§ 10.27 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. George Thomas)
I beg to move,That the Wales Rural Development Board Order, 1969, a draft of which was laid before this House on 9th December, be approved.The Select Committee has passed observations on the Order and before I turn to the substance of the Order perhaps I had better deal with that. First, I should explain that the Select Committee's criticisms are not related to the body of the Order itself but only to the preamble. The Committee considers that this should have stated explicitly that the procedural requirements which are set out in Schedule 5 to the Act had in fact been complied with.
In the memorandum which is an appendix to the Select Committee's Report are set forth the reasons why the Order was drafted as it was—following exactly the precedent of the Northern Pennines Rural Development Board Order which was considered by both the Select Committee and the House last year. But I do not propose to go into those reasons now. Let me, however, at once assure the House that everything the Act required to be done has in fact been done.
Secondly, in view of the Select Committee's Report, having taken the best legal advice available to me, I am satisfied that the matters referred to by the Select Committee in its Report in no way affect the validity of the Order.
The Order follows closely a similar Order which the House approved on 11th July last establishing a Rural Development Board in the North Pennines. That Board is now well established.
The Order for which I seek the House's approval tonight will be a major means of helping to strengthen the economy of Mid Wales. It will enable farmers and landowners in the hills and upland areas to overcome the special problems of farm size—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. It is difficult for the right hon. Gentleman to address the House against a background of various 180 conversations in various parts in and out of the House.
§ Mr. Thomas
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
The Order will enable farmers and landowners in the hills and upland areas in particular to overcome the special problems of farm size and to co-ordinate the use of their area so that agriculture and forestry complement each other. The Order gives to the Rural Development Board in Mid Wales power to give financial help for improving or providing communications and public service, for improving and augmenting tourist facilities in farm or forest homes, and for providing caravan or camping sites so that those engaged in farm or forestry may obtain extra income from tourism if they so desire. But the interests of forestry will not override the interests of agriculture. Moreover, farmers who voluntarily give up land for forestry will, subject to the Board's approval, be entitled to grant or annuity.
In the 25 years that it has been my privilege to serve in this House, there has been an unceasing stream of reports on Mid Wales, all referring to the need for a stable and prosperous economy. These reports have stressed the unbalanced farm structure of the area where there are too few holdings which provide a satisfactory living for a full-time farmer and his family. The reports have emphasised the undoubted scope for developing agriculture and forestry in harmony, coupled with the need to diversify economy and improve public services. The Mid Wales Rural Development Board is directed to meet the very needs which these reports have outlined.
The Order has been the subject of a great deal of controversy in Mid Wales in which politicians like the hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. Gibson-Watt), the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson), and, of course, Welsh Nationalist politicians, have all played a part. I have not remained aloof. Neither has my hon. Friend the Member for Cardigan (Mr. Elystan Morgan) who has shown great courage in this matter.
I received at the Welsh Office a deputation of farmers from Cardiganshire and Montgomeryshire and Brecon and Radnorshire and we had a thorough and amicable discussion on the powers of 181 the Board. I have also met the representatives of the National Farmers' Union from all over Wales.
In addition, I addressed meetings of farmers at Newtown, Montgomeryshire, and in Aberaeron, Cardiganshire. The meeting at Newtown was sponsored by the Country Landowners' Association and was presided over by a much respected former Member of this House, Colonel Beaumont. I had the unusual experience at this public meeting of finding the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery and his prospective Nationalist opponent, both being in the meeting and addressing questions to me. It is, of course, a new feature for hon. Members of this House to attend public meetings addressed by Ministers and to ask questions of them, as both these gentlemen did.
§ Mr. David Gibson-Watt (Hereford)
The right hon. Gentleman is quite right. Will he follow that out and agree that at that public meeting at Aberaeron a week or so ago his hon. Friend the Member for Cardigan (Mr. Elystan Morgan) was also present?
§ Mr. Emlyn Hooson (Montgomery)
Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that the purpose of the only question that I asked was to correct a misstatement of fact, with which the right hon. Gentleman agreed when I corrected it?
§ Mr. Thomas
The hon. and learned Gentleman is no more helpful tonight than he was on the last occasion. I much appreciated the compliment which both the Welsh Nationalist and the hon. and learned Gentleman paid me by the eagerness with which they hung on my every word. I felt sure, and I still do, that they were there to learn and were not there with any such unworthy purpose as either to embarrass me or to impress their electors. I promised the Newtown people that I would faithfully report to this House the hostility of that particular meeting to the Order now before us. It was a packed meeting and included some people from outside the area which would be affected by this Order, but I acknowledge that there were genuine fears expressed at the meeting, and I 182 hope to relieve those fears by what I have to say tonight.
At the annual meeting of the Cardiganshire Association of the N.F.U. I answered questions for roughly half an hour, but no one expressed any anxiety concerning the Mid Wales Rural Development Board. That is true, and I would not dare to stand here and say so if it were not.
There are two main worries of farmers in the proposed area for this Board, and I propose to deal with them at once. First, there is anxiety concerning the free sale of land. Second, there is anxiety concerning the Board's powers of compulsory acquisition.
Let me deal with the Board's control over transfers of land. There are 4,270 holdings in the area which were included in the agricultural census at June, 1968. More than half the holdings in the proposed area of the Board are in Cardiganshire, and the Cardiganshire County Council voted by 10 to 1 in favour of the establishment of this Board. The Cardiganshire county branch of the N.F.U. voted by a similar majority—something very near to 10 to 1—in favour of this Board being established.
§ Mr. Gwynfor Evans (Carmarthen)
What proportion of the farmers in Cardiganshire who are affected by the Board signed the petition against its being set up?
§ Mr. Thomas
I am glad to note the hon. Gentleman's interest in this matter, because he did not show it on the Third Reading of the Bill which led to the setting up of this Board. It is impossible to say how many members of the same family signed the petition. It is impossible to give the hon. Gentleman the answer for which he has asked. On more than four-fifths of the holdings the farm business is below the level which would enable us to regard the holdings as commercial units as defined in Section 40(2) of the Act, that is, they cannot provide full time employment for the occupier and at least one other person. Indeed, about half of the holdings concerned do not provide full time employment for the occupier alone. Steep slopes and heavy rainfall—more than 80 inches per annum in the central massif—are characteristic of the area.
183 It is remarkable that in the face of insufficient acres, poor soil, and other limitations, so many of these people have continued in the hard struggle to obtain a bare subsistence from their holdings. I salute their efforts. Everyone with a knowledge of the area knows that as the years have gone by some have been defeated by the unequal struggle. Sometimes land has been sold to someone farming many miles away who is content to ranch the holding from a distance. This Order aims to help the small farmer to increase the size of his holding and thus to get a decent living for his family.
