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Agricultural Grants (Piping)

Volume 466: debated on Tuesday 21 June 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why the Department of Agriculture are refusing to pay grants under the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Acts in respect of copper piping and insisting on the use of asbestos piping, although asbestos is not available.

In administering this scheme the use of copper piping is restricted as far as possible because it is too expensive for ordinary agricultural purposes. There are, I know, serious delays in the delivery of both asbestos and cast-iron pipes, and if the hon. Member has a particular case in mind I shall be pleased to look into it.

Does this not mean that the right hon. Gentleman is putting a ban on the use of copper piping, or alternatively that he is postponing necessary agricultural work which should be done at once?

I have no doubt that cast-iron pipes would be very efficient in this direction. We must consider the cost of this scheme, and if we were to permit the use of copper, which is imported for dollars, we should automatically be restricting the number of people who could be helped by the scheme.

Is the Secretary of State not aware that in many districts the water is of such a nature that cast iron pipes are entirely useless, and that those districts must be provided with copper pipes, in view of the fact that they cannot get asbestos piping?

These are matters which can be looked into, but the asbestos is there.

On what ground did the right hon. Gentleman make the statement that copper has to be imported for dollars?