HC Deb 19 June 1963 vol 679 c435
15. Mr. Peart

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will announce the composition of the committee to investigate agricultural smallholdings policy.

Mr. Soames

I am not yet in a position to announce the members of the Committee, but I will do so as soon as possible.

Mr. Peart

I hope that when the Minister announces his decision there will be a statement to the effect that the Committee will at least include a representative of the trade unions concerned. After all, this is a matter which affects them.

Mr. Soames

I appreciate fully the concern of the National Union of Agricultural Workers with statutory smallholdings, and I am confident that Professor Wise and his Committee will want to hear any evidence which the union may care to put forward. My aim, however, is to set up a Committee which will be accepted on all sides as being fully independent. For that reason, I am inviting members with wide experience, including a senior official of a national trade union. In the circumstances, it would be wrong to invite, as it were, representational members to serve on the Committee.

Mr. Harold Davies

Is the Minister aware that many of us are interested in this matter and that the Committee can make a constructive contribution towards smallholdings policy? Will he, therefore, urge that the work be undertaken as soon as possible?

Mr. Soames

Yes, Sir. I announced shortly before the Whit sun Recess that we had decided to set up the Committee and that Professor Wise would chair it. I am now busy inviting others to serve on it, and as soon as their names can be given I will inform the House.