HC Deb 08 December 1970 vol 808 cc232-3
21. Mr. David James

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to increase the number of viable agricultural units, in view of the effect on existing agricultural units of present rates of estate duty liability.

Mr. Anthony Stodart

We are reviewing the farm structure schemes to see whether we can give more effective help for the creation of viable units. This review will take account of all relevant factors, including any effects of estate duty.

Mr. James

In view of the entirely frivolous answer given to my last supplementary question, may I ask the Minister to answer this one seriously? Will the Minister bear in mind that, owing to the change in the value of money, death duties on farms have increased at such a rate that, while the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food wants to sell larger viable units, the Treasury is doing everything that it can to eliminate those that exist?

Mr. Stodart

I certainly appreciate that there is a conflict here between encouraging amalgamation and carrying out a taxation policy which tends to mean fragmentation at the end. This matter is being discussed between my right hon. Friend the Minister and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Booth.

Mr. Peter Mills

On a point of Order. Mr. Speaker, have I lost my Question No. 24?

Mr. Speaker

I thought that it had been answered with another Question. I am sorry. Mr. Peter Mills.