For this reason, when land comes on the market the Board will be able to consider how best it can contribute to the wellbeing of the area as a whole. There is no problem about getting consent where the land to be sold is already a viable economic holding. Where it is a part-time farm which the owner wishes to sell as such and which the Board sees as continuing to make a valuable contribution to the social and economic life of the area, there should again be no difficulty. But where a person far away wishes to buy the land whereas it would improve the standard of living of an adjoining farm, the Board will obviously be interested. So will the small farmers.
Control over land transfers will in no way affect transfers within the family. There is no interference here with the inalienable right of an owner to transfer his land to his natural heirs or successors. The second point is that no one will be forced to sell; it is entirely the owners' voluntary decision.
If, on rare occasions, the Board feels that it cannot agree to a particular sale, the owner may insist on the Board's buying it at a fair market price. Moreover, the Board cannot refuse consent to the transfer unless the very important conditions set out in the Act, approved without opposition by the House, are met. In any case, where the Board refuses consent there is always open to the smallholder an appeal to the Minister.
I now turn to the question of compulsory acquisition. The Board's powers in this regard are minimal. They are far smaller than those powers enjoyed by nominated Boards like the Gas Board or 184 the Electricity Board. They are far less than the powers enjoyed by local authorities throughout Wales. In two Sections only in Part III of the Act are these compulsory powers mentioned. The first is in Section 50(7), which deals with land transferred without the requisite consent of the Board. In these cases, the Board is empowered to acquire the land concerned by compulsory purchase. It would not necessarily do so. The circumstances of the contravention would first be carefully considered. The power is there as a simple safeguard against deliberate avoidance of the statutory requirement. Given commonsense, it should never be necessary that this sanction be used.
The other Section where compulsory powers are referred to is Section 51(7). This Section provides that where a Board finds within its area a district where, for example, the farm structure is particularly weak, the Board may, on its own intiative or in response to local demand and in consultation with the people in the district, draw up a voluntary scheme in which all concerned will be willing to participate in creating larger farms or re-shaping agricultural holdings or otherwise developing the rural economy of the district. Such a scheme would be based on agreed transfers and exchanges of land and variation of tenancies and so on.
To be absolutely sure that the scheme has a very large measure of support in the district and will be truly beneficial to it, we require that the scheme must have the approval of both my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and myself. But we have to recognise that there is the outside possibility of the whole scheme being frustrated by a refusal to participate on the part of a person or persons owning a small but crucial area of land. In these circumstances, the Board would be able to apply to Ministers for permission to use compulsory purchase powers to acquire that relatively small area.
We have given repeated assurances—and I repeat tonight—that this is a reserve power which we hope will never be used but which must obviously be there. Otherwise—hon. Members opposite did not object to this on the North Pennines Order—a scheme which the vast majority of those directly concerned wish 185 to see carried out may never materialise and the district will be unable to make the progress that the area as a whole needs.
At the public inquiry at Aberstwyth in 1968, we authorised a statement to be made to the effect that in estimating the extent of the opposition to any scheme we should take full account not only of the acreage of land involved but also of the number of persons; and in making the comparison of numbers, public bodies such as the Forestry Commission would be excluded. This statement represents substantial additional safeguards aimed at securing the rights of the minority. The whole purpose of the Order is to help the small farmers in an unstable area.
I am sure that the House will realise from what I have said that these can in no sense be regarded as minatory or excessive powers. They are purely reserve powers incidental to the true purpose of the Board, which is to carry out its work in full consultation with and, so far as possible, with the ready co-operation of the people and organisations of their area.
Let me now deal with the charge of the hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. Gibson-Watt) that it is wrong to proceed with this Order without holding a referendum in the area concerned.
§ Mr. Thomas
We had an inquiry which lasted 44 days. Well before any formal proposal to establish the Board was published, we consulted over 70 local authorities and other interested bodies. We found little doubt about the need for a board in Mid-Wales. The Liberal Party, in its policy statement in 1964, said that Mid Wales would benefit from a rural development board—[Interruption.] I would if I were wrong, but the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery will be able to make his own speech.
When the proposal was published, we received objections which were examined at a public local inquiry presided over by Sir Ben Bowen Thomas, one of our most distinguished public figures in Wales. In his report, following the inquiry, Sir Ben noted that opposition to 186 the Board had led to an attitude of destructive, not constructive criticism of those provisions of Part III. He proposed certain modifications in the area of the Board and this draft Order incorporates all the modifications which he recommended.
As well as defining the Board's area the Order establishes the Board itself. The chairman designate is Dr. Richard Phillips, an eminent and experienced agriculturalist, and his fellow members are people of undoubted integrity with considerable experience in agriculture and a strong desire to contribute positively to the strengthening of the economy of Mid Wales. These people are not enemies of Mid Wales. The love Mid Wales, they live there, and they see in this proposal the best opportunity which Mid Wales has had this century.
The Order provides for the Board to come into operation one month after the Order is made. We have also provided in Article 4 for certain of the Board's powers not to come into effect for three months. This will give the Board time to get established and to make whatever arrangements it thinks best to enable it to carry out its functions expeditiously when the powers come into force. The Board has already been too long delayed. Much money has been lost to Mid Wales. The urgent decisions that await the Board if the economy of Mid Wales is to be strengthened must be tackled in the near future. As the Welsh Council report on land use strategy in Mid Wales said, we should give the Rural Development Board a chance to show what benefits it can bring to the area. I hope that the House and those involved in Mid Wales will give the Board a fair chance to do just that.
§ 10.50 p.m.
§ Mr. David Gibson-Watt (Hereford)
We have heard the Secretary of State put the case for the Mid Wales Rural Development Board tonight. I would straight away confess an interest as I have land within the proposed area of the Board.
No subject has raised more controversy in Mid Wales—
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Elystan Morgan)
Thanks to the hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
The hon. Gentleman says that it is thanks to me. I shall come to him later in my speech, if he will allow me.
Nothing has raised more controversy in Mid Wales than the ham-fisted and stubborn way in which the Government have forced this unnecessary and unwanted Board on the farming community of Mid Wales. The matter has been mishandled from the start. During the passage of the Agriculture Act, 1967, my party warned the Government not to disregard the wishes of the people in the area.
