asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if it was intended to include the requirements for re-equipping the industry of agriculture within the scope of the activities of the Finance Corporations recently announced by him for the purpose of making loans to businesses of medium size.
The Industrial and Commercial Finance Corporation is not prevented from providing finance in suitable agricultural cases, but my hon. Friend will recollect that this company is intended to supplement but not supersede the activities of other financial institutions and that in addition to the facilities provided by the Banks, special provision for agricultural finance is made available by such institutions as the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation and the Scottish Agricultural Securities Corporation.
May I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that it is estimated that something like£800,000,000 of additional capital will be required to put agriculture on a sound footing; is he satisfied that all the agencies put together will be able to secure that amount of capital for the industry, and, if not, what does he propose to do?
I am not prepared at the moment to say that. With the resources available to the industry itself, and the other facilities available, including the assistance which agriculture will receive, under a Bill which is being submitted for Second Reading to-morrow, it should be possible to do over a period of years all that is necessary.
While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for his reply, may I ask him if he will bear in mind that farmers were forced to mortgage their farms at inflated values prior to the repeal of the Corn Production Act after the last war, and that they have a great fear of this sort of thing in future; and will he see that they are in a position to secure finance purely on the basis of their credit worth?