Clause 2. — (Bonus Payments and Loans in Respect of Forward Contracts.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Cereals Marketing Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th March 1965.

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Photo of Mr James Scott-Hopkins Mr James Scott-Hopkins , North Cornwall 12:00 am, 9th March 1965

I am grateful to the Minister for bringing forward this Amendment which, as he says, implements his undertaking in Committee. Anxiety was expressed on both sides of the Committee about the original drafting, and it was thought that the Amendment then moved by the right hon. Gentleman perhaps went a little too wide, and did not fully safeguard the privacy of the farmer.

I quite accept that the trade or the trader should be able to find out whether credit is outstanding, or whether the Authority is making loans in respect of bonus payments or otherwise to farmers. Nevertheless, the scheme must safeguard the position of the farmer. This provision is, perhaps, not quite as narrow or as tightly drawn as we originally suggested but, as he has pointed out, the fact that the Authority may itself lay down such other requirements as it thinks fit goes a long way to meeting our case in Committee.

I am also grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for taking up the point about credit limits made by my hon. Friend the Member for Woodbridge and Sudbury (Mr. Stainton). The words proposed seem to enable the Authority to lay down, if it so wished, that £250 should be the minimum, or £1,000 should be the maximum, or whatever it might be, depending entirely on what the Authority itself decides.

My hon. Friend also said in Committee that the Authority might keep a register of loans. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman has considered that suggestion. I think that in any case the Authority will keep a register, though it will not, of course, disclose it to anyone who comes along even though they do satisfy the provisions of this Amendment. If the Authority kept a register of loans beyond a certain figure it might make for administrative cleanness, and it would facilitate the working of the Clause.