The right hon. Gentleman has complained tonight that his political opponents have been making political capital out of the matter. But in the debates on the 1967 Act my right hon. Friend the Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) and a number of my hon. Friends voiced their fears about the Measure without actually voting against it. My right hon. Friend said on Second Reading of the original Bill:It is, however, the power in Clause 45(7) for the compulsory acquisition of land which particularly alarms me. We are opposed to this power. We shall want to know a lot more about how it will be used and what will happen to land that is so acquired.A little later he said:… and Parliament should be very grudging in giving power of this kind."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th November, 1965; Vol. 721, c. 1267–8.]I would also point to the activities or non-political activities of the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Gwynfor Evans), who at as late a date as 16th October, 1967, said when speaking to the Carmarthen branch of the National Farmers Union—[Interruption.]—I have the OFFICIAL REPORT if the Leader of the House wishes what I have just said to be checked. I hear him asking for it to be checked. I am not in the habit of misquoting.
The hon. Member for Carmarthen was reported in the Western Mail as saying at Carmarthen:Don't try and kill the Rural Development Board.So he was prepared to give it a chance at that stage. It was only when the Mid Wales farmers from all five counties rose up in their wrath that we in the Conservative Party asked the Government to cancel the Board. We then said—I said 188 it on behalf of my party—that on our return to power we would do away with it.
Then followed the 1968 annual general meeting of the Farmers' Union of Wales which I was honoured to attend. I was very glad that the right hon. Gentleman followed me a year later, when he tried to sell his case to the Farmers' Union of Wales.
§ Mr. George Thomas
The hon. Gentleman said that if the Conservatives were returned they would do away with the Board. Does that also apply to the Northern Pennines Rural Development Board? Is it the policy of the party opposite?
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
I was not aware that we were discussing the Pennines Board. We have come here to oppose the Mid Wales Rural Development Board Order because the people of Mid Wales do not want it. In my speech I shall explain why they do not. What people do in the Pennines does not matter here tonight—that is their business.
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
Yes. The Lord President of the Council lives rather nearer to the Pennines than I do. No doubt he knows more about the Pennines than I do, but, with respect, I know a great deal more than he does about Wales.
In October, 1969, we had a large meeting, which included not only members of my party but also of the Liberal Party and of the Welsh National Party, at Aberaeron, where we had about two-and-a-half times as many people as the right hon. Gentleman had when he went to Aberaeron only a week or so ago to address a meeting of farmers and to plead his case. Therefore, I say to him that, whatever the result may be in the House tonight, he and his hon. Friends have already lost the debate in Mid Wales. He should be frank and admit it.
The reasons for setting up the Board are set out in Section 45(2), (3) and (4) and Section 47(1) of the Agriculture Act, 1967. In short, there are six. First, there are special difficulties in forming commercial farm units in the area requiring the full-time services of two men; 189 secondly, there is a need for an overall programme for allotting land between agriculture and forestry; thirdly, amenities need to be safeguarded; fourthly, money is needed to improve roads and public transport; fifthly, money is needed to improve the supply of gas, electricity and water; sixth, money is needed for the improvement of accommodation for tourists. There is not much disagreement that all this is in the Act.
Of course, there are special difficulties with poorish land, but why must every farm have two full-time men to be a commercial unit? No one has yet answered that. Amalgamations are already taking place without the Board. Secondly, it is well known to the House that over the years some people in Mid Wales have been distrustful of any Government's programme for taking land for forestry and they do not want another Government agency which would reinforce that process.
Thirdly, in relation to amenities, the Countryside Commission was set up only a few months ago. Thanks to the activities of my hon. Friends and myself and of the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) and of the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Gwynfor Evans), we now have a Welsh Committee of the Commission which we would never have had if the Government had had their way. Amenity is that Committee's special responsibility and it should not be necessary for it to be looked after by this extra Board.
Fourthly, on the question of money for roads, the Agricultural Roads Act, 1955, passed by a Conservative Government, was a huge success in this area. The Government should look at this matter again because these roads need a good deal of maintenance and money. After all, the county councils are the road authorities and we therefore do not need another board to deal with them.
Fifthly, the Aberystwyth inquiry found that there was adequate electricity, short of three-phase electricity, and plenty of water as well. Sixth, certainly in Mid Wales, we need more hotel rooms with lavatories, but is this not the job of the Tourist Board? Why do we need a rural development board to help over that?
On each one of these counts, I knock down the purpose of the Board in Mid Wales. These are the feelings of many of 190 the people in the area. The right hon. Gentleman has been sold a puppy. He has taken over the Board from his predecessor and has had every opportunity since then to know the intense opposition in Montgomeryshire, Cardiganshire, Breconshire and Radnorshire, but has been for some reason forced to carry on with it. The inquiry which took place at Aberystwyth at great public cost—£2,600—was only an inquiry into boundaries; not whether the Board was wanted or not. Literally hundreds of objectors turned up, and the Secretary of State must be aware of the bitter opposition there is to a nominated board, whose Chairman said in April 1968—
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
That would be a very great deal, because it was a long speech explaining away his words. I ask him to consider whether or not the remarks of the Chairman of the Board were helpful to the cause. This is one of the reasons why I say that the matter was handled in a ham-fisted way. I have a high opinion of Sir Richard Phillips, but I think he let his case down when he said that for the first time the Wales Rural Development Board, when it comes to powerwill put a nail in the coffin of the right of owners to sell land on the open market.Can he be surprised that the people in that area are not very keen about the Board?
§ Mr. Elystan Morgan
Will the hon. Member accept from me that my constituent used that phrase in the context of a speech in which he was dealing with the tyranny of landlordism and made very clear that this Board would stand between the small farmer who needed land and the big farmer who by the power of the purse would be able to buy it?
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
The hon. Gentleman refers to "the tyranny of landlordism". He lives in the 19th century. That may well have been true then, but it is certainly not true today. No doubt the hon. Member for Cardigan will catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, and be able to speak later.
The Secretary of State received a deputation from the Farmers' Union of Wales in November last, representing 1,204 191 farmers in Cardiganshire. There were also 570 from Brecon and Radnor and 1,100 from Montgomeryshire—at least 3,000 signatures. The Secretary of State admitted a few moments ago that there were 4,270 holdings in the area. The right hon. Gentleman knows that this is an area where there are multiple holdings. Therefore, the figures I have given are very much better than they appear to be. In my view, over 80 per cent. of farmers in the area oppose the Board.
Are the Government deaf; have they no feeling for the people of the countryside? The right hon. Gentleman should be able to hear this voice. He should know what these people are thinking. Have the Government forgotten the words of the Leader of the House when he was Minister of Agriculture and told the Brecon and Radnor Farmers' Union members:We have no wish to dragoon the industry. We cannot ruthlessly impose any system.That is exactly what the Government are doing.
