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Plant Hire (Charges)

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 1 April 1952

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asked the Minister of Works whether he will, in the near future, revise or abolish the Statutory Instrument laying down the charges which may be made by contractors for the services of mechanical excavators, bulldozers and so forth; and whether, in this connection, he will take steps to ensure that arrangements can be made whereby farmers and landowners can have work carried out by such mechanical devices at the lowest economic rates.

I am at present reviewing the statutory control of plant hire rates to see whether and when it can be discontinued and hope to reach a decision shortly.As regards the second part of the Question, my right hon. Friends have informed me that, in England and Wales, many of the county agricultural executive Committees carry out work involving the use of crawler tractors and bulldozers for farmers and landowners on contract terms applicable to agricultural operations; and that, in Scotland, a land drainage machinery service is operated by the Department of Agriculture for minor arterial drainage at charges which do not exceed the maxima laid down in the Statutory Instrument.