Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Part of Orders of the Day — Supply. – in the House of Commons on 7th June 1937.

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Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Edward Grigg Lieut-Colonel Sir Edward Grigg , Altrincham

I mean that credit should be given to the farmer to reduce his costs and help him to improve his soil and his plant, so that he may produce whatever will pay him best instead of subsidising him to produce milk, or wheat, or any particular thing. Give him cheap capital, help him to farm in whatever way he thinks best in the conditions of his own land and of his market. The other reason why I plead for consideration of this point is that if you can subsidise farming in the form of credit, you can at least be certain that the whole benefit of your subsidy goes to the farmer. There is every reason for supposing now that a great deal of the subsidies that we are supposed to be paying to the farmer goes into other pockets and never reaches the farmer at all. I am certain too that by this means subsidies will ultimately produce a greater revenue and help the taxpayer, instead of increasing the burden on the taxpayer as subsidies are doing at the present time.

I therefore return to the point with which I began. Farming cannot justify itself in this country unless it maintains an agricultural population in housing conditions and with a wage equal to that which equally skilful men can gain elsewhere. It has got lo pay the farmer, and it has got to pay the agricultural labourer. It is not doing either at the present time, and I beg the Government to look much more deeply into the causes of the depression, which still exists.