Last week, I wrote to the Secretary of State an open letter asking him, in view of the continued opposition to the Board, to hold an inquiry—not a referendum. I did not ask for a referendum; he knows that. I asked for a proper inquiry to find whether or not the Board was wanted by those upon whom it is to be foisted. In his answer to me he said:I do not think anyone who attended the long and exhaustive public inquiry at Aberystywyth in 1968 could reasonably claim that its scope was strictly limited to a hearing of objections to boundaries of the area then proposed by the Board.It may not have been restricted, but the terms of reference were not to decide whether or not the Board should be there. I ask at this late hour that the right hon. Gentleman should reconsider this. In my view, successive Ministers at the Welsh Office have been over-persuaded by certain elements in the Ministry of Agriculture. They are the people who have hatched this out. Anyone who knows anything about Mid Wales knows this to be the fact. They were the founders of the Board.
With great respect, I blame the Secretary of State, who has responsibility for agriculture in Wales, for listening to the Ministry of Agriculture rather than listen- 192 ing to the people of Mid Wales. That is why I ask for the inquiry.
A few months ago, during Question Time, the right hon. Gentleman accused me of having a thick skin. I say to him tonight that if he brings in this Order quite regardless of the wishes of the vast majority of the people of the area, I shall assume that he has a hide like a rhinocerous. It would not be a good thing for him in Mid Wales to be considered as Rhino Thomas. That would not do at all. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider this. Of course, there is politics in this. We all know this. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Indeed there is, on both sides. The point is that the gods of Socialism are being appeased by the Order. Consider that one.
Therefore, I say one final thing. I give warning now—what I say may shock some hon. Members—to anyone who takes a job with the Mid Wales Rural Development Board that it is still the policy of my party to do away with that board when we come into office. Do not let them complain later that they have not been warned.
Meanwhile, I ask any hon. Member who has a love and an understanding—[An. HON. MEMBER: "Blackmail."] It is not blackmail. It is a clear warning to the party opposite not to go ahead with the fatuous and pointless Order which is so disliked. I ask any hon. Member who has a love and an understanding of the people of Mid Wales to join my right hon. and hon. Friends in the Lobby to oppose the Order.
§ 11.7 p.m.
§ Mr. Tudor Watkins (Brecon and Radnor)
I shall join the Government in the Lobby tonight because I have a love for the people of Mid Wales. To the party which the hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. Gibson-Watt) represents on the Front Bench opposite, I must pay this tribute. Time and again, we had White Papers in which the previous Government quoted specific instances in which, they said, something must be done for this part of Mid Wales. I used to get up in the House and say that unless something was done we might as well have an electric fence right round it to stop anybody going near.
Before the war, there was depression in that area, like any other area. Small 193 farmers in particular existed rather than lived. What kept them together was their family life, their religion, their culture and what they were trying to do in the markets at that time. Let us not forget that aspect of it.
After Tom Williams' Act of Parliament, there was a complete change in the countryside. The Mid Wales Investigation Report advised the Minister of Agriculture at that time that the Government should do something about these things. The 1953 White Paper on Rural Wales said thataction needs to be taken to help rural areas of Wales to achieve a more stable economy and greater prosperity.The Government said that they must considerhow best they can help forward any reorganisation of farm units that may be needed.I refer to the Mid-Wales Report on this. Let us examine it and let us look at Radnorshire in particular. Of the eight parishes in Radnorshire, it said that 212 farm holdings had been abandoned in a period of 50 years but that 18 of those had been abandoned during the last five years, some of them in the very parish from which the hon. Member for Hereford comes.
The Report stated that of 500 occupiers in Radnorshire, only eight were under the age of 30—that was rural depopulation coming through—and 50 were over the age of 70. Because of that, the Government of the time did a great job of work. What they recommended was development of viable farms, coupled with forestry. That was in 1956. I am glad it was recommended. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Hereford said a good job of work was done on rural roads under the Act of Parliament because there had been consultations with him. I venture to suggest that it was because there were consultations with me and not with the hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Watkins
Certainly. The Conservatives could not have got it through if they had not been in Government.
The object of the Board is to draw up a programme of action—in co-operation with those concerned: I admit that 194 right away. At the same time it is to improve public services, which is a very costly thing, and communications. I hope that will be better done than has been done in all respects by the county council. Radnor County Council, of which the hon. Member was a member, did not always link up the last farm in an area with a road; the road always stopped at the last farm but one. He knows that.
Another aspect of the Board's work will be improvement of tourist accommodation, such as caravans and tents. To that extent, £500,000 a year is to be spent. If I may, I would compliment my right hon. Friend upon what he said in explaining this Order. But what did the hon. Member for Hereford say at that meeting? He said,Hill people, like ourselves, prefer freedom to money.A very important statement. So I take it that members of the party opposite think they ought not to take advantage of the £500,000 a year.
There are some people in Cardiganshire, I know, who are waiting for this Order to go through so that they can get support for their improvement schemes. Let us, on the other hand, examine the line up of opposition.
The public local inquiry was a good one, and there was a good report from it, but, with all due respect to the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson), I say this about it: it was a wonderful course for prospective officers and candidates of the Liberal Party. The hon. and learned Gentleman will not deny that. If he looks at the evidence he will see that Mr. Elwyn Thomas did a good job for the Liberal Party.
Let us have a look at the opposition. What did the hon. Member for Hereford say in the Welsh Grand Committee on 3rd April, 1968? He said:The setting up of the Board has been publicly opposed by county councils, by rural district councils.… "—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Welsh Grand Committee, 3rd April, 1968; c. 17.]And so on. But only five authorities wanted their parts to be excluded. Only five. Carmarthenshire was the only county council. I think that council got away with it very well, perhaps because of the support of the hon. Mem- 195 ber for Carmarthen (Mr. Gwynfor Evans). But it got away with it. There were reasons for that, of course.
Breconshire approved and had a very good meeting where the questions were exceedingly good. Breconshire agreed to support the Board. Cardiganshire has been consistent in support all along, and I pay tribute to what the Secretary of State and my hon. Friend the Member for Cardigan (Mr. Elystan Morgan) have done all along, and if anybody has to be careful about the next General Election it is my hon. Friend who should be. Radnorshire, of whose county council the hon. Member for Hereford was a member, never said a word against the Board. Not a word. Why? Because there they know that the Board will not interfere with planning, or the roads and highways, and so the people there will work in co-operation with the Board.
Nationally, the National Farmers' Union supports the Order; the Welsh Committee of the Union supports it. There are some individuals who do not agree, but if there had been no farmers in Wales there might have been no opposition at all. As for those protest meetings, they were an anti-Labour Government platform for the F.U.W. I do not compliment them, because I have heard them using their talents for better purposes than this.
A constituent in Llanwrgyd Wells asked me recently, "What will happen to my little holding of 4 acres; my husband is working on the road?" My constituent seemed to think that it will be taken away once the Order goes through. I said, "That is pure rubbish; that is the propaganda behind the scenes." Some people seem to think that their cottages and gardens will go. With all due respect, hon. Gentlemen have known this.
