§ 3.56 p.m.
§ Sir Martin Redmayne (Rushcliffe)
I beg to move,That this House notes with regret that Her Majesty's Government have so conducted and concluded the Annual Farm Price Review that severe damage has been done to the confidence of the farming industry.The Motion puts into words a situation of which we are all unhappily aware. I say "unhappily" advisedly, for none of us, whether in opposition or in government, can view the present active discontent that is rife throughout the farming industry in any other spirit, although I must say that during Question Time I rather wondered whether one or two hon. Members opposite do not regard it with some pleasure.
It was an interesting commentary on the Minister's Statement on the Price Review that there has not been seen for a long time in the House such an upsurge 1660 of hon. Members on this side seeking to put supplementary questions to the Minister. For that matter, not for a long time has a statement been received with such evidence of shocked surprise, almost of disbelief in the course of its making.
It was evident that the Minister himself expected that reaction. He betrayed his expectation in that he largely avoided answering the questions which I, for one, put to him, but, instead, reeled off a string of defensive comparisons with previous Reviews. Of course, earlier Reviews have been disagreed, though never so violently as this one.
The Minister knows—this came up again during Questions today, in respect of the milk settlement—that it is a weak defence simply to quote the figures for the increase in or reduction of guarantees without regard to the relevant statistics for each year of farm incomes, of costs, of the trends of production, and of the trend of the subsidy bill—particularly that, since it is accepted to be the common objective of farmers, of the Government and of all of us, to reduce it progressively.
The Minister knows, equally, that this year the award is made in the face of the highest increase in costs for eight years and at a time when the subsidy bill has fallen sharply for the second year in succession, following sizeable reductions in the two years before that. On these facts alone, which show that so much success has been achieved in trying to get towards our objective, the farmer had grounds for optimism as to the outcome of the Review.
Last year's settlement was held as being "electioneering". This has been said repeatedly by the Minister since he made his Statement, but it was, in fact, the proper culmination of a long struggle by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bedford (Mr. Soames) and his predecessors right back to Lord Williams of Barnburgh and Lord Hudson, who laid the foundation of post-war agricultural planning, which was taken over by the Labour Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] This is perfectly true. The Minister cannot in fairness deny it. It was a long struggle, sometimes against the tide of farming opinion, but more often with it, to fit a prosperous agriculture into the pattern of the post-war economy.
1661 Let me remind the House briefly of some of the stages of that struggle. The plans were laid in 1944 and there followed in due course, under the Labour Government, the 1947 Act, which both sides support, and what I might call the Williams era, a very successful era for the Minister of Agriculture, but, of course, a sellers' market of all sellers' markets. By the early 1950s the impetus of those years was failing and it fell to successive Conservative Governments to end rationing, to make food freely available to the consumer, to initiate a new emphasis on marketing, to replace the fixed-price system by deficiency payments and to give the long-term guarantees of the 1957 Act, as a partner to the 1947 Act, and to foster the long-term modernisation of agriculture and to start the small farmers schemes.
This was a tremendous programme over the years and in a sense the result was that it had too much success, leading to a threat of over-production in some commodities and a subsidy bill that was acknowledged to be growing too fast. We do not blush for this policy. It was a creative policy and it gave an active impetus to the farming industry at a time when it was badly needed. From there, following the 1960 White Paper, with the full agreement of the Labour Party, we have moved into the era of the standard quantity. Whatever criticism there may be, and whatever second thoughts on this commodity or that, my right hon. Friends achieved a noteworthy improvement in the situation overall, and over the last four years the subsidy bill has fallen without any unreasonable check to productivity.
I would remind the House of a sentence in the White Paper on Agriculture,Cmnd. 1249 of 1960, which was the pith of the whole of that policy, and, again, the Labour Party certainly did not dissent from it. The sentence reads:Moreover, the Government and the Unions agree that, as the industry strengthens its competitive power and so advances towards its declared objective of reducing Exchequer support to the minimum practicable amount, it is right and proper that it should have the incentive and reward of an increase in its living standards.These were important words then. They are important words now when so much has been achieved. The industry has every right to feel aggrieved that the 1662 Government, in this Review, have not abided by the sentiments expressed in that White Paper.
The Review last year, far from being electioneering, was a reasonable reward for a great deal of co-operative effort between agriculture and Government. It is vital that that effort should continue. It is hard to see how it can continue in the atmosphere now ruling. But if one is compelled to talk of electioneering, the Labour Party, or some part of it—for right hon. and hon. Members opposite certainly do not all speak with one voice on this matter—have been electioneering in agriculture for a very long time.
Who would blame them? This is politics and it is not expressly their fault that agriculture is far too near the centre of politics. This is the fault of the system and many farmers and many politicians would wish that it could be otherwise. But if one is to talk of electioneering, what matters to farmers and to us is that the performance of Government when they arrive in office should match their electoral promise.
Here lies the root cause of the sharp reaction to this Review both in the House and in the farming world. I said that farming was too close to politics. What I meant by that is that it is a perfectly understandable view, held quite widely, that the Annual Review becomes too easily a dogfight. I have been interested for a long time in the possibility of a change and I would listen carefully, and would request my right hon. and hon. Friends to listen, to propositions for a longer-term review, but, of course, such a review must abide, and continue to abide, by the principles of the 1947 and 1957 Acts.
Experimentally, it could be biennial or triennial, leading up, if it should prove to be a successful experiment, to a five-year period. Any such experiment must contain provisions to ensure that contact between farmers and the Government is maintained—because this is of great value to the Review system and to the farming community. It is possible that there could be—and this could be discussed—some form of review tribunal which could meet as any situation arose during the review period.
1663 Any such system, of course, must leave to the Government and to the House the last word, since the taxpayer's money is involved, but at least I see no reason why these propositions should not be discussed. I believe that if they were sensibly discussed, with open minds on both sides, they might well lead to a system which would be infinitely preferable to all concerned. I have no doubt that at some point in his reply the Minister will say that he is also Minister of Food. We have had this from him three times already today
§ Sir M. Redmayne
And the right hon. Gentleman has said that he has a duty to the consumer.
This is a very worthy argument. It sounds very grand, but it is a bad point in relation to the level of guarantees because in real truth the higher the guarantee the greater the production. Therefore, the result must be a trend towards lower rather than higher consumer prices. I agree that the Minister's duty lies towards the taxpayer, and on that and on the need to reduce the subsidies bill we all agreed—Government, Opposition and the farmers.
On the question of milk, for which the Minister still has direct responsibility for the price, the right hon. Gentleman's attitude again does not ring very true. He says cautiously that the price will be up by ½d. a pint for four months, but I doubt whether he will express much hope that it will be reduced thereafter. If it is not reduced, how much wiser he would have been to take one bite at the cherry and given himself room for manoeuvre in this Review.
§ Mr. Richard Crawshaw (Liverpool, Toxteth)
I am sure that at this stage the right hon. Gentleman would like to say whether he dissociates himself not only from the threats made by sections of the farming community to deprive the community of milk, including children and nursing mothers, but also certain threats, which are perhaps more serious, against the person of the Minister himself. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would wish to say that these wild threats cause alarm on both sides of the 1664 House and he dissociates himself and his party from any of them.
§ Sir M. Redmayne
I do not accept for a moment that the terms in which the hon. Member expresses the present situation are in any way accurate or true. I have said publicly that the farming community will achieve its objects very much better by constitutional methods of discussion.
The Minister said that the Review must be accepted as economically necessary but that it contains a long-term policy. Its items of long-term policy include help for small farmers and stress on co-operation, on research, on marketing and on amalgamation. These, after all, are all evolutions of what we on this side of the House have set in train. The Minister knows in his heart that this Review is a holding operation, and a severe one at that, but it hides a great deal which has yet to be decided and disclosed.
The first page of the White Paper gives much cause for doubt about the future. It opens with a sentence which is acceptable enough:Agriculture is one of our biggest industries, and, as such, must take its proper place in the national economic development plan which is now being prepared.I should have thought that that sentence was redundant. The Government and their spokesmen are on record time and time again as stressing their allegiance to the Agriculture Acts in which the proper place of agriculture is most clearly defined. Indeed, they repeat their support for those Acts in the White Paper.
In the broader and more topical field, is there any doubt disclosed as to the rôle of agriculture in the statement of the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) in the debate last year:Our balance of payments problem would look absolutely impossible but for the tremendous expansion for which the industry is responsible."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th June, 1964; Vol. 697, c. 1046.]The Minister himself, after the election—to this extent, this is more significant still as he was then in office—said that, in view of the balance of payments problem, he would back the demand of the National Farmers' Union for a sensible expansion of the home market. Does he suggest that the N.F.U. has not been sensible in these matters? These words are important, particularly the words of the 1665 Minister himself after the election, because they showed, or seemed to show, that the Government had considered the balance of payments point in relation to farming with great care, had overridden the arguments against it—the arguments are legion and are put from many sources to the Government—and had come to a firm decision, which the Minister was making public.
Yet the second sentence of the Review leaves us in the air:The Government will, therefore, be considering in this context what contribution agriculture can best make to national economic growth".This is a very different kettle of fish. I suspect that "Farmer George", who spoke so eloquently at Swaffham, in 1963, and again in the debate last year, is now completely "Mr. Economist Brown", and farming is in the melting pot. The economists have hailed this proposition as commendable, but, inevitably, it produces a loss of confidence in an industry in which confidence has ever been and, perhaps, will ever be, hard to come by. Inevitably, also, this pending consideration of agriculture's rôle puts a question-mark against the objective of the Review.
The next sentence in the Review reads—there is a good deal of this sort of thing on the first page:… the Government have reached conclusions on certain lines of … developmentand it is claimed that the Review is based on these.
In paragraph 3 we read:… a primary objective … must be to encourage growth in productivity through:— (a) the maintenance of stability"—But at what level, after further consideration?
The next reference is tothe further progressive introduction of technological improvement …We agree well enough about that.
Next:the encouragement to farmers generally to obtain the benefits of scale".I ask that the House note the words "farmers generally".
The final reference is to''the consequential further release of resources for use elsewhere in the nation's economy.The first question one asks about those four subheads is: what is meant by 1666 "farmers generally"? I take it to mean obtaining the benefits of scale over all. Next, what resources will consequentially be released? Resources of machinery, certainly, from amalgamations, and so on. But is it also meant to refer to further men from among employees and employers, the farmers? If land, what land? These are all most important questions, and they really put in the shadow the items in the Review which are claimed to be long-term, the Small Farmer Scheme, marketing, research, and the like.
For the answers, we have to wait to learn what contribution, in the Government's view, after further consideration, agriculture can best make to the economy. For the present, we have only uncertainty in these matters. Yet the Minister, in the past, has been, very properly, what I might call a long-term man. In an interview last May, he said that one of his first jobs, if he were Minister of Agriculture, would be "to thrash out a five-year or more policy for agriculture", and in last year's debate, with reference to milk, he said that he would like to see a "five-year policy".
Is l¼d. a gallon for milk against costs increased certainly by over 1d.—we cannot find out precisely what the figure is—to be classed as part of a long-term policy in accordance with the Minister's statements last year? It is in one sense, but a sense which does no credit to the right hon. Gentleman who has expressed so much concern for the small farmer. Many will find it hard to carry on. The Minister has said—he repeated it today—that he is fearful of over-production. The fall in the dairy herd has been checked and production is rising a little, but the Minister knows very well that l¼d. will not check the flight from dairying. Indeed, from such information as we can secure, it seems that it is already gathering way again. I suggest, therefore, that his fears about over-production have very little foundation.
One may then fairly ask whether the long-term policy in respect of milk is to cosset the small farmer with grants, which, in any case, he will not obtain for many months, but to drive him out of milk? The income from milk is very often for many men much more accurately described as the wage-packet 1667 rather than the profit. This would be a poor trick, and I think more of the right hon. Gentleman than to believe that it is likely to be his policy.
The answer lies elsewhere, with his colleagues. The right hon. Gentleman knows that the 1d. is too little. I believe that he had some better figure in his mind and he was badgered, bullied, coaxed and cajoled by his colleagues on the Treasury Bench until they beat his judgment into the ground.
§ Sir M. Redmayne
He knew that he would have difficulty with his Review. He knew, also, as we all know, that milk is very often the psychological factor which holds the balance between acceptance, however grudging, and an open break.
The Minister lost that battle. I express the hope that, if he has another and, possibly, more bitter battle to fight on the consideration of agriculture in relation to the economic plan, he will die in the last ditch for what he believes to be right—and or politicians the last ditch is resignation.
§ Mr. Robert Maxwell (Buckingham)
Did not the previous Administration, in their Annual Reviews, except for election years, deal with the farming community even worse than the present Review? As we may be having a General Election, does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the Minister of Agriculture is being most brave as well as most handsome in his rewards to farmers?
§ Sir M. Redmayne
If the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, I dealt with that point fully before he came into the Chamber.
So far, the Minister has convinced no one that he is right on milk. I realise that there are confidential matters here, but it is a pity, in this situation, when tempers are high, that he will not support his argument by disclosing the agreed figure for costs. He has, apparently, made some reference to a figure of 6d. brought into the discussion by the N.F.U.—this appears to be so, if the reports are correct—and if he could make that—
§ The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Fred Peart)
I have not revealed what the National Farmers' Union submitted to me during the Review discussions. It would have been very wrong for me to do so. I completely deny what the right hon. Gentleman has said.
§ Sir M. Redmayne
I accept what the Minister says without reservation, but I hope he will understand that I am taking this from what appeared to be perfectly straightforward reports in the Press. However, I think it a pity, as there is so much argument on the point, that he cannot tell us what the figure of costs may be.
Whether the right hon. Gentleman likes it or not, there could well be a milk crisis this year if we have unfavourable weather conditions. Those are not my words. They may have a familiar ring to the Minister. He spoke them himself last year. They did not turn out to be true, but they were uttered with reference to last year's increase of 2½d. Since then we have had a good farming year and the position is slightly improved. Yet, as we know, 5,000 dairy farmers have gone out of milk, and who knows what this summer will be like and, much more importantly, what fall in the dairy herd there may be in the next six or 12 months? I hope that the Minister will see the red light when it shows and act swiftly.
Milk brings me to beef, and in that phrase lies another good argument in favour of generous treatment for dairying and the maintenance of the herd. It also highlights another reversal of the right hon. Gentleman's beliefs. He is on record as having said that he would like to see a long-term flexible plan for meat, and if for meat, certainly for beef production. There is no need for me to labour the point. I have seen no opinion expressed that 4s. on beef will, in the present state of the market, have any long-term effect on production. The extension of calf subsidies, though useful enough, cannot be regarded as a major factor.
The Minister will know that the Fat-stock Marketing Corporation has already forecast a reduction, not an increase, of 3s. 8d. per cwt. arising from the revision of the scales of supplements and abatements; that is, a reduction in respect of 1669 the price as it is at present. I am certain that the Minister ought to revert to what was his expressed opinion and should have given something which would have cost nothing in the Review—a long-term assurance that production of beef will be supported. I hope that he can give that assurance today. If he does not, we must assume that his hands are tied by other considerations yet to be decided.
No one can really say that the cut in fertiliser subsidies is particularly happy at present, when production of beef is required, and particularly perhaps because costs in the fertiliser industry are rising and, therefore, there is no reason to hope that there could happen what happened before when the subsidy has been cut—when there has been a corresponding reduction in price.
Turning to cereals, I am suspicious that the Minister has made the maximum cut in barley and wheat not because it is wholly necessary, but because it gives him £11 million under the alleged shelter of agreements made by the previous Government. The agreements guaranteed that the minimum import price arrangements shall not result in an appreciable distortion of the pattern of trade. Those words come from the agreement. But is there really an appreciable distortion of the pattern of trade at present.
Last year, 1964, was a good year with a good crop, and the crop has been well absorbed and the forecast demand is high. Imports are down below the average of the last three years, admittedly, and that is the factor which comes into these agreements. But how great has been the pressure from overseas suppliers? As we all know, they have had very good markets elsewhere. What has come into the country has been above the minimum import price. In those circumstances, I do not think that the Minister should have taken the view that he was in a situation in which a reduction of this sort was in any way compulsory.
I would ask what pressures were brought to bear on the Minister by the foreign suppliers and to what extent he sought to resist them? Or did he not try very hard? Did he take what seemed to him to be the easy way out with what he thought to be a good excuse and giving something of a bonus which he could use to offset other parts of the Price Review?
1670 In support of that, I quote a statement Which the right hon. Gentleman made in the House rather than in the White Paper:Cereal production has risen to a very high level … In consequence, we are obliged, under the cereals agreements on minimum import prices made by the previous Conservative Administration, to take remedial action with the purpose of restoring a fair and reasonable balance between home-grown nd imported cereals."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th March, 1965; Vol. 708, c. 1289.]I think that that sentence in the statement was something of a cheat. The Minister has since rather resiled from it. He has admitted now that he was very much more party to the agreements than the statement would imply. Although some cut was necessary, I doubt very much whether it was necessary to go to the maximum. I doubt whether this is a very good precedent to be created in the first year of a new scheme. The Minister ought to have been very much more careful to see that he gave the scheme a fair start.
I will now deal briefly with some of the other more general propositions in the Review. We do not criticise the schemes in aid of the small farmers. As I have said, the awards in the Review hit them hard and they will have a struggle to survive to reap the benefits of the schemes. I could say that it seems fair to say:The Minister seems to suffer from schizophrenia, wishing, on the one hand, to give aid to small farmers, while, on the other, wishing to squeeze them Out."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th June, 1964; Vol. 697, c. 953.]That quotation betrays itself. I would not use the word "schizophrenia", because I am always afraid of not being able to pronounce it. Those were the right hon. Gentleman's words in the debate last year. I hope that they rest firmly on his head.
This Minister's schizophrenia would seem to be between himself as Minister of Agriculture and himself as a Member of the Cabinet. I think that that is the secret of all that has been going on during the last few weeks. The farmers would prefer him to remain permanently in the rôle of farmers' friend for which he cast himself before the election. It is a rôle which suits him very much better.
Nor do we quarrel with the Government's present proposals for agricultural credit. Of course, no one can say that 1671 there is as yet any prospect of obtaining credit at reasonable terms. [Interruption.] I do not think that hon. Members opposite should intervene about that. Once again, too much was read into the statement and, once again, performance lags behind what appeared to be the promise. I should like to know what the Labour Party means by "reasonable terms". Does it mean special preferential terms, or was it just putting in a good phrase for the sake of political advantage?
It is a mistake in any walk of commerce or industry to believe that an inexhaustible supply of credit is necessarily the only answer to every problem. There can be over-trading in farming as in any other competitive enterprise. What matters more than the ability to obtain credit is the ability to service and repay the loan. That entails a far greater prospect of the retention of adequate profits than would seem to be envisaged in the Review or likely to arise from the longer-term consideration of agriculture's rôle which is promised in the White Paper.
Of course, we support any reasonable effort to improve marketing. By too slow degrees, every branch of commerce and industry in this country is abandoning the Victorian concept of selling and is realising that the problem is not how to sell what one produces, but how to produce what, by market research, one believes one can sell. As a nation, we have been appallingly slow to learn this lesson. In many respects the farming industry is showing a lead which others might follow.
In passing, I would note with some surprise that there is no mention at all in the White Paper of the World Food Plan, on which so many columns of HANSARD were used in the debate last year and on which the Minister of Housing and Local Government, at a Labour conference, expressed himself in terms so glowingly optimistic for the future of agriculture that it must have hung like a millstone round the right hon. Gentleman's neck ever since. He said:A Labour Government would say to the farmers of the West, 'Produce all you can: we will get rid of it because the world needs it '.1672 They were fine words, but fine words butter no parsnips. We know that Dr. Boerma has had talks with the Minister of Overseas Development, and presumably the Government are continuing support for the World Food Programme, which was initiated by the previous Government. No doubt we are to understand that the more lavish promises of the pre-election era are also to be forgotten.
The amalgamation of farms which has loomed so much in the Minister's utterances since the Review is given a very cursory paragraph in the White Paper:The Government consider that there should be arrangements to encourage on a voluntary basis the amalgamation of such land"—land of marginal significance—into viable and well equipped holdings.There is little more than pious hope there. We have read that such land could be purchased by the proposed Lands Commission. At what price? Would it be farmed by the Commission, or sold to those better able to farm it, and at what price? Would it be sold to those most conveniently adjacent? If they were also in too small a way, would they get the necessary capital to play their part in the amalgamation?
Equally, if the scheme is to be voluntary, on what basis is the volunteer to be encouraged? Will the Government consider a scheme on the continental pattern which will give specific inducements to retire? This is an interesting proposition. Before we can judge it, we shall require something more specific than that short paragraph in the White Paper and I hope that the right hon. Gentlemen will tell us something about it.
In all these matters, in all the long-term items, such as they are, in the economic plan, I would like to be assured—as the industry must certainly be assured—that farming will not be the poor relation in social and industrial planning. The Review, by its terms at this time, has brought farming to a cross-roads. Much has to be considered in the national economic plan in the broad sense. The plan must take into account the population explosion and the need to house and to employ between 10 and 20 million more people at the turn of the century.
1673 Coupled with these things are the problems of agriculture, a major industry in its own right, by the Government's own admission—an industry now beset with new problems arising from the incidence of intensive farming and the loss of valuable farm land, but, nevertheless, with a rising productivity record which often puts other industries to shame. The more often that is said, the better.
It may be that the pattern of farming will have to change over the next 10 years, that land used for farming may be less than what it is now and that the process of amalgamations, streamlining and intensification will be forced upon us by events to an ever-increasing degree. It may be that the rural pattern will change drastically. But is it too much to ask that, in all this unpheaval, agriculture should be an equal partner in planning and that the United Kingdom should not as a whole be condemned to becoming a vast suburbia because the rural voice is deliberately disregarded by planning which is urban and industrial in its conception?
The fault of this Review lies in the blow it has struck at the farmers' confidence at just the time when the future holds so many imponderables as to be in itself unsettling. It is clear that the Government have plans for agriculture that are yet to be disclosed. But is it clear that those plans will take fully into account the fact that rural England is still a vital and indispensable partner of industrial England, vital to its economy and vital to its health.
§ Sir M. Redmayne
Including the health of the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) and of Scotland.
§ Sir M. Redmayne
And of Wales, also. The hon. Gentleman has successfully destroyed my peroration.
This is an important question. I know that the Minister himself admits it to be so. I ask him to fight for agriculture and to say that he will fight for it. If he does, he may in time regain the confidence of the farmers. At present, he has lost it almost entirely.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Dr. Horace King)
I am asked by Mr. Speaker to announce that he has selected the Amendment standing in the name of the Prime Minister and the names of other right hon. Gentlemen, and no other.
§ 4.35 p.m.
§ The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Frederick Peart)
I beg to move, in line 1, to leave out from "with" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:satisfaction the Government's decisions following the Annual Farm Price Review which in its opinion are fair to both producers and consumers; and welcomes the Government's constructive proposals for the longer term future of the agricultural industry".I want to say, first, how much I welcome the opportunity to debate, in a calm and constructive way, this year's Annual Price Review and the Government's agricultural policy. Too much of the talk of the past two weeks has been highly emotional and has paid little or no regard to the facts.
Even the right hon. Member for Rushcliffe (Sir M. Redmayne) denigrated the activities of a very famous Minister of Agriculture, Lord Williams of Barn-burgh. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] The right hon. Gentleman said that the Agriculture Act, 1947, was the responsibility of some of Lord Williams' predecessors. I believe that it was the creation of Lord Williams and that it was the post-war Labour Government's responsibility. Part I of the Act was opposed by the then Conservative Opposition in Standing Committee.
I welcome this debate because it is plain that a very broad band of responsible public opinion supports the Review. I could give many examples, but let me quote only two comments. The Daily Telegraph, which is not a notoriously Left-wing newspaper, said:Mr. Peart is right to stand firm on the need to balance the farmers' interests with those of the consumer and taxpayer in our stretched economy.The Daily Telegraph wrote two leaders on the subject and both supported basically the policy that I am putting forward.
The Times commented:In its main lines, the Review augurs well for the new Government's agricultural policy.I could go on with quotations from the Financial Times, the Economist, The Guardian, the Statist, and the Observer.
1675 Right hon. and hon. Members opposite may decry these papers, but they represent a large section of informed opinion. Right hon. and hon. Members opposite know in their hearts that, in its immediate aspects, the Review is just and equitable to the farmers and to the community as a whole and that, in its longer term aspects, it outlines a progressive policy for the benefit of farming in the future.
But rather than admit this, the right hon. Member for Rushcliffe and some of his colleagues have felt bound to work up a synthetic indignation, although it passes my comprehension how the right hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath)—I am sorry that he is not here—could sign the Opposition Motion after all his activities over the past few years and what he did for the confidence of the farming community. The right hon. Member for Bexley utterly destroyed their confidence by trying to enter the Common Market on terms which would have thrown away the 1947 and 1957 Acts without compensating safeguards for the British farmers. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Hon. Members opposite do not like the truth.
However, right hon. and hon. Members opposite are in a dilemma. Those who, with so little regard to the facts, attack the Review should explain why they did not similarly attack much tougher awards made by the last Government. For example, this year we are asking farmers to bear two-thirds of their increased costs and reimbursing them for one-third.
