§ 6.47 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the House to be in Committee read.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Champion.)
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The LORD MERTHYR in the Chair]
§ Clauses 1 to 12 agreed to.
§ Clause 13.—[Orders prescribing rates of levy]:
§ On Question, Whether Clause 13 shall stand part of the Bill?
There is only one small point with regard to Clause 13 about which I should like to ask the noble Lord, Lord Champion. This clause deals with the question of raising the levy for the purposes of the Cereals 353 Authority's functions. I am not quite certain from the clause whether the levy is to be of a uniform character throughout the whole country, or whether it will vary according to the parts which are described in Clause 24 on page 19, where subsection (6) says that the various parts of the United Kingdom are, first, England and Wales, secondly Scotland and thirdly, Northern Ireland. The question which I should be grateful if the noble Lord would clarify is whether the levy can be different in each of these parts of the United Kingdom, or whether in fact it is uniform throughout the whole area.
§ THE MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO (LORD CHAMPION)
I am grateful to the noble Earl for raising this point. This doubt is one which I know exists, but I am very happy to clear it up. I indicated in the course of the Second Reading debate that I cannot say what the rates of the levy will be until the Authority make their estimate and submit that estimate to the Ministers, who will then make an order, after the fullest consultation with the appropriate Farmers' Unions. I can also say that, whatever decisions may be taken about the rates of levy and the kinds of cereals to be covered, the Government propose that there should be one single uniform rate of levy throughout the United Kingdom for each kind of cereal involved. This is the basis on which the Bill has been drafted, and we arc satisfied that it is the right basis. The object of the Bill is to improve the marketing of homegrown cereals throughout the United Kingdom. The payments under the Deficiency Payment Scheme from which the levies will be deducted in the ordinary way are made at the same rate throughout the United Kingdom. It is right, therefore, that the levies should also be made at the same rates throughout the country.
I believe that this completely answers the noble Earl's question. It is a point that has raised some little doubt in people's minds, and I am grateful to him for putting this question and so enabling me to deal with the point.
I am grateful to the noble Lord for answering it so clearly. It was a point that was open to doubt; and I am very glad to know that it will 354 in fact be a uniform levy. I am sure that from his point of view and from that of his Department, it will be far simpler to administer as such.
§ Clause 13 agreed to.
§ Remaining clauses and Schedules agreed to.
§ House resumed: Bill reported without amendment; Report received.