asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will consult the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs with a view to making sea defences and coast protection a joint national responsibility.
No. Sir. The Exchequer already makes very substantial contributions towards the cost of coast protection and sea defence works, but the Government take the view that there should also be some local contributions.
Is not the Minister aware that there is a far greater significance in this Question than there was two days ago, because of the happenings in the last two days? Is he aware that in parts of Cornwall, once again, there has been great destruction and loss of life? This happens year after year. How long are we to wait before we get some national action from his Ministry and his right hon. Friend so that this distress is prevented?
Regarding the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, there is, I understand a Private Notice Question to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government concerning the floods in Cornwall. On the broad question of the present arrangements, the Government are supported by the views expressed by the Waverley Committee and they regard the recommendations of that Committee which they have put into effect as being the best possible steps that can be made.
In view of the loss of a considerable acreage of agricultural land, apart from the loss of life, and so on, which my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin) mentioned, will the Minister keep this matter under review?
Yes, Sir. Of course, this is always under review.
In view of the quite unsatisfactory nature of the Minister's reply, I give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible date.