But in 1962, farmers had to absorb the whole of their cost increases of £19 million and suffer a further cut of £11 million in the guarantees. There was not a great outcry from hon. Members opposite against the administration of their own party then. Perhaps they can explain why they sat mute and inglorious and why some of them even welcomed the determinations then. Why the outcry now? I can only assume that they can be accused of playing politics with a great industry.
This brings me to the interesting advertisement of the National Farmers' Union, which many hon. Members will have read in the last few days, and to the brief which the N.F.U. has supplied to all 1676 hon. Members. I am surprised that hon. Members opposite have been so naëve as to accept these figures so uncritically. These advertisements form a scathing attack on the previous Administration. Time and time again the farmers refer to their 1 per cent. increase in real incomes over 12 years. Who is responsible?
I think that it is fair to say that the picture painted in the advertisement is not as bad as has been suggested, for if a somewhat different period had been chosen, the figures would have been rather different. For example, over the last 10 years there has been an increase in the real income of the industry of about 17 per cent. But whatever actual figures one takes, the criticisms of the farmers form a telling indictment not of this Government, but of the Tory Administrations over the previous 12 years who failed to deal with the fundamental problems of the industry.
Let me deal with the incomes of farmers and turn for a moment to the general question of the income of the industry.
§ Mr. George Y. Mackie (Caithness and Sutherland) rose—
§ Mr. Peart
The hon. Gentleman will have plenty of opportunity. I have answered many Questions about the Review and I have not shirked any. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will allow me to make my speech.
The right hon. Member for Rushcliffe has called attention to statements and assurances of support for farming by myself and my right hon. Friends before the election. We stand by those statements. We want the income of the industry to improve on a lasting basis. It is now the highest ever, and there is no reason why it should not go even higher. In particular, we would like to see an improvement in the incomes of those sections of the industry which are in particular need, but we cannot be expected to solve the industry's problems after less than six months in office, especially in the light of the very difficult national economic circumstances which we have inherited.
Nevertheless, our award this year of plus £10 million gives the farmers an opportunity to increase their net income further next year. I again quote the Daily Telegraph.
§ Mr. Peart
Why not? Do not let us run down the Daily Telegraph. In view of his experience, apart from pig producing, the hon. Gentleman should be the last to do so. The Daily Telegraph said:Apart from Election years, the award compares favourably with those made in recent Annual Reviews.Hon. Members who are objective and sensible will see when they compare this with previous reviews over the last eight, nine or 10 years that the Daily Telegraph is abot t right.
Admittedly, we have asked the farmers to bear a considerable part of their increased costs, but in the present national economic circumstances, despite what hon. Members opposite say, we must ask that of every industry.
§ Mr. Peart
Many of the criticisms which I have received—[Interruption.] Hon. Members will not even let me finish my sentence. Many of the criticisms which I have received say that farmers must be recouped for all their costs, but in our present circumstances no industry can expect to work on a cost-plus system, and agriculture cannot be an exception.
However, in considering the income problem it is necessary to be clear that the figures of overall income used in the Review, and quoted by the farmers, indicate only the trend of the overall income position in agriculture. What the figures do not show is how that income is spread throughout the industry, and this is an aspect of fundamental importance if we are to find a long-term solution to the problems which we are facing.
I therefore want to spend a few minutes on analysing the problem. The right hon. Gentleman tried to do this in part of his speech, and I give him credit for it. I want to analyse the split of the industry into its different parts, as has been done in broad outline in paragraph 6 of the Review White Paper.
§ Mr. J. M. L. Prior (Lowestoft) rose—
§ Mr. Prior rose—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
If the right hon. Gentleman does not give way, the hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) must resume his seat.
§ Mr. Peart
Let us analyse the industry. About half of our 450,000 holdings produce only about 10 per cent. of the industry's output and consist for the most part of small acreages, generally well under 20 acres. Even if we doubled or trebled the level of the guaranteed prices, we should not be able to ensure an adequate full-time livelihood for the occupiers of most of these holdings. Fortunately, most of them are part-time and have sources of income outside farming.
About one-quarter of our holdings consist of full-time farms of up to 125 acres. These are the small and medium-sized farm businesses giving full-time employment to one or two men. They are the farms to which, in the first instance, we are directing additional help, because they have a potential for progress. With the help which we are giving to improve farm management and in other ways, many farmers on these holdings will be able to increase their incomes substantially and so obtain a satisfactory livelihood. Some may not be able to do so and we shall be considering other ways of dealing with the problems which they raise.
There remains the last quarter of our holdings. These holdings are in a very different category. They include the largest farms and produce about 70 per cent. of the industry's total output. I can best indicate the main features of this crucial holdings by some figures which relate to England and Wales. About 30 per cent. of all holdings, or 100,000 out of the 335,000, comprise about three-quarters of the agricultural land, produce about three-quarters of the milk, beef and sheep and nearly 90 per cent. of the cereals. The extent to which a relatively small number of farms dominate the general picture is shown by the fact that about one-quarter of all the wheat, barley, potatoes and sugar beet grown in England and Wales comes from less than 1½ per cent. of the holdings, about 4,600 holdings.
1679 From this analysis it will be clear that it is a mistake to regard agriculture as one single unit. We must consider the problems and needs of the different parts of the industry. It was this failure to analyse the different problems of the different sections of the industry which was the mistake of the previous Administration. Hon. Members who have studied the problem will accept my analysis and agree that the previous Administration paid too little regard to where help was most needed.
The bigger and more efficient farmers, who account for most of our production, were receiving most of the subsidy payments and found it profitable to expand. Exchequer subsidies consequently increased. For this reason, right hon. Gentlemen opposite found it necessary to introduce for one commodity after another standard quantity or other regulatory devices to check the cost of the Exchequer bill. This was done for milk in 1954, potatoes in 1959, pigs in 1961, eggs in 1963 and cereals in 1964. I do not say that these steps were unnecessary under the Agricultural policies of our predecessors, because the country could not have afforded to go on finding more and more money from the taxpayer or the consumer.
But the effect has been that as productivity has increased in the most efficient section of the industry production has expanded above the standard quantities. This has automatically depressed the price for all producers. For many commodities an undue increase in the guaranteed price, which triggered off an expansion in production by the bigger and more efficient producers, would merely have the effect of depressing producers' prices and hurting those who are most in need of help.
The nation cannot afford the vast increase in Exchequer and consumer expenditure which would be involved in abolishing standard quantities or in raising them substantially. I hope that hon. Members will see the wisdom of what I am emphasising. These restraints need to stay until we have been able to encourage the improvements in the productivity, organisation and structure of the industry which will get us out of the dilemma with which we are faced. This is what we are seeking to do.
1680 The across-the-board approach of the previous Government does not make the best use of Exchequer expenditure in support of agriculture. The right way is to look at the industry in its component parts and to give more help where it is most needed and can do most good. Our policy is to supplement the general support provided by the price guarantees through schemes of direct support where it can do most to maintain a stable and efficient industry. In other words, we are tackling the low income problem at its roots. I was glad to see The Times today took exactly the same line, and I hope that hon. Members opposite have read what it said.
I come to commodities and, first, milk. The right hon. Member for Rushcliffe spoke about lack of confidence in the industry. I hope that he will bear in mind that the price of dairy cows is rising. In recent months they have been selling at higher prices than ever before. I do not accept that there is lack of confidence in the industry. The commercial dairy farmer takes a much more objective view than hon. Members opposite.
Against this background, I should like to speak about this year's Price Review decisions. Milk is the most important. I admit that the decision on milk was the most difficult of all. If anyone does not think that decision difficult, he is a fool. It is not a case of just simply giving, as some farmers have demanded, and still are demanding, an extra 6d. a gallon—an extra £50 million on the housewife. We must balance trends of supply and trends of demand; we must balance the interests of the producer and the interests of the consumer. The decision requires a considerable degree of cool and unemotional judgment.
Let us begin with the facts. Production exceeds liquid consumption by about 750 million gallons. There is, therefore, a reserve of about 45 per cent. over our liquid consumption requirements. The number of dairy farmers has been declining steadily for the past decade and continues to do so. But this reflects a structural change in the dairying industry The important thing which I want to stress is that the decline of the national dairy herd, which had been taking place for a year or two, has been halted. The fall in production in 1963–64 has been reversed, and every week from last 1681 November onwards has shown a higher production than the corresponding week a year before.
In the face of all these facts, the Government decided that the right balance would be maintained if the dairy farmer, after taking into account all his increased costs, was then given a bit more profit in addition. The dairy farmer's price has been effectively increased by nearly 10 per cent. in the past two years. Again, I say to those who attack this year's increase of 1d. per gallon as derisory, "Why did you not attack the awards in every year up to last year, since this year's increase is bigger than any of them?" Why have hon. Members opposite not done this?
Why did not the Government give in to the farmers' demands to be given much more on milk? I have already explained that the increase we did give will increase profitability. I have already explained that we have a reserve of production of 750 million gallons over our liquid requirements. Those who talk of the rationing of milk know they are being deliberately alarmist, and that the facts do not support them.
Too big an increase in the guaranteed price could easily lead to a flood of milk surplus to what is needed for the liquid market. The lower prices received for this surplus would reduce the average price received by the farmer. Farmers will remember that as recently as 1962–63, when there was a surplus of 840 million gallons, the pool price was 34d. per gallon, nearly 4d. less than the guaranteed price. With the better balance of supply and demand achieved since then, and with the increase in the guaranteed price, farmers were receiving a pool price of 38½d. per gallon in 1964–65, even before this year's increase of ld. per gallon.
None of us wants to get production right out of balance again. The small farmer is the one who would suffer most from the over-stimulation of milk production. Often his opportunities for expanding his milk production are limited, but he would have to bear the full brunt of the reduced pool price. Therefore, too big an increase in the guaranteed price would have hit the housewife who would have to pay more for her milk, in the long run the farmer would have lost by 1682 the fall in the pool price, and it would have been bad for the national economy, too, in that it would be a waste of resources.
The increase we have given represents a fair reward to all reasonably efficient dairy farmers. But we recognise that some smaller milk producers have low incomes. We are, therefore, giving direct help to improve their position. We are doing this through the change in the character of the Small Farmer Scheme and its extension to 40,000 more farmers, many of whom will be milk producers. They will benefit too from the extension of the calf subsidy and the increase in its rate. They will also benefit from the help we are giving for agricultural credit.
Let me deal with another commodity—eggs.
§ Mr. William Yates (The Wrekin) rose—
§ Mr. John Farr (Harborough)
On a point of order. Is it in order for the Minister to read non-stop from a prepared Ministry brief without taking any notice whatsoever of the feelings of hon. Members on both sides of the House?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
It is quite in order, and, indeed, not unusual, for an hon. or right hon. Gentleman to take no notice of the feeling he is arousing on the other side of the House, and hon. and right hon. Members traditionally may make use of copious notes.
§ Mr. Peart
I think that right hon. Members opposite will know that this is a statement which has been carefully prepared and which will be read outside. I am trying to give the House figures and to present the facts. Hon. Members can make their speeches later. I have not shirked any questions or criticisms. It has been a common practice of some back bench Members to use this as a deliberate device to put a Minister off, and I am not going to fall for it.
§ Mr. William Yates rose—
§ Mr. Peart
If I thought that a responsible Conservative would like to ask me a question, I should allow him to do so, but I do not regard the hon. Member for The Wrekin (Mr. W. Yates) 1683 as being responsible. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] The Opposition Front Bench can intervene at any time.
Let us look at eggs. In the poultry industry there have been particularly marked developments in the technology of production. Poultry flocks have been getting bigger. These changes have led, and are still leading, to big reductions in costs among efficient producers. They have also caused an expansion in production and a big increase in Exchequer subsidy. As hon. Members know, this subsidy is now running at over £33 million. This is a considerable amount of money.
Here again, surplus production drives down market prices and, therefore, producer prices. We had to try to ensure that we did not encourage another big surplus. Anything less than the cut which we have made of 1d. per dozen would have been irresponsible. I therefore ask right hon. Members opposite whether, in these circumstances, they would have done differently.
§ Mr. William Yates
On a point of order. Would it be within the rules of the House, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, for the Minister, when making a speech like this, to issue it in the OFFICIAL REPORT the day before?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
That is not a point of order. I hope that hon. Members will not interrupt a serious debate with bogus points of order.
§ Mr. Timothy Kitson (Richmond, Yorks) rose—
§ Mr. Kitson
Having disagreed with a lot of what the Minister has said, I am grateful to him for giving way.
I hope that before he leaves the question of milk, he will mention the manufacturing trade of the milk industry, 1684 because it would be quite wrong to consider only liquid milk and not the manufacturing side. I and many hon. Members have constituents who are engaged in the production of butter and cream, for example.
§ Mr. Peart
I am glad that I gave way, because that was sensinble contribution. Obviously, in the 45 per cent. reserve which I have mentioned, cream and milk for cheese have also been taken into account. There is no need to panic about milk production in view of the fact that there is a 45 per cent. reserve. I agree, however, that we have to bear in mind also dairy products, which come within this section. This was taken into account.
I have mentioned eggs and the large subsidy and the reason we took action. I ask hon. Members opposite what other action could have been taken? Mention has been made of the changes in the industry, but, here again, what we need is orderly marketing. This is a problem which we are discussing with the farmers' unions and with the Egg Marketing Board. I hope that we may be able to reach an agreed conclusion soon.
The picture concerning beef, to which the right hon. Member for Rushcliffe referred, is different. We find ourselves in a situation in which home production of beef is not contributing as much as it could to our requirements; I accept this. However, we will not rush to the opposite extreme. Our aim is a moderate expansion in production. Beef is inevitably a long-term enterprise and we are determined to give producers all encouragement. Hence the range of measures we have taken which will help the rearer and feeder.
I emphasise that we have raised the guaranteed price. We have increased the calf subsidy rate and extended the subsidy so that it is paid on heifers of dairy breeds when they are slaughtered for beef. And we have increased the rate and the stocking ratio for the hill cow subsidy. Altogether, these measures come to approximately £8 million, which is important, adding 6s. on the guaranteed price.
We believe that these steps will provide the incentive for the expansion we want in beef production—without the 1685 danger of over-supply after, say, another four-year period. Again, I would like to know just what right hon. Gentlemen opposite would have done in the circumstances.
I was asked about pigs and I should like to say just one sentence—
§ Mr. George Y. Mackie
Before he leaves the subject of beef, will the Minister say whether he has looked into the future—as he believes in planning, I am sure that he must have done—and whether he considers that there is any possibility of an over-supply of beef in four years" time?
§ Mr. Peart
I am looking into the future. Obviously, the market could change. There has been a strong demand because of the European and world conditions and high prices in this country, and we have faced a shortage because of curtailment of imports. I am looking at the long-term question and, therefore, what I have done immediately is right. But I also want to think in terms of marketing, which is linked to this question, and the creation of a statutory meat commission which would help the producer from a long-term point of view.
§ Mr. R. E. Winterbottom (Sheffield, Brightside) rose—
§ Mr. Peart
Will my hon. Friend wait a moment so that I may complete my reply to the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. George Y. Mackie), of the Liberal Party, who is a responsible farmer? The hon. Member will, I think, agree that to link a guaranteed price policy and marketing is the right way to approach the problem.
§ Mr. Winterbottom
In view of the need for the production of more cattle for home consumption and the increase in the subsidy for heifers, will my right hon. Friend consider seriously whether there should be a limitation on the sale abroad of heifers which have been eligible for the subsidy?
§ Mr. Peart
That is another problem. I have watched carefully the increase in exports to Europe and elsewhere and do not see that these represent any immediate danger to our own meat supply 1686 position. I hope, therefore, that this question will not be exaggerated.
I have just one sentence on pigs. I see that the right hon. Member for Rushcliffe has said thatThe adjustments for pigs were not out of line with what was required".That, I think, is generally accepted. I cannot remember when this most complex of commodities aroused so little dispute, although I know that some hon. Members have been critical.
I turn next to cereals, the last commodity which I wish to consider in detail. Here again, there have been criticisms, and the right hon. Member for Rushcliffe devoted part of his speech today to this subject. Once again, what are the facts? For many years, technical efficiency in cereals production has been increasing by leaps and bounds. The average yields of wheat and barley have risen by over 40 per cent. and over 30 per cent. respectively in the last ten years. During the same period, mainly as a result of increased mechanisation, the number of man-hours required per acre of wheat and barley have fallen by about 40 per cent.
All this has made cereals a very profitable line of production for the bigger producers. That is accepted. This is shown by the continuing increase in the barley acreage in recent years, and the rapid increase in production of both barley and wheat. The result has been a substantial rise in the Exchequer bill for cereals from just under £30 million in 1956–57 to an estimated £70 million now. This is a considerable amount.
It is no wonder, therefore, that even a Conservative Government in 1964, in order to contain the Exchequer liability, introduced the standard quantity and target indicator price arrangements. This means that the more that production exceeds the standard quantity, the lower is the producers' return per ton.
But there is another important aspect to the cereals picture. Last year—I have referred to this time and time again in reply to Questions—the previous Government entered into a series of agreements with our principal overseas suppliers on minimum import prices which put a floor into our market for cereals. Under those 1687 agreements, the then Government undertook… to maintain a fair and reasonable balance between home production and imports".To do this, the then Government promised… to restrain financial assistance so as to discourage the increase of domestic cereals production above a level consistent with these objectives".That was the price of the minimum import price system. The then Government then undertook that if our total imports of cereals showed an appreciable decline below the average volume of the three years to 1st July, 1964, they would—I quote, to show I am not exaggerating—take effective corrective action at the earliest practicable time to remedy the situation".I accepted this principle when I was in opposition. I accept this, and in the decisions in this Review we are honouring the obligations in that agreement. I want to ask hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite: would they have broken the agreement? I have heard talk of unlimited expansion of cereals production. Would they have broken the agreement which they signed? Of course not. They know that no responsible Government could have done so.
§ Sir M. Redmayne
As I see it, it is not a question of breaking the agreement. It is a question of interpretation. What I say is that the right hon. Gentleman has interpreted the terms too harshly.
§ Mr. Peart
The right hon. Gentleman really must know that the then Government, in their own White Paper, spelt out the figures. I do not want to weary the House too much with quotations, otherwise I shall be accused again by hon. Members opposite of reading, but if hon. Members will read carefully the White Paper they will see that the agreement was spelt out in paragraph 6:The Government of the United Kingdom have decided that any necessary restraint of the financial assistance should be applied through the effective reduction of guaranteed prices by means of the price mechanisms described in the United Kingdom"s White Paper on the Annual Review for 1964–65.Right hon. Gentlemen cannot escape responsibility. They know very well that any Government were bound in honour to make the decision and that if imports were reduced below a certain level action had to be taken.
1688 What, in fact, has happened is that as a result of the profitability of cereals growing our home cereals production has leaped up and this year our production of wheat and barley will amount to 11 million tons, about 2 million tons over the average of the previous three years. This increase in cereals production has not only taken up the whole of the growth in domestic consumption, but is likely to reduce imports by about 800,000 tons below the three-year average. That is the extent to which we have failed to meet our commitment, and that indicates the magnitude of the corrective action we must take to honour our obligations. So I again ask right hon. Gentlemen opposite: would they have honoured the obligation they entered into less than a year ago? They have hinted—the right hon. Gentleman has hinted—at a more modest cut, but it would not have sufficed to meet those obligations. So we have done what we believe to be right, and we have acted in the letter and the spirit of the agreement.
These cereal agreements were accepted and agreed however not only by both sides of the House, but also by the leaders of the National Farmers" Unions. They accepted these agreements because they believed that this would mean price stability in the home market through the minimum import price mechanism; this was the price for obtaining a reasonable balance between home production and imports; this was the price certainly of restraint of financial assistance for home production if it grows so large as to take more than its fair and reasonable share.
I put now to the farmers" leaders, who are saying that it makes no sense to restrain home production, a direct question. Do they now wish to denounce those agreements with our overseas suppliers? They cannot have it both ways. I say to the Opposition and to some farm leaders that there must be no double talk on a matter so important.
I come to the question of the balance of payments. All this leads, naturally, to consideration of the rôle agriculture must play in our balance of payments situation. The right hon. Gentleman was quite right to stress this. He referred to my own speeches and those of my hon. Friends on this matter. I think that there has been much emotional talk on this subject, with little regard to the 1689 facts. Of course home agriculture is a very substantial import saver and makes a valuable contribution to the balance of payments. We have had this fully in mind at the Review. I have always said this. Where appropriate, as in beef, we are encouraging the expansion of home production which should help directly in relation to our balance of payments, but we have not fallen into the error of supposing that there would be further help to the balance of payments if we had an utterly indiscriminate expansion of output. There are hon. Members suggesting this to me this afternoon.
For example, it would obviously be no good producing more eggs or potatoes or milk for liquid consumption where we are self-sufficient. It would not necessarily help the balance of payments to produce more of a commodity at home if this meant that some of our overseas suppliers could no longer buy our exports. We must also take account of our international agreements. These are not one-sided: they have advantages for us as well as for our suppliers. So those who say expand output here at all costs regardless of circumstances must explain what they would do where we already have all we want of a commodity. I ask this: what would they do where the cost to the community of extra production is too large?
I have already referred to the fact that the subsidy bill on cereals will cost £70 million this year. If we abandoned standard quantities and the minimum import price system what would the subsidy bill be for cereals? Who knows? It is anyone"s guess. It would be considerably higher. No responsible Government can think in terms of indiscriminate expansion. To condemn unlimited, uncontrolled expansion of output, whether wanted or not, is not, however, to be negatively restrictionist. I have always said and I repeat it again—my speech was quoted by the right hon. Gentleman—that I have always looked for sensible expansion of home production. Hon. Members who will look through all my speeches will see that over and over again I have said this to be right and I say this here today, that I want this sensible expansion.
Our home market, after all, is an expanding one. Our own farmers must have the opportunity to share in this steady 1690 expansion of the industry and to play their part. I do not regard the industry as a second rate industry; I do not want the industry to be the Cinderella of our economy. Of course not. I want it, as an efficient industry to have its rightful place in our national economic life. This is the aim. The increase at this Review of standard quantities of wheat and barley and the sharp increase we have made in the middle band for pigs show how this can be done. Our farmers can capture an even greater share of our market if they improve their efficiency in production, in marketing, and in meeting consumer demand.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)
I only wanted to ask the right hon. Gentleman to make this plain. Does he not see that his interpretation, when he was in opposition, of what is a sensible price seems to be very different from what he thinks it is now that he is in the Government?
§ Mr. Peart
No. I think that I have explained that. I want an expansion of home production, but where we are self-sufficient it would be absurd to have unlimited expansion and expenditure of public money. I have spelt this out. The hon. Member who was once at the Ministry of Food, knows that very well.
We have it on the right lines. Our home farmers can capture an even greater share of the market by improving marketing and meeting consumer demand. Whatever the commodity, beef, cereals, bacon, for example, there is every reason why our producers should increase their share of a growing market provided that they can become more competitive with other suppliers. Our policies are designed to help them to do that. I see considerable scope for expansion at home, and this will come about.
My last main point is on the longer-term aspects of policy. This I regard as one of the most important parts of the Review—the constructive proposals which were set out in the White Paper for the long-term development of the industry. Those who have not allowed their emotions to run away with them will have recognised the importance of the long-term proposals. What we have begun to do in this Review is precisely what right hon. Gentleman opposite failed to do when they had opportunities 1691 to have a long-term approach. We are tackling the fundamental problems of organisation and structure which they completely neglected. True, they made a belated start in relation to the small farmer problem, but it was left to this Government to extend the Small Farmer Scheme in the right direction. The improvement in farm management which I have emphasised is vital to the future welfare of the small producer. And we are dealing with the small farmer, not in isolation, but as part of a comprehensive attack on the basic problems of the industry.
On agricultural credit, on agricultural co-operative marketing, on the development of the hill and upland areas, and above all on structure, it has been left to this Government to make a real start. That is why, as I mentioned in the Review White Paper, we intend that our animal health policy, which is important, should develop into preventive veterinary medicine. The previous Administration, who did nothing, must realise that we are seeking to press ahead with marketing. We are doing this, and this is why I am proud and privileged to initiate something useful for the development of orderly marketing in the meat industry.
All these longer-term developments will inevitably take some time to come to fruition. They imply, inevitably, close collaboration between the Government and the farming community, and in many cases—and hon. Members must remember this—no small expenditure of public money. In the long run, in a democratic society such as ours, it must be remembered that this expenditure of Exchequer money can continue only if the broad mass of public opinion recognises its value to the national economy. For that reason I utterly deplore all attempts to split town from country, and I was sorry to read of people sneering at those who live and work in towns and cities.
In my constituency I have areas of heavy industry and areas of farming. I have always followed the policy, both in my constituency and elsewhere, of trying to explain the feelings of the rural community to the town dwellers, and vice versa. I deplore any attempt to split this Island into town and country. For this reason, I have no time 1692 for those who wish to destroy the system of agricultural support which stems from the 1947 Act passed by the Labour Government.
In a highly industrialised society such as ours that Act provided the framework within which agriculture could enjoy its proper place in the economy. It has enabled British people to enjoy better food at much lower prices than in any comparable industrialised country—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
Order. I must ask hon. Members on opposite sides of the House not to shout at each other from a sitting position.
