asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many grants, and of what total amount, have been made to farmers and horticulturists to help them to obtain electricity; and if he will consult with the Central Electricity Authority with the object of initiating a scheme whereby those farmers, whose supply of electricity has been delayed for economic reasons, may be helped by judicious use of the grant money to accelerate their supply.
Under the Hill Farming and Livestock Rearing Acts, up to 30th September last, schemes approved for farmers and landowners in England and Wales included work for the supply of electricity estimated to cost over £1 million, but the number and amount of grants actually made for the purpose is not separately available. Under the Agriculture Act, 1957, up to 31st October last, proposals from landowners and farmers (including horticulturists) in England and Wales had been approved to the number of 160, estimated to cost more than £46,000, but no grant had yet been paid. I regret that statistics are not available separately of the grants to farmers and horticulturists as distinct from landlords. Grants under these schemes may be made to assist in connecting individual farms with main electricity supplies, but there is no power to make grants to electricity boards in respect of the extension of main transmission lines.
Is my hon. Friend aware that I was suggesting not that his Department should make grants to the Central Electricity Authority but that some cooperation should be arranged between the Central Electricity Authority and his Department, which has this money available, to ensure that farmers in small enclaves who have waited a long time for electricity get it very quickly?