Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th March 1955.

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Photo of Mr Clifford Kenyon Mr Clifford Kenyon , Chorley 12:00 am, 11th March 1955

I agree that it is one of the problems and one of the difficulties, but has not that difficulty arisen because it was not recognised sufficiently early? The young men feel that this is a neglected part. They want to get down to the lowlands where agriculture is more recognised. [Interruption.] An hon. Friend asks how much we pay the shepherds. I will give him one instance of a farmer in Westmorland whom I know well. He offered a salary of £1,000 a year to a shepherd to take charge of his flock of 1,800 sheep. Two men came. They brought their wives, and when their wives saw where the house was situated and the conditions under which they would have to live, they would not take the job, even at £1,000 a year. It is the conditions that matter. It is not a question of money.

We are losing young men, and we are losing the skill. I learned to lamb sheep when I was a schoolboy. We are losing that art, and we are doing so because we have not watched the situation and realised that sheep are one of our greatest assets. There is no dollar mystery there; no balance of payments crisis. If we help the sheep farmer in whatever way we can to increase his stock, we shall be providing an asset to the country and an asset to the countryside.