Marginal Production Scheme

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th July 1949.

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Photo of Mr Anthony Hurd Mr Anthony Hurd , Newbury 12:00 am, 28th July 1949

asked the Minister of Agriculture to what extent in the administration of the marginal production scheme account is taken of the financial means and status of the farmers who propose to undertake land reclaimation.

Mr. T. Williams:

When considering applications for grants under this scheme, county agricultural executive committees have to decide whether the carrying out of the proposed operations without assistance would prejudice the ordinary work of the farm, or in other words, whether the proposed improvement would be unduly costly in relation to a farmer's existing income and capital. This does not imply elaborate means tests. Committees usually have sufficient information of a farmer's financial resources.

Photo of Mr Anthony Hurd Mr Anthony Hurd , Newbury

Will the Minister give us an assurance that where a farmer is prepared to undertake work that would not give an economic return, his own means outside farming will not prevent him from getting assistance from the Ministry?

Mr. Williams:

I had better not go outside the reply I have given. It is a delicate operation but I can assure the hon. Member that county executive committees are administering this scheme as sympathetically as they can.

Mrs. Manning:

Did the first answer of my right hon. Friend mean that if it were found that expenditure on marginal land would interfere with the ordinary work of the farmer, such a man would get extra financial assistance? Does it mean that?

Mr. Williams:

No, the very opposite.

Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton

Is the Minister aware that in certain areas schemes which were qualifying for the marginal production scheme last year are being turned down this year although the farmers are not wealthy men; and is he also aware that there is a great deal of resentment amongst bona fide farmers at this type of means test?

Mr. Williams:

If the hon. Gentleman will be good enough to supply me with individual cases, I shall be happy to have them looked at.