HL Deb 08 July 1937 vol 106 cc193-211

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(The Earl of Feversham.)


My Lords, in addressing this House for the first time I rely on your Lordships' leniency if in any way it is required. I hope farmers will not raise their hopes too high as to what they will obtain as a result of this Bill. If we could promote prosperity by the invention of administrative machinery we might expect a great deal from this Bill. I take it that its general purpose is twofold: to secure a fair price for the producer and to foster improvements in the industry. I note in passing that there is no reference in the Bill either to the consumer or to the labourer, but I will return to those omissions later. May I, for a few minutes, invite your Lordships to look at the administrative machinery and than to inquire whether that machinery is calculated to produce the result which is presumably desired?

First there is the Livestock Commission. On that I should like to join with others who have paid a tribute to the members of the Committee who will form a nucleus of this Commission. It is clear that there must be a supervising body. Then we come to Part II, which deals with the subsidy, and here we find that the sugar is in the head of this Bill. It comes first. If the farmers are to get £5,000,000 they will be well justified no doubt in being content to accept the rest of the Bill, notwithstanding its disadvantages. I will inquire in a few minutes whether they are likely to get the subsidy. In any case there will be a number of new orders and new regulations, and that remark applies also to Part III which deals with the regulation of imports. The mere fact that that is in the Bill suggests, I think, some misgivings on the part of its promoters as to whether the farmers really will get all the subsidy. Otherwise there would be no necessity for this provision. If we look at the Bill we see that it is laid down that the regulations are to be made in order to secure stability. What stability? There is only one kind of stability, clearly, that is in mind, and that is stability of price. I think that experience has already shown that, in the absence of any arrangement for maintaining continuity and a high level of demand, it is impossible by any quantitative regulation to secure stability of price. Anyhow, there will be another crop of orders and regulations.

When we come to Part IV we come to something that is really new—that is, the registration of livestock markets. Here we begin to get a vista of the new machinery. The Commission will hold various inquiries and finally they will propose that a certain number of markets in a given area, which will be defined in a draft order, should be done away with, and that certain other markets shall be the markets of that area. There will be a number of notices defining the area, opportunities for objections, the hearing of those objections and all the rest of it. Finally, the order will be issued and then will come the claims for compensation. If your Lordships look at Clause 16, on page 14 of the Bill, you will see that there are two classes of claims for compensation. There will be claims where markets are closed as a result of the order in respect of the land so used, and there is this provision, that persons who have carried on the business of conducting sales by auction will also be compensated.

I would ask your Lordships to notice that the compensation for the loss of carrying on sales by auction is not limited to the sales carried on in the market. It is a common-place, of course, that an auctioneer who has the right to carry on auctions in a market establishes thereby over a very wide range a good will entirely outside the market. So far as I have been able to ascertain, an auctioneer would be fully entitled as the Bill stands to include in his claim for compensation any loss he might have incurred by loss of good will attached to his right to conduct auctions in the market. It may well be, and I think we may pretty confidently prophecy, that the Livestock Commission will find themselves inundated with a large number of claims for compensation over a considerable range. In any case the big markets are to eat up the little markets and the compensation is to be paid by the big markets. I think that if the Livestock Commission enable this compensation to be paid without in the long run the producer and the consumer paying the bill, they will have performed a miracle. What will really happen, of course, will be that the big markets will be distended with the tolls and other charges which will be the accumulation of the compensation payable under the various awards to the other markets, and these charges will be passed on to those who send goods to the market. In connection with this there is a general provision for orders and bylaws and the constitution of various offences and the rest of it.

As a further example of misgivings as to the efficiency of the closing of these markets we come to Part V, which establishes large central slaughter-houses. There are to be only three. In deciding where they are to be situated the Commission will survey the various areas and issue the usual notices, and there will be the usual hearings of objections and the rest of it. Finally a draft order will be issued which will define the area which is to provide the new slaughter-house. It is quite evident that there must be an area of supply that will be sufficient to keep the slaughter-house well charged with material, and also that there must be an area of supply which will supply the material regularly all through the year if the slaughter-house is to be an economic proposition. So the area will have to be large because under the order all other slaughter-houses in the area will disappear.