I will not quote what the Welsh Council has said about land use strategy, but the Welsh Farm News in its last edition before it went out of circulation also supported. I am a member of a local authority, and rural district councils and county councils have greater powers than this Board.
Another bogey is that family farms will be broken up and sons will go from them; but this is not so. I am glad that 196 already the Secretary of State and the headquarters of the Board have been operative. I did my best with the then Minister of Agriculture to get the H.Q. in the clear air of Llandrindod Wells instead of the sea air, but Aberystwyth was chosen.
Criticism has been made of members of the Board. I do not say that hon. Gentlemen opposite have used such a phrase, but they were present at the meeting when the phrase was used—"If they take a position on the Board, they are outcasts in their own country." Two of my constituents are on the Board, a landowner, a very respected gentleman, and a hill farmer, both of whom are known to the three hon. Gentlemen opposite. I am sure that they would have appointed those two constituents to the Board if they had had the chance.
I am glad that we shall be told how many staff there will be on the Board, and I compliment those responsible for the question and answer document that was circulated to the farmers.
Will whoever winds up for the Opposition say what will be done with all the boards set up under the 1947 Act?
§ 11.18 p.m.
§ Mr. Emlyn Hooson (Montgomery)
The hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Tudor Watkins) underestimates the intelligence and the reading of the people of Mid-Wales if he thinks they have been influenced in their attitude towards the Board by the kind of gossip which he related. To proceed with the Order is to impose a board on the farmers of Mid-Wales against their will. This is an entirely undemocratic process process. Very few want the Board, and the vast majority have petitioned against it.
In my constituency, the National Farmers' Union, the Country Landowners' Association, the Farmers' Union of Wales and the three farming unions are all against it, but the Government seem to be determined to carry on, regardless of the views or wishes of the people who are most affected.
In my experience as a Member of Parliament, I have never known such spontaneous opposition to a proposal as there is to this one. On Second Reading of the Agriculture Bill on 6th May, 1966, the then Minister of Agricul- 197 ture stated that he wished to set up one or two boards in certain areas, but had made no decision where they should be. The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, the hon. Member for Cardigan (Mr. Elystan Morgan), showed great enthusiasm for the proposal in his maiden speech and expressed the hope that a board would soon be established in Wales. I do not think that he has deviated from that view.
No area was then designated, but proposals to establish such a board were contained in a few Clauses of a 75-Clause Measure which covered many other subjects. Consequently, these proposals received little attention, in the Committee upstairs, of which I was not a Member, on Report and on Second and Third Readings. Nobody appreciated to the full the revolutionary nature of the proposals contained in those few Clauses.
It has been suggested that opposition to this proposal was deliberately stirred up, but that is not true. This is a classic case of the people instinctively feeling that the establishment of this type of Board could be dangerous. I willingly admit that this is a case of the people altering the politicians rather than the reverse occuring.
Many of those who oppose the establishment of this Board, including myself, appreciate that advantages could result from its establishment, but a vital objection arises because of the powers that the Board will have to control the sale of all agricultural land within its area. Few people outside yet appreciate that before any agricultural land can be sold in the area of the Rural Development Board, the Board's consent must be obtained.
The Chairman Designate, the Minister and many others, including the Secretary of State, have tried to assuage farmers' fears by saying that the power of restricting sale will rarely be used. But farmers bear in mind what the Minister said on Second Reading; that the boards… will have several specific powers, though these are no wider than is necessary to enable them to help make the break-through to real economic progress in these areas".—[OFFCIAL REPORT, 6th May, 1966; Vol. 727. c. 2028.]Farmers are not so worried that the Board will immediately use its wide powers, but fear that it will do so in the future.
198 If these powers are unnecessary, why take them? No Minister can bind his successor, and the present Government cannot give any assurance that Governments in the future will not encourage the Board to use its wide powers to change the whole agricultural pattern of Mid-Wales. The powers are there to have a policy of wholesale amalgamations or to transform much agricultural land to forestry use. After all, on Second Reading the Minister said that the various boards would be particularly concerned with the co-ordination of agriculture and forestry.
Some of those in favour of the proposal, including the Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, have made the most misleading comparisons between Mid-Wales and the Highland and Islands of Scotland and have referred to the powers of the Highlands and Islands Development Board. The Secretary of State did the same when he suggested that this Rural Development Board was something like that which the Liberals advocated in 1964. He knows perfectly well that the Liberal proposal was for a rural development board to develop industry and to expand existing towns in Mid-Wales and would have included none of the control over agricultural land that the proposed Board will have.
I have with me the Act which established the Highlands and Islands Development Board. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, and particularly the Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, know that that body has no control over the sale of land. Its powers are much more widely geared to enable it to develop rural industries in its area, and to make a comparison between that Board and the proposed Board is entirely and deliberately misleading.
§ Mr. Elystan Morgan
The comparison referred only to the question of compulsory purchase which, in the case of the Scottish Board, is completely untrammelled. Would the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that in the 9 million acres—almost twice the size of Wales—covered by the Highlands and Islands Development Board there are far more small farms than are included in the area of the proposed Board?
§ Mr. Hooson
Mid Wales is largely made up of owner-occupiers. Families 199 have struggled for generations to free themselves from the control of landlordism and to own their own land. This has largely been accomplished. The few remaining estates are small and generally well-run, with their owners easily accessible to their tenants. The one large estate run through an agent who lives away from Montgomeryshire is, oddly enough, the one estate excluded by the inspector following the inquiry. That is the Wynnstay estate. But no one can say that it is better run than, say, the Vaynor estate at Berriew, which is not excluded.
The farmers of Mid Wales object to a new form of landlordism, which is what the Rural Development Board is. They have emerged, after generations of struggle, from one form of landlordism only to find themselves with a new form of it. The Highlands of Scotland, on the other hand, are controlled mainly in large sporting estates whose owners often do not live there.
In his maiden speech, the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) said, in the Second Reading debate on the Agriculture Bill:…for too long has that part of the world been the private preserve of too few, for interests not connected with the well-being of those who live there the year round.That is to be contrasted with what the hon. Member for Cardigan said of Mid Wales in the same debate:These small farmers in my constituency will not remain as labourers on the land they once owned."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th May, 1966; Vol. 727, cc. 2087 and 2053.]Yet one of the main purposes of the Board is to encourage farm amalgamations to form what are regarded by the powers that be as economic units where 600 standard man days are a minimum. Necessarily, this means that, if we are to have an employer and an employee working on a farm, many small farmers will have to become labourers in order to achieve this objective.
The power of controlling the sale of land is precisely a means of achieving this objective. The Secretary of State spelled that out this evening. How can the hon. Member for Cardigan say that farmers in his constituency will not be prepared to become labourers on the land that they once owned?
