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Clause 1. — (Machinery and Plant.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Industrial Development Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th August 1966.

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Photo of Mr George Darling Mr George Darling , Sheffield, Hillsborough 12:00 am, 11th August 1966

I have read the OFFICIAL REPORT of the debate in the other place. As the right hon. Gentleman said, the question was directed to the contents of the Agriculture Bill, which is at present going through the House. The answer is that it is not intended to satisfy the demand for an extra grant for forestry within the terms of that Bill, but, as I have already said, arrangements exist under present legislation—as the right hon. Gentleman knows far better than I do—for continuous reviews of the needs of forestry, and in the course of these reviews, in the not too far distant future, the Government intend to see whether additional assistance is needed.

I thought that the hon. Member for Chelsea (Mr. Worsley) was going to speak for the timber growers of Chelsea when he began, but he went on to declare his own interest. I am sorry if I did not make myself clear. What I meant was that the national economy derives economic assistance from the timber industry in the long term. We obtain assistance in the long term from timber planting now, but in the short term we derive very little advantage, whereas assistance given to the extraction industry has an immediate benefit for the economy. The only quarrel between us is on the question of what legislation, and in what form assistance should be given.

I was surprised when the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. James Davidson) pursued the argument that we should give Government grants for the purpose of increasing the price to be paid by the Government to private land owners in order to obtain land for afforestation. This seemed to be a proposition that no Government would be likely to accept.