Then we come to the next section of compensation which will arise. There will, of course, be compensation for anybody who has had his slaughter-house closed and the land used necessarily for other purposes. Then there will also be this: that any one can claim in respect of damage or loss to his business as a slaughterer of livestock. Well, now, if an area is to include half a dozen counties, or something of that kind, one gets some notion of how one may see that every butcher in the area, in every village, who has a place in which he slaughters stock occasionally and can therefore claim to be a slaughterer of livestock, will be entitled to claim compensation. In this case, as in the other, the central slaughter-house will be charged with paying all the compensation which will have arisen out of these different claims in the area, and one can imagine the sort of piling up that will necessarily arise. Anyhow, it means a tremendous amount of machinery.

And that, my Lords, is not the end of it, because when you come to Part VI you come to rather a mysterious part of the Bill. I noticed that the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, when he was answering, I think it was, Lord Hastings on the Report stage, seemed, if I may suggest so with respect, a little uncertain of what some of the service schemes might include. Well, if he was uncertain, I am sure I share his uncertainty. They are, it may be, very comprehensive things. They may include half a dozen different purposes. They will be embodied in various bodies which will afterwards become incorporated, and the Department will have the usual hearings, arbitrations, and all the rest of it before they finally issue the order. But I want your Lordships to notice that the issue of an order is to be made when the Commission are asked to issue it by somebody who is taken to be "substantially representative of the interests concerned"; and the order may be confirmed when they have satisfied themselves, somehow or other, that there is a "preponderating opinion in favour of the scheme."

Well, my mind goes back, if I may be allowed to recall it to your Lordships, to my own somewhat painful experience in this way. In 1931, when I was struggling with the Marketing Act, I remember I was pressed and had to surrender to the demand that there should be a numerical arrangement, that there should in fact be a vote. I accepted what was imposed on me with a good deal of reluctance, but still, there it is: it is a poll, and it has to be a large majority for the scheme. But all that this happy Commission has to do is to satisfy itself somehow or other that there is a preponderating opinion in favour of the scheme. I rather wonder, if at some future time anybody should take a case to the Courts and challenge a scheme on the ground that steps have not been taken to obtain this preponderating opinion, what will happen to the scheme. For my part I cannot imagine how a preponderating opinion can be obtained unless there is behind it some form of numerical ascertainment. However, it does not appear in this Bill, and that is perhaps rather fortunate for those who have to manage it in the first place.

There are various other orders, various penalties and so forth, in this very elaborate piling-up of machinery. I remember, if your Lordships will pardon me for one other reversion to my own much more unfortunate experience, when that Bill to which I referred was in Committee in the House of Commons. On one Tuesday when we were meeting, one of my colleagues recited to the Committee a few of the hard things the dealers and jobbers had been saying about me in the markets up and down the country during the previous week. He had come to the conclusion, he said, that so far as I personally was concerned, in the minds of the cattle-dealers the expression "Judas Iscariot" was a term of endearment. Well, you remember how the Act of 1931 was described as Socialism and Bolshevism and other dreadful things. Put this is regulation! Happy, I think, is the Minister who is supported by the noble Lords opposite! It makes me feel envious that these drastic things, piles of them, can be got through in this summary fashion, and there is nothing but the charming label "Regulation." seems to make all the difference; whereas, of course, in fact it is the same.

Might I, just for a few minutes in conclusion, inquire whether this machinery will really achieve lie results we want? Will it secure that the producer receives the full value for what he produces, and will it improve the industry? Now I say that the Party with which I am associated is entirely in favour of both these objects. We want the producer to receive the full value for what he produces. He is entitled to it. He has produced it. And we think that any machinery which is designed to secure that he gets it should also be designed to secure that the other workers in the industry share in the benefit; and that any scheme which leaves them out is a short-sighted scheme, because the exodus from the country of agricultural labour is one of the most desolating facts connected with this industry. However, I must leave them out of account.