§ Mr. Peart
Equally, however, it must be recognised that the system imposes a considerable charge on the taxpayer, which can be defended only if it is in the national interest. I have, therefore, equally no time at all for irresponsible elements of the farming community, encouraged, I regret to say, by intemperate remarks sometimes from hon. Gentlemen opposite, who talk about extremist action. I say to them, and they are a small minority of farmers—[HON. MEMBERS: "Who?"] Hon. Members know of the intemperate questions which were asked when I announced my Price Review. I say to this small minority of farmers, "Have done with talk of civil disobedience. That is not the way of the British farmer". To those fomenting such extreme attitudes, I say that by alienating the goodwill of the general public they are causing serious damage to the interests of agriculture. A curious fact is that when I ask those who attack the Price Review most vocally, they tell me that they have not read the White Paper, so I am heartened by the support of progressive farmers who have taken the trouble to study our long-term constructive proposals.
I advise hon. Gentlemen opposite to reconsider their emotional reactions, to stop playing at politics, and to consider calmly the facts of this Review, both in their immediate impact, and in their longer-term implications. When hon. Members study the facts calmly, they will see that we have laid the basis of a policy which will lead to a more stable, a more efficient, and a more prosperous agricultural industry.
§ 5.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Paul Hawkins (Norfolk, South-West)
I have been told that I am nearly the last maiden in the House. Accurate or not—and it is a little strange for a grandfather to be thus referred to—I am glad that I have lasted to this most important date in my constituency calendar, the debate on the Price Review and agricultural affairs. I admit that I was a little worried as to whether I would catch the eye of Mr. Deputy-Speaker. As an auctioneer, I am more used to having people trying to catch my eye.
Before mentioning the Price Review, which is perhaps a more controversial subject than is usual for a maiden speech, I hope that I may say something about my constituency. South-West Norfolk has been very fortunate since the war. We have had both Mr. Denys Bullard and the late Mr. Sydney Dye as our Members. Though very different personalities, they were outstanding countrymen, and I feel sure that the House missed them greatly. Many Members, not confined to this side of the House alone, I am sure, will hope that Mr. Bullard"s return will not be long delayed. My opponent, Mr. Hilton, was also a very good member.
Having been born and bred in Norfolk, as was my father before me, I am very proud to represent my home. I suppose it would be considered controversial if I were to say that we in South-West Norfolk feel that we are politically ahead of a lot of people. They say that how South-West Norfolk votes one year so the country will vote at the next election. But, leaving that aside, we can give a lead to the country, first, in productivity and, secondly, in labour relations.
South-West Norfolk is one of the finest farming constituencies in the country. The land varies from the productive fens near Downham Market, where I live, growing wheat and all the root crops—potatoes and sugar beet, chicory, celery and carrots—to the light Brecklands around Swaffham which were formerly sheep walks, but which now grow barley and sugar or are used for forestry, and so eastwards to the mixed farms round Dareham.
1694 There are large farms—too large in some cases—but also a considerable number of smallholdings, the Norfolk County Council owning the largest smallholding estate in the country. I have been a member of the Smallholdings Committee of the Norfolk County Council since 1949, and in this connection I hope that the Minister will shortly receive the Wise Committee's Report and that it will look favourably on increasing the numbers and size of holdings on—and I emphasise this—suitable land.
It does not need any words of mine to say that labour relations in farming are an example to the rest of industry. If the increase in productivity had been attained in other industries, we should have no economic problems at all.
We are not, however, solely confined to farming. There are excellent modern industries, with first-class records of productivity and labour relations, including clock and furniture making, trailer works, fireworks—and here I add that I have none in my pocket—and light engineering. We are also very proud of the Service connection in South-West Norfolk. We have the R.A.F. stations at Marham Feltwell and Swanton Morley, and the Army training area at Mundford. They are not only outward signs of our defences but they provide very welcome civilian employment.
Since farming is the largest industry in South-West Norfolk, I wish to mention its contributions to the life of the nation and the problems which face it. I should like here to pay tribute to the former Minister of Agriculture, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bedford (Mr. Soames). He did a first-class job in this none too easy post and earned the sincere respect of all sections of the industry. He could be really tough with the farmers on occasions, but I think he fought well for them in the Cabinet. At the same time I would very much like to wish the present Minister all success in his job, despite his rather unhappy start. All the agricultural Ministers are very likeable personalities; unfortunately it appears that their colleagues do not believe in agriculture or understand the part it can play in the affairs of the nation.
The Price Review in total will hit agriculture hard. I wish only to mention two items which will greatly affect 1695 Norfolk. The first is corn. The really savage cuts will hurt the smaller arable farmer more than the bigger farmer. I estimate that a 50-acre smallholder will have a cut in his income of 25s. a week. The beef increase of 4s. is, in my opinion, far too small; 10s. could easily have been given. I spent yesterday morning—perhaps hon. Members may say when I should have been here—selling fat cattle in King's Lynn Market. There the whole of the farming community were mentioning the shortage of stores, fatteners having to pay between £10 and £11 a cwt. for them and then selling them at about £9. I believe that we should give a bigger increase to fatteners.
The real grouse of agriculturists is just that incomes have been going down in relation to the cost of living while all around them others, including myself, have had increases. That is their real grouse and, whatever else is said today, that is how the farmers see the position. Rightly or wrongly, and I think rightly, there has been a real loss of confidence in this Government over the Price Review. Farmers and farm workers alike had been so buoyed up with promises of such great things to come from a Labour Government that they really began to believe them. This started with a speech by the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs which was made in my constituency and which has been referred to on many occasions. I think that Swaffham has become quite a notorious place as a result. It was later printed as the Labour Party's new policy on agriculture. As the Minister wrote in the Lynn AdvertiserThe main objective of Labour"s new policy will be to ensure that the incomes of farmers and farm workers move rapidly towards their industrial equivalents.Do hon. Members wonder that they feel badly let down now?
The industry has also begun to realise that the Labour Party, with honourable exceptions, has little interest in agriculture"s great value to the nation. Remarks made today by hon. Members opposite and remarks by at Question Time the other day by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. John Hynd) and the hon. Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling) criticising even this paltry 1696 award seemed to command a wide measure of respect from hon. Members opposite. I should like to mention some facts and some problems in the agricultural industry and, I hope, make a few constructive suggestions.
The facts which, unfortunately, are not understood by the public are these. In Great Britain we are producing a large proportion of the food consumed here, thus slashing the import bill. Nevertheless, last year British imports of temperate foodstuffs cost well over £1,000 million and were equal to at least three months of exports. Secondly, producers in Great Britain are highly efficient. Those people who say they are not are just talking nonsense and have not been on an East Anglian farm. Hon. Members need not take my word for this. Mr. Rees Mogg, the former editor of the Financial Times, writing in the Sunday Times, on 21st March, said:International comparisons show British farming to be far ahead of British industry in its record of productivity. It takes twelve men to produce as much food in Britain as ten men can produce in America. But it takes twenty-five men to produce in Britain industrial goods that ten men can produce in America.If British industry had kept up with farming, we should not have had a balance of payments problem since 1955. The conclusion to be drawn from this is that there is a very strong case for increasing home food production. I know that our farmers could do it and, with the world population explosion, surely we cannot and must not rely for ever on cheap food grown abroad.
Again—and this is a fact which does not seem to be appreciated by the British public—prices of the main British farm products are much lower than European prices. As everyone who has taken a holiday on the Continent knows, meat is far dearer there than it is here. The new guaranteed price for barley here is 5s. cwt. less than the French price and 12s. less than the German price. Of course, farming has its problems as well. Modern mass production methods and the formation of vast enterprises managed from afar create a real social and human problem, and this is something to which all Ministers must pay a great deal of attention in the future. The poultry industry is an example of this. There is no easy solution, but it would be a very bad thing 1697 for this country if many of those who at present are farming their own land were to become the paid employees either of the State or of huge remote-controlled concerns.
The most urgent problem, however, is the relationship between the earnings of the farmers and skilled farm workers and the earnings of their opposite numbers in industry. In passing, may I emphasise the great skills of the farm worker. He is a skilled mechanic, able to drive, service and repair combines, tractors and the like. He can operate large grain storage plants and apply accurately sprays and manures.
Farm workers are really skilled men, and there is a shortage of younger skilled men on the land. This, in turn, will cut output; I have no doubt about that whatever. Yet the National Farmers" Union hardly ever manages to agree wages with the N.U.A.W. I think that a very bad thing. Their reason is fear of prejudicing their case at the Price Review. I should like to suggest that the Minister should state that an offer of increased wages sufficient to keep skilled younger workers on the land would not prejudice a claim for reimbursement. Secondly, that the T.U.C. should acknowledge—which it does not at the moment—that skilled workers in agriculture should not be kept on the bottom rung of the ladder. There would be considerable benefits from this. Sources of friction would be removed. Larger farmers would have a share of a skilled labour force without which increased production, particularly of livestock, cannot be undertaken. Working family farmers would have a better income, because a large part of what they are paid for their crops is represented by the labour element. Since they are working farmers, their income would be increased in this way.
I was glad to hear what the Minister said about my next point. I had written it down. Perhaps I may be forgiven for saying it over again, as he probably said it better than I shall. I hope that we shall never become two nations, either in any wider sense or in the narrower sense of town versus country. I was born and bred in the countryside, the grandson and great grandson of farmers. When I left school, my father said to me, as every father does, "Well, boy, what are you going to do?" I said that I should like to be a 1698 farmer. When I said this, I was quickly told, "Boy, you have not enough brains and I have not enough money." So I became an auctioneer. That was in the 1930s, when one needed money to stick on a farm.
Since then, apart from my work on farms and in cattle markets, I have served in the Territorial Army with a company of Norfolk farm workers, who are the finest men one could serve with. I had five years as a prisoner of war, surrounded by the Highland Division. If that was not enough to make me tolerant of other people"s views—[Laughter.]—when one has heard chanters played for four or five hours at a time, one beomes a little intolerant—political life in South-West Norfolk should have made me so.
I say in all sincerity to those living in the towns, the vast majority of our countrymen, that British agriculture has a great deal to contribute to the wellbeing of the nation if it is given a chance. In particular, East Anglia, the food store of the nation, could enable imports to be cut drastically. The agricultural industry, however, must feel that it is wanted and farmer and farm worker alike be assured of fair pay for a fair day"s work.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to be a Member of the House. Now that I have completed this speech, which had a longer gestation period than usual, I hope that on future occasions I shall be able to contribute something of value to other debates.
§ 5.42 p.m.
§ Lady Megan Lloyd George (Carmarthen)
I am glad that it falls to me to congratulate the hon. Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Hawkins) on an admirable maiden speech. I am sure that he will allow me, on behalf of the whole House, to congratulate him on his courage in intervening as an auctioneer in an agricultural debate. He spoke with ability and practical knowledge of his subject. I am sure that we shall look forward to contributions from him in our debates in the future. I would only add that if he had also had the privilege and opportunity of serving with the Welsh Division, he would have been even more tolerant than he was.
The right hon. Member for Rushcliffe (Sir M. Redmayne) spoke of the 1699 difference between performance and promise. If he wants a very telling example of the difference between promise and performance, perhaps he would look at the pre-election and post-election Price Reviews of his own Government. He moved the Motion, which says that the Price Review has done severe damage to the confidence of the farming community. The confidence of the farming community was shaken a long time ago by a succession of erratic Price Reviews ranging from +£31 million in an election year to -£18 million. In those "minus years" there was no demand from hon. Gentlemen opposite for the resignation of the Minister of Agriculture. The right hon. Member for Rushcliffe, when Patronage Secretary, had many revolts of various kinds on his hands, but he never had a revolt in those years from hon. Members from agricultural constituencies sitting behind him.
§ Lady Megan Lloyd George
They were very muted. Nobody knew anything about them. But that was the time for hon. Gentlemen opposite to use their influence on the Government. That was the time for them to get their own Government to change their agricultural policies. At this late stage, it is no good right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite trying to wash their hands of the responsibility for those years. The farmers" leaders recognise the responsibility of hon. Gentlemen opposite for those years. In fact, the Vice-President of the National Farmers Union, who conducted the Price Review this year, said that the farmers" resentment is the "result of a build-up over the years"—not of this Review, but of a build-up over the years, years when right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite were in power.
As my right hon. Friend pointed out, the greatest indictment of Tory agricultural policy has come from the leaders of the farming community. The advertisement which they put in the newspapers points to the fact that farmers" incomes have risen by less than 1 per 1700 cent. over the last 12 years while the average incomes of the rest of the community have risen by 56 per cent. As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture very generously pointed out, that was perhaps an overstatement, but it was not made by hon. Members on this side of the House; it was made by the farming community and their representatives. It is surely unjust that my right hon. Friend and the Government should have to "carry the can" for Tory agricultural policies. The blame should rest fairly and squarely where it belongs, and that is on the shoulders of the party opposite.
Hon. Members have concentrated their attack, to a large extent, on milk. As my right hon. Friend has pointed out, with the exception of election year, a penny a gallon is the largest increase given to milk producers since the present system began. We have had —¼d., —½d. and even —1d. I will not say that this Review is one which many of us would have hoped for in different economic circumstances. It is acknowledged by leaders of the farming industry and by the Milk Marketing Board that the dairy industry costs, which were assessed at £11 million, have been met in full. This is not only a question of the amount of the award for milk or for any other commodity. I think that it is important for us to think of a Price Review not only in terms of the actual award, but of whether the farmer is getting a fair share of the award and of the subsidy.
This is a problem which is absolutely vital to the future prosperity of the agricultural industry, and it is a problem which the party opposite never attempted to tackle. It is important in meat and in milk. Large sums of public money have been voted for agriculture and to get the prices of food down, but they were not voted for the benefit of fertiliser firms nor for retailers who have often taken too large a share of the subsidies. We must look at this problem fairly, squarely and honestly, and ask ourselves whether the dairy farmer is now getting a fair share of the money. It is he who takes the risk and works the long hours, and he is entitled to an adequate reward. There is is a great deal of anxiety about the margin for milk. Out of the 4d. which the housewife pays, the farmer receives only ld. To many on this side of the 1701 House, that does not seem to be an adequate share—
§ Lady Megan Lloyd George
I am glad to have the hon. Member"s support. He does not always support his brother, and I am glad that he has given me some support.
This disparity between what the farmer gets and what the housewife pays has continued for a very long time, and I am glad that for the first time my right hon. Friend has set up an inquiry into the distribution costs for milk. I am also glad that he says that we are to have the report in the summer.
§ Mr. Eldon Griffiths
Does the hon. Lady accept that one reason that there is a grievance among farmers is that when the distributive trades changed to a five-day week, the cost was immediately passed on, whereas the farmer, who spends a seven-day week producing the milk, gets a very small return indeed?
§ Lady Megan Lloyd George
I agree with the hon. Member thus far: the fact that the dairy producer has to work a seven-day week should be given its due weight in the assignment of the award. No one would say that it is not right for the dairyman to have a five-day week, but the distribution as between the two sections should be fair and just.
There is a great disparity, too, between the farmer"s receipts and the amount which the housewife has to pay for other commodities. This is true to a serious extent about meat. The Verdon Smith Report pointed out the glaring disparity between the farmers" receipts and the retailers" profits. We on this side of the House pointed this out to right hon. Gentlemen opposite when they were in power, but in vain. Farmers have been very conscious of it and have wanted a meat producers" board—but no action was taken while the Conservative Party were in power. We were told that we must await the Verdon Smith Report. In the event, we found that the recommendations of that Report were not worth waiting for because they almost entrenched the system as it exists. The facts which the Committee produced were good and revealing, but their recommendations did not get us anywhere. I congratulate my right hon. Friend, after 1702 years of shilly-shallying, that at last we are to have a meat and livestock board.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
The hon. Lady has shown clearly that she believes that the Price Reviews under the previous Administration were bad. She gave no evidence in support of that, but that was the general impression which she gave. May we take it that in her view this Price Review in respect of milk and meat is unfair to farmers? If one interprets the evidence which she has given about meat and milk, it means that she says that the Price Review is unfair to the farmer in respect of milk and meat. Is that the clear message which she wants to give?
§ Lady Megan Lloyd George
The hon. Gentleman has misrepresented me. I did not say that the Price Reviews of the previous Administration were uniformly bad. I quoted a "plus" Review before the election, and, in fact, there were three or four "plus" Reviews. If the hon. Member is trying to get me to say that I think that the milk award is satisfactory, I do not know what satisfactory is. I am simply saying that it compares very favourably with some of the milk awards which were made by the Conservative Government.
There are other important changes in the Review. Special consideration is being given in the granting of subsidies to those areas most in need. This has not yet been stressed. Special consideration is being given to small farmers particularly on marginal land. The right hon. Member for Rushcliffe did not devote much attention or much time to these benefits. He gabbled through them. But in Wales and other parts of the country these benefits are very valuable. In Wales the majority of farms are small and are on poor, marginal or upland land. The fate of these farms will determine the farming situation in Wales—and this also applies to Scotland, parts of the north of England and the West Country.
The extension of the small farmers" schemes will bring real assistance to these areas, 40,000 more small farmers will be brought into the schemes. Is that nothing? In Wales last year the schemes covered over 2,000 farmers. As a result of my right hon. Friend"s proposals, this 1703 year the number of beneficiaries in Wales will be doubled, and their incomes will accordingly be increased.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Wilson (Truro)
Does not the hon. Lady believe that the schemes would be better if the limit went down as well as up? I am sure that in her division, as in mine, many small farmers will not qualify for the schemes.
§ Lady Megan Lloyd George
I do not know whether the hon. Member means that the schemes should go below 20 acres. At a time when we are considering the importance and efficacy of having somewhat larger farm units, this is at any rate debatable. I will say no more than that.
The hill sheep farm subsidy over the last five years has been running at 9s. 6d. per ewe. It is to be increased to 18s.—almost double. There is also the increase in the hill cow subsidy. Instead of the farmer not knowing what he will get under these two provisions, and perhaps getting nothing at all, he will have some idea what he will get because of the more permanent character of these two awards.
Special new credit facilities are being granted which are important to small and medium farmers as well as to the larger farmers. There is also an indication in the White Paper that in the Review in future account is to be taken of geographical situation, soil, climate and market considerations. I welcome this very much. I hope this means that for the first time guarantees will be varied and directed to those areas most in need.
§ Mr. Marcus Kimball (Gainsborough) rose—
§ Lady Megan Lloyd George
I have given way several times. It is slightly distracting, particularly when I am trying not to take too much time and to present a coherent argument to the House.
The question of the fair assessment of increased costs and the continuing gain in efficiency is of enormous importance and has not, I believe, been referred to in the debate. This is a vital matter in assessing the final reward in any Review. The figure was fixed at £25 million in 1960, which is five years ago, and now the Government have decided to review that figure. We welcome that decision. 1704 However, I hope that when my right hon. Friend comes to review this figure he will consider whether £25 million is not a large sum to expect the industry to absorb, particularly when one takes into consideration the fact that the industry spends on capital improvements about £170 million. That sum must be found and the interest met. I realise that this is a time when the Government are asking all industries to absorb more of their costs. However, I hope that my right hon. Friend will consider this figure relating to agriculture most carefully in coming to his conclusions.
We recognise the vital importance of this great industry in the economic life of the country. We recognise the unique contribution—and I emphasise "unique"—it has made and is making to our balance of payments. That is why we welcome the long-term proposals which my right hon. Friend has made, for it means that at long last we have a Government who are prepared to face some of the basic problems of the industry, and unless we are prepared to face up to these problems and tackle them there can be no real security for the farmers of this country, nor can there be any permanent prosperity for the industry.
§ 6.3 p.m.
§ Mr. R. H. Turton (Thirsk and Malton)
I have always had a very high opinion of the present Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. It was, therefore, a very great shock to me when he delivered his speech this afternoon, for it was in certain parts completely dishonest.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
On a point of order. I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that the speech of my right hon. Friend was completely dishonest. Is that in order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I think that it is in order to say that a speech was dishonest but not to say that a Minister is dishonest.
§ Mr. Turton
When dealing with the cereals side of the issue the Minister tried to make it appear that he was bound by 1705 the international agreement to make a certain definite cut in the cereals payments, a cut amounting to about £2 an acre, whereas in fact he did not have the slightest justification for that cut. Certainly he had to make a cut, but not a definite one of £2 an acre and I challenge the right hon. Gentleman to deny that.
§ Mr. Peart
I accept the challenge, and if the right hon. Gentleman will carefully read the White Paper he will see that I had to take that remedial action. To use extravagant language like "dishonest" in reference to my speech does not do the right hon. Gentleman justice. I have always thought of him as a reasonable man, but today he is merely being irrational.
§ Mr. Turton
I gather that the Minister agrees that there was no justification for a definite cut of a certain amount.
What we expected from the right hon. Gentleman was a coherent plan in the Price Review. I recall that when the right hon. Gentleman last year attacked the Price Review of my right hon. Friend the Member for Bedford (Mr. Soames) he quoted my criticism of the 1960 Price Review, when I said that there was no clear plan or reassurance for the future. I believe that that was true of the 1960 Review, but it was completely untrue of last year"s Review, because in that we had control of imports and a plan emerging for balanced production in agriculture.
Where this Price Reviews fails is in the fact that it does not give any confidence for the future to the man who is in livestock or dairying, the man who has a 50 to 150 acre farm. I recall the present Minister"s words of June, 1964, when, speaking at a luncheon in London, he said:If I were Minister of Agriculture my first job would be to get the industry together and work out a five-year or more plan for British agriculture. Farmers just cannot go on living from one expedient to another, with all their prospects revolving around the February Price Review.That is exactly the position in which we are now.
I entirely agree with the Minister that we must avoid exaggeration and that we must try to get to the real problem which is facing British agriculture today. As my hen. Friend the Member for Nor- 1706 folk, South-West (Mr. Hawkins) said in what I thought was a most able maiden speech, the real problem facing the man with a livestock or dairying farm of about 150 acres is that he is receiving in net income during the year an amount which is equivalent to about £15 a week. That sum must pay him back for interest on plant and capital and represents his remuneration, whereas the average earnings of a manual worker last year were £18 a week. This is the problem which the Minister has failed to attack in this Price Review.
Consider the position in regard to milk. Up till June, 1964, the number of dairy cows was lower than in any year since 1960. The number of heifers in calf was less than any year, except 1963, since 1960, and the number of milk producers had gone down from 150,000 to 125,000. I believe that the Minister has made a great mistake, although it may well be that it was a mistake which was imposed on him by the First Secretary. I refer, of course, to the issue of not giving the industry a 2d. rise for milk, which could have been given at very little cost to either the Exchequer or the consumer but which would have made a very great difference to the milk industry.
I cannot see how this 1.2d. per gallon will arrest the decline in the milk industry. After all, if the extra 1d. had been given it would have meant only £10 million on the Exchequer subsidy at a time when the subsidy on beef will be very much less this year than last. Or it could have meant, if it had been left to the consumer, a rise of about ½d. per pint for three additional months in the year. I believe that it would have resulted in keeping farmers in milk production without there being any great over-production of milk. It would have been well worth it.
The Minister makes it clear in paragraph 22 of the White Paper that the importance of this milk question does not only affect the milk side but also the beef market and, frankly, I am disturbed about the present position in relation to beef cattle. The figures for animals between 12 months and two years are lower than in any year since 1960. The number of cattle over two years old—which is natural, perhaps, in view of the way in which we are going in for 1707 marketing lighter weights—has dropped by 50 per cent. in eight years and the number of heifers and calves has dropped by 9 per cent. in eight years.
Last year, our imports dropped by 400,000 cwt.—that is over 6 per cent.—but the actual cost to us in the trade returns went up by £15 million. I cannot see how we shall meet the consumers" demand for beef unless we give greater encouragement than the 4s. per cwt. on beef in the Price Review. We are very short of calves for the purpose.
A new development has occurred in the last few weeks. Irish stores, which are higher this year than last, are still well below the figure of four years ago. The Irish Government has now brought in a subsidy that will reduce the quantity of stores coming into this country, and I would ask whoever is to reply on behalf of the Government what their policy is for attracting farmers into rearing more livestock at the present time. The danger of this Review is that it is this sort of man who will go out of production.
I give the Minister full credit for having helped the hill farmer by increasing the hill sheep and hill cow subsidies, but this is accentuating the difference between the hill farmer and the man slightly lower down the hill, who is in milk production at the present time and who is the man on whom we rely to produce the calves and store cattle for the beef industry. That man is being driven down, especially in comparison with the hill farmers.
The hon. Lady the Member for Carmarthen (Lady Megan Lloyd George) talked about production grants, but we have to realise that it is the lack of balance in the presentation that is doing the damage. It is serious when we consider that the farmer abroad is getting a much higher return for his cattle. Whilst the price of beef here is to be £8 14s. per cwt., the farmer in Italy will get £14 4s. per cwt. for his cattle; if he is in Holland he will get £12 per cwt., and if he is in Western Germany he will be getting £11. Therefore, unless the Minister can take fresh additional action in this respect, I foresee that we shall get a great deal of Continental buying of British beef, and a very great shortage of beef in our own shops.
I have tried to judge this Review by getting actual cases among my con- 1708 stituents in the 150-acre margin, and seeing how they are affected. Some hon. Members seem to believe that there is a certain amount of exaggeration in Press reports of the farmers" reaction to the Price Review, but I have taken a sample of six farmers in my constituency with acreages of between 100 and 169. I can show the Minister the particulars if he wants to see them, but one would not, of course, want to identify sources in a speech.
