HC Deb 02 February 1948 vol 446 cc222-3W
73. Mr. Dye

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he can give any details of the financial assistance to be provided for cooperative grass-drying centres.

Mr. T. Williams

Yes; schemes for providing financial assistance for grass conservation will require legislation for which proposals will be laid before the House in due course; but, subject to the necessary authority being granted, I can now give details of the first of these schemes, which provides for grants and loans to co-operative grass-drying centres. Grants will normally amount to one-third of the total approved capital cost of centres established by farmers' co-operative societies or marketing boards before June, 1950. In the current year, when co-operative grass-drying is being tried on a substantial scale for the first time in this country, a slightly higher rate of grant is justified, and, therefore, plant which is in operation by 1st June, 1948, will be eligible for grant of two-fifths of total approved cost. Grants will be conditional on approval of the project generally, on co-operative working for four years with an approved contract with the participating farmers, and on dealing with a minimum acreage at each centre. Short term loans at 3 per cent. will also be available for an additional one-third of approved cost. In order to qualify for grant or loan these centres must dry grass as a service to the farmer on a nonprofit-making basis. The scheme is intended for farmers with small acreages of grass who put forward a project through a suitable organisation, which appears likely to develop into a sound method of obtaining a high quality feeding stuff for use on their own farms.

I understand that similar arrangements applicable to Scotland are being made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, with any modifications necessary to suit the different conditions in that country.