Now does the producer get the subsidy? I have here tables of prices from the time the subsidy of 5s. per cwt. was first introduced in September, 1934. At that time the average market price was 37s. 8d. It is a strange thing that three months afterwards it was 35s. 3d.; in other words, it had fallen, say, half-a-crown, and it continued at that level, or, in fact, rather lower. A year afterwards it was 34s. In other words, it was, say, 3s. 6d. less than at the time it was instituted. Where had it gone? I remember a member of the other House rather plaintively recounting his experience; he said that he had sent some cattle to Hereford Market at the time the subsidy came in, and had got 37s., or whatever it was, for them. He fully expected that he was going to get 5s. more from the subsidy. At the end of twelve months, however, he found to his disappointment that he was getting 34s. plus 5s.; in other words, all he was getting was 39s., and he wanted to know where the other part of the money had gone. Well, of course, it had been sucked up in our uncertain marketing system, and it was not, in fact, until two years after the subsidy was originally paid that the average price got to the same level as it was before the payment of the subsidy.

Now, may I inquire for a moment about quantitative regulation? Can you sustain price by quantitative regulation? I think not; not unless at the same time you can sustain the demand. In the long run, what do we do? It is the woman with the market-basket that determines the matter; she determines in the end what is going to happen. You could not have a better illustration of that principle than what happened in the case of the cut in Danish bacon—of 15 per cent., I think it was, or perhaps 10 per cent. was enough—with the idea of keeping up the price. What happened? The people of the stores in London put a penny or twopence on their stock because they did not know what was going to happen. I am not blaming them, but that is what happened. The wholesaler put a little more on, because he was, of course, impressed with the same uncertainty; and so clown to the shopkeeper. The result was that, within about a month or less than a month of the imposition of this cut, there was a rise in retail prices of from 3d. to 4d. per lb. The immediate result of that was that down went the demand, and instead of having two rashers for breakfast people had one or none at all. Down also went the price. The fact is that unless you couple with schemes of this kind arrangements which will curtail the amount by which prices increase between the producer and the consumer—and it is a shocking amount in the case of many articles of food—we shall never be able to maintain the demand so as to make these devices work. The same thing goes on in the case of the markets. Great Pedlington swallows Little Pedlington. Instead of the dealers meeting in the public-house at the other side of the street at Little Pedlington they will now meet in the lounge of the hotel in Great Pedlington, but the system will be the same. The dealers will, perhaps, be a little more powerful than before and the farmer will be just as uncertain.

Nor does the Bill eliminate the waste of the system. I remember that on a Committee of which the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, was Chairman, we had a careful investigation as to the waste which now occurs from the point of view of loss to the producer under the existing marketing system, which is still to prevail over the whole country in a solidified form, except for a few slaughterhouses. There are three items of loss which were fairly accurately ascertained. The savings of an abattoir through direct sale would be 15s. per head, 7s. 6d. paid by the wholesaler to his agent, and 7s. 6d. for auction fees. The depreciation in cattle by needless journeys was estimated at 13s. 4d. per head. The loss produced at the present time in good cattle sold through markets and losses on the value of the offal were estimated at 15s. per head. Those three items, which inevitably the producer cannot receive under this marketing scheme, amounts to a minimum of £2 3s. 4d. per head, and the only way in which he can get them is by having his cattle all sent to a properly established abattoir system.

Here I come to the proposals of the Bill, and I am glad that the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, is present, because he was Chairman of this Committee, and a very valuable Report indeed they presented. What was the Committee's conclusion? I will refresh your Lordships' minds about it. At page 90 the Committee say: It has been suggested to us that the Government with a view to encouraging the reorganisation of the industry, should undertake an experiment or series of experiments in centralised slaughtering. That is this Bill. The Committee continued: We reject this suggestion on the grounds that—(i) further experiment in technique would be of little value, (ii) any experiment would necessarily be undertaken in a most unfavourable environment. Then at page 66 of this valuable Report they tell us what were the unfavourable circumstances which would inevitably attach to the proposals of this Bill. They say: It has however, been suggested to us that the Government should undertake an experiment or series of experiments in central slaughtering, the success of which would so impress local authorities that they would immediately seek to emulate it. … But the method of slaughtering which we are discussing is old established and well understood, and there are experts who are competent to pronounce on any technical problem which may arise. Then they speak of the disadvantage which will attach to this type of experiment, and say that The organisers of the experiment would have no assured outlet for their product.… They came to the conclusion that there would be serious risk. I think that will be intensified under this marketing scheme, and that the two or three slaughter-houses proposed as an experiment by this Bill might find themselves marooned and unable to dispose of their products. The proposal in this Bill is precisely what this Committee rejected.

