asked the Minister of Agriculture what is the amount of the grant for the current financial year sanctioned by the Treasury, on the application of the Development Commission, for the establishment and carrying on of the new Rural Industries! Intelligence Bureau; and why this grant was sanctioned after the Treasury had refused to permit the continuance of the Rural Industries Branch of his own Ministry?
A grant of £2,500 from the Development Fund has been authorised for the establishment and carrying on of the Rural Industries Intelligence Bureau for the year ending 30th September next. The Rural Industries Branch of the Ministry of Agriculture was discontinued on the recommendation of the Committee which investigated the work of that Department in 1920, under the chairmanship of the late Sir Beville Stanier, on the grounds that the work was pre-eminently appropriate to local administration, and that rural industries sub-committees had been set up in each county under the powers conferred by the Ministry of Agriculture Act, 1919. The Intelligence Bureau is part of a much wider scheme which has been framed by the Development Commissioners with special reference to the needs of the disabled ex-soldier. The scheme includes a central committee, on which the various Government Departments interested, besides the Ministry of Agriculture, are represented, and a central co-operative buying and selling agency which is not supported from public funds. The new scheme, which has been approved in the first place on a temporary basis, is, therefore, not open to the objections which led to the abolition of the special branch of the Ministry of Agriculture.