HC Deb 29 January 1964 vol 688 cc359-61
32. Mr. Hoy

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the concern of Scottish farmers regarding the working of the Winter Keep Scheme; how many appeals have been made regarding the category into which their farms have been placed; and how many have been successful.

Mr. Noble

Yes, Sir. I have received representations from the Scottish National Farmers' Union on this matter and these will be further considered at the Annual Review.

As regards the second part of the Question, there have been 1,460 appeals in respect of farm classification. Of these 191 have been granted, 354 refused or withdrawn and 915 are under consideration. In addition, there have been 150 appeals under the material extent rule, of which 17 have been granted, 44 have been refused or withdrawn and 89 are under consideration.

Mr. Hoy

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that these figures express great dissatisfaction? In view of that, how could the Under-Secretary, in a Written Reply last week, give certain figures without taking into consideration these appeals? How could the Under-Secretary reach an approximate figure about what the subsidy would be under the new Board even if he did not know what the results of the appeals would be?

Mr. Noble

Quite frankly, one cannot give a firm figure until all the appeals are settled, but the House would find it rather boring if Ministers said that they could not give a firm figure until all the appeals were settled, and I am sure that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary did his best to help the House.

Mr. W. Baxter

Would the Secretary of State consider cutting down the categories from three to two under the winter feed scheme? This would obviate a great many applications being put into category A as it is usual for those in category A to wish to go into Category B. Will the right hon. Gentleman say what machinery is in operation to dispense justice in cases where people appeal against being put into a category?

Mr. Noble

In a great many cases there are inspections by independent panels of arbiters appointed by me. They report to me and my decision then has to be taken. In reply to the first part of the hon. Member's supplementary question, the N.F.U., which has made representations to me on a number of points, has not asked me to consider that one.

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