These six farmers are all hit by the Review, to the following extent. In two cases, they have already had to dismiss workers. In two other cases they have decided to cut down their staff. In all six cases they are having to work out a policy for reducing production on their farms—in other words, lowering the standard of efficiency—in order to get by without having to go to the banks.
One man, who is farming 169 acres, has worked out exactly how the Price Review will affect him. He will get increases in the price of his products amounting to £134 a year, but he will suffer decreases in the same Review—by the cuts in the cereal payments—of £120. He is, therefore, up £14 in prices, but his wage costs, insurance charges, increased fertiliser costs and other increases come to over £250. Therefore, that man who is farming 169 acres, is about £230 out of pocket under this Review—
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether that farmer pays rent and, if so, whether his rent has not gone up in recent times?
§ Mr. Turton
Certainly, one of the increases is an increase in rent. The increase in rent on that farm is £100. The increase altogether is about £250, of which £100 is increase in rent.
An example I have here shows that the position of the owner-occupier is exactly the same. The man in question is farming 100 acres. He expects an increase of roughly £100 and a decrease of £100—they balancė out. But his increased costs are in the region of £50. He does not pay rent, but his fertiliser costs, labour costs bring him out—
§ Mr. William Baxter (West Stirlingshire)
Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us what type of farmer this man is? 1709 What is he producing? What is he rearing?
§ Mr. Turton
This man is producing milk. He has 16 milking cows, and he is fattening 12 bullocks. He has 51 acres of barley out of his 100 acres, and he is the sort of marginal man who is, in my view, being hit by this Review—
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
One can gather that the inference of the questions my right hon. Friend has just been asked is anti-landlord, but would not the individual owner have an overdraft at the bank and have to pay increased charges as a consequence of the Labour Government"s Bank Rate increase?
§ Mr. Turton
That is a perfectly fair point. Maintenance charges have gone up just as others have, but in the instance I gave it is quite fair to say that £100 of the £250 was rent.
The Government have to think out again a policy to deal with this particular problem of the man farming about 150 acres. I have criticised the Price Review. It is only fair to say—
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. John Mackie)
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would not want to get away with the point he made about my right hon. Friend making a dishonest speech. He made the point that my right hon. Friend did not need to make a full cut on cereals, but I have here a paper which I want to read to the House, and which makes it perfectly plain that my right hon. Friend was anything but dishonest. This is Cmnd. 2339, and it states:The Government of the United Kingdom have decided that any necessary restraint of financial assistance should be applied through the effective reduction of guaranteed prices by means of the price mechanisms described in the United Kingdom White Paper on the Annual Review for 1964–65.My right hon. Friend read out that part, but did not give the figures because he said that he did not want to bore the House.
The document goes on:These mechanisms would in the case of wheat start to operate when production exceeded 3.2 million tons and would operate fully when production exceeded 3.3 million tons "—1710 Wheat production is now 3.9 million tons, so they have to operate fully:and in the case of barley would start to operate when production exceeded 6.3 million tons and would operate fully when production exceeded 6.5 million tons".Barley production is now 7.4 million tons. The right hon. Gentleman must agree that it is absolutely categorical that the full reduction of 4 per cent. had to be made, and I would ask him to withdraw what he said.
§ Mr. Turton
If I understand that correctly, there must be some reduction in price. There must not be the full reduction. I will certainly withdraw any imputation of intentional dishonesty on the part of the Minister. I never said that. I said that it was a dishonest approach because, in my view, it did not carry out the agreement. I will certainly take this opportunity of looking at it again.
I criticise the Review. What should have been done? I was saying what I believe that the Minister should have done. He should have increased the amount for milk by 2d. a gallon. I believe that the effect of that would have been to have stopped the drift away from milk. At the same time, it would have allowed the milk industry to produce the calves we require for beef. I believe he should have given an extra 10s. a cwt. on beef. What I believe he ought to have done—I recommend him to think again about this—was to have adopted a more adventurous policy in respect of the calf subsidy. Farmers who are living on what I call the; upland areas should be given a double calf subsidy to encourage them to produce the stores which are required for the beef industry. When the Irish stores fail—they will fail, and we shall be very short—it is vital to get the hill and upland areas producing the calves, I recommend this policy to the Minister.
I am glad to hear that the Minister is to reconsider the question of the £25 million for efficiency. The farmers have lost confidence in the present pattern of Price Reviews, because the more efficient they are the more they have to cut down their returns from their efficiency and the more they have in consequence to cut down the standard of their farming. It is regrettable that the industry has lost 1711 confidence in the right hon. Gentleman so early in his career. I hope very much that the right hon. Gentleman will correct this.
§ 6.23 p.m.
§ Mr. E. L. Mallalieu (Brigg)
I am delighted that the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) has at any rate expressed a willingness to correct the impression he gave when he made his remark about the dishonesty of the approach of my right hon. Friend the Minister. If one thing stands out a mile with regard to the Minister, it is the honesty of his approach to these things. My right hon. Friend is not only being honest. He is being courageous, courteous, sympathetic and firm. It should go on record today how very much some of my hon. Friends and I admire the way my right hon. Friend has handled this whole business.
It should also be said how much many of us admired the performance displayed by the right hon. Member for Rushcliffe (Sir M. Redmayne) this afternoon. The right hon. Gentleman has been silent for far too long in this place. His speech this afternoon was magnificent as a histrionic performance. The right hon. Gentleman completely ignored the facts. He behaved as though, in sorrow far more than in anger, he was lecturing this side of the House for letting the farmers down.
§ Mr. Mallalieu
I see that I now have the right hon. Gentleman's approval. Nothing, is further from the truth. The right hon. Gentleman never so much as referred to the economic situation which the Conservative Party left us. The farming community as a whole is now £6 million better off as a result of the Review, in spite of the economic situation which everybody knows exists and which is denied only by hon. Members opposite. None of us likes talking about communities as a whole, because communities are made up of individuals who may be very differently affected from the way in which the average is affected. Farmers have had their extra expenses of £29 million. With the award of £10 million and the reasonable estimated increase in productivity, there is no doubt that they will get an extra £6 million.
1712 This is not the sort of Review which most of us on this side would expect in normal times, but these are not normal times. In these circumstances it is an extraordinarily fair and generous Review. All the hysteria which has been generated by the Tory Party, encouraging this nonsense which is going on in the countryside and leading these poor boobs—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—as of course they are in politics, not in their proper affairs—up and down the streets and away from their proper affairs, encouraging them to behave as they have been doing, is not a good thing for the House and it is not a good thing for agriculture.
§ Mr. Michael Noble (Argyll)
Perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman does not know that long before the results of the Price Review were known in the House or outside the responsible leaders of the National Farmers' Union had rejected the review across the whole board. In the light of that, how can the hon. and learned Gentleman blame the Tories or anybody else for the anger of the farmers?
§ Mr. Mallalieu
I do not think it is necessary to blame only the Tories. I certainly do not. I think that the National Farmers' Union, for instance, has let the matter get out of hand. The union had a perfectly good case, one which I have argued myself many times, in the House and elsewhere, to the effect that the farming community should have a much greater slice of the national cake than it often does have and than it has at present. What the National Farmers' Union has not done is to show that the economic situation at any moment has a bearing on the situation. The fact that the National Farmers' Union had rejected these matters before the Price Review was made public and before right hon. and hon. Members opposite had had time to stir about in those troubled waters does not make the slightest difference. Right hon. and hon. Members opposite are guilty for the way they have behaved since, just as the National Farmers' Union was guilty for the way it behaved before.
§ Sir John Maitland (Horncastle)
Does not the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that some small part of the anger of the farmers is due to the promises that the 1713 Labour Party made before the General Election?
§ Mr. Mallalieu
No, I do not nor does the Vice-Chairman of the National Farmers' Union, who has been quoted already this afternoon. He has made a very fair approach to these problems. He puts the blame fairly and squarely, not just upon what has happened this year, but upon what has happened for a good many years before.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls rose—
§ Mr. Mallalieu
I will not give way to the hon. Gentleman now. He has been interrupting frequently. He will agree that he has had his quota. Without a doubt, farming incomes have been rising. Farm incomes are not the only things that matter. Real income matters very much more than money income. Farm incomes rose by £31 million last year. Everyone would wish to see this go on. But if one accepts the principle, the mechanism of a farm Price Review, one surely has to accept also the possibility that there may be changes of emphasis within the total given to the agricultural industry.
The whole point of the Review is to try to introduce some stability and foreknowledge among the farming community of what they are to expect in the course of the next period. This undoubtedly has been the aim of Governments in the past, and it has been shown in difficult times that their aim still is an efficient, planned agriculture producing those things which in the interest of the country the farming community should produce.
I do not think that the farming community wants more, but the National Farmers' Union has to make noises in this direction, as anyone else has who is in a bargaining situation. If the farmers want more then they want to put agriculture on the dole. It is not on the dole at present, in my submission, though many people think that it is. In fact, the people on the dole are the ordinary consumers to a large extent and, if it is not they, it is the employers in industry and commerce who are able to pay less wages because their employees have to pay less for their food as a result of what is going on in the farming setup in this country.
1714 I know that many farming leaders very often exclaim that we must have an expanding agriculture. They base their claim largely on the fact that the agricultural production which we have had over the last few years has been to a large extent of great benefit to our balance-of-payments position. Nobody disputes that, but surely it is not wise to say that we must have unlimited production in agriculture. [HON. MEMBERS: "Who has?"] I submit that very often the remarks and attitudes of hon. Members opposite give some colour to the belief of people who do not study these things as much as we study them in the House that they are arguing that there should be unlimited expansion.
Everybody who produces a commodity says, of course, that the production of that commodity should be expanded. There is a great deal to be done by way of expansion, as my right hon. Friend has said, and I have no doubt that due to the increased food market in this country the agricultural community can look forward to great increases in production. But it all depends where and in what set-up. I should have thought that wheat was certainly not one of the products, nor cereals either. We are probably at present self-sufficient in barley.
I wonder whether the larger farmers of East Anglia really imagined that this pay-day, as I would call it, was everlasting for them. If they did they are much bigger fools than I had taken them to be. I believe that the tendencies shown in this Review are such as to cause the agricultural community to be extremely grateful to my right hon. Friend for many years to come.
There has, of course, been a shift away in this Review from those who are most prosperous in the industry, but many of them know jolly well that they will still be prosperous in spite of the shift away from them in the direction of their poorer brethren on the hills and those who, for one reason or another, describe themselves as marginal whether because they have too small an acreage or because they have not enough capital or because they are too high in the hills. These people will have a definite advantage given to them. This is a great constructive effort on the part of my 1715 right hon. Friend. It does not stop there—
§ Mr. Eldon Griffiths
Before the hon. and learned Member leaves the point about East Anglian farmers, I am sure that he would not want it to be put about that he imagines that they get a large return on their investment. I agree that there are many prosperous men among them, but if one includes investment in land, buildings and stock, their return is a great deal lower than it is in a wide field of manufacturing industry.
§ Mr. Mallalieu
I accept that comment to a large extent and it would apply equally to biggish farmers in Lincolnshire. All the same, I would describe them as fairly well-to-do, and that being so, I do not think that they have much to complain about. There may be certain aspects in which they are not quite as well off as other people, nevertheless they are not doing too badly.
The measures now being taken to assist their smaller brethren who are in more difficult circumstances are extremely good. The help given in the matter of holdings is unspectacular and will gain no electoral support but it is very important to the efficiency of these holdings. We have had the promise also of serious consideration being given to the question of amalgamation. This does not only mean putting together holdings which are too small to be economically viable by themselves. It means that there is a great human question here to be decided.
I look forward to the time when we shall hear the results of my right hon. Friend's studies in these matters and of his consideration of the experience of many continental countries, whether it be concentration, or the retraining of the human elements which will be affected by the tendency which has been going on for some time toward bigger and bigger holdings. I look forward greatly to hearing about that, because I believe that the Labour Government have shown that they mean business in the matter of agriculture, setting it on a sound foundation, as they did in the years before, and also applying themselves to the human side of things. The Government will attend to that so that in the areas mostly affected by amalgamations there will be left a happy and contented population.
§ 6.37 p.m.
§ Mr. George Y. Mackie (Caithness and Sutherland)
I ought to declare an interest, or disinterest, in the Price Review. I am a big farmer. This is often brought against me, and perhaps one could notice in the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Brigg (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu) that he thought that farmers should not be prosperous or prosperous-looking. But I have a good, big farm. It is of course superbly managed, and I have a good banker. [An HON. MEMBER: "And good workers."] Yes, excellent. Therefore, I do not think that in any circumstances that the Government could apply, however, bad a Review or anything else, I would fail to make a living on this land, with the good men and with the good training I have had. But this does not apply all over the country.
I should like to take up with the Minister and the right hon. Member for Rushcliffe (Sir M. Redmayne), who respectively opened the debate from each side of the House, their complete agreement on certain points. They are absolutely agreed that we must not produce too much so that it will cost the taxpayer a great deal of money. I always thought that the whole object of deficiency payments was that people should have cheap food and that we were willing to pay from the Exchequer so that cheaper food could flow to them. The price of the people's food has gone up in the shops by 30 per cent. since 1953 and the whole system has broken down. The agreement between the two Front Benches is highly unhealthy. They need to work out a system whereby we can produce in this country the maximum amount of food, with not too much of one thing and too little of another, at an effective and efficient price.
I should like to discuss this matter of the efficiency of British farming for a moment or two. It is often said from both sides of the House that large doles are poured out to the farming community. In its report on the growth of the economy last year, the N.E.D.C. showed that agriculture was in the top seven industries in this country in improving its production per man by over 5 per cent. The hon. Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Hawkins) spoke about the British farm worker's productivity. Ten people in America produce as much as 1717 12 people do here on the land, and this in spite of the immense natural advantages and opportunities for mechanisation which large sections of American agriculture enjoy. One can quote other figures. We produce five times as much per man as is produced in the Soviet Union.
Prices in this country are not high. There have been references to food prices in Europe, but it is not generally known in this country that the price paid for wheat in America is higher than it is in this country, again in spite of America's great natural advantages. The people of Britain are getting reasonably cheap food, particularly compared with other countries in Europe, where, for instance, the price of wheat has just been fixed at £38 a ton, the price of barley at £33 and the price of beef at the figure already quoted by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton).
With this set-up, and the obvious efficiency of production in this country, a simple system leading to the production of all the food we need is, surely, the aim to go for. Mr. Paul Chambers, the Chairman of I.C.I., who is regarded as reasonably competent, put a figure on this at the Oxford farming conference. He pointed out that about £700 million worth of the food we imported came from temperate zones—that is, food which we could grow in this country. He suggested that we could grow about £250 million worth. This would make an immense contribution to our balance of payments. If we could increase production by £50 million a year, the saving would be far greater than any contribution which the Germans could make towards the cost of our Armed Forces or anything else. To those who are worried about exports and who will buy from us abroad, I reply that the British farmer is as good a consumer as he is a producer.
The world population is increasing enormously. We are still buying nearly half our food from abroad, and we must have an expansion of production. I am quite certain, in spite of the protestations from the benches opposite, that this Review has grievously disappointed the British farmer. We are not all farming barons in East Anglia or in Strathmore. A very large part of our production, much 1718 more than the 25 per cent. referred to on the Front Bench, comes from the farmer in the inner range who is not particularly prosperous. It would not have cost much, if anything at all, to help him. Out of a rise of 4d. on milk at the ultimate retail end, 3d., apparently, is going to the distributors and only 1d. is to go to the farmer. It may work out slightly differently, but that is how it appears to go.
The Minister of Agriculture says that we cannot have a cost-plus economy, but this is precisely what happens in the distributive trade. I am glad to hear that the milk distributors' agreement is now to be readjusted so that some efficiency creeps in. Distributors have been making a great deal of money. Costs have risen, and awards to them have risen because the system is based on a broad sample of distributors. What is not taken into account is that, as soon as one goes beyond a round of 6,000 gallons, enormous economies of distribution can be made and, of course, one can make a large amount of money. I am glad to know that this is to be looked into and that the Minister will not put up with a cost-plus economy any more.
I have one or two points to raise with particular reference to marginal and hill land. In Scotland the removal of the quality premium will do a good deal of harm. I agree that beef could easily have gone up. We shall need more and more beef in this country, and we are not likely to be able to get it from our traditional sources, not even from New Zealand. If the Japanese can "pinch" tanker orders from us, they can do enough to buy beef from New Zealand to feed their people. Plainly, there is a world shortage of beef. We see the evidence everywhere. People are, quite rightly, eating more beef. Even the Argentinians are eating more of their own beef. No increase in production which we can have will make up for the increased consumption in various parts of the world, particularly those parts where there is now a much higher production of industrial goods.
Milk and beef are interrelated. The Minister has not explained exactly what he intends to do about the small farmer who is going out of milk. There is no question but that small farmers will go out of milk. Even had the price gone 1719 up another 1d., a lot of them would have gone out. This is why there should have been much more encouragement to go in for beef. I welcome the schemes for reorganisation, the improvement in the advisory service and so on. These things are all first class, but there is no real substitute for an attractive price at the end of the line, so that the feeder can pay more for stores.
Sheep farming will suffer badly. I do not see why sheep farmers should not have had a little encouragement. We could build up a big export trade in sheep, and the agreement with New Zealand should allow for an expansion of production because, of course, mutton is an alternative to beef.
The increase in the potato guarantee is, perhaps, unimportant. I would much rather pin my faith on the discussions which I understand are going on about the quicker implementation of a buying programme when the Board thinks that there is trouble ahead. I should very much like to see this done on a regional basis because we suffer continually in Scotland—the same is true in other remote areas or places where transport costs between producer and consumer are high—
§ Sir Herbert Butcher (Holland with Boston)
Will the hon. Gentleman carry his advocacy so far as to suggest variations between early and main crop potatoes?
§ Mr. Mackie
Earlies present a much more difficult problem, as the hon. Gentleman knows, because they must be got off the ground in a certain time. If we had the main crop secure, I should regard the present arrangements for earlier as reasonable satisfactory. I may be saying this simply because I am not an early potato grower, but it is the main crop about which we are principally concerned.
In many parts of the North, farmers and crofters are very worried about the disparity between the Crofters Commission grants and the winter keep grants. In some cases, figures can be produced showing that there is a higher return from the winter keep grants than there is from the Crofters Commission grants. They should be lined up one with the other.
1720 It is disappointing that we have had no incentive to improve hill land. Hill land is one of our last reservoirs of new land. It is vital to have proper incentives for the reclamation of land. I do not mean simply ploughing up old grassland. I am thinking of the proper way to tackle reclamation, drainage and the rest. These incentives should be given and a definite programme set going. This is something which we expected, but we did not get it.
Many of these criticisms are factual and apply to particular districts, but I must say that the Minister of Agriculture has missed a great chance in this Review to make people expansion-minded. He said that this was his own doing, and he rejected any idea that he was being influenced by the Treasury. I hope and trust that he took the Secretary of State for Scotland into his confidence, but he said that it was indeed his own Review. We appreciate that this is being very British, with the C.O. taking all the blame, but I think that the Minister made an immense mistake and that the Government as a whole have made a mistake.
Here we have an industry which can expand. Indeed, we have evidence that it can expand at a reasonable price level. Instead of that, we shall save a very little money temporarily. It is much more important to set going the long-term expansion which ought to take place, and must take place, if we are to obtain a decent balance of payments position. The Government appear to have lost the chance to do this by sticking too closely to Tory policy. If they had, instead, done what they said they would do when they were in Opposition, and introduced a new system of support and bought far more of our cereals and meat through a commission and released it on the market at a guaranteed price, we should have an entirely different set-up. If the price of food went up marginally, many economies could be made in the distribution system. It is said that for every £1 the consumer pays in the shop, the farmer gets 6s. Between those two figures there is immense room for improvement.
§ Mr. Mackie
Yes, indeed. I should like to see the Government distribute a little more as well in order to increase 1721 production and get a proper return from the farming industry. All over the country there are efficient farmers. I am glad that the Minister is producing schemes for amalgamation and for improving the structure of farming, but the first essential is to gain the confidence of the farmer, and I should like another Review before it is too late.
§ 6.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Clifford Kenyon (Chorley)
Like the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. George Y. Mackie), I must declare my interest in the subject. As a farmer, I am disappointed with every Price Review. I think that the Price Review is becoming absolutely unreal. It is based on foundations which seem to me to be almost fictional. When we get the result year after year and examine the White Paper, it makes one wonder just how the Price Review is fixed.
The Price Review gives factors of agricultural values which, when they are considered over all the 450,000 farmers in the country, are completely unassessable. Agriculture is not like industries which have branches in different parts of the country. In the agricultural industry we have 450,000 holdings which are very diverse in structure, development, stocking and production. Yet the whole lot are measured with one measuring rule.
Right at the beginning we had incorporated in the Price Review the efficiency element and the increased production element. On the assessment of the increased production element farmers are praised for increased production, but on the assessment of the efficiency element they are punished for it because a price is fixed which they themselves have to absorb. Out of the £29 million we have to absorb £18½ million spread over 450,000 farmers.
Paragraph 6 of the Price Review says:Most of the output of the industry is produced by about a quarter of our 450,000 agricultural holdings.So most of the production comes from one-quarter; that is where we get the increased efficiency. That section can absorb the £18½ million in its proportion, but the £18½ million is spread over all the 450,000. What does the White Paper say about this? It goes on: 1722On the other hand half of our holdings produce only a very small part of the industry's output.It also says:The remaining quarter…consist mostly of small and medium-sized farm businesses.They are ones which just provide a small living for the occupier.
If there were one level right throughout the industry, it would be fair for the industry to absorb the £18½ million. But three-quarters of the industry has to absorb its proportion of the figure year after year. This can be done only by taking it out of the farmer's livelihood. The industry cannot absorb it out of increased production. There is no scope in the farms to absorb this increased production, and so that figure has been taken year after year out of the farmer's livelihood. Today, this has reached a point where the farmer cannot carry it any further. That is why the farmers are going out of business. In all the Price Reviews we are dealing with unrealities and not with the actual position of the farmers. It comes to absolute absurdity when weather conditions are assessed financially. The N.F.U. statement which all hon. Members have had states on page 4:Between the end of the war and the early I950s, real income increased by about 20 per cent. on the basis of actual yields and 14 per cent. when adjusted to normal weather conditions.In other words, these things are assessed according to the weather. If we go much further we shall be assessing a shower of rain in pounds, shillings and pence.The statement goes on to say,On the basis of actual weather conditions, the net income is only slightly above the 1952–53 level; on a normal weather basis, the net income is still 1½ per cent. below that level.It becomes quite ridiculous when normal and actual weather conditions are used in assessment of agricultural production and values. We are dealing in unrealities in these terms.
My right hon. Friend said that 25 per cent. of these farms produce 70 per cent. of our agricultural output while the other 75 per cent. of holdings produce the remaining 30 per cent. of output. Let us consider milk production in relation to these figures. There is undoubtedly great disappointment in the agricultural community about the milk 1723 price of 1d. per gallon. Why is this? It is because, over the years, these farmers have absorbed the costs. Last year they were granted 2½d. per gallon, but that did not cover what they had absorbed in the Previous ten years—nothing like it. They were still out of pocket.
Speaking on 25th January, the President of the N.F.U. said:From 1955 to 1964 the costs increased to the farm by £218 million. The guaranteed price increased to him by £76 million, leaving him to absorb £142 million.The small farmer cannot, out of increased production, absorb these costs. He has done so out of his livelihood all the way through and he cannot do it any longer. I say quite frankly that the small milk farms often just cannot expand. They require more buildings, but first of all they require more land. The need is for amalgamation of small farms into economic units so that they can become good family farms. I have hammered this point year in and year out in this House. I first raised it 20 years ago, and I have done so in every agricultural debate that I have spoken in since.
It is pathetic to see small farmers struggling to get a living and, in order to meet the Price Review charges put upon them time and again, reducing the standard of living of their families. There are 33,557 farms with nine cows or less. That figure includes some farmers who keep a cow for domestic use. A living cannot be made out of nine cows or less. There are 34,803 farms with from 10 to 19 cows. They can do a little better but cannot make a good living out of 19 cows. There are 22,680 farms with between 20 and 29 cows. Thus, there are 91,000 farms where, in absorbing all these costs placed upon them year by year, living standards have to be reduced. That is why the milk farmer is disappointed. He is disappointed because he cannot carry on, because he just cannot absorb these costs and will have to get out.
When he is taking these costs out of his living, where can he find the capital to buy more cows, to get more land so as to increase his holding and to put up new buildings? New buildings are needed in almost every type of farm. The amalgamation of farms is an absolute necessity, and I am glad that my right hon. Friend 1724 is introducing it in this Price Review. I hope that he gets along with it quickly. In amalgamating farms, I am certain that he will put thousands of farmers on a better financial basis and a higher standard of living than they have ever experienced.
Now I shall tread on someone's corns. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Hon. Members opposite had better wait to cheer until they hear who it is. One thing that the Labour Party has always been afraid of is an increase in the cost of food. In the 1945 to 1951 Parliaments we refused to deration towards the end, not just because there were shortages, but because we were afraid that the price of food would increase. When the Conservatives came in they removed rationing after about three years. We realised then that the housewife, if she could go into a shop and make the purchases she wanted, would pay for them—and she did. Prices went up and the housewives paid them because they had free choice.