We have, in fact, two complicated but conflicting types of machinery in this Bill. I am sure we all of us wish that the people should have an abundance of food. We all want the home producer to be able to supply his share of that abundance under a system upon which he can rely, which he can understand and which will encourage him in his work. I suggest that these proposals will not emancipate him at all from the haggling and indeed chicanery which exists very widely in our marketing system at the present time. While we are trying to do things which we all really would like to do, the rational thing is to do them properly and in a way which we know will yield the results that we wish to obtain, and to refuse to allow ourselves, as we are in this Bill, to be cluttered up by a mass of costly and conflicting machinery.


My Lords, before the noble Earl replies there is one point that I would like to take up with the noble Lord who has just sat down. He made only a slight: reference to it, but it was sufficient to justify me in endeavouring to present some reply. He asked what was there in this Bill for the labourer, and said that there was nothing in the terms of the Bill directly to benefit the labourer. If the noble Lord and the Party to which he belongs would only realise that the labourer is only one of a triumvirate of three classes in agriculture, indissolubly bound together, he would. I think, be doing greater service than by trying to dissociate the labourer from the other two classes. The efforts which the Government have made for the assistance of agriculture in recent years have in fact automatically redounded, if may use the term, to the benefit of the labouring class on the land, and it is alarming to suppose what might have happened to the labouring class unless these measures had been taken, which have enabled the benefits which have been given to agriculture by these measures to descend to the labourer in very full measure.

Their position, if these measures had not been brought before Parliament and become Acts of Parliament, would have been immeasurably worse than it is to-day. If Bills before Parliament are expressly to include the labourer the inevitable consequence will be to lead the noble Lord and his Party into a direct subsidy of wages. There is no other way of benefiting the labourer otherwise than by direct subsidy of wages. The noble Lord shakes his head—his Party regards that as an unreliable solution—but unless he is prepared to accept that as an alternative he is, I think, doing a disservice to the agricultural community by trying to dissociate one section from another. This Bill which is now reaching its last stage may or may not bring great benefit to the agricultural industry, but if it does, automatically the labouring population will get its full share of that benefit. And to try to put into the Bill provisions which will give to the labourer a specific benefit is as undesirable as it is impossible.


My Lords, I am confident that I shall have the support of noble Lords on all sides of the House when I say that they have greatly appreciated the intervention in the debate of the noble Lord, Lord Addison, who in addressing your Lordships' House for the first time has made a valuable contribution to a debate on an agricultural subject on which he speaks with such great experience. As your Lordships are aware, the noble Lord was not only Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries during the Labour administration from June, 1930, till 1931, but before that date he held the office of Parliamentary Secretary which I have the honour to hold to-day. Therefore, if I may be allowed to say so, he is admirably qualified to speak on such an important fundamental issue as the recovery of the livestock industry in this country. I am only sorry that the noble Lord was unable to give this House the benefit of his criticisms to which we have now listened at some earlier stage of the debates on this Bill. We shall hope that on some future occasion we shall be able to have the benefit of his criticisms on other agricultural measures.

The noble Lord has dealt comprehensively with some fundamental issues that concern the measure that is now before us, and he will, I am sure, appreciate that those issues have been very thoroughly gone into, both in this House and in another place. I should like to refer to one or two points that he has raised. The noble Lord doubted whether the machinery of the Bill is calculated to carry out the purpose for which it is designed, and he felt that the method of compensation under the three Parts of the Bill that deal with marketing and livestock marketing orders, with the three experimental slaughter-house schemes, and with the service schemes, was not such as to bring about the condition that we all hope to see—namely, some increased return to the pocket of the producer. The principle upon which this Bill has been based in each case is that those persons who suffer from the action that we propose to take by the closure of markets, whether it be a market owner or an auctioneer in that market, or those persons who are engaged in the occupation of slaughtering who are affected by a slaughtering scheme, should be duly compensated from the increased return and larger turnover that are expected to be derived from rationalisation and coordination. That is the principle underlying the machinery of this Bill.

