HC Deb 14 March 1940 vol 358 cc1383-4W
Sir E. Makins

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the Mobberley and District Shire Horse Society estimate that, following the withdrawal of the heavy-horse breeding grants, the services in their area will be substantially reduced during the current year; and what steps he proposes to take to ensure that those farmers who have been able in the past to make use of stallions through assisted nominations will continue their applications in the future?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

The reply to the first part of the Question is in the negative. With regard to the second part, I see no reason to suppose that farmers who have been granted assisted nominations for the use of stallions in the past will in present circumstances cease breeding operations.

Sir R. Gower

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the grant in aid of heavy-horse breeding was withdrawn in 1922, but subsequently re-introduced in 1924 because the then Minister of Agriculture was satisfied that the withdrawal of the grants had discouraged co-operation among farmers in the hiring of stallions and had otherwise proved detrimental to the heavy-horse breeding industry; whether he is aware that the withdrawal of the grants this year can only have the same effect; and whether, if it is not possible to restore the grants in the same form as hitherto, he can make some alternative arrangements to ensure the active maintenance of heavy-horse breeding in Great Britain?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I am aware that grants in aid of heavy-horse breeding were withdrawn in 1922 and were restored in 1924. I have given very careful consideration to representations that the present suspension of the grants will have a detrimental effect upon the heavy-horse breeding industry, but I regret that I cannot see my way to withdraw the suspension or to provide financial assistance to the industry on any alternative basis. I would add that the satisfactory prices ruling for heavy horses should provide an inducement to farmers to continue breeding operations.