Milk is worth more than the housewife is paying today. When I consider the price of beer and see it going down people's necks and then consider the price we are giving for milk—
§ Mr. John Brewis (Galloway)
Would the hon. Gentleman like to know that the price of lemonade has gone up from 3d. pre-war to 11d., with ½d on the bottle pre-war and now 3d.?
§ Mr. Kenyon
I am told that the price of a pint of beer is 1s. 6d. The price of a pint of milk is 9d. and there is no comparison between their respective food values.
§ Mr. Kenyon
No, but the price paid for beer includes paying for 97 per cent. water. If the people of this country can pay for beer to that extent, they can pay a little more for milk.
The assessment of values by the housewife is most interesting. A potato merchant told me only yesterday that he was selling home-grown potatoes at five lbs. for 1s. 3d. and imported new potatoes—I do not know whether they came from the Canary Islands, the South of France, or Spain—at 1s. a lb. He can sell more new potatioes at 1s. a lb. than he can sell home-grown potatoes at five lbs. for 1s. 3d.
These are the values which the housewife herself places on foodstuffs. I say to my right hon. Friends that we need not be afraid of getting better value for farming commodities, because if the food value is there and the quality is good, the housewife will pay the price. My right hon. Friends should keep that in mind.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Wilson
Will the hon. Gentleman consider some of the prices which have risen? For instance, the price of bread has gone up by 57 per cent., but the housewife pays it quite happily.
§ Mr. Kenyon
The prices of many things have risen. Housewives have to pay some of them, but they do not have to pay more than 9d. a pint for milk at the moment
I have been critical of the small farmers' scheme for a long time. I have seen it working on many farms. It works all right when priming the pump in the three years when the small farmer is given fertilisers, or bought cattle, or machinery and so on. But what happens when that period ends and the small farmer is thrown back on his own resources? In 50 per cent. of the cases he goes back to his former position. He cannot keep up the capital requirements of his farm.
Because of this the Ministry ought to be very careful about where it makes these small farmer grants. It ought to examine the whole situation and realise that unless the small farmer has resources which will enable him to keep going and 1726 to improve and increase after receiving the grants. giving the grants is a waste of money.
Finally, I come back to the hills. The potential production from the hills is tremendous. The hills can provide the sheep which we need to meet our meat requirement. They can provide stores for both meat and dairy. They can provide poultry. If only we can put the hill farmers in a proper working position, the whole of farming will benefit.
But this is a tremendous task and we have not yet realised what it means. These are the farms of little production and somehow there is no urge among the hill farmers to increase production. They are happy to carry on as they are. The capital requirements for changing these farms are colossal. First there is the need for new buildings and new buildings cost a great deal of money today.
However, if we are to improve and increase the production of these farms, they must have proper buildings, because on the hills more than on the lowlands proper buildings are required. On the hills we have to take our stock indoors six weeks before it is done in the Midlands and the South and the North, and in the spring we have to hold it back six weeks because the grass has not grown.
We need these buildings for wintering the cattle. What is not realised is that in summertime we can carry three times the amount of stock which we can carry in the winter. The grass grows in spring and summer, but then we do not have the stock to put on the land because we have not been able to carry it through the winter. The second thing the hill farmer needs, therefore, is more meadowland. He has to make more meadowland out of the upland slopes so that he can gather sufficient fodder to carry his summer stock through the winter.
That is what is needed and that is the greatest difficulty of all. If they could buy or grow sufficient hay and other fodder to carry the summer stock through the winter, hill farms could double their output in very little time. But the buildings are required and the meadowland is required. If we can do that, we shall make a contribution to the agriculture of this country second to none.
§ Several Hon. Members rose—1727
§ Mr. Kenyon
This is not the first time that I have been preaching a sermon when the congregation has thought that I have finished and I have not.
The picture is changing with the advent of electricity on many hill farms. We have been defeated in times past by the weather in gathering hay. Hay has been ruined year after year. But today we have the opportunity of putting in barn hay driers. Barn-dried hay is the finest fodder that we can get. I know that many farmers go on to silage, but silage stinks and it is mucky. It is all right for the farmer who can turn the working of silage over to his labourers, but he would not have it if he had to do it himself. The farmer can overcome this difficulty by having barn hay dryers.
I am confident that if the farmers can get the capital—this is where the Minister comes in—not the sort of capital to which reference was made on a television programme on Sunday afternoon on which farmers have to pay 8½ per cent. interest, but cheaper capital so that they can improve their land and develop meadow land, feed cattle through the winter, erect new buildings and put in barn hay driers, the work done on the hills will equal anything done in either Norfolk or Lincolnshire.
§ 7.22 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Kirk (Saffron Walden)
I realise that an absence of a little over five months from the House does not entitle me even to the dubious advantages of semi-virginity, if I may so put it. Nevertheless, it is with some trepidation that I intervene to make what is in effect a maiden speech in an agricultural debate. I do so not only because I now represent a very agricultural constituency, but because, as the Minister will I think know, apart from a little local difficulty at Stansted Airport, the Price Review is probably the thing which interests the people of Saffron Walden most.
I am sorry that the Minister is not in his place—I quite understand that he is very much preoccupied—because I wanted to express to him in the House my personal regret for the reception which he had in Saffron Walden Town Hall. I would hasten to say that this had nothing whatsoever to do with my party or myself. Indeed, it did not 1728 have very much to do with the farmers of Saffron Walden. The reception was organised by people who came from a long way away. Many farmers in my area had great difficulty in getting in the town hall I wish that he had had a quiet reception because then the farmers of the area would have had the opportunity to put to him the penetrating questions which I know they were anxious to ask him and which in the general uproar were not answered.
This Review has, I think, caused general disappointment, and, moreover, a general feeling of deception, among the farmers of this country, and certainly among the farmers of East Anglia, of which Saffron Walden is part. There is a slight tendency among hon. Members opposite to brush aside the East Anglian farmer as if he is making far too much money and that it will not do him any harm to have a knock. The hon. and learned Member for Brigg (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu) gave the impression that the East Anglian farmer had had seven fat years and that it was about time that he had seven lean ones to teach him where he got off.
It is true that in East Anglia farmers probably farm on a greater scale than almost anywhere else in this country. This is not a bad thing. I should have thought that the introduction of economy of scale was one of the things which led to the great advance in agriculture over recent years. As I understand the White Paper, this is one of the things which the Minister is hoping to do through a process of amalgamation, and this makes a great deal of sense. The fact that the East Anglian farmer works on a bigger economic unit enables him to make a bigger return and therefore a bigger contribution, but it also creates its own problems.
Nor is it wholly true to say that everybody who farms in East Anglia is a "barley baron" driving his two "Jags" and his "Merc" whenever he goes on a protest march. There are many small farmers in the area, certainly in my constituency, particularly pig producers. We have a large number of poultry farmers for whom this Review has done very little except give them another knock on the head as they are going down. It is wrong to get the impression 1729 that, because East Anglia is a prosperous farming area, it does not matter very much if farmers there suffer as a result of this Price Review.
Perhaps I can give the House some examples of what effect the Review will have purely on cereal farmers, who are the ones with whom we are most concerned. I take two examples in my constituency. One man farms 450 acres—a big farm, but not the biggest by any means in East Anglia or in my constituency. He calculates that he will receive as a result of the Review £195 less on 90 acres of wheat and £768 less on 320 acres of barley. Also, his rent is up by £340, his wages and insurance by £304, his bill for repairs, fertilisers and fuel by £315 and machinery replacements by £195. Therefore, his total income is reduced by £2,117. The only thing which he can set against this is the increase in value of £84 on 56 acres of sugar beet. He is, therefore, just over £2,000 down on a 450 acre farm.
The hon. and learned Member for Brigg may be right. It may be that the farmer has been doing too well in the past, but that is quite a knock for anybody to take, however well he has been doing.
§ Mr. Kirk
I do not know. That is not the point I am making. My point is that anybody, whatever his profit, who has to take a loss of that size suffers. On 450 acres this man's net profit cannot be so big. He cannot be a multimillionaire on 450 acres of barley.
Let me deal with a small farmer farming 104 acres. He reckons that the reduction of his annual income will be only £100, but the small increase in the price of potatoes and sugar beet will not reimburse him for the last wage increase and the tractor fuel and petrol increase. This is something for which the Government have responsibility. They generated quite a lot of the £29 million increase in costs by increasing the petrol tax, by increasing the insurance stamp and by making an increase in Income Tax, which is due to take effect after the next Budget, and by imposing the 15 per cent. surcharge. I therefore think it understandable, to put it no higher, why there is a very con-1730 Siderable feeling of resentment even among these mythically very prosperous farmers in East Anglia.
Their feeling resentment turns also on the fact that this is what one might call an incoherent review. It is not plain to the farmers what they are supposed to do. It is plain what they are not supposed to do—grow barley and wheat. What are they supposed to grow instead? Suppose that they switch to sugar beet. They are then up against the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement and the fact that refining capacity in this country cannot cope. It is not at all clear to the farmers where they fit into the Government's plans or what is expected of them. Surely this could be made plain.
We tend to think too much of the farmer alone and too little of the whole farming population, as my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Hawkins) said in his maiden speech. Obviously one of the main costs is wages. I am sure that we all agree that farm wages are too low. We have to attract highly specialised and highly trained men into farming and we are not getting them. What is much more serious is the fact that we are not getting young people into farming. We are running into a situation when even the big farmers, those whose total staff has come down by half during the last 10 or 15 years, as is quite common in my part of the world, in north-west Essex and East Anglia, are now approaching the minimum of their scale of employees. They cannot do with fewer men and they cannot get the men. If to get the men the wage rate has to rise again, as, perhaps, it should, this is an additional element of cost which, against, the farmer is expected to absorb.
I know it is said that in the present economic situation everybody must absorb costs. When the Secretary of State for Scotland winds up the debate, however, I should like to know from him whether, in the present economic situation, any other industry is being asked to absorb two-thirds of its costs. I do not believe that there is one such industry in which this is happening. That is another reason why the farmers feel that they are being unfairly picked upon. It may be that their reaction is too extravagant and it may be that they have not 1731 been particularly clever politically in putting their case. The Government must not, however, be misled into thinking that their reaction is not genuine, because it is extremely strongly felt, especially because they hoped for some performance from right hon. and hon. Members opposite after the promises which they have been making for so long.
I agree with a lot of what the hon. Member for Chorley (Mr. Kenyon) said about Price Reviews generally. In effect, we are tending to make too much a god of the Price Review. It might be a good idea if we could use this experience for examining whether the Annual Price Review is still the best way of coping with the farming problem.
We all accept the advance that the 1947 and 1957 Acts brought to us, but 1947 was 18 years ago and it does not necessarily follow that what was right in detail then is still right in detail today. There are two things which are wrong with that Act. The first is that it does not provide nearly enough flexibility. Once a year, there is this great confrontation between the two sides between the Government and the farmers, and that is really the limit. One saw this with potatoes only the other day. It was impossible to bring in support buying quickly enough to have an effect upon the market. It might have been possible had the Minister not refused to do it the first time he was asked. All the same, even if it had been done when he was first asked, probably by the time that the machinery got going it would have been to a large extent too late.
I am fairly certain that we shall see a similar situation with eggs before the year is out. I know to my cost, because I produce some, that we have an egg glut, but I am fairly certain that there will be a shortage towards the end of the year. Judging from the chick position, there will be a shortage of birds coming along. Obviously, the Government cannot be expected to increase the egg price, although they might have left it alone at this moment; but there may well come a time a few months hence when they want to do so. If that happens, they will be in grave difficulty because the machinery simply does not exist. Therefore, 1732 a greater degree of flexibility is needed, and it is certainly needed generally in horticultural matters.
The second thing to be considered is whether a one-year Price Review is right or whether, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Sir M. Redmayne) suggested, the period should be two or three years. I go even further. I think that a period of five years is needed to get any kind of planning into agriculture. We want a quinquennial Price Review, with an interim Review, say, every 18 months or so to make the necessary adjustments because of the cost of living, the economic situation or whatever it may be.
I do not believe that we can get by nowadays on one-year planning only. The situation has advanced beyond that stage. In 1947, we were trying to build up production from a low level to ensure that we grew at least half the food in this country for ourselves. We are now doing that and we want long-term planning to prevent the situation which now prevails in East Anglia that everybody has produced cereals because he was asked to do so but now finds that he is producing too much. This difficulty must be circumvented. I am not making any particular political point. It is as much our fault on this side as it is of the party now in Government that this situation has arisen. It is, however, essential that a way must be found of long-term planning to ensure that as far as possible the situation rolls in the proper way.
There are one or two small points which I should like to make to the Secretary of State for Scotland. I wonder whether, when he replies, it would be possible for him to expand a little more on paragraph 51 of the White Paper concerning agricultural credit. I welcome, as, I am sure, all hon. Members do, the fact that, as the White Paper states:Certain financial institutions will be offered financial backing so that they may more readily give guarantees to the banks for the repayment in due course of short and medium-term bank loans made to farmers and also to farmers' co-operatives and groups to the extent that they are marketing primary farm produce.Will that apply to people who are not marketing primary farm produce but who have too little of what one might 1733 call landlord capital and too much tenant capital? I hope that the Secretary of State understands my meaning. The existing trouble with credit is that if it is based upon total capital, which is how the banks tend to do it, this shuts out the tenant farmer to a considerable extent and makes it extremely difficult for him to get any capital. I hope that this sort of scheme of Government backing for financial institutions can be used to give credit to tenant farmers in particular who can lodge as collateral their own proven efficiency as well as the stock which they may have. If we could achieve something on these lines, we will he doing a great deal for the tenant farmer.
The situation prevailing in distribution and marketing—not simply in milk, although, obviously, it is worse in the case of milk than in any other direction—is now reaching serious proportions. I am glad that the Government are to examine the distribution of milk. I am as puzzled as everybody about where the extra 3d. is going. I should very much like to know and I hope that the Secretary of State will be able to tell us.
There is need to have a general review of the marketing situation of all agricultural products and of horticultural products in particular. We have not really recovered from the failure of the old horticultural marketing scheme. It would be a good thing if we could revise our whole approach to horticultural marketing and see whether we can get it much closer to the primary producer. If we can do this, it will be of great benefit to agriculture generally.
As I said at the beginning, this is in a sense a maiden speech. I hope, however, that the shock which the Price Review has undoubtedly administered to the farming community—and, I hope, to the Government as well—will lead people to examine once again whether this way of regulating farm income is still the right one or whether some other form of longer-term planning would not be better.
§ 7.38 p.m.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)
The hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Kirk) tells us that he has been here before. Although we wish that the result at Saffron Walden had been slightly different, now that he is here we 1734 are glad to hear him making his second maiden speech. Certainly, when the hon. Member talked about the need for a long-term farm policy which would raise the standard of life of the farming community and give a food supply to the people he was re-echoing the views of those of us who try to think of agriculture in constructive terms.
I represent a considerable number of farmers and milk producers. It is useless to pretend that there has not been a great upsurge of feeling as a result of the Price Review. Farmers are definitely disappointed, and I should be unfair to my constituents if I tried to hide that in any way. If, however, hon. Members want to see the real emotional reaction to the Price Review among milk producers, they should turn to last week's edition of what, I think, is the best agricultural journal, the Scottish Farmer. There we have many different but nevertheless indignant expressions of opinion.
What I think was the most extreme did not come from my constituency but from the constituency of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. I read here a speech of a farmer called Mr. Loudoun of Moscow. If hon. Members are wondering what Moscow has to do with this Price Review, I should explain that Moscow is a village in the constituency of Kilmarnock. I do not in this House represent Moscow. Naturally, one would expect an extreme point of view from there. My right hon. Friend's constituent from Moscow is said to have likenedthe plight of the Ayrshire farmer to that of the Selma nigger.I think that is stating it in rather an extreme way, but there are varying degrees of emotional feelings expressed, which hon. Members will find in this report, in which is it said thatAyrshire farmers lead milk situation outcry.But there is very small comfort indeed for the Opposition, because I read an expression of opinion of a Mr. John Caldwell—of course, the extremists come from Kilmarnock and not from South Ayrshire—who made what seem very impolite remarks about politics. He said that politics was "a dirty and a rotten game." Just to show his impartiality, after he had stated quite frankly what 1735 he thought of the Government and about the Secretary of State for Scotland, he turned to the previous Secretary of State for Scotland and went on to say:The biggest laugh of the week was Mr. Michael Noble saying what he would have done, after having done nothing for 13 years.So hon. Members can take it that at the present time Ayrshire farmers take an extremely poor view of the politicians.
We can, of course, understand that emotional outburst. Everybody who asks for a rise is disappointed if he does not get it, and these are honest expressions of feeling among the farmers of Ayrshire, and it would be useless to say that they are not extremely disappointed and that they had even expected something better from a Labour Government.
To reduce it to its statistical level, I have here figures about milk producers in my own constituency. I do not take the figures for the large farmers but for the medium farmers. I am told by the statistician of the Scottish Milk Marketing Board that between 1958 and 1964 the average number of cows a herd in Ayrshire ranged from 45 to 47—on the medium-sized farms, not the very small farms, not the very big farms. Their profit in 1958–59 was £1,460; their profit less value of manual work by farmer and wife, £884. The next year, 1959–60, it went down to £858 profit less manual work by farmer and wife. It went down in the last full year of the Conservative Government to £780, and leaving £49 profit less value of manual work by the farmer and his wife. If the House thinks this is a queer way of assessing income I may say that I think that it is perfectly justifiable, because farmers' wives deserve to be taken into consideration, too. In 1963–64 the average year's profit was £900; profit less value of manual work by farmer and wife, £150.
So we can see that the farmer, the average, medium-sized farmer, is not having what we would call the income enjoyed by the better paid sections of workers in my constituency. I think it only fair to point out that the number of producers went down by 2.94 per cent. in 1962; in 1963 it went down by 3.57 per cent.; last year, by 4.58 per cent.
The Minister was reassuring today when he said that there was a margin 1736 of 45 per cent., but there is talk among the farming community that the time may come when this might lead to a serious crisis in Ayrshire. We must always see the figures in perspective, the farmers' figures and the Government's figures.
§ Mr. Paul Dean (Somerset, North)
Would the hon. Gentleman agree that the figure of 45 per cent. which the Minister mentioned is not agreed by the N.F.U.s? They would put the figure very much smaller than that.
§ Mr. Hughes
There are always statistical differences between the N.F.U. and the Minister, but my answer is that I believe that the situation is serious enough to make us wonder whether it would not have been a wise policy in this Price Review to have been more generous towards the dairy farmers.
I express the point of view of my constituents, but I have to remind them, too, that the whole question of agriculture cannot be divorced from the rest of the economy, and that our job must be to build up the economy on sound lines in face of the difficulties which have been bequeathed to us by the previous Government.
I turn to a very interesting article in The Scottish Farmer by its political correspondent who, for me, puts the argument very clearly when he asks what the farmers will do now:Block the road with tractors? Bash up eggs in Parliament Square? Picket Whitehall Place? It would perhaps he more relevant for farmers to join the Aldermaston Ban-the-Bomb march.Well, that appeals to me. At least there is a connection between defence expenditure and the Price Review, and there, I think, the political correspondent of The Scottish Farmer has put his finger right on the problem.
As I have said before, during the past decade or so, we should have been spending more on green grass and less on Blue Streaks, and we must realise that agriculture is as important a section of the national economy as defence expenditure. When we are prepared to prune the Defence Estimates and transfer money for the buildings and other things which are required, I think we are on the right way to strengthen the economy of the agricultural industry. Of course, 1737 this is not a new theme for me. I repeat what I have said before, that I would much prefer to see the money we are to see spent on Cyprus this year spent on agriculture, on reclaiming the land, building the buildings, because that would be a permanent investment in the real economy of this country. I am not like my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton). I do not begrudge giving subsidies to the agricultural community if they mean a permanent investment in a sound agricultural industry in this country.
§ Mr. William Hamilton
My hon. Friend must not distort my views. I do not object to subsidies as such. I object to the fact that nobody seems to know where they go. Farmers say that they do not get them. The housewife says that she does not get them. The middleman says that he does not get them. Where do they go? If I can find out, I might regard them in a different light.
§ Mr. Hughes
I shall enlighten my hon. Friend in a moment or two, although he has attacked me from the rear when I thought he was in a different seat.
I am not interested in prosperous and wealthy farmers. I am interested in the agricultural labour, the farm server, the shepherd, the people who depend on these subsidies for a rise in their standard of living, and I do not want any irresponsible scrapping of these subsidies before we have worked out a long-term policy.
§ Mr. Peter Bessell (Bodmin)
Would the hon. Gentleman agree that the subsidy is provided not merely to assist the farmer but to keep the price of food down generally throughout the country, and therefore assists the whole community?
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
I have no doubt that my hon. Friend the Member for West Fife has heard those remarks. I do not need sermons on that theme.
I should like to enlighten my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West, who I am glad to see is taking such an interest in this debate. I know where some of the money is going. The right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) gave us an interesting account of different farm incomes. I have spoken about the small farmer with the small income, and I want now to give some 1738 facts about a farmer with a large income. The Daily Express of 8th September, 1964, carried the story of a large farmer who the previous day had auctioned off two Lanarkshire farms, bringing him in £97,750 for 2,128 acres, and said that the sale should not make too serious an inroad into the acreage, because at a recent estimate the owner's estates included 56 large farms in Lanarkshire alone. If my hon. Friend wants to find out who that large farmer is, he will find his name at the top of the Opposition Motion saying that they have lost confidence in the Government. [HON. MEMBERS:" Where is he?"] I do not know. He joined the National Farmers' Union after he became Prime Minister. He will probably read what I have said, but here we have some facts which I think will appease my hon. Friend who is my most formidable opponent in this debate.
That is a large sum of money for two farms. What happens? Farmers have to go to the banks to get money, and I am told that they lend it at 8½ or 9 per cent. In Scotland overdrafts to farmers amount to £56 million, and in the whole of the country, according to the Farmer and Stockbreeder, they amount to £550 million. If the prosperous farmer succeeds in becoming a bank director, he gets it both ways.
My constituents are greatly concerned about rents. The Scottish Farmer of 28th November last carried an article by its regular contributor, a working farmer who is recognised as an influential voice in the farming world of Scotland, in which he said:Farm rents in many cases have gone to heights which can be crippling unless the guarantees follow quickly.The crippling has gone on but the guarantees have not followed them.Many rents have been doubled, some trebled, and in exceptional cases even more. It is not unknown for rental increases to amount to the equivalent of 2d. a gallon of milk…The rent position and the question of security of tenure are bound up together, and are indeed inseparable.I know of almost ransom values having had to be paid for the inclusion of a son in the tenancy, if ever such agreement can be bought at all.Yet the whole question of rents is overlooked by the Opposition. We have heard many questions, and many 1739 speeches, from hon. Gentlemen opposite, but nobody has mentioned that one of the biggest costs to the farmer is the rent he has to pay the landlord. I am sure that the Sections of the 1957 Act which deal with security of tenure are at the bottom of this situation, and this is the view of my farming constituents.
What about the position in the country as a whole? In The Economist last week there was an interesting article, not the one that has been quoted already, entitled, "A farm of one's own", which said:But it is in the country that the biggest boom of all in rents is taking place. The price of agricultural land is roughly ten times as high as before the war. Indeed, the average price of farming land has more than doubled since 1958, and it is the farmers' oft repeated and sometimes justified complaint that these prices are out of all proportion to the returns available for farmingIt is because hon. Gentlemen opposite are not representative of the farming community at all that they make no protest when farming rents are forced up, and all this talk about not having confidence in the Government is just so much humbug and so much nauseating nonsense.
The article to which I have just referred goes on to say:The prospect of eventual planning permission for development is one stimulating factor, but the rise has been geographically widespread and by no means confined to land adjoining the big centres of population. The attraction of land for death duty purposes—it bears a lower rate of duty—is another reason.Not a word has been said about those costs to the farmer.
There is then this rather interesting sentence:British farming land, amazingly, is the cheapest in Northern Europe"—It is not much satisfaction to know that here we have been exploited to a lesser extent than has the chap in Western Europe—and in the expectation of eventual British Common Market membership Continental buyers have recently been in the market.It would be interesting to know what the Continental buyer would get if he tried to bid for any of these farms in North Lanarkshire. The Opposition's neglect to deal with some of these facts shows the complete weakness of their case. 1740 They are trying to exploit the grievances of the farmers for purely political purposes. The farmers know it, hence the remarks of the farmer from Moscow.
Apart from the interchange of pleasantries in this debate, we have had running through it the undertone of a long-term policy. As was pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for Chorley (Mr. Kenyon), we need more money for buildings, more for land, more for tractors, more for land reclamation. We could get this money if we diverted the resources now being wasted on other things and directed it where it should be spent in the national interest. What would have happened if hon. Members opposite had been returned to power, say, by 50 seats at the last election? We should have had a much worse Annual Price Review than this one.
§ Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop
How does the hon. Member expect his pearls of wisdom to be appreciated when none of the three Ministers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is present in the Chamber?
§ Mr. Hughes
The Ministers from the Agricultural Department know quite well that I can look after myself and that I do not need their assistance. When my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland saw me rise, he said to himself that he could go away to his dinner knowing that his case was safe in my hands.