The noble Lord has dealt with the question of whether the system of quantitative regulation will in fact bring the greater benefit to the producer which we all desire. I would point out that, not under this measure but under the Beef and Veal Customs Duties Act which was passed into law only a short time before this Bill came before Parliament, there is, over and beyond the system of quantitative regulation, a duty of ¾d. per lb. on chilled beef, ⅔d. per lb. on frozen beef, and an ad valorem duty of about 20 per cent. on other forms of beef, which will augment that policy of quantitative regulation. I do not wish to imply that by the inclusion of Part III in this Bill His Majesty's Government are pessimistic as to the success of the system of quantitative regulation. Far from it. It is hoped that by the advent of the International Beef Conference and the Empire Beef Council those countries which are concerned in the production of primary foodstuffs, with particular reference to the exports of beef to this country, will by collective collaboration and conference be able to regulate the exports from their own markets. That will not only have the advantage of bringing stability into their individual markets but it will be of considerable advantage to this country by enabling us to assess—which we have not hitherto been able to do in respect of any agricultural commodity—the probable imports of foodstuffs into Great Britain. The International Beef Conference has met with a degree of success in its initial meetings, and it is to be hoped that, with the representation that this country enjoys upon that Conference, with the noble Lord, Lord Bingley, as the representative of our producers, some success will attend its endeavours.

The noble Lord referred to the service schemes and he thought that where a substantially representative number of persons wished to formulate a scheme, and the Minister found that there was a preponderating opinion in favour of that scheme, then such a scheme should come into being. I would remind the noble Lord that under Clause 35 of the Bill the Minister cannot confirm a scheme unless it is generally in the public interest and, secondly, such a scheme when it has been submitted can be annulled by Parliament. I should think therefore that there is ample safeguard in the service schemes: first, that no scheme will be approved by the Commission if it is of a frivolous character; secondly, that if the Commission did by some chance approve a scheme which in the opinion of a number of persons within a given area would not be beneficial to any section of the industry, it would have to receive the sanction of the Minister and could only be approved if it was in the public interest; and there is the further safeguard that it will come before Parliament.

These are only three of the matters raised by the noble Lord. Personally, I feel that this Bill can go far towards improving marketing conditions, which will result in enhanced values of beef prices to the individual producer. I do not claim that the effect of this Bill will be seen at any very early date. It is, as your Lordships are well aware, essentially an enabling measure, and it will take the cooperation of all sections of the industry, and indeed a certain amount of time, for the full benefits to be derived from it. But it is of such a comprehensive nature that, given the incentive to act and to cooperate, it may have very far-reaching results in increased prosperity in the livestock industry.

On Question, Bill read 3a, with the Amendments.

Clause 14:

General regulation of holding of livestock markets.

14.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this section no premises in Great Britain other than premises on which a market in respect of livestock was lawfully held at some time during the year which ended on the thirtieth day of November, nineteen hundred and thirty-six, shall, on or after the first day of November, nineteen hundred and thirty-seven, be used for holding a market in respect of livestock, unless the premises are approved for the purpose by an order of the Commission for the time being in force, being an order made with the approval of the appropriate Minister: Provided that this subsection shall not restrict—

  1. (a) the use of a farm for the purpose of effecting at the farm any sale, by or on behalf of the occupier thereof, of livestock which, at the time of the sale, is being kept by the occupier or any sale of livestock being a sale incidental to a sale of the farm or to the termination of a tenancy thereof; or

THE EARL OF FEVERSHAM moved, in the proviso in subsection (1), after "thereof," to insert "or for the purpose of effecting at the farm sales of livestock on any occasion in respect of which special exemption of the farm from the operation of this subsection may be granted by the Commission." The noble Earl said: My Lords, this Amendment is designed to provide that sales of commercial stock held from time to time on farms where the farmer is not an outgoing tenant, and the stock for sale other than the farmer's own stock is not agisted stock, may be exempted by the Commission on receiving an application from the occupier of the farm. The noble Lord, Lord Cranworth, and the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, raised this point on the Committee stage, and I believe that this Amendment will make it quite clear, by specific mention in the Bill, that the form of sale to which Lord Cranworth referred as "collective" sales, will by a simple procedure be exempted. I am informed that the National Farmers' Union have approved of this provision being placed in the Bill, and I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Clause 54, Page is, line 37, after ("thereof") insert the said words.—(The. Earl of Feversham.)


My Lords, may I thank the noble Earl for the Amendment he has just moved? It entirely meets the point raised by my noble friend Lord Hastings and myself.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 16 [Matters for which provision may be made by livestock markets orders]:


My Lords, my Amendment to this clause is a drafting Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 14, line 26, after ("respects") insert ("particular occasions or").—(The Earl of Feversham.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 27:

Power of local authorities to provide and carry on slaughter-houses.

