Mr Derek Page: asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs whether he will make arrangements for the Hunt Committee to visit the areas of the country having below average incomes.
Mr Derek Page: Bearing in mind that low earnings must be the main factor to be considered by the Hunt Committee, does the Minister not agree that a visit to areas such as Norfolk to see the difficulties encountered by many thousands of people is essential if the problem is to be understood fully.
Mr Derek Page: I have great pleasure in supporting the case put forward by the right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton). Understandably and rightly, he has paid a great deal of attention to the water conservation aspects of this great and imaginative scheme, but I have a strong feeling that the reason why our pleas for a feasibility study have been cold shouldered is that other...
Mr Derek Page: We would be interested to know how my hon. Friend can justify the figures which he has picked out of the air. I have never seen any justification for saying that possibly one-third of the cost would fall on those other facilities. What work has been done to prove this? Does my hon. Friend's Department have the facilities to do such work?
Mr Derek Page: While I appreciate the need for the Bill, there are a few points which need clearing up. For example, what effect will rationing have on rural areas? The steady rundown of public transport in areas such as Norfolk has already placed a great burden on many people. There is now increasing reliance on private motor cars and the rundown of public transport, coupled with this fact, makes the...
Mr Derek Page: asked the Minister of Power what steps he is taking to evaluate the possible uses of natural gas for non-fuel purposes.
Mr Derek Page: Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the tremendous import savings and the job generation which can be brought about by chemical and metallurgical firms if the gas is made available for feedstock and on-site total enegry generation? Will he make sure that no obstacle is placed in the way of such development?
Mr Derek Page: Will my hon. Friend not agree that in the interests of objectivity, as well as social equity, it is essential to have any tests conducted away from areas where tests of sonic bangs have been conducted for some time? Bearing in mind that the Wash area is one such locality, it will be essential in trying to get reliable information to keep Concord tests away from this area.
Mr Derek Page: I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time. It was in 1882 that the Bills of Sale (Amendment) Act was passed. Debentures issued by incorporated companies were exempted from the provisions of that Act, but no similar exemption was provided in the case of co-operatives. At the time that did not seem to matter, but with the growth of co-operatives, especially since the last war,...
Mr Derek Page: Does the hon. Member think that the reimposition of prescription charges and reduction of help for school meals would help the families to whom he is referring?
Mr Derek Page: A year ago, in introducing his 1966 Budget, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke of three targets—the need to maintain the value of the £, the need to promot production and the need to ensure full employment. No one would question that he has succeeded in his first target and that he deserves to be congratulated on that. It is important for the whole country. He has...
Mr Derek Page: I would agree with that. What I was saying about the Selective Employment Tax and the need to reshape it and to encourage automation and efficiency in service industries would probably fit in with what the hon. Gentleman has in mind. We should take into account average earnings in designating development areas. In Norfolk, unemployment has not been as persistent as it has been in other...
Mr Derek Page: asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made in the past two years in the agricultural expansion programme.
Mr Derek Page: Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that if progress is to be stimulated farmers need assurance about their future incomes as far as possible, and there is concern about what their incomes will be if we go into the Common Market? Will he, therefore, take steps to inquire what farm incomes are in the Common Market countries, which is something that we do not know at present?
Mr Derek Page: asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in view of the fact that horticulture is not included in the Annual Price Review products what assurances he has now given for continued security in the industry.
Mr Derek Page: Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that, while growers are most appreciative of the assistance which he has given them, naturally they are very anxious about their future should negotiations with the E.E.C. go ahead? Will he bear in mind that anxiety and the suspicion which many of us have that this is likely to be the hardest hit part of agriculture?
Mr Derek Page: asked the Minister of Overseas Development what estimate he has made of the effects of possible entry of Great Britain to the European Economic Community on the economies of sterling area producers of sugar, and the consequent changes in need for economic assistance.
Mr Derek Page: Will my hon. Friend bear in mind the particular reliance of these territories on this single crop, which outweighs, for instance, the reliance of New Zealand on its exports to this country, and will he make sure that this is taken fully into account? Otherwise, they could be ruined.
Mr Derek Page: asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what advice he has received from the Eastern Regional Economic Planning Council regarding the advisability of instituting a feasibility study for a Wash Barrage.
Mr Derek Page: Is my hon. Friend aware that recent thinking on this subject involves consideration of factors much wider than pure water conservation, such as new port facilities and the drainage of vast areas? Will he ensure that these new considerations are properly considered by his Ministry in setting up any feasibility study?