§ 2.54 p.m.
THE MINISTER of STATE, SCOTTISH OFFICE (THE EARL OF HOME)
My Lords, this Ploughing Grants (No. 2) Scheme, which applies to England and Wales, really continues the basic grants of £5 an acre for the ordinary land which was a feature of the No. 1 Scheme. I am told that, particularly in England, there is a considerable amount of very old grassland which might be ploughed up to great advantage, and in most cases there is a provision that up to £10 an acre may be paid as a ploughing grant. In each of these cases prior approval will be required. It may interest your Lordships to know what progress has been made since last February as a result of these ploughing grants. Whereas in 1951–52 there was a decline in the tillage acreage of some half a million acres, that trend has now been reversed, and between 1951 and 1952 there has been an increase of 130,000 acres. Therefore, I think we may say that the Scheme has had the affect of increasing the tillage acreage, which was the object the Minister of Agriculture had in view. I hope your Lordships will approve the Motion.
§ Moved, That the Ploughing Grants (No. 2) Scheme, 1952, reported from the Special Orders Committee on Wednesday last, be approved.—(The Earl of Home.)1036
§ EARL JOWITT
My Lords, I should like to ask the noble Earl whether income tax has to be paid on these grants. Is the farmer required to return the sums of ploughing grants for the purposes of income tax or not? Obviously, that would make a tremendous difference.
THE EARL OF HOME
I understand that they go in with the other items. However, perhaps the noble Earl will allow me to make further inquiries about that point and communicate with him at a later stage.
§ EARL JOWITT
I should be grateful to the noble Earl. If they are put in with the other items, I am afraid they rank for purposes of income tax and that, of course, ought to be known.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.