If the Opposition had been returned to power, they would have had to face the same financial crisis and balance of payments problem. They would have had the £ "groggy", and what would they have done? We were told last week in the early hours of one morning that Ulster wanted an aircraft carrier costing £60 million which, with the aircraft, would total £200 million. These are the sort of bills which mount up under a Conservative Government. There would not have been any money left for the farmers or for the equipment of British agriculture. So I say that, in spite of the disgruntlement of farmers in my constituency who looked for better things, I shall be supported when I say that the only possible alternative for me is to go into the Government Lobby against this ridiculous Conservative Motion.
§ 8.3 p.m.
§ Mr. peter Mills (Torrington)
I speak as a practical farmer; indeed, up to a few months ago, as a working farmer. I have been a working farmer for 24 years.
§ Mr. Mills
Yes, a tenant farmer and an owner farmer—I had two farms. I still take my share of the farm work at weekends, which is more, perhaps, than can be said of some hon. Members opposite. I mention this to indicate that I have a very real concern for the industry and for all who work on the land. I say to the Joint Parliamentary Secretary, who I am glad to see is in the Chamber, that what has happened over the Price Review is not just a question of hysteria. It is a question of real concern, there is no doubt about that. I think that the farmers' unions are taking a very responsible attitude. It is perhaps difficult for the unions to control some of their members, but it is not a case of hysteria, it is deep-seated concern.
The farmers view the Price Review with a degree of sadness and almost with dismay. Not all is wrong with the Review, but the parts which are wrong are very wrong. I believe that the Minister knows this. There is no doubt that farmers have been unhappy for a long time, and it is not only this Price Review that has been the cause. I should be dishonest if I did not say so. Farmers have been unhappy for some time, and there is a grave concern in the farming community which has been building up. I do not believe it is true to say that in the past Conservative Members of Parliament have not protested at some of the Price Reviews. I am quite certain that my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) had something to say, and I am quite certain that my predecessor, Percy Browne, protested. Had I been in the House I certainly should have protested, even against my own party.
But the measures taken by my party to control imports, together with other measures, enabled them to give a decent and encouraging Price Review last year. We had encouraging words from the present Minister before he came to power. This gave the farmers a real sense of 1742 progress and confidence in the industry. We felt that we were getting somewhere, but I can assure the Minister that this feeling has now evaporated. Many of the small farmers in my constituency were wooed by the false promises of the Socialists before the election. There is no question about that.
§ Mr. Manuel
Will the hon. Member apply his mind to this point? If Government from his party had been returned to power at the recent election, where does he think they would have found the money to give a greater return to agriculture than my Government have given, considering that there would have been greater defence expenditure? Would they have sacrificed the old-age pensions to obtain the money? Where does he think that such a Government would have found the money?
§ Mr. Mills
I am not going to be sidetracked by the hon. Member. I am quite certain that we should not be in the mess economically that we are in now. There is a great lack of confidence in the Socialist Government. We were wooed. Many small farmers in the South-West "dabbled", if I may say so, with Socialist policies. Whatever defence the Minister may put up, he cannot deny that what has happened is very different from what he promised before his party came to power. I am sorry that the Minister is not present, I wish that he were—
§ Mr. Grant-Ferris (Nantwich)
Is my hon. Friend aware that perhaps this is a record absence of Ministers from the Ministry of Agriculture in a debate such as this, and that I hope someone will explain it carefully?
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. George Thomas)
Will the hon. Member give way?
§ Mr. G. Thomas
I hate to see the hon. Gentleman putting his foot in it. It so happens that I have a great deal to do with agriculture. The Home Office is one of the agricultural Departments; it looks after Ulster.
§ Mr. Mills
I am not going to be sidetracked by that, either.
I wonder whether the Minister—I wish he were present—remembers his visit to Devon. I wonder whether he remembers his visit to Exeter when he spoke to many hundreds of Devonshire farmers, and what he said on that occasion. I can assure hon. Members that many farmers came away from that meeting convinced that this was the man to follow, that this was the man to lead us. I can assure the House that many small farmers went away with joy in their breasts as they realised what was in store for them under the Socialist Government. I can assure the Minister that this is not now so. This feeling has evaporated completely. Of course, no Minister likes breaking faith with an industry. What has happened is that the Minister has, in the Cabinet, been out-voiced and out-gunned by those who hold the traditional socialist view that agriculture is an expensive nuisance.
This view is only too clear in what I have heard since I have been in the House and what I have heard in this debate. The hon. Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. John Hynd) said that this was another £11 million poured down the drain. This is the attitude; and this is a very sad experience for me. I did not expect to hear this in the House. Of course, it is not only seen in this debates; it has been seen at Question Time, and I am certain that rural constituencies will take note of this attitude, particularly those in the South-West.
Milk is a product which is vital to the economy of the South-West. Many small farmers rely on milk. Hundreds have been going out of business in the past years, and there is no doubt that hundreds are waiting to go out. It depended entirely on the result of the Price Review. The decision to go out of milk production is not an easy one for a small farmer to take. It is probably one of the biggest decisions he has to make, to give up his monthly milk cheque. It is a vital cheque to him, 1744 month by month. Such a decision is a serious step, and I am certain that the only reason that they are going out of milk production and taking this big decision is that it is not economical.
I am sure that the penny which is to be put on every gallon will not stop this drift away from milk production. The drift may not increase for a few months, but it will certainly become an avalanche towards the autumn unless something is done about it, particularly as the price of barren cows is reaching a fairly good price and there is some recoupment on the loss of milk production. This is not a scare on my part. I am speaking as a practical working farmer when I say that I believe this is a very real danger.
I have said that I am a milk producer. It was not long ago that I was milking fourteen times a week. This is a hard job which goes on and on. It needs to be well rewarded. This is what makes me rather sad as I listen to some of the criticism which has come from the other side of the House. What do hon. Members opposite really know about the drudgery of milking fourteen times a week? I doubt whether they know very much. I would not say anything about a miner with his difficult and dirty job, because I do not know anything about it. I only know that it is a difficult job. I know that some hon. Members will appreciate that milking fourteen times a week is sheer drudgery.
There is no doubt why young men do not want to go into this side of the industry. They do not want to take on the job of the dairy man. Their wives are rebelling. Country folk would like to taste the advantages of the five and a half day week which industry enjoys. Wives are rebelling against their husbands having to milk seven times a week. I am surprised that nothing has been said on this subject. How can farmers pay their workers a decent wage unless they are recouped? I am surprised that hon. Members from the National Union of Agricultural Workers have not spoken about this.
§ Mr. Mills
It is most important that farm workers have a decent standard of living and a decent wage. Farmers should be recouped so as to be able to do this.
1745 Men will not go into the dairy industry unless they get a fair return for their labour. As I said in the Agricultural Committee yesterday—and I repeat it because I feel that it is most important that hon. Members should know it—no one will sweat seven days a week" tied to cows' tits", as we say in the West Country. We shall not go on doing this, unless we get a fair return for the work we do, especially if we can earn our living on cereals and beef production, which do not require seven days a week. This is a social problem, and I hope the Minister will remember that there is a very real danger of people leaving milk production because of it. This fact must be learned by hon. Members and by the public. I believe that unless something is done we shall see a greatly increased drift from milk production.
Milk is 15 per cent. cheaper in real terms than it was before the war. I have here my milk cheques—the life-blood of any small farmer—which show that six years ago I was getting more money for my milk than I am today, in spite of the increased costs. In the case of milk, we are justified in asking for a considerable increase. I believe that, as farmers, we have absorbed all the costs which we can in the milk industry. We have put our house in order; there is no doubt about that.
§ Mr. J. B. Symonds (Whitehaven)
The hon. Member is speaking on behalf of the small farmer and demanding an increase in the penny per gallon. Where does he expect the money to come from, the consumer or the taxpayer?
§ Mr. Mills
There is no doubt in my mind that the consumer must pay more. I believe that we have absorbed all the costs we can. What do we need to give the milk industry more drive and to cover our costs? I have said before in the House that 3d. a gallon is necessary. It would mean ½d. a pint to the consumer. What is that, to ensure the housewife has her pint or quart of fresh milk daily? We are not asking for 6d. a gallon. This is overstating our case. I am sorry that the Minister keeps referring to these reports of farmers demanding 6d. a gallon. This is not so. A few might have said so, but what has been asked for is 3d. a gallon; I believe that the Minister 1746 knows in his heart that this is fair and correct.
I should like to ask the Minister many questions, but I shall limit myself to three. What advice would he give the small dairy farmer in the South-West? I do not know what to say to them. By what methods could be absorb any more costs on a dairy farm? Is it fair to the dairy farmer to expect him to go on, doomed to a life of drudgery with such small financial reward? We are not asking for a large profit on milk, but a fair profit, so that we might continue to provide our nation with milk. I believe that there is a danger that the supply may not continue at the level required, particularly with our rising consumption and population. I do not believe there need be great fears of over production; those fears have passed. With the modern sales promotion by the Milk Marketing Board, which has done so much to overcome the problem, I do not fear the future.
I am also concerned about the size of herds. I do not want to see the dairy herds getting larger and larger, which is a serious danger, for one cannot give the care and attention to the large herd that can be given to the medium-sized herd. I do not want to see the farmer with the 30–40-cow herd go out of business.
There is much that I could say about cereals, beef and poultry, in respect of which there are fresh problems as a result of the Price Review. But there is one further question which I should like to put to the Minister about beef. It is rather complicated and I will send him the full details. It is connected with the supplements and abatements of the guaranteed price of 174s. a cwt. If the Minister works it out carefully he will find that unless there is a substantial rise in the market price, the producers will get only the guaranteed price, which is 3s. 5d. a cwt. less than they received last year. They are therefore no better off with the increase of 4s.
I could say much more. This reaction by farmers to the Price Review is not hysteria. It arises from uncertainty and lack of confidence produced by the Price Review. We have never had a revision of a Price Review, but there is always a first time. I ask the Minister to think again. The Government must take steps 1747 to alter some parts of this Price Review. It is up to them to restore confidence in the industry. It is up to the farmers' leaders to produce evidence strong enough to change minds in the Cabinet. This is a great industry which is playing its full part in the economic life of the country. It is worthy of a much better Price Review than it has had.
§ 8.22 p.m.
§ Mr. Bert Hazell (Norfolk, North)
May I first comment on a remark made by the hon. Member for Torrington (Mr. Peter Mills)? Ever since the debate started I have been trying to take part in it and to put a point of view for the organisation of which I have been a member for many years.
I enjoyed the maiden speech of my near neighbour the hon. Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Hawkins). His constituency adjoins mine. I am sure that now that he has got that speech off his chest he will feel much more comfortable, because I remember full well making my own maiden speech a few months ago.
Agriculture is one of the largest industries in the country, and without a shadow of doubt it has made tremendous progress. Like other speakers, I draw attention to the increased productivity which has taken place. I do not suppose that there is an agricultural industry anywhere else in the world which has taken as much advantage as has British agriculture of the scientific knowledge and new methods of production and cultivation which have been made available over the years. No other country has stepped up its level of agricultural output to the same extent.
In making his maiden speech the hon. Member for Norfolk, South-West said that when he was asked, as a boy, what he would like to do, he was told that he had not the ability to become a farmer nor had his father the wherewithal to finance the project. At that time, during the 1930s, I was an agricultural worker, and I know full well the poverty which then existed in the industry. It existed among farmers on a large scale, farmers on a small scale, and paid employees. During those years of abject poverty, when land was waterlogged and hedges were overgrown, when there was an air 1748 of despondency throughout the countryside, when bankruptcy was the order of the day, when farms were unlettable and were sold at give-away prices, the Tories were in power.
§ Mr. W. Baxter
Does my hon. Friend recollect that not only were the Tories in power but that it was a Labour Government, which came into power in 1931, which started the great revolution in the farming industry by putting on the Statute Book the Milk Marketing Act, 1931, which was the basis of the prosperity of the farming industry in milk production right up to the present time?
§ Mr. Hazell
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that point. I well recall that it was Lord Addison, then Dr. Addison, who, as Minister of Agriculture, was responsible for placing the Milk Marketing Act on the Statute Book, as a consequence of which the Marketing Board was established. The hon. Member for Torrington referred to that Board and proudly showed his milk cheques to the House.
I am also mindful of the fact that the major move in bringing about a prosperous agriculture was achieved under the 1947 Act when Tom Williams was the Minister. It has been interesting to listen to tributes paid to him from time to time by hon. Members opposite and by people outside the House. He was carrying out the policy of the Labour Party, who form the present Government. Subsequently the rural areas had an opportunity of showing their appreciation of that Minister, but, unfortunately, they elected a Government which did not produce the results for which the farmers might have hoped.
Looking back over recent years, it is clear that there have been a number of Annual Price Reviews which have not been agreed by the National Farmers' Union. When I read statements in the Press and hear them made in the House that the present Price Review has been disastrous, I feel that it must be obvious to those who speak on those lines have not read carefully enough the events of past years. Surely one cannot say that a Price Review which gives nearly £10½ million additional money to the farming industry this year is a disastrous Review.
1749 Under the 1957 Act—which I admit was the product of a Tory Government—my right hon. Friend could have substantially reduced the guarantees and, even allowing for additional costs to the value of £29 million, the total guarantee could have been reduced by about £9 million. My right hon. Friend did not choose to do that, although the way had been prepared by the 1957 Act for him to have that action, and instead we have the additional figure of £10.4 million.
To some extent I disagree with the White Paper, just as I disagreed with last year's White Paper. We are told that the additional cost to the industry amounts to about £29 million. Bearing this in mind, we must look at the 1964 White Paper to see what was stated about costs and efficiency. On page 8 we read:The main item is an increase in the cost of labour.When we look at the figures allowed for that increased cost of labour last year we find that the White Paper provided for a sum of £13.65 million. In this year's White Paper, under the section on costs and efficiency, we find these words:The main item is a rise in agricultural wage rates.We find, on looking at the figures relating to last year, that the wage rates increase cost only £1.5 million. So £1.5 million was the actual rise in cost, although in last year's White Paper more than £13 million was provisionally provided for that cost. In this year's White Paper the sum of £29 million is allowed for and is, we are told, the main item for agricultural wages.
I suggest that when this year's balance sheet is made up we will not find this main cost factor being due to a substantial rise in wages. In this connection, when assessing labour costs we should remember that at the time of the Review the number of workers in the industry is the basis on which the cost factor is arrived at, although each week and month we see a continual movement of labour from the land. The most recent published figures show that more than 17,000 regular workers left the land last year.
This movement from the land is bound to be reflected in labour costs. Thus, the difference between the estimated £13 million and the actual increased cost of 1750 only £1½ million. I am satisfied that a similar situation will prevail when the current year's balance sheet is made up. It will not be anything like the level for which my right hon. Friend has provided in assessing the additional cost figure of £29 million.
The farmers' net income is running at the all-time high record of £472 million. an increase of £63 million over the previous year. This is a substantial increase and must be borne in mind when assessing how much the taxpayer should guarantee over and above the actual cost last year.
§ Mr. Eldon Griffiths
Before the hon. Gentleman leaves the subject of the drift of farm workers from the land—and I recognise that he knows more about this subject than most hon. Members—would he say that this year's Price Review has in any way served to arrest the drift about which he is complaining?
§ Mr. Hazell
This Review, and any other Review—including the particularly generous one agreed last year because of the General Election—is not likely to arrest the drift from the land, which is predominantly due to wage levels and earnings in agriculture being substantially less than those enjoyed in any other occupation.
The suggestion made earlier today that the N.F.U. and the N.U.A.W. might agree a substantial rise with a Ministry assurance that the rise would automatically be covered by increased prices, does not carry much weight with me. My experience is that adjustments of wage rates have usually been recognised in assessing the cost factor when they have become known. I do not expect, under a Labour Government, that if the industry gave something substantial, my right hon. Friend would ignore that fact in assessing the cost, and the obligations of the country to the industry, when negotiating a subsequent Price Review—
§ Mr. Brewis
Does the hon. Gentleman think that his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs would ignore the fact?
§ Mr. Hazell
Bearing in mind the interest of my right hon. Friend in agriculture, I am sure that he would give very sympathetic consideration to any demand made upon him in the knowledge that it would give a more adequate 1751 reward to the lowest paid workers in industry—
§ Mr. William Hamling (Woolwich, West)
Can my hon. Friend say from his experience whether the National Farmers' Union would make such an offer?
§ Mr. Hazell
In 20 years' experience as a negotiator on agricultural wages boards, I have found that we have usually had to fight all the way to secure improved wage rates and working conditions, and I do not imagine that there will be a revolutionary change of outlook in that repect either now or in the immediate future.
The National Farmers' Union is disappointed with the results of its Price Review negotiations, but that is not unusual for any party in negotiations. How often have I entered into negotiations on behalf of my membership full of confidence that my case was worthy of fulfilment in toto, only to come away at the end of the day with a mere fraction of what I had hoped to achieve? Of course, we cannot say that over £10 million is a mere pittance, but one accepts that it is substantially less than those who negotiated on behalf of the farmers had hoped to achieve.
But no good purpose will be served by adopting methods and making speeches such as have been too common in the last fortnight. I have a paper here showing representatives of the East Riding branch of the National Farmers' Union saying, "Fight the political devils." I presume that applies to both sides of this House because, looking at recent Price Reviews, the farmers have not much to thank the Tories for.
Such statements do not help the farmers' cause in the community as a whole. The irrational statements which have been made in recent days have probably prejudiced the majority of members of the public against farmers. This is unfortunate. My organisation and I want to see agriculture continuing to maintain its rightful place in our economy. The industry has contributed much. It has much more to contribute.
I should like to see the country using all the resources available for increasing our production to the maximum in every 1752 sphere. I wish that the United Nations placed much greater emphasis on creating a world food bank. It is tragic that nations which are capable of producing more are, because of economic circumstances and negotiations with other industrial nations, forced to place a curb on production levels. With half the world's population still suffering from starvation, I wish that nations which are capable of producing more would do so and make a greater contribution to meeting the real needs of the world's starving millions.
However, I am a realist. The United Nations has not got down to the job of creating the necessary distributive agency so that we could maintain our prosperous agricultural industry and at the same time assist those who need the results of what we and other nations are capable of producing.
The hon. Member for Torrington was on a good point when he spoke about the type of job that a cowman has to perform. Whatever is done about the Price Review, whatever price is fixed for milk, I am satisfied that employers will find it increasingly difficult to get workers to take on a seven day a week job. It is suggested that we might move towards small and medium-sized cow herds, but the fact remains that there will have to be a trend towards larger herds. There will have to be some method by which workers can be given time off each week to spend with their families and do little domestic jobs, because I believe that in the future young men will not take on a job which allows them no leisure, nor will they take on a job which offers a rate of pay which falls far short of the rate paid to unskilled labourers in many other occupations.
Marketing is all essential. I was glad to be able to serve on the Standing Committee which considered the Cereals Marketing Bill. The provisions of that Measure are a step in the right direction. However, I wish that the scope of the Measure had been wider so as to take in imports. I wish that we had greater control over the import side, because this would be a considerable help to our cereal growers and would make the Measure more effective than it is likely to be as it deals only with home-grown cereals.
1753 I welcome the fact that there is in due course to be a meat and livestock commission. I hope that we shall see a Measure wider in scope which not only deals with imports and home production, but also represents the consumer interest. I want to see effective marketing machinery for all the commodities we grow. There is a great future for our agriculture. This Price Review opens a new door. I hope that as the door is now ajar for new thinking and new ideas it will be pushed wider and that we shall utilise to a fuller extent the possibilities of our agriculture industry.
The right hon. Member for Rushcliffe (Sir M. Redmayne) referred to the possibility of negotiations covering a longer term than 12 months. I confess that I do not like this horse-dealing every 12 months and if it is possible for the Government, with the industry, to think of ways and means of determining prices over a long term, subject to certain inevitable changes in the cost factor, this would be of great advantage in planning the future of British agriculture.
§ 8.46 p.m.
§ Mr. Richard Stanley (North Fylde)
I am certain that everyone who heard the hon. Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Hazell) would agree with what he said about wanting a good return for the agricultural worker. I shall return to that theme later, but there is one definite theme which seems to me to have run through the whole debate and that is that everyone is against this Price Review. Hon. Members opposite criticised it, saying that it was the Conservatives' fault. The Conservatives are all disappointed, and when the Liberal, the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. George Y. Mackie) spoke he blamed both sides equally and, therefore, I do not know quite where he stood.
We feel when we listen to hon. Members opposite that most of them are not very keen on agriculture. This is true, and the Minister knows it better than anyone. They always think that they can catch a speaker on this side of the House by asking us whether we think the price of milk should be pushed on to the consumer.
§ Mr. James Tinn (Cleveland)
Would not the hon. Member agree that there have been at least as many hon. Members 1754 on this side of the House speaking in the debate as there have been on the benches opposite?
§ Mr. Stanley
I do not see how that comes into it. We on this side can speak in a debate on nationalisation, but that does not mean that we are keen on it.
§ Mr. Stanley
I am afraid that the right hon. Gentleman is in for a difficult time, because he knows that every Question put to him by his hon. Friends is a dig at the farmers. If the right hon. Gentleman only explained what subsidies meant he would have a much easier time and in future might reach the same stature as Lord Williams. If he had had real support from his own side and from the Cabinet, a fortnight ago "Young Fred" might have had a good win, like Old Tom had last week. If the right hon. Gentleman could explain matters to some of the people who are frightened about food prices going up and are not concerned with giving a fair return to the farmer things would be very much better.
Several references have been made in the debate to the price of milk. I entirely agree with those who have said that an increase of 1d. a gallon is too little. If the Minister had been brave, taken his courage in his hands and put the price up, he would have satisfied people very much more and would have given much more contentment to the industry which is at present so much against him.
The other consequence of cutting down on milk affects the number of cows sold and this, in turn, affects the beef herds. Nowadays, except for Channel Islands herds, they are all dual-purpose. If people start to kill off the cows, for which they can now get a pretty good price, and stop producing the milk, the material for building up our beef herds for the future will suffer. This is something which should not be ignored. Producing really high quality beef today does not yield a very big profit. If a man has bad luck and loses one or two, all his profits are likely to go. I am not suggesting that there is not probably quite 1755 a good profit on the barley-fed younger ones when one can sell them, but the people who produce really good beef do not make much profit, and, of course, beef in this country like all our other foods, is cheaper than anywhere else in Europe.
At the moment, the Egg Marketing Board and the National Farmers' Union are trying to bring out a scheme for eggs. They have a very difficult task before them. There are many people with comparatively few hens, 5,000 or 10,000, and these are the ones who ought to be protected so that they may know whether it will be economical for them to carry on. There is a tendency now for people to go into egg production in a really big way. In Lancashire, someone is buying a mill and hopes to put half a million hens in it. If this sort of thing develops and eggs are massproduced in that way, the small man, apart from selling the few dozen at the farm gate, will not be able to carry on. If there is no scheme, these people are likely to be knocked out and disaster will come. I regard it as a mistake for the Minister to have taken off the 1d. a dozen. Could he not have waited until, say, next year when it is likely that a scheme will have been brought out?
It is useless to have over-production of either milk or eggs. No one in his senses wants that, but the Minister has struck a nasty blow at the small egg producer, of whom there are very many in the country. The right hon. Gentleman, by hitting the small milk producer and egg producer, has not helped by any means. Much the same applies to the other small farmers—I am not talking about hill farmers—whose interest is in pigs. Everyone knows that bacon production calls for great skill. It is a difficult job and the profit is by no means great. Once small farmers are unsure of their future, we shall run into more difficulties.
The bigger farmers could have more security and, being given greater grants, they would be able to pay proper wages to the people they employ. The temptations to farm workers are sometimes very great. When the M.6 motorway was being built through Lancashire, one farm worker, who had learnt his job as a tractor driver on the farm, went off and 1756 drove one of those enormous machines which moves the soil and, doing a lot of overtime, earned up to £36 a week. With temptations like that before them, we cannot expect to keep workers in agriculture with the wages which they should have unless there is a fair return for everyone. The small farmer must get it for himself. The bigger ones who employ workers must be sure of securing a reasonable profit. As I have said, food in this country is cheaper than it is anywhere in Europe. Let us see that farmers have a proper return so that everyone can have a healthy, contented and reasonably prosperous life in the industry.
§ 8.55 p.m.
§ Mr. William Baxter (West Stirlingshire)
At the end of this debate, I have five minutes in which to present my case on the very important subject of the Price Review. I consider that a revision of the principle of Price Reviews is long overdue. It is time we got down to a new approach to the problems which confront the agricultural industry.
I ask my right hon. Friend to consider a very important aspect of hill cattle subsidies based principally on the winter keep scheme. Everyone seems to be agreed that it is desirable and necessary to increase our herds. My right hon. Friend has indicated that this will be done by giving an extra £1 for hill cows and an extra 10s. for calves. However, I suggest that my right hon. Friend would do well to consider cutting down the period during which a breeder has to keep a calf before it qualifies for subsidy. If he could cut it down to four to six months he would help considerably in increasing the herds of upland farmers. The upland farmer has this difficulty that he must get the fodder for the calves, and by reason of the time that they are born, it is well into the winter time before he can sell them. If he could sell them earlier, he would probably be able to keep an extra cow right through the winter time because he would have sufficient food.
