Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: rose—
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: I wish that I had not to intervene in this Debate because I am not a Hertfordshire Member. On the other hand, this is the first of all these schemes and I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary will agree that it is very important that in the first of a series we should be extremely careful as to how the whole principle is dealt with. I am sure he will agree with that.
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: I am glad to see that the hon. Gentleman does. I cannot help feeling that his approach to this, with all respect, has not been quite as fair as it might have been. Some time ago I was, myself, approached by people who were involved directly in this scheme and by persons who might feel that they were interested in the effect of the proposals made under the scheme. Naturally, I referred their...
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: Exactly, the Minister admits it and agrees that the principle is right. The principle set tonight is one which will have to be applied to every county. We have to treat this matter very seriously. I do not think Hertfordshire is being fairly treated. The issue may be raised in other areas and if it is we shall have to fight it very hard.
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: On the question of international talks on rail transport, the right hon. Gentleman mentioned two capitals, namely Lisbon and Paris. May I ask whether he omitted Brussels because the Belgians have not been consulted in this matter?
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: Is Belgium participating in the preliminary conversations?
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: Can the Financial Secretary say why it is possible to reduce the Entertainments Duty on puppet shows and, at the same time, not include speedway racing? Is the one a more popular form of entertainment than the other?
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: I consider that it would be most improper to delve so deeply into history as the hon. Member opposite has done, but I say that the reason which calls forth this Clause is that the whole procedure is really governed by Government policy. It is, I think, very wrong that, when the Government set out a policy and have control of that policy by saying what shall, or shall not, be built, at the...
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: I hope the hon. Member is not suggesting that any benefit under this Bill would accrue, in cash or kind, to the manufacturers of the Ferguson tractor. It would be most unfortunate if his suggestion in that respect were to go out as something which is accepted on this side of the House.
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: I do not exactly join with those who welcome this Bill purely and simply on its merits as being of assistance to agriculture. I cannot help looking at it rather more as a sign that the Minister of Agriculture has become a sort of half-way prodigal son. It is no use having a prodigal son coming back into the house unless he comes the whole way in, and the Minister dare not come the whole way...
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: Is it or is it not the intention of the Government to see whether those in receipt of grants are confined to the conditions?
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: May I correct my hon. Friend? It was not a question of disliking "met" reports, as such, but of disliking the inaccuracy of some of the reports which deterred people from going away.
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: Is my hon. and gallant Friend speaking of Parkhurst, which, I believe, is also a Government establishment, in his constituency?
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: If the hon. Gentleman takes that line, how does he account for the net increase between 1947 and 1949 of some 23 per cent. in the takings through the horse-racing tax?
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: I think I can claim that I have approached this matter from as non-party a point of view as is possible at the present time. I remember that 14 years ago I moved an Amendment against a Government which I generally supported, on a matter closely related, if not almost analogous to, that dealt with in the Amendment we are discussing. I was deeply impressed by the speech of the hon. and gallant...
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: Would the hon. Gentleman tell the Committee what was the amount of the tax when it was imposed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill).
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: The hon. Gentleman has rightly drawn attention to the Committee report with which some of us are familiar, but I think he will agree that it deals much more with the machinery aspect of the matter than with the picture of the economic situation of the industry at any given time. What I personally feel—I am not entitled to speak on behalf of anybody else—is that it should be possible to...
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: Before any step is taken to withdraw the Amendment, I hope the Government will not be over-impressed by the argument which has just been advanced. If they were to accept the Amend- ment, they would be setting a form of precedent which would be embarrassing, and, in fact, fatal to any Government forced to follow that precedent in years to come. The hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E....
Mr Ian Orr-Ewing: Surely, the hon. Gentleman is not suggesting that the priority given to arrears of wages is based on the effect of the size of the claim? It has nothing to do with it. It is the basis on which the claim is submitted that gives it the priority. Is he now suggesting a rigid form of means test?