asked the Minister of Agriculture why bush clearing and the reclamation of derelict land have been excluded from the provisions of the Marginal Protection Scheme, S.I. No. 536 of 1949; and what is the estimated annual expenditure under the Marginal Protection Scheme.
If the hon. Member will refer to paragraph 7 of Statutory Instruments 1949, No. 536, he will see that bush clearing has not been excluded. Grants may be given for bush clearing and the reclamation of derelict land in special circumstances according to my right hon. Friend's discretion. The estimated annual expenditure on the Marginal Production Scheme in England and Wales is £300,000.
Would the Minister explain what is meant by the statement that the work can only be done at not less than the normal charges? Does this mean that they are unable to get preferential treatment?
We ought to be very careful about this, because we do not want to use the limited amount of money which is available for the purpose for one or two very costly schemes, and we would rather spread the money over a larger number of small schemes.
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in respect of marginal land for the improvement of which he is offering a grant, it is his normal practice not to approve schemes unless they provide for the feeding of an increased number of beef type cattle.
No, Sir. There is no necessary connection between the Marginal Production Scheme and the keeping of more beef cattle. My right hon. Friend leaves it to the discretion of his county agricultural executive committees whether the desired increase in output on assisted farms should be in the form of meat, milk or crops.