§ LORD STANMORE had given Notice, in accordance with the provisions of proviso (d) of Section 1 of the Corn Production Acts (Repeal) Act, 1921, to move to resolve, That this House approves the draft Order in Council presented the 14th day of February, 1922, directing in pursuance of the said Act that the powers and duties exereiseable by agricultural committees in Scotland shall be exercised by the Board of Agriculture for Scotland.
§ The noble Lord said: This is a Resolution in terms of Section 1 of the Corn Production Acts (Repeal) Act, 1921, to approve the draft Order in Council which was laid before the House on February 14. The effect of the draft Order in Council is to transfer to the Board of Agriculture in virtue of Section 1 certain remaining powers and duties of the agricultural committees constituted under the Corn Production Act, 1917. Most of the statutory powers and duties of those committees, which related to the enforcement of cultivation and were created by the Corn Production Acts, 1917 and 1920, were abrogated by the general repeal effected by the Act passed last year.
§ The remaining powers and duties of the committees under Statute are as follows:— (1) To deal with applications for a certificate that a dwelling-house to which the Increase of Rent Act, 1920, applies is required by the landlord for the occupation of a person engaged in work necessary for the proper working of a holding; (2) to 48 consider applications for certificates that] a tenant is not cultivating his holding according to the rules of good husbandry; (3) to consider applications for a direction that certain provisions relating to market gardens shall apply to a holding. In addition, the committee may, if authorised by the Board, exercise any of the Board's powers with respect to the destruction of injurious weeds.
§ The volume of work arising under these provisions is very restricted. The total number of applications dealt with by all I the agricultural committees in Scotland in the year 1921 under the first, second and third headings, respectively, were only 63, 28, and none. If the committees were to continue to deal with the foregoing matters it is estimated that a sum of about £4,000 per annum would be required for their staff and other administrative expenses. The volume of the work does not justify the incurring of this expense, and provision for the payment of staff, etc., has been discontinued. In order that the I matters may be dealt with in so far as they arise from time to time the draft Order in Council proposes to transfer the powers and duties in question to the Board of Agriculture, who will be able to carry out the work with their existing staff. The draft Order in Council has already been approved by Resolution in another place.
§ If legislation is introduced following upon the Reports of the Game and Heather Burning and the Deer Forests Committees, and such legislation confers powers on I agricultural committees, provision will be made in all probability to enable those committees to exercise the powers referred to in the draft Order in Council along with the new powers conferred by the Bill. As the committees will then have a substantial volume of work justifying the employment of staff, they will be able to overtake at the same time the duties referred to in the draft Order in Council which do not of themselves justify the employment of staff by the committees.
§ Moved to resolve, That this House approves the draft Order in Council presented the 14th day of February, 1922, directing in pursuance of the Corn Production Acts (Repeal) Act, 1921, that the powers and duties exereiseable by agricultural committees in Scotland shall be exercised by the Board of Agriculture for Scotland.—(Lord Stanmore.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.