Also in regard to the hill cattle subsidy and the winter keep scheme, Scottish farmers should be put on a par with their English neighbours. It is true that the English system has been altered by my hon. and right hon. Friends by basing 1757 it upon the heads of the cows kept on the holding as against the amount of cropland which we have on our hill farms. My contention is that, because of the difficult conditions which prevail in many parts of Scotland, the farmers receive very little subsidy under the winter keep scheme on the basis of acreage being cultivated for winter keep purposes. It would be much better for many Scottish farmers if their winter keep subsidy were based upon the heads of the bovine population which they have. This is an extremely important point.
Another aspect which deserves much further consideration is the great and difficult problem of milk supplies. I congratulate the Minister upon giving us an excellent explanation of the problem which confronts him and the small dairy farmer if the production of milk increases considerably because one puts a great deal of that milk into manufacture. But what should be devised is a scheme whereby the milk going to manufacturing purposes could be underwritten by a Government special subsidy so that it could be diverted to the manufacture of cheese, butter and so on. If necessary, this should be channelled into an export trade to countries which need and desire the surplus from our farming industry.
There is no doubt that there exists the great problem of balancing our position as agriculturists with our position as industrialists. There is no doubt that if we do not face up to this in the not too far distant future we shall find out our grave mistake. Let there be no mistake about it; Britain is not, as she used to be, the workshop of the world. She has ceased to be that. Therefore, we must have regard to the co-ordination which ought to exist between agriculture as an industry and industry and agriculture. The preconceived notions of former Governments about bringing into being certain agreements for food, such as those with E.F.T.A., the Common Market and even the Commonwealth, must be revised in the spirit and understanding of the day and generation in which we live. Hon. Members need only look at tonight's evening papers, which contain predictions about the Budget. There is no doubt that the difficult situation in which the Government and the country find themselves, which is due to the 1758 terrific imbalance between our exports and imports, is a warning not only to the agriculturist but also to the industrialist.
The Government must look at this problem afresh to get new ideas and new impetus into the development not only of industry but of agriculture. Let us not forget the simple fact that neither can be divorced from the other. Industry is dependent upon agriculture and agriculture is dependent upon industry. If any Government ever ceased to recognise that simple fact, then their folly would rest squarely on their shoulders in the years ahead. Britain must give a lead in a new conception which must inter-relate industry with agriculture and agriculture with industry.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr Michael Noble (Argyll)
We have had the pleasure today—and I think that I speak for the whole House in saying so—of listening to the maiden speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk. South-West (Mr. Hawkins). He admitted to two things: first, the length of time that it had taken him to prepare himself for what to many of us is a terrifying day, and secondly, that during the war he spent five years surrounded by the Highland Division. I am not certain which of these experiences he will look back on as being the worse, but I am sure that we all enjoyed the way he spoke, appreciated very much the things he said and hope to hear from him on many other occasions.
A few days ago in the town of Dunblane in Scotland, the Secretary of State for Scotland addressed what I know well to be a rather terrifying meeting of the N.F.U. He told the farmers that they did not need a referee but somebody who was on their side. This is only too obviously apparent, because the farming community has always looked to the Minister of Agriculture in England and to the Secretary of State in Scotland as being persons who were on their side and who were prepared to fight on their behalf if necessary with their colleagues in the Cabinet.
It is right and proper for the farmers to feel that way. In this context, I will quote what the right hon. Gentleman had to say in a debate on agriculture in 1960 when there was also a certain amount 1759 of serious worry by the farming community. The right hon. Gentleman said:We are dealing with a serious subject, because Scottish farmers do not get upset over nothing."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Grand Committee, 28th June, 1960; c. 108.]If it was serious then, how much more serious is it today when not only the Scottish farmers but the English, Welsh and Northern Irish farmers are showing themselves to be thoroughly upset.
So upset are the farmers that, perhaps for the first time in the memory of any hon. Member, we have had the farmers' lobby coming from the furthest parts of the country to give the views of the farming community to hon. Members. They have done this because they have felt that in putting their views to their Ministers of Agriculture they have failed to convince them. Therefore, they have come to the House of Commons, entailing journeys of 300, 400, 500 and even 600 miles, in the hope that hon. Members will see that their viewpoint and feelings are properly expressed today.
The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Agriculture, making his speech, which was not so much a speech but more of a lecture, because it was read out—I can remember very well having to do the same, but I do not ever remember an occasion when I was so scared of losing my place that I would not give way to anyone—
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. William Ross)
Not as inaccurate as the right hon. Gentleman's.
§ Mr. Noble
I know the right hon. Gentleman, and I am fairly certain that he was carefully avoiding anyone who could ask him a question which he could not answer.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Sir M. Redmayne) opened the debate very quietly and calmly and gave the House a very reasonable statement of the whole agricultural situation as the farmers and my hon. and right hon. Friends see it today. On the other hand, the Minister, whose speech I am certain was written in Transport House—
§ Mr. Peart rose—
§ Mr. Noble
The right hon. Gentleman has now explained the whole matter. It is usual when one is to read a brief or speech to have it prepared, or at least looked at, by one's civil servants. As in this case it was the right hon. Gentleman's own speech, that explains why there were so many inaccuracies
The right hon. Gentleman rightly stressed that there were one or two good items in the White Paper. I do not think that anybody would deny that. The extension of the small farmers' scheme, costing about £250,000 in the right hon. Gentleman's estimate, and the new scheme for credits, costing £200,000, 1761 are things of which both the industry and the House approve in general. I agree with the hon. and learned Member for Brigg (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu) that one of the most useful individual items in the White Paper, which is very small, is the special help for keeping records, because this is something in which the smaller farmers in the country as a whole have been comparatively unsuccessful through not having sufficient information about how their businesses are being operated.
The Minister has done many rather curious things in the White Paper. For the first time in the history of White Papers, I think—I have looked back—he appears in paragraph 66 to claim for the Government some credit for the actual and normal weather basis, although it seems to me a little odd to do so, for two reasons. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Williams, on whom the right hon. Gentleman is clearly modelling, himself—I hope that he does not model himself on the same conditions which applied in Lord Williams' day—did on one occasion, like other Ministers after him, give extra to the farming community. In spite of the adjustment for bad weather, extra seemed to be given. On this occasion, the right hon. Gentleman seems to be suggesting that because the weather was good—and the harvest was in before he came to office—the farmers could get worse treatment than usual.
I turn to one or two Scottish points, although I know that this is a United Kingdom debate. In the figures which the Minister produced, the increase of £63 million in the farmers' income, for normal weather, is quite impressive. I hope that the Secretary of State for Scotland will be able to give us the breakdown of that figure for Scotland, because I suspect that the weather in Scotland during harvest time was a great deal worse and that farmers in Scotland got a good deal less on this occasion than their fair share.
I ask the Secretary of State to consider a rather special point on the problem of milk producers which has not been raised in the debate, although a great deal has been said,rightly,about the milk problem as a whole. As he knows, there are a good many milk producers in islands off the West Coast and North 1762 Coast of Scotland, and in a number of them there are also creameries. I have felt for some time that in conditions of this sort, where milk production among smaller farmers is at least in some doubt, there may be a good opportunity of giving special help to producers in these islands because they are easily identifiable and their milk goes almost entirely either into the local market or into the creamery. If the milk producers in those areas give up that type of production, employment will fall not only on the farms but in the creameries.
Like the hon. Lady the Member for Carmarthen (Lady Megan Lloyd George) and others, I welcome the help for the hill sheep farmers. I do not think the Minister will expect me to quarrel with that as I made a speech advocating it about a month ago. I also agree with the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. W. Baxter) in his advocacy of a special headage payment under the winter keep scheme, which I also mentioned in the same speech. I am delighted to have the hon. Gentleman's support on that.
I return to the White Paper. What the Minister of Agriculture seemed to be trying to avoid was the fact that the National Farmers' Union has not only quarrelled with the milk price or the cereals price, but has disagreed with this Price Review across the board, in spite of the fact that, as I said, at the beginning of my speech, there are several items in the White Paper which they welcome. I am perfectly certain that this absolute disagreement across the board is a real indication of what they feel about this Price Review.
The Minister and other speakers have tried to suggest that this is synthetic resentment. I think that the Minister referred to the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Rushcliffe as an attempt to try to work up some sort of synthetic resentment. That, amongst other reasons, was why I suspected that Transport House had written his speech, and had written it several days ago.
My right hon. Friend could not have been more moderate. If he and the Secretary of State for Scotland have met, as I am sure they have, the leaders of the National Farmers' Union, they will know that they, too, have been doing everything which they reasonably could to 1763 damp down the real resentment that is coming up from the branches throughout the country. If right hon. Gentlemen opposite do not agree with me, I hope that they will say so, because that is my information and I believe it to be true.
The resentment which the farming industry feels is centred basically on the question of incomes. I accept, as one must, that this is a problem which has been working through the industry for a number of year—[Interruption.]—for 13 years if one likes. The real picture, however—and everyone who has been in the agriculture industry, including the leaders of the unions, knows it—is that as my right hon. Friend said in opening the debate, we have been changing from the superb sellers' market of Lord William's day through a period when surpluses, first of one commodity and then of another, appeared in different parts of the world and finally began to appear here. Both sides of the House, have, in the main, co-operated with the farmers in trying to find the right solution to their problems.
Last year, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bedford (Mr. Soames) had finally created the situation in which the open-ended nature of the subsidies, which had been a considerable worry to both sides, was practically closed. The amount paid out from the Exchequer in subsidies to the farmer had been decreasing rapidly and, therefore, it was the right moment to give the farmers their chance of a considerably increased income. This they appreciated. They were perfectly certain that the same sort of treatment would be given to them this year.
The same conditions apply—£50 million less on the Estimates than was expected. From speeches made by right hon. Gentlemen opposite, from the Minister of Agriculture, from the First Secretary of State and from the Minister of Housing and Local Government, the farmers had every possible reason for believing that they would get the same treatment. The resentment has built up because they did not and because this was a real shock throughout the whole farming community.
The right hon. Gentleman mentioned that we had also made cuts in milk, but his action was, again, part of a dishonest 1764 position, because he did not tell the House that in the year 1959–60 an extra 85 million gallons of milk was produced above the year before, that in the following year an additional 154 million gallons was produced above the extra 85 million gallons, and that in the year after there was another 93 million gallons. In those circumstances, it was absolutely right that the price of milk should be cut because every farmer, and the right hon. Gentleman himself at the time, knew that the situation was impossible.
§ Mr. Noble
I am sorry, no. I have only ten minutes left to me and I have a lot still to cover.
The main argument against the Review is that if the Minister felt it right—but I think he was wrong—to hold milk production down to a beggarly penny, and a good deal less than that for the farmers of Scotland, he has given no other real incentives in beef, cereals or sheep to which the dairy farmers who may feel that they have to leave that side of the industry can go and hope to make a better profit.
My hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, South-West who made his maiden speech today, referred, quite rightly, to the very good labour relations which agriculture has had, and I think that he stirred a chord in the hearts of many of those who know the country when he spoke of the special skills which are now growing up in agriculture.
The hon. Lady the Member for Carmarthen told the House that the Minister had accepted a meat board. If he has accepted a meat board he may have told the hon. Lady but he has not told the House. Perhaps he will tell us something more about it before the debate is over.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) said that the Minister had been somewhat dishonest in his statement about cereals, and as this has been a question under dispute I think I should like to try to deal with the position as I see it. The cuts in the price of wheat and barley were reduced to the maximum of 4 per cent. which was permitted under the 1765 terms of the 1957 Act. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister has claimed that these cuts had to be made under the trade agreements which were signed last year. When my right hon. Friend disputed this, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Enfield, East (Mr. John Mackie) read out to the House the terms of that trade agreement. Under this, what are described as price mechanisms operate in full when the whole crops of wheat and barley exceed certain figures. Those figures were exceeded, as he told us, as a result of our 1964 harvest.
But the price mechanisms referred to in paragraph 6 of the agreement which the hon. Gentleman read out have nothing whatever to do with the fundamental support prices paid under our Review system. They apply solely to the price adjustments within the standard quantities structure which rise or fall according to whether the home crops are large or small. What the Government are now doing, and let everybody realise it, is not only to operate the standard quantity adjustments—an addition of 7d. and 9d.—but imposing in addition the maximum cuts under the 1957 Act as well and on top—an extra 1s. 1d. and 1s. 4d.—[HON. MEMBERS: "Shocking."]
For the right hon. Gentleman to try to make out that the Government had no alternative is, in my belief, a thoroughly dishonest statement. I am absolutely certain when he has had time to consult the N.F.U. he will find that it would never have signed—they agreed to the trade agreement—under those terms. I do not believe it is the right interpretation, and I think it is highly disreputable for Ministers opposite to try to bring this sort of argument in to defend their Review.
I said at the beginning that the farmers in Scotland were surprised to find that the Secretary of State regarded himself as a referee and not somebody who should be on their side.
§ Mr. Ross rose—
§ Mr. Noble
If I have done the right hon. Gentleman a wrong in this I am very sorry indeed it should be so. I am merely quoting from reports of the wonderful meeting he had with them. I think that the House as a whole realises the importance of agriculture to the country, and many hon. Members have spoken of their desire to avoid a split between town and country.
I do not see him in his place, but I cannot refrain from quoting a comment of the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) who said:…I object to my hon. Friends on the Front Bench putting down an Amendment supporting an industry when politically we do not get very much out of it. Why waste our time on these people?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st June, 1961; Vol. 641, c. 465.]There are many farmers in the country who feel that that somewhat extreme view—I know that the hon. Gentleman has extreme views—is being represented more widely in the party in Government at the moment than in just one or two places.
Does the farming industry not deserve the support of the Government and the House? Last May I was able to visit Moscow. The right hon. Gentleman went there, too. I was told by two or three senior Soviet officials that they had chosen Britain to have a special exhibition of agricultural equipment and so on because, having made a study of agriculture here, they had found it was more efficient than in any other part of the world. I therefore say that agriculture deserves some support. I think the right hon. Gentleman knows that the increase in productivity per man in agriculture is nearly double that of the average of other industries in the country, so it has nothing to be ashamed of there.
People are suggesting that agriculture is not sufficiently modern. I can only say that from my experience I know of no other of our traditional industries which have so freely accepted new ideas, and new systems, and which have been prepared to put their own capital, as well as help from the Government, behind these new ideas. The agricultural industry has accepted new techniques more quickly perhaps than any other industry, and, as I have said, labour relations 1767 in the industry are probably the best in the country, too.
It has been said by one or two hon. Members during the debate that food prices to the housewife have been too high. My right hon. Friend gave the costs of beef. During the last seven years, over the country as a whole, the cost of food has risen by 17 per cent. Perhaps we might compare that with what has happened in other countries. In Spain, which is perhaps not very similar, it has risen by 97 per cent. In France, which is much closer, it has risen by 55 per cent. In Sweden—and the Prime Minister is always telling us that we ought to imitate Sweden—it has risen by 42 per cent. In Holland, another of the most efficient countries in agriculture, it has risen by 29 per cent. One sees, therefore, that on ability and help to keeping prices down for the consumer, farmers have played, and know they have played, an important part in helping the country as a whole.
Farmers also know that as a community they have played a big part, which has been referred to often during the debate, in helping with the balance of payments. There is a record, which is now getting a little worn, and the needle keeps bumping out of the groove, about the economic legacy which right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite found when they took office. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Wait for it. There is also on record the statement of the right hon. Gentleman at the beginning of this debate that in the last thirteen years the Conservative Party have not done one single thing for agriculture. Will the right hon. Gentleman please explain to the House how it was that he was nodding his head all the way through the remarks that I made about the efficiency, the productivity and the low costs all of which happened during the last 13 years?
Last year farming incomes were at a record level, something which the right hon. Gentleman tries to claim for himself. Does not he realise that, in the light of this, he and his Government, having lost the confidence of businessmen of all sorts through their incompetence, have now, as a result of the Price Review, lost the confidence of the farming community as well. They have lost this confidence largely because they made promise after promise in order to obtain the votes of 1768 the people. It is, I think, even among Socialists when in Government, normal, if they fail to bring home one single chicken from the many eggs they have laid, to face the consequences of that and to resign.
§ 9.32 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. William Ross)
We had two very interesting maiden speeches and one "semi-maiden" during this debate and they merit the congratulations which hon. Members extended to the speakers. I must confess that I did not find anything very uncontroversial in the speech of the hon. Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Hawkins). It may well be that he spent too long on it and decided that he would put some bite into it. Who am I to criticise him? The hon. Member said that he lost some of his docility having spent part of the war alongside the Highland Division. As one who was in the Highland Light Infantry, I am surprised that his speech was so temperate.
We were happy to see the hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Kirk) back in his place. He could not have received any great comfort from the vote he got and certainly not from the support he expected—and did not get—as a result of the Price Review. I was surprised at the ex-Secretary of State. Why he should call the meeting of the Farmers' Union terrifying I do not know. I was there last Friday and it was the most pleasant, amiable and appreciative meeting that I have addressed for a long time. All I can say is that the applause I got at the end was only a little greater than the applause at the next meeting I went to—the annual meeting of the Labour Party in Scotland.
I suggest to hon. Gentlemen opposite that they rather played up things today. We had the former Patronage Secretary telling us that there were unprecedented scenes after the Price Review, with hon. Members rising from their seats, having spontaneously interpreted the will of the people. We had a Price Review in 1962 in which £9 million was taken off the guarantees, not £10 million or £11 million added to them. In 1958, there was a Price Review in which the guarantees were reduced by £l9 million and the Minister of Agriculture of that time said, "We are leaving £2 million which we 1769 could have taken off." The maximum reduction at that time was £21 million. the first year after the 1957 Act.
Where were the hon. Gentlemen then? They were not interpreting the will of the farmers. The former Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart) knows this, because he made a speech in that year in which he told us about farmers' unions up and down the country demanding the resignation of the then Tory Minister of Agriculture. He did not tell us about a march on London, but about tractors converging upon London from the farming areas, and about the Scottish Farmers' Union roundly condemning the Government. From Ayrshire, a telegram went astray which demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister.
How did hon. Gentlemen then interpret the will of their farming friends and constituents? They were the silent senators in those days, all except one—give him due credit—the man who, as a result of the speech which he delivered in the country, was made Secretary of State for Scotland at the first available opportunity. I should like to give this quotation from "Candid Commentary" in the Scottish Farmer of 26th March, 1960:Quoth Mr. Michael Noble, M.P. for North Argyll 'the present system of allocating agricultural subsidies is often like pouring water into to leaky bucket. I am tired of the system whereby a farmer is handed money merely for having something. It kills initiative and makes him lazy'.
§ Mr. Noble
If the right hon. Gentleman had happened to be present during the course of that interesting and accurate speech, he would know that I was complaining that, in certain cases, the Government did not give enough to the farming community to make and keep farming viable. I would make exactly the same comment about this Price Review.
§ Mr. Ross
This is what he said to the farmers in 1960, when his Government were cutting the guarantees by £9 million. We are increasing the guarantees by over £10 million and we are making farms viable to a much greater extent than was ever done. If the right hon. Gentlernan really believed what he said when he became Secretary of State for Scotland, can he tell us why he did not 1770 implement all these things which he spoke about? He told us tonight that he was getting worried about the creameries and the milk producers on the islands. He was not worried in the years when the Government not only did not increase the amount by 1d. a gallon but rdeuced it by 1d. a gallon and then by ¼d. and then by 0.4d. There was an increase of 0.8d. but only on the understanding that farmers would produce a scheme to increase production and, when they did not, it was taken away to the extent of 50 per cent. Hon. Members had all these opportunities and did nothing. Then the right hon. Gentleman goes around Scotland, and Roxburgh in particular, making speeches.
§ Mr. Ross
We get the reaction from the Scottish Farmer of 27th March in a report of the Ayrshire conference:The biggest laugh of the week was Mr. Michael Noble saying what he would have done after having done nothing for 13 years.After only a few months of Government we are starting upon what I think has been accepted in the debate as the very considerable and serious problem of getting right the structure of British agriculture. British agriculture is basic to the economy of the country and to our balance of payments. Many hon. Members do not appreciate that over the last 10 years there has been a considerable increased effort by agriculture in respect of items previously imported. It is wrong to say that we have denied agriculture participation in a growing home market. British agriculture has participated to a great extent, and to my mind this Review and further Reviews which will follow will enable it to play an ever-greater part in meeting the demand and in facing up to the balance-of-payments problem.
But let us appreciate that the agricultural industry which must do this is an industry which has many problems and that it is not one of which we can speak in isolation, separated from the rest of the country and the country's difficulties. I remember the speech by the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton), I think in 1960, when these reductions were made. He said that the reductions in the guarantees were harsh 1771 but that they were right in the economic circumstances of the country. I reckon that the economic circumstances of the country are such that today we might even be criticised for generosity in this Price Review. That is why I consider that it is fair and right in the circumstances—not isolating the industry from the circumstances of the country but looking to the present position and what we have done. In 1960, the right hon. Gentleman criticised his Government—and I give him credit for it—because he said of a White Paper that what was lacking was a failure to give a long-term guarantee; he said that the outlook was such that there was no confidence by farmers in the industry.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
The right hon. Gentleman will recollect that in this debate he has been accused by his hon. Friends of being too generous to the farmers.
§ Mr. Ross
Unlike the hon. Member, I have heard the whole of the debate. Here we are taking steps—and these will not be the last steps which will be taken—in relation to the problem areas of the industry. They have been dismissed by some people connected with the National Farmers' Union as fringe benefits, but hon. Members should appreciate from the figures given by my hon. Friend the Member for Chorley (Mr. Kenyon), which bear this out, that we are dealing with units in which there are only nine cows. My hon. Friend quoted the figure of 33,000 agricultural holdings with from 10 to 19 cows. We cannot expect to get viability there, and we cannot expect, with guarantees right across the field, to do as much as we could be doing to get the shape of the industry right by directing our attention to those holdings and those farms which are feeling the pinch and which, with proper help, could be made viable. We are changing the Small Farmer Scheme and the right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) will be interested to hear that the figure is not £200,000 but £5 million.
§ Mr. Noble rose—
§ Mr. Ross
I must get on. What we are doing now is changing the emphasis from husbandry to management to ensure 1772 that, within the organisation of business, there will be a greater appreciation of exactly how to create properly viable farms. The figures quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Chorley in regard to the present Scheme—that after the three years about 50 per cent. went out of being—were about right. This shows that something is wrong with the present Scheme, for if we spent money for three years on a small farm and then it goes, that must be wasted money. From this point of view, therefore, we consider that this improvement, which brings in Scotland 3,000 more farms into the Scheme and applies it with a new emphasis, will give a far better return for efficiency.
I will now deal with the milk question, but before doing so I will have a glass of water. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I should mention first, in this connection, that the credit position will be improved, too. The advantage here is that we will now help the younger farmers and small farmers to obtain this credit, something which is denied them at present, because behind them will be the Government guarantee. This will be of considerable help to them, and it is the first time that this has been done in the agriculture industry. The Farmers' Union has been asking for this to be done year after year. Co-operative marketing will also help and, with the Small Farmer Scheme, this represents a major advance.
When we consider the milk issue it should be remembered that we have given a figure of £11 million. I hope that hon. Gentlemen opposite will remember that the difficulties have arisen during the past 10 or 11 years, during the time of Tory rule. [Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite must face these facts. I have represented a milk-producing area in the House for 18 years. Indeed, there are probably more milk producers in my constituency than in most constituencies. I am speaking about Ayrshire. [Interruption.] It is all very well for hon. Gentlemen opposite to interrupt, but my majority is 14,000.
What we are giving in the Price Review for milk is an amount higher than anything given before, apart from last year's 2½d. And from the point of view of production, we have seen, as the result of the squeeze from 1958 to 1962, farmers going out of milk production, so we must 1773 watch the level of production in relation to the need for liquid milk for consumption and for the creameries.
We are satisfied that we are reaching the stage of being able to hold the position, and with the increased efficiency and output from the increasing herd—and I believe that in Scotland the average size of a dairy herd has grown from about 35 to about 45, and that production per cow is up by about 3 per cent.—we consider that we are reaching a position which is about right.
We must face the fact that more than the producer is concerned here, for this is a time when we are trying to obtain stable prices and a proper attitude in industry. Everyone appreciates how vital this is and it would be wrong lightheartedly to pass increases on to the consumer.
The right hon. Member for Thirsk and Mallon said that the increase should have been 2d. Another hon. Member suggested 2½d. and yet another 3d. I had better warn them that they are liable to be thrown out of the union, if they are officials of it, because the Chairman of the Ayrshire branch—at a time when people were demanding 6d.—said to the Press that he thought that if they talked about 2½d. they would be about right, and he was asked to resign. I am talking about what the other side is asking. We see this spread, and I think that the industry's disappointment is not related so much to the Review itself as to the target those in the industry set themselves of trying to get an increase in income of £100 million—25 per cent.—over three years. That is where I think the disappointment arose. Hon. Gentlemen know quite well that the previous Government did not accept that target, and we did not. No Government could blindly accept such a target.
That is one of the dangers we are in. It is very facile to talk about giving five-year guarantees. I hope that hon. Gentlemen opposite will appreciate that the previous Government extended their guarantee for beef from one year to two years, but do they remember what happened? We got a complete glut, the price went down, and there was a terrific bill for the taxpayer to meet.
I know that the right hon. Member for Rushcliffe (Sir M. Redmayne) was speak- 1774 ing in general but we should appreciate that nothing has happened in relation to the price of milk over the past 10 years that gives us any great justification for a detailed review spread over five years. It may well be that we would be far better to have, within a five-year plan, pointers that would indicate to the agricultural community the direction in which we were moving and continue meantime the Annual Reviews; but we could not make such a change without consulting the unions, although it is probably worth talking about.