27.—(1) A slaughter-house scheme may enable any local authority specified in the scheme (if and so far as that local authority are not enabled by virtue of any Act other than this Act so to do)— (a) to provide (whether within or out. side the area of the authority) such a slaughter-house as is to be deemed by virtue of the scheme to be the central slaughter-house for the purposes of the scheme, and for the purpose of providing such a slaughter-house to acquire by agreement any land or interest in land and to borrow money;

VISCOUNT BERTIE OF THAME moved, at the end of paragraph (a) in subsection (1), to insert "on such terms and subject to such conditions, as the appropriate Minister may, with the approval of the Treasury, determine." The noble Viscount said: My Lords, if your Lordships will turn to Clause 30, page 29, line 25, you will see that it says: … the said Minister … may, out of moneys provided by Parliament make to the person proposing to carry out the arrangements advances … of such amount, and on such terms and subject to such conditions, as the said Minister may, with the approval of the Treasury, determine: It seems to me that there should equally be some check on the borrowing power of local authorities, who, in some cases, are well-known squander-maniacs. For that reason I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 26, line 25, at end insert the said words.—(Viscount Bertie of Thame)


My Lords, I hope the noble Viscount will not press this Amendment. If he will refer to Section 195 of the Local Government Act, 1933, he will find that that measure sets out fully the conditions under which a local authority, either in England or Wales, may borrow. These conditions will apply to any borrowings effected for the purpose of providing a central slaughter-house, except in so far as a loan is made by the Exchequer under Clause 30. I hope that the noble Viscount will be satisfied with this explanation.


Yes, my Lords, I am quite satisfied.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 28:

Exercise of Commission's functions by local authorities or joint boards. (2) Any local authority other than a county council shall have power to enforce, within their area, the provisions of any slaughterhouse scheme for the time being in force and, with a view to the enforcement of the scheme, any person authorised in writing in that behalf by a local authority having powers of enforcement under this subsection may, on producing his authority, enter and inspect at all reasonable times any such premises in the area to which the scheme applies as the local authority have reason for believing to be premises used for carrying on a slaughter-house; but nothing in this subsection shall authorise the entry or inspection, on behalf of a local authority, of any premises outside the area of that local authority.

VISCOUNT BERTIE OF THAME moved, at the end of subsection (2), to insert "without the leave of the local authority in whose district the premises are situate." The noble Viscount said: My Lords, it seems to me that unless this provision is inserted no inspection will be possible in a case where a slaughterhouse is outside the locality of the local authority which owns it. It seems to me that neither the authority which owns the slaughter-house nor the authority in whose area it is can inspect it. I do not know whether that has occurred to my noble friend, or whether he can answer the point off-hand, but it seems to me that a slaugther-house will be uninspectable in such a case as I have quoted.

Amendment moved— Page 28, line 11, at end insert the said words.—(Viscount Bertie of Thame.)


My Lords, you will generally agree that in most cases it is not normally desirable that local authorities should carry out inspections outside their own areas.


But in my Amendment the inspection is with the leave of the authorities in whose district the slaughter-house is situated.


I recognise the noble Viscount's point, but I understand that under the Act to which I have just referred, the Local Government Act, 1933, Section 91, it is open to local authorities to combine to execute purposes in which they are jointly interested.


This is not a case of joint interest. This is a case, of one authority owning a slaughterhouse in another authority's area.


I do not think that is sufficient to say that the authority which does not work the slaughter-house, but in whose area the slaughter-house is situated, is not interested. It is interested for the purposes of public health.


My Lords, I shall certainly not press the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 32 [Service schemes]:

THE EARL OF FEVERSHAM moved, after subsection (3), to insert: (4) A service scheme for the improvement of breeding of livestock shall, if it contains provisions whereby livestock kept or approved by or on behalf of the authorised body may be made available for breeding, be of no effect unless it also—

