Marginal Agricultural Production Scheme

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th January 1959.

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Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire 12:00 am, 27th January 1959

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what additional expenditure he proposes to incur in respect of the Marginal Agricultural Production Scheme as a result of his recent decision on marginal agricultural production payments announced on 21st January.

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give further details of the modification he proposes over the running down of the Marginal Agricultural Production Scheme; and how much extra grant will be available for farms affected.

Photo of Lord John Hope Lord John Hope , Edinburgh Pentlands

My right hon. Friend proposes to provide £900,000 in respect of the Marginal Agricultural Production Scheme for the 1959 cropping year in place of the £600,000 which it was estimated would otherwise have been spent on a scheme under Clause 3 of the Small Farmers Bill. This should enable agricultural executive committees at their discretion to continue assistance on the scale which has obtained previously to occupiers of holdings of less than 150 acres and to give assistance again of course at their discretion at an aveage of half that rate to occupiers of holdings above that limit.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

In view of the fact that the Minister was strongly opposed to this concession during the Committee stage of the Bill, is he going to resign?

Photo of Lord John Hope Lord John Hope , Edinburgh Pentlands

No, I think the hon. Gentleman must have got mixed up with some other debate. I never opposed this concession. I was only too pleased to advise my right hon. Friend that it ought to be made.

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

May I ask the noble Lord if he will confirm that it is the intention that the scheme will run for an extra year, and, secondly, if he will see if the applications now in can be dealt with more expeditiously? I am told that there has been some delay, and that there is some anxiety among the farmers as to exactly what is the present position.

Photo of Lord John Hope Lord John Hope , Edinburgh Pentlands

That will be locked into.

Photo of Mr Arthur Woodburn Mr Arthur Woodburn , Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire

Do I understand the Minister to say that this scheme was going to run for an extra year? Is it not the case that it finishes on the date mentioned in the Bill when it was introduced, and that what has happened is that a gap has been filled which nobody seemed to know existed until we had the debate?

Photo of Lord John Hope Lord John Hope , Edinburgh Pentlands

What has happened, as I think the right hon. Gentleman knows, and what was meant by the hon. Gentleman below the Gangway, was that the putting into operation of the scheme under Clause 3 has been, in fact, postponed for a year.