HC Deb 03 April 1968 vol 762 cc364-5
42. Mr. Hooson

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will take steps to provide financial support for objectors at rural development board inquiries to ensure that their case can be properly put by comparable counsel to those briefed for his Department.

Mr. Peart

No. Sir. I am satisfied that the inquiry will provide full opportunity for objectors to state their case whether they choose to be legally represented or not.

Mr. Hooson

As the Minister is to be represented by two eminent counsel, and as the objectors are, in the main, very small farmers, is it not fair that the Ministry should, in the long inquiry pending at Aberystwyth on Monday, provide objectors with the means of having equal representation?

Mr. Peart

I do not think that any Government could take the action suggested; it would be very improper. I am aware that only one objector has raised the question of legal aid in connection with the Welsh Rural Development Board. What is important is that objectors should have ample opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses called on behalf of my Department. That will be done.

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