HC Deb 01 May 1968 vol 763 cc1108-9
55. Mr. Tudor Watkins

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the discussions with the Sennybridge Range sheep graziers about charges; what recommendations the independent valuer has made to him; and what response has been made by the graziers to new proposals.

Mr. Reynolds

The independent valuers recommendations, which have been discussed with the graziers, confirm that, allowing for military use of Sennybridge, a grazing charge of 7s. 6d. per sheep is fair.

Mr. Watkins

Would my right hon. Friend explain why this terrific increase of 300 per cent. has not been referred to the Prices and Incomes Board? If he will not refer the matter to the Board, will he allow me to do so?

Mr. Reynolds

I am satisfied, without advice from the Board on this occasion, that the charge of 7s. 6d. per sheep per year—with the increase from 4s. 6d. to 7s. 6d.—staged over a period of three years is correct. One could legitimately argue for the charge of 7s. 6d. to be made this year, but I think that it is fair to have spread it over three years.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

Will the right hon. Gentleman look at this matter again in view of the considerable feeling that exists in the area on the subject, as the Question indicates? Does he appreciate that there is a good deal more to this than perhaps meets the eye?

Mr. Reynolds

I have looked into this matter on several occasions in the last two months. The original proposal came from my advisers, who are experienced in dealing with these matters, To check that proposal and to satisfy the graziers and my hon. Friend, I asked for advice from an impartial and independent valuer. His advice confirmed that of my my officials; and I therefore do not think that it is necessary for me to look into the matter again.