Clause 37. — (Annual Allowances for Mineral Depletion in the United Kingdom.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st May 1963.

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Photo of Mr Edward Du Cann Mr Edward Du Cann , Taunton 12:00 am, 21st May 1963

Indeed, I have. I know that my right hon. Friend would wish me to say to the hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Dr. King) how much he appreciates the kindly and courteous things that he said.

I am glad to think that this Clause might have the approval of the Committee. The hon. Gentleman was quite right to remind me that with him and many other hon. Members I was much concerned in making rude speeches from the back benches, suggesting that it is high time that justice was provided for the mineral extractive industries. He is also right to complain a little, even though ever so politely, of the length of the Clause, nearly five pages, but he and the Committee may wish to know—and I am authorised to say this—that we understand that the formula and phrasing of the Clause are regarded as most satisfactory from the point of view of the industry.

To use the hon. Gentleman's phrase, not only are we providing justice but we are providing it in a way which appears to be appreciated by the industry. There are so many hon. Members on both sides of the Committee who are concerned with this that I shall not mention any names at all. I should, however, like to remind the Committee of the late Sir Gurney Braithwaite, who was very interested in this matter. I have always had a warm spot in my heart for "Old Gurney", ever since he came to speak for me in my constituency during a period of economic crisis, a situation with which we are all, unfortunately, far too frequently familiar.

I remember "Old Gurney" saying to a very restive audience, "I turn now to the economic situation. The figures are bad, but that does not discourage me in the least. I am used to bad figures, for all my life I have been a supporter of the Somerset County Cricket Club." Things are different now. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for what he said, and I am glad to think that this Clause has the welcome of the Committee.