§ Mr. Elystan Morgan
I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman to withdraw that allegation. My statement was made in the context of S.E.T. In the context in which he has now misquoted it, it is thoroughly misleading, to say the least.
§ Mr. Hooson
I never misquote people. I have quoted from the hon. Gentleman's maiden speech in the course of the Second Reading debate on the Agriculture Bill. It had nothing to do with S.E.T. Indeed, it was before S.E.T. was ever proposed.
There are few farmers in Mid Wales—
§ Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland)
Whether or not my hon. Friend the Member for Cardigan (Mr. Elystan Morgan) was referring to S.E.T., the hon. and learned Gentleman has his facts wrong. The S.E.T. issue was a live one at that time. I also referred to it.
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harry Gourlay)
Order. Perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman may be allowed to continue his speech.
§ Mr. Hooson
There are few farmers in Mid Wales who can properly be described as large farmers in the sense that the term is understood in England. We are a closely knit farming community of people who, above all else, value independence and a way of life. The cultural heritage of Wales is bound up with this way of life, and into the farmers' reckoning come more than the mere economic considerations which seem solely to concern the Government and the Agriculture Department. If a young man wants to farm and is prepared to take on a small farm with a relatively poor economic return, why should he not do so? What right have the Government to stop him or to discourage him? If he would be happier doing this than earning far more as an employee elsewhere, what is there that is wrong with that?
The people of Mid Wales are primarily concerned with the question of their freedom and independence. They see the Board as a real threat to this. They know 201 full well that these powers will be exercised very gingerly to start with, but that if the Board decided to use its full powers in a few years' time, it could cause havoc in the social and cultural life of Mid Wales, and there would be no democratic control over it. Nothing the Secretary of State has said could prevent the Board from using these powers in the years to come.
Whatever other objections there are to the Board, it is this central objection which is vital. Even people who do not like the idea of the Board would cooperate if this power to control the sale of land were dropped. The right hon. Gentleman and hon. Members have asked farmers to co-operate. If this provision were dropped, there might be some question of co-operation, but while this power over the sale of land remains with the Board, no possible co-operation can be expected.
I intend to vote against the Board and in doing so I shall be expressing the views of those who have the wholehearted support of the majority of the agricultural population of Mid Wales.
§ 11.32 p.m.
§ Mr. Gwynfor Evans (Carmarthen)
I oppose the Board, because in the course of the discussion of its powers and purposes it has become clear that it is not a rural development board. Its powers of development are very restricted. When in the debate in the Welsh Grand Committee on agriculture I asked what powers the Board would have to assist in a manner in which assistance was not available from any other source, apart from tourism, no answer was given to me. Perhaps we may have an answer to that question tonight.
What has been new in the Government's agricultural policy and what is most relevant to this matter is the Government's decision to speed up the amalgamation of farms. The White Paper has said this quite clearly. It said that many changes in size and lay-out of farms were already taking place on private initiative and that amalgamations were already going on, but that the Government were not satisfied with the speed of amalgamations and hoped that the process would continue at a greater speed with the incentives now proposed. The Government, therefore, not only wanted the amalgamations to proceed; they 202 wanted them to proceed more quickly, and the incentives were designed for that purpose.
But one cannot amalgamate farms without getting rid of farms and the farms to be got rid of are the small farms. They are considered by the Government not to be commercial units; and when the Government say that they hope that farms will be amalgamated at a greater speed, what they are saying is that they want to squeeze out the small farms at a greater speed. The Board is regarded by people in Mid Wales as an agency to achieve this purpose.
The outstanding feature of the Board's character is the power being given to it to do just this. Inside its area the Board will have power to prevent a land owner from selling or assigning his farm, whatever its size, without the consent of the Board and the Board may refuse that consent if it thinks that the farm can be disposed of for a purpose affecting amalgamation or coordinating the use of the land for forestry and agriculture. That has an ominous sound in Welsh ears, because of the struggle that we had in the past with the Forestry Commission, which has immense resources in the matter and is given two places on the Board.
This is my central point. A Welshman who cherishes the Welsh way of life must oppose this institution with all his strength because it is an institution which will lead to greater depopulation. The main social evil in Wales, particularly rural Wales, is depopulation. Seven of our 13 countries have smaller populations than in 1921. This is not true of even one of the 39 counties of England.
The Welsh rural society is the main backbone of our way of life, of our language, and of our national culture. This is the reason—and it is a social reason—why conditions should be created in which small farms can flourish. The people who farm them and the people who depend upon them—the ancillary industries, the professions and services—are the strongest bastion of our national tradition. Agriculture, therefore, for us is far more important proportionately than it is in England.
For the small farmer the issue is an economic one. But for other citizens—and we must all be concerned about this —agriculture's place is a major social issue. The question that it raises now 203 and the question that the Board raises is: what kind of society do we want? Part of the national tragedy in Wales is that we can only raise the question. We cannot answer the question. We cannot decide and act according to the way we think the matter should be dealt with.
Today, even without the assistance of the Rural Development Board, financial pressures arising from Government policy are forcing people off the land. When the Rural Development Board starts buying up land or taking over farms it will find itself in the company of industrial and commercial ventures and syndicates of all kinds which are doing the same thing. It is becoming more and more difficult for this reason for young blood to get into this industry. It will be almost impossible before long for a young man, who has not got a rich father with a fat bank balance or a father who owns a farm, to get into farming. I think that a Government policy which encourages this process and encourages larger farms which need greater capital is a strange kind of Socialism.
I agree with the statement made in the debate on Second Reading of the Agriculture Bill:Any suspicion of a policy of squeezing the small farmers into amalgamation would eat like acid into the framework of a community like Cardiganshire."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th May. 1966; Vol. 727, c. 2053.]The rural community referred to there was Cardigan, and the words were those of the hon. Member for Cardigan (Mr. Elystan Morgan).
The vast majority of the farmers of that county, like the whole of the area affected by the Board, still think that way, and they have mounted a powerful opposition to the Board. The people most affected by the Board are the people most strongly opposed to it.
How often in Wales have we suffered the imposition of policies and institutions against the clearly expressed will of the Welsh people. On the other hand, policies and institutions such as the Countryside Commission, for which the people have called, have often been denied them.
This is the mark of a bureaucratic way of government, not a democratic way of government. A bureaucratic Govern- 204 ment is one which rides roughshod over the will of the people, as the Government are prepared to do in this case. This kind of Government is becoming increasingly intolerable to the people of Wales. The only remedy is to put the government of Wales in the hands of the Welsh people.
§ 11.39 p.m.
