided words for us to cover the point, and very skilfully, I think, because I notice that he has taken the words, exactly, from Section 1 (3) of the 1951 Livestock Rearing Act.

Mr. Stodart

The hon. Gentleman knows that I am one of those people who have been most anxious about this subject, but I think that I should only be doing my hon. Friend justice if I pointed out that what he in fact said was that he would do his best to find words, not that he would find them.

Mr. Hoy

I cannot understand the hon. Gentleman's intervention because that is exactly what I said, that the hon. Gentleman said that if the Amendment were withdrawn he, along with his right hon. Friend, would do his best to find a suitable form of words to put on the Notice Paper at this stage. I am not accusing the hon. Gentleman of going back on his pledge; I am saying only that I am a little surprised that he did not find the appropriate form of words. That is as far as I am taking the matter. As I have said, I notice with approval that the right hon. Gentleman, quite skilfully, has taken words out of the 1951 Act and incorporated them in his Amendment.

There is no doubt that the words which will carry some weight are but not to any material extent". These are the important words and I think they will meet with the Minister's approval, but whether they will go the whole way to meet the express wishes of the Committee, I do not know. Quite frankly, we have no objection to the words on the Notice Paper, but if we are to agree to the Amendment being withdrawn or rejected, then, at the very least, we must have an assurance from the Minister that the words which I have quoted mean exactly what they say.

Mr. Soames

This, if I may say so, has been a case which has been exceedingly well put by every hon. Member who has spoken, beginning with my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Mahon (Mr. Turton) who moved the Amendment. I think that the Committee will agree that it is almost inevitable when we are talking in terms of grants being given not to agriculture as a whole but to specific sections of the agricultural industry that there should be those who in the interests of their own constituents feel that they would like to see the scheme enlarged somewhat to include a further section of the industry. Where-ever one draws the line it is almost inevitable that there should be a body of opinion which would like to see it extended. When one is talking in terms of hill farming and hill land I think this is bound to be so. It would certainly be so if one were thinking, for instance, in terms of contours.

During the Committee stage my hon. Friend undertook to look again at the definition of elegibility for winter keep grants to see if it might be possible in the revised definition to meet the points made by right hon. and hon. Members in Committee upstairs. We have not, in fact, been able to find a better definition of the kind of farms which we believe need this special assistance, and my hon. Friend, as he promised, informed right hon. and hon. Members who put this point to him in Committee of this decision.

I should like to explain to the Committee what our thoughts have been. Briefly, if we are to avoid innumerable anomalies, there must, I think everyone would agree, be a definition. Secondly, I think it will be agreed that the present definition of hill land has operated for a long time. It is well understood by all concerned—I think it is well understood by those farming in these areas—and we must ask ourselves whether there would be any clear advantages in changing it. I hope, in particular, that my right hon. Friend will appreciate why we cannot accept the Amendment. It would necessitate materially altering the present meaning of hill land and the enterprises thereon. The definition which he proposes would mean that better farms in the hill areas which were not themselves hill farms in the sense we mean when we speak of the hill farms would become equally eligible along with the poorer places for this special help.

It is designed to be a special help. Our policy, for many years, has been to confine help of this kind to the hill farms. That is not to say that there is no help given to other types of agriculture—we know that there is—but this help is designed to give a specific type of assistance to hill farms over and above whatever may be got from the generality of help, as it were, which is open to all farms in what the Government give to agriculture. We do this both because, inherently, these hill farms are relatively poor and harder to work and because, unlike the dairy farms, feeding farms and cropping farms, these farms receive little direct benefit from the price guarantees inasmuch as very little of what they produce is sold under a guaranteed price through the 1957 Act machinery.

This does not mean that a hill farmer who sells some milk, fattens a few cattle or sheep or sells a small quantity of crops should be, or will be, ruled out of the scheme. I take my right hon. Friend's point about the farmer who sells two or three chums of milk. If he is principally a livestock rearing farmer and this is what he does, it will not, I assure the Committee, rule him out of the benefit.

5.0 p.m. This brings me to the core of the matter. As the hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. G. Roberts) said, it is a question of definition. How are we to define it? I think that we are right in sticking to the hill farms and the broad definition of them which we know, but how are we to use the definition? This is the question. It was a widely held view in Committee, and the same view has been expressed today, that there should be a reasonable amount of flexibility in applying the definition. What we have been considering is whether we can find a form of words which would apply the flexibility more effectively than does the existing definition under which a farm is ruled out if dairying or fattening is carried out to a material extent.