  1. (a) specifies the breed or breeds of livestock which may be so kept or approved, and
  2. (b) is so framed as to secure that no person other than a person carrying on the business of keeping livestock of the said breed or breeds shall be liable to contribute under the scheme towards defraying any expenses of the authorised body."
The noble Earl said: My Lords, my noble friend the Leader of the House gave an undertaking on Report that paragraph (vi) of Clause 32 (1) should be reconsidered. This Amendment is phrased to meet the specific objections which were lodged by my noble friends Lord Cranworth and Lord Hastings. I should point out that this Amendment would specifically exempt the pedigree societies, of which the noble Lords wished mention to be made. I should also point out that breeding societies have a further security inasmuch as an assurance can be given that all schemes approved by the Ministers will be on a fairly large scale, and that the Minister cannot confirm a scheme unless it is in the public interest. I do not think there need be any fear in the minds of noble Lords that the schemes as visualised would be so small as to incline a certain section of the industry to consider them of a frivolous nature.

Amendment moved— Page 32, line 31, at end insert the said subsection.—(The Earl of Feversham.)


My Lords, I beg to thank the noble Earl very heartily for the Amendment he has now moved. I have considered it very carefully, and I quite admit that, as far as the broad aspects are concerned, it does entirely provide those safeguards which we were so anxious to have, and it will remove the apprehension which undoubtedly existed. I feel the greater relief in saying that having just come back from Wolverhampton and having seen in the ring perhaps the finest collection of pedigree cattle that has ever appeared in one ring at the same time; it certainly could not be matched in any country but this. Nevertheless I freely confess that I would prefer the original Amendment which we moved, because I think there is still some possibility of a hardship being incurred by a breeder of good livestock, even if it be not pedigree stock. But I was relieved by what the noble Earl said in regard to the larger scheme, and the more I have thought over it the more I am convinced that there are practical difficulties to any scheme being brought forward by a small number of men, and that the difficulties are such that they are insuperable.

I wonder if I might be permitted to add just two things. The first is that parts of this Bill have been abstruse, and I myself have been filled with admiration for the most courteous and gallant way in which the noble Earl in charge of the Bill has tackled the intricacies. I heard just now in the speech to which we all listened with such pleasure from the noble Lord, Lord Addison, that when he produced a somewhat similar measure to Clause 6 he was met with the cry "Socialism" and "Bolshevism." I am sure it will be a matter of gratification for him to know that I said to the noble Earl that I thought this clause was Communism run mad. The last thing I would wish to say is this. I should wish to associate myself with the expressions of satisfaction that have already been given vent to at the personnel of the Commission which has already been decided. I am sure no better nucleus Commission could be formed. It seems to me the more regrettable that under the First Schedule, on page 49, paragraph 4, the whole of these gentlemen are disqualified from accepting the post because they are in fact capable of being elected members of His Majesty's House of Commons. What is more one of them very much wants to be and I hope he will be elected. I know the noble Earl in charge of the Bill has been told that there is a different interpretation being put upon it, but I have high authority for saying that there is at all events a reasonable possibility that the Courts may prefer the ordinary interpretation of the language of His Majesty to that of the amiable intentions of His Majesty's Ministers. I do not know whether I hope I am right or whether I hope he is, but at all events I have the very greatest pleasure in accepting, and thanking him for, the Amendment he has just moved.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 35 [Provisions with respect to submission, confirmation, amendment and revocation of service schemes]:


My Lords, the Amendment in my name try this clause is drafting. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 34, line 39, leave out ("to").—(The Earl of Feversham.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 45 [Provisions as to inquiries]:

VISCOUNT BERTIE OF THAME moved, in subsection (2), before "who wilfully alters," to insert "produces any book or other document which he knows to be false in any material respect or." The noble Viscount said: My Lords, this Amendment is self-explanatory. If my noble friend Lord Faversham cuts me short by saying it is not necessary, which I think it may not be, I will not trouble your Lordships any further.

Amendment moved— Page 41, line 18, after second ("or") insert the said words.—(Viscount Bertie of Thame.)


My Lords I would respectfully submit to the noble Viscount that it is not necessary.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 50 [Publication, validity and commencement of certain orders]:

VISCOUNT BERTIE OF THAME moved, in the proviso to subsection (4), to leave out "whom" ["Court before whom"] and insert "which." The noble Viscount said: My Lords, it is with some trepidation that I move this Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 44, line 5, leave out ("whom") and insert ("which").—(Viscount Bertie of Thame.)


My Lords, I am very pleased to be able to accept the Amendment of the noble Lord.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Bill passed, and returned to the Commons.