§ Mr. George Thomas
I have rarely listened to a debate in which there has been a more "phoney" opposition than I have heard tonight. We have had to endure a lot of humbug from hon. Members who debated this for more than two and a half days in Committee and never voted against it. We have had the humbug of hon. Members talking as though all along they were the ones who thought that this was ill-advised for Wales.
I respect the concern of the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Gwynfor Evans) for a Welsh Parliament, but his concern for small farmers is difficult to understand in view of his arguments. We have lost 10,000 small farmers from Wales. They have been amalgamated with the big farmers. Small farmers have not so far been helped to join together, and it is these people who will have an opportunity to benefit from these proposals.
The hon. Gentleman asked what other powers the Board would have apart from helping tourism. It will be able to buy farms by agreement, spend money on improving them, and then make them available at a fair price. It may accept a loss in so doing. Also, it will be able to assist in improving public services. The hon. Gentleman acknowledged that developments will be necessary in respect of the supply of electricity. The Board will be able to help with that, and with telephones, farm roads, and so on.
It is this Government who have arrested depopulation in Mid-Wales. This problem has existed for a century, and these proposals are intended to strengthen the economy of those who are there now. Our weak farming structure has meant that young people could see no future in Mid-Wales. That is why they left the area. We are strengthening the economy so that the young people will stay in Mid-Wales.
I have much stronger words than usual to say to the hon. Member for Hereford 205 (Mr. Gibson-Watt), because his speech was quite out of character. He said that the provision of amenities and improvements to the area should be left to the tourist board.
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt
There are two separate issues here. One is amenity, and the other is tourism. The first should be left to the Countryside Commission, and the second to the tourist board.
§ Mr. Thomas
The hon. Gentleman referred to the tourist board and asked why this should not be left to that board. As the hon. Gentleman probably knows, though he may have overlooked it, the tourist board is not concerned with farmhouse accommodation. This board will be concerned with farmhouses with fewer than 10 rooms, and the hon. Gentleman will appreciate that there are not many smallholdings with more than that number of rooms. The hon. Gentleman probably has more than 10 rooms in his farmhouse, but the people about whom we are talking do not, and the board can fill this gap.
The hon. Gentleman said that the Conservatives do not like this proposal, and that his right hon. Friend the Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) expressed some anxieties during the debate. I read that debate with great care, and it is quite clear that the right hon. Gentleman was satisfied with the answers that he received or he would have cast his vote against the proposal. The right hon. Gentleman was a member of the Committee which considered the Bill and if he was not satisfied he had every opportunity to vote against the Measure.
§ Mr. J. B. Godber (Grantham)
My hon. Friend the Member for Hereford (Mr. Gibson-Watt) quoted what I said. It is quite clear to the House, and I do not withdraw one word of it. We were deeply concerned about the possible risks that could flow from this legislation. We said that we were not opposed to the boards being set up where they had the support of the community, but that we did not want them imposed on those who did not want them. That was our point.
We asked for certain specific assurances, which we received from the then Parliamentary Secretary, the right hon. Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Hoy). 206 We asked particularly about public inquiries, and the hon. Gentleman said at col. 1044 in Standing Committee A on 17th November, 1966, that "there would be powers for public inquiries at which it would be possible to consider not only where the boundaries should be"—
§ Mr. Godber
I have been challenged, and I am entitled to come back—"but for there to be full discussion as to the special needs". My hon. Friend said that an opportunity had been given for the inquiry, and that is the gravamen of my case.
§ Mr. Thomas
No one can say that I did not give the right hon. Gentleman full opportunity to discuss his anxieties. On 15th November, in Standing Committee A, the right hon. Gentleman told the Committee:When the Minister replies I hope he will tell us a little more of the forestry aspect and give an assurance that this will include not only the Forestry Commission but private forestry owners and those who play an important part in forestry and that they will be brought fully into the picture in the membership of the Board.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 15th November, 1966; c. 1039.]The hon. Gentleman has been very keen to have these interests represented. The hon. Member for Hereford said earlier that hon. Members opposite were against this Order because the farmers were against it. That is what the hon. Gentleman said. Will he change his mind if the farmers change theirs? Will he say, "I am now in favour of it"? Is that how he proposes to do business if he has a chance to be a Minister? Is he going to say to himself "In the Pennines one thing; in Wales another thing"?
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt rose—
§ Mr. Thomas
I am giving it at the moment.
The hon. Gentleman said that we had lost the battle for Mid-Wales and then made some personal remarks about me. The hon. Gentleman knows that the test of this issue is when the Welsh farmers 207 have seen what the board can do. He who laughs last laughs longest. The hon. Gentleman might remember that, because in years to come those who have tried to hold back this £500.000 per year on development for Mid-Wales will live to regret it.
My hon. Friend the Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Tudor Watkins)—
§ Mr. Gibson-Watt rose—
§ Mr. Thomas
I have not got much time in which to reply.
My hon. Friend the Member for Brecon and Radnor is, if I may say so, a greater authority on Mid-Wales than the hon. Member for Hereford, although I know that he was on the Radnorshire County Council which did not oppose setting up this board. The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson), about whom, also, I shall have something to say, made a sneering reference to my hon. Friend the Member for Brecon and Radnor for the stories that he brought to the House. It is the underhand way in which supporters of hon. Members opposite have been spreading stories, to cause false alarm amongst the farmers that they will be losing their homes, that has been responsible for a lot of unjustified fear. Otherwise, the anxiety would no more have been felt in Wales than it is in the Pennines.
I come to the hon. Gentleman's threat to the board-designate. I think that he will live to regret those words. They are words of which he should be ashamed. To hold out a threat, to try to frighten men of the quality of those who have accepted membership of the designated board is to embark on a foolish exercise. These men, who are highly respected throughout Wales, men of great integrity, whom we have invited to serve on the board, are not the sort to be frightened off by a threat made by the hon. Gentleman. It is a threat, though, with little substance, since it depends on their returning to office.
The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery said that no one appreciated on Second Reading the extensive powers of these boards. The hon. and learned Gentleman is well known throughout Wales for his demand that we should 208 establish in Mid-Wales a body like the Tennessee Valley Authority. The hon. Member for Carmarthen has made that same demand. That authority has far greater powers of compulsion to take away farms from people. It compulsorily took a million acres of farmland. We prefer to work on the principle of co-operation.
§ Mr. Hooson rose—
§ Mr. Thomas
No, I will not give way. The hon. and learned gentleman has not behaved well in Wales—[An HON. MEMBER: "Afraid to give way?"] It will be a sorry day for me when I am afraid of the hon. and learned Gentleman.
The hon. and learned Gentleman said that the people alerted the politicians. I have here a quotation from the first public speech made following the publication of our report. It was made by Mr. Geraint Howells, the prospective Liberal candidate for Brecon and Radnor. He said that the jackboot of tyranny would crash through the door of every small farm in Wales. This is the people leading the politicians! What we have had is an exercise, and the dirtiest exercise in party politics for a long time.