It has been said that it was a pity that we could not give the agreed figure for the milk cost increase, but hon. Members will know that there is a convention that I cannot break, much as I should like to, that we do not give these figures publicly. But I can say that the increase we gave more than covered the cost increase. I am sure that the National Farmers' Union will not challenge that.
We have taken steps in relation to the long-term planning of beef production, and have done so by injecting the help throughout. We start with the increase in the calf subsidy—10s. on steer and heifer calves. We go on with £1 on the hill cow, and then we extend the scheme to cover the dairy-type heifer at slaughter. All this adds up to an additional 2s. on the 4s. per cwt. extra for fatstock, which amounts really to 6s. and is an additional guarantee of about £8 million for beef. We think that this has been done in the right way to ensure a growing beef stock.
The right hon. Member for Rushcliffe said that it was not necessary for us to make cuts in wheat and barley prices, and that we had interpreted the Agreements too harshly, but it was the previous Government that signed these Agreements. It is all very well for the right hon. Member for Argyll to go round Roxburgh saying, "We are in Opposition now—we are thinking about our long-term policy." I do not know what they put in their policies at the election, but we all know that the changes they made just before it implied long-term policies.
It is true that the Agreements, while calling for effective corrective action, do not specify what that action should be. Let us weigh this up. The Agreements promise that a fair and reasonable balance will be maintained between domestic 1775 production and imports based on the supply position at the time of the agreement, and give both overseas suppliers and domestic producers the opportunity of a fair and reasonable share of any growth in the market. The Agreement was signed last year. The market has grown. What happened? The home producer took the full growth of the market, plus 800,000 tons, because that is the extent to which imports fell last year.
§ Mr. Ross
It may well be. This is just what they were talking about. But what other effective action could possibly be taken than that which the Government took? It is implicit in the Agreement that was signed. We are tied by that to restore a reasonable balance. I am sure that right hon. Gentlemen know that full well. In addition, in respect of cereals we have raised the standard quantities—250,000 tons for barley and 100,000 tons for wheat.
The question has been raised as to why agriculture should be asked to bear such a high proportion of its costs. Agriculture is unique. Of course it is unique. It is unique because it is agriculture, because since 1947 agriculture has been placed in a unique position, with guaranteed prices and markets and with the injection of taxpayers' money year by year to ensure its stability. Hon. Members opposite, because we have asked farmers to bear a considerable part of
§ their increased costs, have suddenly for the first time realised that this has been happening year after year. They know it has been happening year after year. Hon. Members opposite have walked into Lobbies supporting harsh Reviews, Reviews which cut down the guarantees by £19 million and by £9 million.
The 1960 White Paper—Cmnd. 1249—said this:
Every industry, in order to maintain or improve its competitive position, must seek to increase its efficiency…and to use this in part to absorb rising costs.…The grounds for expecting farmers to use part of the gain from increasing efficiency to meet increased costs are the stronger, because included in the Exchequer payments each year is the provision of considerable resources aimed directly at strengthening the industry's competitive power.
This is what the Tories said when they were the Government. What we have had in the past in relation to agriculture was concern by farmers about where the Tory Government were going. In those days Tory back benchers were silent and silenced by the very man who made such a song and dance about this today.
§ We on this side are satisfied that in all the circumstances this Price Review is fair and just and in many respects is a starting point to long-term policies which will bring greater prosperity and stability to the farming community.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 299, Noes 307.1781
|Division No. 83.]||AYES||[9.59 p.m.|
|Agnew, commander Sir Peter||Black, Sir Cyril||Channon, H. P. G.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Blaker, Peter||Chataway, Christopher|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Bossom, Hn. Clive||Chichester-Clark, R.|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Box, Donald||Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Rt. Hn. Sir W.||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. J.||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)|
|Astor, John||Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Cole, Norman|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Braine, Bernard||Cooke, Robert|
|Awdry, Daniel||Brewis, John||Cooper, A. E.|
|Baker, W. H. K.||Brinton, Sir Tatton||Cooper-Key, Sir Neill|
|Balniel, Lord||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-col.Sir Walter||Cordle, John|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Brooke, Rt. Hn. Henry||Corfield F. V.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Costain, A. P.|
|Batsford, Brian||Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Bryan, Paul||Crawley, Aidan|
|Bell, Ronald||Buchanan-Smith, Alick||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Buck, Antony||Crowder, F. P.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos amp; Fhm)||Bullus, Sir Eric||Cunningham, Sir Knox|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Burden, F. A.||Curran, Charles|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Butcher, Sir Hubert||Currie, G. B. H.|
|Bessell, Peter||Buxton, R. C.||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Biffen, John||Campbell, Gordon||Dance, James|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Carlisle, Mark||Davies, Dr. Wyndham (Perry Barr)|
|Bingham, R. M.||Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Cary, Sir Robert||Dean, Paul|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Jopling, Michael||Pym, Francis|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Quennell, Miss, J. M.|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Doughty, Charles||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Kerr, Sir Hamilton (Cambridge)||Redmayne, Rt. Hn. Sir Martin|
|Drayson, C. B.||Kershaw, Anthony||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Kilfedder, James A.||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Eden, Sir John||Kimball, Marcus||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Elliott, R.W.(N'c'tle-Upon-Tyne,N.)||Kirk, P.||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Emery, Peter||Kitson, Timothy||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Lagden, Godfrey||Roots, William|
|Farr, John||Lambton, Viscount||Royle, Anthony|
|Fell, Anthony||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Fisher, Nigel||Langford-Holt, Sir John||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Fletchcr-Cooke, Charles (Darwen)||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Sir John (S'pton)||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Forrest, George||Litchfield, Capt. John||Sharpies, Richard|
|Foster, Sir John||Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'n C'dfield)||Shepherd, William|
|Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Llovd' Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D.||Longbottom, Charles||Smyth, Rt. Hn. Brig. Sir John|
|Gammans, Lady||Loveys, Walter H.||Soames, Rt. Hn. Christopher|
|Gardner, Edward||Lubbock, Eric||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Gibson-watt, David||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Speir, sir Rupert|
|Giles, Rear-Admiral Morgan||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Stainton, Keith|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central)||Mackenzie, Alasdair(Ross amp; Crom'ty)||Stanley, Hn. Richard|
|Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||Mackie, George Y. (C'ness & S'land)||steel, D.|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Stodart, Anthony|
|Glyn, Sir Richard||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||McMaster, Stanley||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Goodhart, Philip||McNair-Wilson, Patrick||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Goodhew, Victor||Maginnis, John E.||Talbot, John E.|
|Gower, Raymond||Maitland Sir John||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Grant, Anthony||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow,Cathcart)|
|Grant-Ferris, R.||Marten, Neil||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Gresham-Cooke, R.||Mathew, Robert||Teeling, Sir William|
|Grievem, Percy||Maude, Angus||Temple, John M.|
|Griffith's, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Mauding, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Thatcher, Mrs. Margrate|
|Griffiths, Peter (Smethwick)||Mawby, Ray||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Maxwell-Hyslop, R.J.||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Conway)|
|Gurden, Harold||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Hall, John (wycombe)||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Hamilton, Marquess of (Fermanagh)||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, w.)|
|Hamilton, M. (Salisbury)||Miscampbell, Norman||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Mitcheil David||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Harris Reader (Heston)||Monro Hector||van straubenzee, W. R.|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||More, Jasper||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Morgan, W. G.||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Maccles'd)||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Walder, David (High Peak)|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstom, E.)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Harvie Anderson, Miss||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derk|
|Hawkins, Paul||Murton, Oscar||Wall, patrick|
|Hay, John||Neave,Airey||walters, Dennis|
|Heaid, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Nicholls, Sir Godfrey||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Hendry, Forbes||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Webster, David|
|Higgins, Terence L.||Nugent, Rt. Hn. Sir Richard||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Hiley, Joseph||Onslow, Cranley||Whitelaw, William|
|Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Williams, Sir Roif Dudley (Exeter)|
|Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Hopkins, Alan||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Wise, A. R.|
|Hordern, Peter||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Hornby, Richard||Page, R. Graham (Crosby)||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Howard, Hn. G. R. (St. Ives)||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)||Woodhouse, Hn. Chridtopher|
|Howe, Geoffrey (Bebington)||Peel, John||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Hunt, John (Bromley)||Percival, Ian||Wylie, N. R.|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Peyton, John||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Pickthorn, Rt. Hn. Sir Kenneth||Younger, Hn. George|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||pitt, Dame Edith|
|Jennings, J. C.||Pounder, Rafton||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Johnson Smith, G.||Powe, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Mr. Martin McLaren and Mr. Ian MacArthur.|
|Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Prior, J, M. L.|
|Abse, Leo||Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Bagier, Gordon A. T.|
|Albu, Austen||Armstrong, Ernest||Barnett, Joel|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Atkinson, Norman||Baxter, William|
|Aldritt, Walter||Bacon, Miss Alice||Beaney, Alan|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hn. F. J.||Gregory, Arnold||Mapp, Charles|
|Bence, Cyril||Grey, Charles||Marsh, Richard|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony wedgwood||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mason, Roy|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Maxwell, Robert|
|Binns, John||Griffiths, Will (M'chester, Exchange)||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Bishop, E. S.||Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Mellish, Robert|
|Blackburn, F.||Hale, Leslie||Mendelson, J. J.|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Boardman, H.||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Millan, Bruce|
|Boston, T. G.||Harming, William (Woolwich, W.)||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Hannan, William||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics S.W.)||Harper, Joseph||Molloy, William|
|Boyden, James||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Monslow, Walter|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Hart, Mrs. Judith||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Bradley, Tom||Hattersley, Roy||Morris, Charles (Openshaw)|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Hayman, F. H.||Morris, John (Aberavon)|
|Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)||Hazell, Bert||Mulley,Rt.Hn.Frederick(SheffieldPk)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Glasgow, Provan)||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Murray, Albert|
|Brown, R. w. (Shoreditch amp; Fbury)||Heffer, Eric S.||Neal, Harold|
|Buchanan, Richard||Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Newens, Stan|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Noel-Baker,Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby,S.)|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)||Norwood, Christopher|
|Carmichael, Neil||Holman, Percy||Oakes, Gordon|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Horner, John||Ogden, Eric|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||O'Malley, Brian|
|Chapman, Donald||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Oram, Albert E. (E. Ham S.)|
|Coleman, Donald||Howarth, Robert L. (Bolton, E.)||Orbach, Maurice|
|Conlan, Bernard||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Orme, Stanley|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Howie, W.||Oswald, Thomas|
|Cousins, Rt. Hn. Frank||Hoy, James||Owen, Will|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Padley, Walter|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Cronin, John||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Paget, R. T.|
|Crosland, Anthony||Hunter, Adam (Dunfermline)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. R. H. S.||Hunter, A. E. (Feltham)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Dalyell, Tam||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Park, Trevor (Derbyshire, S.E.)|
|Darling, George||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Parker, John|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E)||Jackson, Colin||Parkin, B. T.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Janner, Sir Barnett||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Jeger, George (Goole)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|de Freitas, Sir Geoffrey||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Pentland, Norman|
|Delargy, Hugh||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Perry, Ernest G.|
|Dell, Edmund||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Dempsey, James||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Diamond, John||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Dodds, Norman||Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)||Probert, Arthur|
|Doig, Peter||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Randall, Harry|
|Driberg, Tom||Kelley, Richard||Rankin, John|
|Duffy, Dr. A. E. P.||Kenyon, Clifford||Redhead, Edward|
|Dunn, James A.||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter amp; Chatham)||Rees, Merlyn|
|Dunnett Jack||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Edelman, Maurice||Lawson, George||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Edwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly)||Leadbitter, Ted||Richard, Ivor|
|Edward Robert (Bilston)||Ledger, Ron||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|English, Michael||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Ennals, David||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Ensor, David||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Robinson, Rt.Hn. K. (St.Pancras,N.)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Rodgers, William (Stockton)|
|Evans, Ioan (Birmingham, Yardley)||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Rose,Paul B.|
|Fernyhough, E.||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Finch, Harold (Bedwellty)||Lipton, Marcus||Rowland, Christopher|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Lomas, Kennetn||Sheldon, Robert|
|Fletcher, Sir Eric (Islington, E.)||Loughlin, Charles||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Snore, Peter (stepney)|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||McBride, Neil||Short,Rt.Hn.E.(N'c'tle-on-Tyne,C.)|
|Floud, Bernard||McCann, J||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton.N.E.)|
|Foley, Maurice||MacColl, James||Silkin, John (Deptford)|
|Foot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||MacDermot, Niall||Silkin, S. C. (Camberwell, Dulwich)|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||McGuire, Michael||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Ford, Ben||Mclnnes, James||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton)||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Freeson, Reginald||Mackie, John (Enfield, E.)||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||McLeavy, Frank||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefleld)|
|Garrett, W. E.||MacMillan, Malcolm||Small, William|
|Garrow, A.||MacPherson, Malcolm||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Snow, Julian|
|Ginsburg, David||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Solomons, Henry|
|Gourlay, Harry||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Soskice, Rt. Hn. Sir Frank|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Mallalieu,J.P.W.(Hudderefield,E.)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Manuel, Archie||Steele, Thomas|
|Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael||Tuck, Raphael||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Stonehouse, John||Urwin, T. W.||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Stones, William||Varley, Eric G.||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Strauss, Rt. Hn.G. R. (Vauxhall)||Wainwright, Edwin||Willis, George (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Summerskill, Dr. Shirley||Walden, Brian (All Saints)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Swain, Thomas||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Swingler, Stephen||Wallace, George||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Symonds, J. B.||Warbey, William||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Taverne, Dick||Watkins, Tudor||Woof, Robert|
|Taylor Bernard (Mansfield)||Weitzman, David||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||White, Mrs. Eirene||Zilliacus, K.|
|Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||Whitlock, William|
|Thornton Ernest||Wigg, Rt. Hn. George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Tinn, James||Wilkms, W. A.||Mr. Sydney Irving and Mr. George Rogers.|
|Tomney, Frank||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
§ Question put, That the proposed words be there added:—1782
§ The House divided: Ayes 308, Noes 300.1785
|Division No. 84.]||AYES||[10.13 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Dodds, Norman||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Albu, Austen||Doig, Peter||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Donnelly, Desmond||Howarth, Robert L. (Bolton, E.)|
|Aldritt, Walter||Driberg, Tom||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)|
|Allen, Scholefied (Crewe)||Duffy, A. E. P.||Howie, W.|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Dunn, James A.||Hoy, James|
|Atkinson, Norman||Dunnett, Jack||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Edelman, Maurice||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)|
|Bagier Gordon A. T.||Edwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Barnett, Joel||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Hunter, Adam (Dunfermline)|
|Baxter, William||English, Michael||Hunter, A. E. (Feltham)|
|Beaney, Alan||Ennals, David||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hn. F. J.||Ensor, David||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)|
|Bence, Cyril||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Evans, loan (Birmingham, Yardley)||Jackson, Colin|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Fernyhough, E.||Janner, Sir Barnett|
|Binns, John||Finch, Harold (Bedwellty)||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Bishop, E. S.||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Jeger, George (Goole)|
|Blackburn, F.||Fletcher, Sir Eric (Islington, E.)||Jeger,Mrs.Lena(H"b"namp;St.P'cras,S.)|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)|
|Boardman, H.||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)|
|Boston, T. G.||Floud, Bernard||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Foley, Maurice||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics S.W.)||Foot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Boyden, James||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn (W.Ham, S.)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Ford, Ben||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Bradley, Tom||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Freeson, Reginald||Kelley, Richard|
|Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)||Galpern, Sir Myer||Kenyon, Clifford|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Glasgow, Provan)||Garrett, W. E.||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & Fbury)||Garrow, A.||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)|
|Buchanan, Richard||George, Lady Megan Lloyd||Lawson, George|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Ginsburg, David||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Gourlay, Harry||Ledger, Ron|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Gregory, Arnold||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Carter-Jones Lewis||Grey, Charles||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)|
|Chapman, Donald||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James(Llanelly)||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)|
|Coleman, Donald||Griffiths, Will (M'Chester, Exchange)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Conlan, Bernard||Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Lipton, Marcus|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hale, Leslie||Lomas, Kenneth|
|Cousins, Rt. Hn. Frank||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Loughlin, Charles|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Hamling, William (Woolwich W.)||McBride, Neil|
|Cronin John||Hannan, William||McCann, J.|
|Crosland, Anthony||Harper, Joseph||MacColl, James|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. R. H. S.||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||MacDermot, Niall|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Hart, Mrs. Judith||McGuire, Michael|
|Dalyell, Tam||Hattersley, Roy||Mclnnes, James|
|Darling, George||Hayman, F. H.||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Hazell, Bert||Mackie, John (Enfield, E.)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||McLeavy, Frank|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Heffer, Eric S.||MacMillan, Malcolm|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur||MacPhereon, Malcolm|
|de Freitas, Sir Geoffrey||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)|
|Delargy, Hugh||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)|
|Dell, Edmund||Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Dempsey, James||Holman, Percy||Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Diamond, John||Horner, John||Manuel, Archie|
|Mapp, Charles||Perry, Ernest G.||Summerskill, Dr. Shirley|
|Marsh, Richard||Popplewell, Ernest||Swain, Thomas|
|Mason, Roy||Prentice, R. E.||Swingler, Stephen|
|Maxwell, Robert||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Symonds, J. B.|
|Mayhew, Christopher||Probert, Arthur||Taverne, Dick|
|Mellish, Robert||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Mendelson, J. J.||Randall, Harry||Thomas, George (Cardiff, w.)|
|Mikardo, Ian||Rankin, John||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Millan, Bruce||Redhead, Edward||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Miller, Dr. M. S.||Rees, Merlyn||Thornton, Ernest|
|Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Reynolds, G. W.||Tinn, James|
|Molloy, William||Rhodes, Geoffrey||Tomney, Frank|
|Monslow, Walter||Richard, Ivor||Tuck, Raphael|
|Morris Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Morris, Charles (Openshaw)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Varley, Eric G.|
|Morris John (Aberavon)||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Mulley,Rt.Hn.Frederick(SheffieldPk)||Robinson, Rt.Hn. K. (St.Pancras,N.)||Walden, Brian (All Saints)|
|Murray, Albert||Rodgers, William (Stockton)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Neal, Harold||Rose, Paul B.||Wallace, George|
|Newens, Stan||Ross, Rt. Hn. William||Warbey, William|
|Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Rowland, Christopher||Watkins, Tudor|
|Noel-Baker,Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby,S.)||Sheldon, Robert||Weitzman, David|
|Norwood, Christopher||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Oakes, Gordon||Shore, Peter (Stepney)||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Ogden, Eric||Short,Rt.Hn.E.(N'c'tle-on-Tyne,C.)||Whitlock, William|
|O'Malley, Brian||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton,N.E.)||Wigg, Rt. Hn. George|
|Oram, Albert E. (E. Ham S.)||Silkin, John (Deptford)||Wllkins, W. A.|
|Orbach, Maurice||Silkin, S. C. (Camberwell, Dulwich)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Orme, Stanley||silverman, Julius (Aston)||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Oswald, Thomas||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Owen, Will||Skeffington, Arthur||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Padley, Walter||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)||Willis, George (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Page, Derek (King's Lynn)||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Paget, R. T.||Small, William||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Palmer, Arthur||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Snow, Julian||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Solomons, Henry||Woof, Robert|
|Park, Trevor (Derbyshire, S.E.)||Soskice, Rt. Hn. Sir Frank||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Parker, John||Spriggs, Leslie||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Parkin, B. T.||Steele, Thomas||Zilliacus, K.|
|Pavitt, Laurence||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Stonehouse, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Stones, William||Mr. Sydney Irving and Mr. George Rogers.|
|Pentland, Norman||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)|
|Agnew, Commander Sir Peter||Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Dean, Paul|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Bryan, Paul||Digby, Simon Wingfield|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Buchanan-Smith, Alick||Dodds-Parker, Douglas|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Buck, Antony||Doughty, Charles|
|Anstruther-Gray, Rt. Hn. Sir W.||Bullus, Sir Eric||Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec|
|Astor, John||Burden, F. A.||Drayson, G. B.|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Butcher, Sir Herbert||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward|
|Awdry, Daniel||Buxton, R. C.||Eden, Sir John|
|Baker, W. H. K.||Campbell, Gordon||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)|
|Balniel, Lord||Carlisle, Mark||Elliott, R.W.(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Emery, Peter|
|Barlow, Sir John||Cary, Sir Robert||Errington, Sir Eric|
|Batsford, Brian||Channon, H. P. G.||Farr, John|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Chataway, Christopher||Fell, Anthony|
|Bell, Ronald||Chichester-Clark, R.||Fisher, Nigel|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles (Darwen)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos amp; Fhm)||Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Fletcher-Cooke, Sir John (S'pton)|
|Berkeley, Humphrey||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Forrest, George|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Cole, Norman||Foster, Sir John|
|Bessell, Peter||Cooke, Robert||Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)|
|Biffen, John||Cooper, A. E.||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D.|
|Bingham, R. M.||Cordle, John||Gammans, Lady|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Corfield, F. V.||Gardner, Edward|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Costain, A. P.||Gibson-Watt, David|
|Blaker, Peter||Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Giles, Rear-Admiral Morgan|
|Bossom, Hn. Clive||Crawley, Aidan||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central)|
|Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)|
|Box, Donald||Crowder, F. P.||Glover, Sir Douglas|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. J.||Cunningham, Sir Knox||Glyn, Sir Richard|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Curran, Charles||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.|
|Braine, Bernard||Currie, G. B. H.||Goodhart, Philip|
|Brewis, John||Dalkeith, Earl of||Goodhew, Victor|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Dance, James||Gower, Raymond|
|Bromley-Davenport,Lt.-Col.SirWalter||Davies, Dr. Wyndham (Perry Barr)||Grant, Anthony|
|Brooke, Rt. Hn. Henry||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Grant-Ferris, R.|
|Gresham-Cooke, R.||Lubbock, Eric||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Grieve, Percy||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Roots, William|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Royle, Anthony|
|Griffiths, Peter (Smethwick)||Mackenzie, Alasdair(Ross amp; Crom'ty)||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Mackie, George Y. (C'ness amp; S'land)||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Gurden, Harold||Maclean, Sir Fltzroy||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||McMaster, Stanley||Sharples, Richard|
|Hamilton, M. (Salisbury)||McNair-Wilson, Patrick||Shepherd, William|
|Hamilton, Marquess of (Fermanagh)||Maginnls, John E.||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Maitland, Sir John||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd amp; Chiswick)|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Smyth, Rt. Hn. Brig. Sir John|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Marten, Neil||Soames, Rt. Hn. Christopher|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Mathew, Robert||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Maccles'd)||Maude, Angus||Speir, Sir Rupert|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Stainton, Keith|
|Harvie Anderson, Miss||Mawby, Ray||Stanley, Hn. Richard|
|Hastings, Stephen||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Stodart, Anthony|
|Hawkins, Paul||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Hay, John||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Mills Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Steel, D.|
|Hendry, Forbes||Miscampbell, Norman||Talbot, John E.|
|Higgins, Terence L.||Mitchell, David||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Hiley, Joseph||Monro, Hector||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow,Cathcart)|
|Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||More, Jasper||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Morgan, W. G.||Teeling, Sir William|
|Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Temple, John M.|
|Hopkins, Alan||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Hordern, Peter||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Hornby, Richard||Murton, Oscar||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Conway)|
|Howard, Hn. G. R. (St. Ives)||Neave, Airey||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon,S.)|
|Howe, Geoffrey (Bebington)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter|
|Hunt, John (Bromley)||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Nugent, Rt. Hn. Sir Richard||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Onslow, Cranley||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Jennings, J. C.||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Johnson Smith, G.||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Jones, Arthur (Morthants, S.)||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Walder, David (High Peak)|
|Jopling, Michael||Pase, John (Harrow, W.)||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Page, R- Graham (Crosby)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)||Wall, Patrick|
|Kerby, Capt. Henry||Peel, John||Walters, Dennis|
|Kerr, Sir Hamilton (Cambridge)||Percival, Ian||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Kershaw, Anthony||Peyton, John||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Kilfedder, James A.||Pickthorn, Rt. Hn. Sir Kenneth||Webster, David|
|Kimball, Marcus||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Wells John (Maidstone)|
|King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Pitt, Dame Edith||Whltelaw, William|
|Kirk, P.||Pounder, Rafton||Williams, Sir Rolf Dudley (Exeter)|
|Kitson, Timothy||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Wills, Sir George (Bridgwater)|
|Lagden, Godfrey||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Lambton, Viscount||Prior, J. M. L.||Wise, A. R.|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Pym, Francis||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Langford-Holt, Sir John||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Litchfield, Capt. John||Redmayne, Rt. Hn. Sir Martin||Wylie, N. R.|
|Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield)||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Younger, Hn. George|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Longbottom, Charles||Ridsdale, Julian||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Loveys, Walter H,||Robson Brown, Sir William||Mr. Martin McLaren and Mr. Ian MacArthur.|
§ Main Question, as amended, put and agreed to.
That this House notes with satisfaction the Government's decisions following the Annual
§ Farm Price Review which in its opinion are fair to both producers and consumers; and welcomes the Government's constructive proposals for the longer term future of the agricultural industry.