I assure the Committee that the existing definition is, and will be, applied by our field officers as reasonably as they possibly can. There will be no rigid application of an arithmetical formula. Each case will be considered on its merits. Our officers will estimate within broad limits the proportion of the farmer's return which could be expected from the different enterprises carried on on his farm. There is no absolute maximum laid down. Normally, we should approve any case in which the return from milk, fat stock and crops was not more than, say, 40 per cent. of the total. In certain circumstances, we might find that, on a particular farm, an even higher proportion was justified, but it must be principally a hill farm within the context we all know. Naturally, if it were to be a high proportion, there would have to be very good reason for it and we should have to consider the matter.

Most hill farmers secure their return predominantly if not entirely, from livestock rearing. These are the sort of farms we are endeavouring to help by the specific provision which we have put in to assist hill farmers.

I cannot, in answer to the right hon. Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn), give instances of particular farms, but I hope that I have reassured the Committee by giving my idea of how we should interpret this definition. First, we feel that the definition is one to which we should adhere. Second, we feel that the approach to the interpretation of it which I have indicated is the right one. If anyone feels that there has been a miscarriage of justice, he can, of course, go all the way with his appeal which ultimately comes to Ministers.

I think that this is the right approach, and I hope that what I have said will reassure hon. and right hon. Members who have spoken. I say that particularly to my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton who, as I have said, put the case extremely well. I know that it is there; it is there for all to hear. I hope that I have managed to reassure my right hon. Friend that what we propose is not unreasonable and that he will not press his Amendment.

Mr. Woodburn

The Minister has replied as regards flexibility. I could not expect him to answer about a particular set of farms. He has not, however, made clear that the flexibility will be used in such a way as to give a commonsense interpretation in respect of the preservation of milk production on those farms where it should be preserved. The whole emphasis is on the production of beef and livestock. That is the general principle. But there are some places in the Highlands where milk is not being produced although it should be. Has the right hon. Gentleman any power to impose upon such farms the need to produce milk? I was in a dairy in Fort William once, a dairy owned by the provost of the town, which bought its milk from Edinburgh, 166 miles away. In the area for which the hon. Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. John MacLeod) speaks there are islands which take their milk from the mainland so that it all has to be shipped to them.

From an agricultural point of view, this is all nonsense. When I was Secretary of State, we tried to establish a farm in order to create a precedent. Unfortunately, owing to the legalities of the Crofters Act, the Secretary of State was turned down by the courts, and this was not possible. It would be commonsense to have milk produced on some of these farms, and I should like to see the Secretary of State and his colleagues in the Government using their powers to bring commonsense into the balance of agriculture in these places.

I can understand that the definition is not there to determine which farms will receive grants. It is there to give the Secretary of State a weapon to refuse grants to certain farms. What he wants is such a definition that he can refuse grant to farms which should not have it. However, I hope that the flexibility will be such that the interpretation and application of the Clause as a whole will bring a commonsense balance on to these farms. If a farm is one which ought to produce livestock entirely, well and good. The Minister has the power. However, hope that people will not go according to the letter of the law and refuse grant to some place which ought to be a viable farm producing both milk and livestock. I agree that the balance must be struck, but I hope that the 40 per cent. will not become the law of the Medes and Persians and tie the hands of the Department's officers.

From experience, I know that I can give the Secretary of State flexibility and discretion, but I want that discretion to be used properly in the best interests of agriculture, within the context of the need to maintain the population in the upland areas and ensure that they produce a proper balance of foodstuffs, meat or milk. I hope that any exclusions will not be so rigid as to bring some farms into vacancy simply because of a techni- cality in the definition. With these qualifications, I am prepared to accept the Minister's reply.

Mr. G. Roberts

I should like to say a few words before the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) says what I think he will say.

The Committee and the Minister must always remember that these grants take the place of M.A.P. grants. They are not over and above other assistance to this class of farmer.

I personally appreciate the attitude which the Minister has taken to our pleas. He has spoken into the record very generously and, if I may so put it, with enlightened lack of caution. He has given, not precisely instructions, but a measure of encouragement to his staff to approach this problem of administration in the most helpful manner possible. He has even thrown out certain notional percentages which, while not binding, will help those who have to administer the grant. We thank him for what he has said and hope that this very useful but not very large grant will serve the purposes which my right hon. Friend the Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn) so eloquently described.

Mr. Turton

My right hon. Friend's intervention was most helpful. His interpretation of the definition has, I think, removed all our doubts. After all, he and his officials will be interpreting the Bill when it becomes an Act. If the definition is interpreted in the way that he has indicated, I am sure that we shall be satisfied. For that reason, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.