The hon. and learned Member was more disturbed by potential politicians than by the people in Mid-Wales. He also says that nothing that the Secretary of State says can prevent the Board using its powers—
§ Mr. Thomas
In the future. The hon. and learned Gentleman is a lawyer. I would not like to employ him. He should read the Order again.
There is room for those concerned to appeal to the Secretary of State on these important questions.
§ Mr. Hooson rose—
§ Mr. Thomas
No, I will not give way. The hon. and learned Member knows that never before have I made a speech during which I refused to give way—[An HON. MEMBER: "Yes"] The hon. Member has a better memory than I have. Tonight, we have had misrepresentation. We have had speeches playing on fears to make decent people nervous, when these powers are directed to helping them.
209 I turn to reply to some of the other questions raised. I was asked why every holding must be raised to the level of a two-man holding. Why indeed? We do not say that it should be. We have never said that, nor has my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. What we have said is that there are too many holdings which cannot pro. vide a decent livelihood for one man, and that they should be helped to become capable of yielding a decent living to the farmer and his family. Nothing drives young people from Mid-Wales more than the poverty of a holding that does not give a decent standard of living to them and their family.
As for the inquiry for which the hon. Member for Hereford asks, the inquiry that we had lasted 44 days. The hon. Gentleman said that its terms of reference did not include what he wished, but Sir Ben Bowen Thomas allowed those appearing to present evidence that went far beyond his terms of reference. He recorded
§ all the evidence and reported it to my right hon. Friend and me. We have given full weight to it. It is quite untrue to suggest that we have not been made aware of opinion about the board.
§ The board is the best constructive effort to strengthen the economy of Mid-Wales that we have had since I have been in the House, and I believe the best that has been produced this century. It is a constructive effort to offer to the small farmers of Mid-Wales £500,000 a year to improve their farms and strengthen their economy, and this will be done with their willing co-operation.
§ It being one and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings, Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 2 (Exempted business).
§ The House divided: Ayes 166. Noes 118.211
|Division No. 44.]||AYES||[11.57 p.m.|
|Alldritt, Walter||Fernyhough, E.||McNamara, J. Kevin|
|Anderson, Donald||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||MacPherson, Malcolm|
|Archer, Peter (R'wley Regis & Tipt'n)||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Astor, John||Foley, Maurice||Ma1lalieu,J.P.W.(Huddersfield,E.)|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Forrester, John||Manuel, Archie|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Fowler, Gerry||Marks, Kenneth|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Garrett, W. E.||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Binns, John||Gregory, Arnold||Mendelson, John|
|Bishop, E. S.||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Millan, Bruce|
|Blackburn, F.||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Hannan, William||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Booth, Albert||Harper, Joseph||Molloy, William|
|Boston, Terence||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Haseldine, Norman||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Brooks, Edwin||Hazell, Bert||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Heffer, Eric S.||Morris, John (Aberavon)|
|Buchan, Norman||Henig, Stanley||Moyle, Roland|
|Cant, R. B.||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Carmichael, Nei:||Hooley, Frank||Murray, Albert|
|Coleman, Donald||Hoy, Rt. Hn. James||Newens, Stan|
|Concannon,J. D.||Huckfield, Leslie||Oakes, Gordon|
|Conlan, Bernard||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Dalyell, Tam||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||O'Malley, Brian|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Hunter, Adam||Orme, Stanley|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek)||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Judd, Frank||Padley, Walter|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Latham, Arthur||Palmer, Arthur|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Lawson, George||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)|
|Dempsey, James||Leadbitter, Ted||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Dewar, Donald||Lee, John (Reading)||Peareon, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Dickens, James||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Dobson, Ray||Lomas, Kenneth||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)|
|Driberg, Tom||Luard, Evan||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||McBride, Neil||Price, Christopher (Perry Bar)|
|Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||McCann, John||Probert, Arthur|
|Edelman, Maurice||MacColl, James||Rees, Merlyn|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Macdonald, A. H.||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Ellis, John||McGuire, Michael||Richard, Ivor|
|English, Michael||Mackie, John||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Ennals, David||Maclennan, Robert||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy|
|Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Rodgers, William (Stockton)|
|Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h m, Yardley)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Rose, Paul|
|Ross, Rt. Hn. William||Urwin, T. W.||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Rowlands, E.||Varley, Eric G.||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Sheldon, Robert||Walden, Brian (All Saints)||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Short, Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Wallace, George||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||Watkins, David (Consett)||Woof, Robert|
|Silverman, Julius||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Spriggs, Leslie||Wellbeloved, James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirlev||Whitaker, Ben||Mr. James Hamilton and|
|Thomas, Rt. Hn. George||White, Mrs. Eirene||Mr. William Hamling.|
|Tinn, James||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Peel, John|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Goodhart, Philip||Percival, Ian|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Gower, Raymond||Pounder, Rafton|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Grant, Anthony||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Grant-Ferris, Sir Robert||Pym, Francis|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Hawkins, Paul||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Bessell, Peter||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Biffen, John||Hiley, Joseph||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Hill, J. E. B.||Royle, Anthony|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Holland, Philip||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Hooson, Emlyn||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Blaker, Peter||Hornby, Richard||Sharpies, Richard|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Howell, David (Guildford)||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Iremonger, T. L.||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Stodart, Anthony|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M)||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Jopling, Michael||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Kershaw, Anthony||Temple, John M.|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Chataway, Christopher||Lambton, Viscount||Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Lane, David||Tilney, John|
|Clark, Henry||Lawler, Wallace||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Clegg, Walter||Lubbock, Eric||Waddington, David|
|Cooke, Robert||Mac Arthur, Ian||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)|
|Corfield, F. V.||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Crowder, F. P.||Maxwell-Hysiop, R. J.||Weather-Mi, Bernard|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Dance, James||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Dean, Paul||Montgomery, Fergus||Wiggin, A. W.|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||More, Jasper||Williams, Donald (Dudley)|
|Eden, Sir John||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Winstanley, Dr. M. P.|
|Elliott,R.W.(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Worsley, Marcus|
|Emery, Peter||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Wright, Esmond|
|Evans, Gwynfor (C'marthen)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Wylle, N. R.|
|Eyre, Reginald||Onslow, Cranley||Younger, Hn. George|
|Farr, John||Osbom, John (Hallam)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Fisher, Nigel||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Mr. Hector Monro and|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Pardoe, John||Mr. Timothy Kitson.|
|Glover, Sir Douglas|
That the Wales Rural Development Board Order 1969, a draft of which was laid before this House on 9th December, be approved.