Farms (Voluntary Amalgamations)

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th May 1965.

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Photo of Mr Simon Digby Mr Simon Digby , West Dorset 12:00 am, 19th May 1965

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what decision he has reached about measures for implementing his policy of encouraging the voluntary amalgamation of farms.

Photo of Mr Michael Jopling Mr Michael Jopling , Westmorland

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what will be the maximum acreage of farms qualifying for Government encouragement for voluntary amalgamation.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

We are pressing ahead with our consideration of the measures necessary to encourage voluntary amalgamations, and will announce the proposals as soon as our scheme is ready.

Photo of Mr Simon Digby Mr Simon Digby , West Dorset

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in paragraph 12 of the Price Review White Paper he said that this would be done very quickly? Is he aware that this is a difficult problem owing to the fact that there is already a shortage of farms to rent and farms to buy? Will he press ahead with it and remember that his time is running out?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

I am aware that this is a difficult problem. That is why I wanted to tackle it. The hon. Member said that time was running out. I wish that he had said that 10 years ago. I have set up a Committee. I want to act quickly but this needs careful study.

Photo of Mr Michael Jopling Mr Michael Jopling , Westmorland

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many farmers, knowing that this legislation is pending, are hanging on waiting for it to appear? Is he aware that the delay is causing a great deal of difficulty? Will not the right hon. Gentleman at least tell the House what is the maximum size of farm which will qualify for amalgamation so that we do not have quite so many people hanging on?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

The hon. Member knows full well that there has been no delay. As I said earlier, this was in the White Paper and I have set up a Committee. It is looking at finance and the whole problem and it would be improper for me to make an announcement now. I repeat that there is no delay. We are speeding this matter up very much more than did the previous Administration.

Photo of Sir Timothy Kitson Sir Timothy Kitson , Richmond (Yorks)

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider waiving the Stamp Duty where the amalgamations of small farms are taking place? This would be of assistance in some places.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

This is a matter which I hope we shall look at. Anyhow, I will bear in mind what the hon. Member has said and will look into it.