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Volume 439: debated on Monday 23 June 1947

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Tenancy Notice, Cambridgeshire


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the Cambridgeshire A.E.C. have informed Mr. J. T. Cooper that they are generally dissatisfied with his method of farming and that therefore they could not reconsider the notice to quit by next Michael- mas based upon quite different grounds; and whether he will cause particulars of the committee's complaint to be sent forthwith to Mr. Cooper.

Yes, Sir, except that I cannot agree that this notice was based on different grounds.

As the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton) has laryngitis and can scarcely speak, may I ask the Minister whether he is aware that the county agricultural executive made no complaint about Mr. Cooper's farming methods to his Department until my hon. Friend complained to the agricultural executive committee in Cambridgeshire, and will he take great pains to ensure that no injustice is done in this case?

I have made inquiries and my information is that the real cause for the notice was made transparently clear to Mr. Cooper in discussions with the county agricultural executive committee.

Milk (Transport Delays)


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the thousands of gallons of milk for which payment was refused to the farm dairies throughout the country during the recent hot weather spell, due to delay in transport and long hours standing in the sun after leaving the farm dairies, before delivery, he will take steps to ensure that the transport during hot weather spells is expedited and that farmers are not rendered liable for the loss, which in most cases cannot be attributed to their negligence or lack of efficiency on the farms.

Although the hot weather spell coincided with the peak of milk production there is no evidence that delay in transport was the primary cause of the souring of such milk as was rejected. Special arrangements to expedite transport are therefore unnecessary.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that much of the milk which has been examined was perfectly good when it left the farm dairies, and will he look into the question of transport, because no milk will keep in. churns if it is exposed to the sun for hours?

I have no information to that effect. As a matter of fact, investigations have shown that milk which is satistorily produced and handled at the start will show little change in keeping quality even if the churns are exposed to the sun for several hours. On the contrary, unsatisfactory milk will sour rapidly in such conditions.

Would the right hon. Gentleman have a word with me afterwards. This is a very important matter.

Usa Tractor Tyres


asked the Minister of Agriculture the dates on which orders were first placed in the U.S.A. for tractor tyres, and the number of tyres which have been ordered.

I assume the hon. and gallant Member refers to tractor tyres imported under licence since importation by individual manufacturers was resumed on 1st June, 1946. The first licence for the import of tractor tyres from U.S. was issued in August, 1946, and the total number of tyres covered by this and subsequent licences is 7.575.

Requisitioned Commons


asked the Minister of Agriculture when it is proposed to hand back to the commonholders those commons which were requisitioned by the W.A.E.Cs. during the war.

In the present serious food situation I can make no promise, but I will give the matter sympathetic consideration as soon as the position eases.

May I ask the Minister whether, when the time comes to hand back these commons to the common-holders, he will take the necessary steps to see that the common landlords look after their commons and keep them in food production and not let them revert to the state which they were in previously?

Farm Visit (Departmental Officials)


asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that 11 employees of 'his Department visited a farm belonging to Mr. B. S. White, the chairman of the West Midland Liberal Federation, on a particular day; and what was the purpose of the visit.

I presume that my hon. Friend refers to the report in a local newspaper of a statement by Mr. White to the effect that II officials of my Department visited his farm on a particular day. From information Mr. White has since supplied it appears that the correct number is two: one was a veterinary officer paying his annual visit, the other was an officer who called to advise on the economic use of tractor oil.

Is the Minister aware that this statement was made partly as an attack on the Civil Service, that the headline of the paper read: "Eleven officials to check farm," and is it not clear from the Minister's answer that nine-elevenths of this type of propaganda must be discounted as wild exaggeration?