Agricultural Credit Bill, 1975: Committee and Final Stages.

Section 1 agreed to.
SECTION 2.
Question proposed: "That section 2 stand part of the Bill."

This is the section that raises the ceiling of borrowing of the corporation. I should like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary a number of questions on this section. The Parliamentary Secretary will agree that since December, 1972, there has been a dramatic drop in agricultural production. There has been a dramatic drop in the numbers of each kind of livestock, whether it be cattle, sheep, pigs or poultry. Since the purpose of the Agricultural Credit Corporation is the building up of these herds and flocks it would be interesting if the Parliamentary Secretary would give us some estimate of the drop in numbers of each of these sectors of the farming picture. Unless we know this it would be impossible to determine the degree to which the borrowing ceiling must be raised. Obviously, there must be a considerable raising of the ceiling to make up for the damage done to the herds and flocks by the Government in the last two and a half years. I would be grateful to the Parliamentary Secretary if he would tell us what the relationship is now between the July, 1970 £ and the £ that would have been lent by the credit corporation in December, 1972.

When one considers the individual applications for loans to the Agricultural Credit Corporation one must, naturally, take into consideration the disastrous effects inflation has brought about and the necessity for the size of loans being raised to be far greater than they might have been if inflation did not intervene. As the Taoiseach has said, a great deal of this inflation has been caused by the Government. Who better, then, is there to ask than the representative of the Government if he would be good enough to tell us by what amount we ought to compensate our figures in estimating the appropriate ceiling to which the borrowing by the corporation should be allowed?

The prospects are not bright for the rebuilding of the herds. I would be grateful if the Parliamentary Secretary could give us some estimate of the numbers of suckler cows we have as against the numbers we did have in March, 1973, or December, 1972. The numbers would not vary greatly in those three months. It is beyond question that that section of the cattle herd suffered greatly. It had consequent repercussions on the whole on the cattle herd and, in particular, in the matter of the price of calves.

In the consideration of the raising of the borrowing ceiling of the corporation it is necessary for the intelligent consideration of section 2 that we should know by how many—to the nearest ten thousand would do— the beef herd has been destroyed by the present Government. If we remain in ignorance of this figure it will not be possible to determine precisely to what level the borrowing ceiling should be raised.

I should like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary, especially since he adverted to it in his Second Reading speech, the amount of borrowing that has been undertaken by farmer co-operatives, in particular, dairy co-operatives and meat factories. The position is that we have diminishing dairy farmer returns, practically no market for calves and an impending operation of what the European Commission calls financial co-responsibility, in other words an impending threat of a reduction in the price of milk and a consequent incapacity of the big dairying co-operatives to maintain the milk price.

I should like to know from the Parliamentary Secretary the amount of dairy co-operative borrowing in each of the past three years and if there are any projections of dairy co-operative borrowings for the next six months or 12 months. With the extraordinarily rapid expansion of the dairy manufacturing industry that took place under Fianna Fáil Governments, in confident anticipation of further expansion, many of the big dairy co-operative manufacturing combines are heavily indebted to the credit corporation and to other lending agencies.

Under section 2 it is a necessary piece of information we must have for consideration. We need the information to ascertain with some degree of accuracy the amounts of borrowing undertaken by the dairy co-operatives for the purposes of expansion and of diversifying production.

The Avonmore group of co-operatives have diversified very widely in the matter of the provision of casein plants, cheese plants, lactose plants and whey plants, all in the matter of the past few years. I imagine this was substantially financed by borrowing in anticipation of the maintenance of an increasing flow of milk upon which all the calculations of the combined society were based in order to ensure a profitable situation being maintained. This, of course, has been sabotaged by the incapacity of the Government to maintain the progress we established. I fear that some, at least of the co-operative combines may find themselves in an embarrassing situation of having to surcharge their dairy milk suppliers in the price they get per gallon in order to maintain the service of their debts.

Turning to the meat manufacturing co-operatives, firms like Clover Meats, and International Meat Packers, I should like to know if the Parliamentary Secretary is in a position—I realise and acknowledge that it is not quite within his province—to inform the House as to the progress made in relation to the committee established by the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries in order to enquire into the alleged malpractices of last year especially. One suspects that they are still continuing in the business of the purchase and processing of intervention cattle. I hope this committee would have enquired into the means of access to the intervention market that was provided to the ordinary mortal who was not endowed with the good contacts that appear necessary to have in order to sell cattle into intervention.

It is beyond doubt that the meat manufacturing undertakings, private and co-operative, must have made substantial profits. Some of it was legitimate but some of it, I regret to say, may be suspect. In all these cases it is true to say that the enterprises would have been financed to some degree by the Agricultural Credit Corporation. I would be grateful to the Parliamentary Secretary if he would inform the House with some precision as to the borrowing situation, the amounts borrowed by the individual plants in each of the last three or four years. Having already asked the Parliamentary Secretary to give us some coefficient for the correction of relative values, say, of 1972 as against 1975, it should be a simple matter enough by the use of the coefficient to correct values in order to get some fairly accurate sense of relativity into the assessment of the annual borrowings by these undertakings.

The Parliamentary Secretary in his Second Stage speech mentioned the fact that grain merchants and others have access to borrowing facilities from the Agricultural Credit Corporation. This may be all well and good but what is beyond question is that merchants such as these have striven greatly in the past couple of decades, especially grain and feed merchants. Under the benign influence of the vigorous tillage policy pursued here it is now undergoing some strain— one wonders as a farmer whether in a different borrowing climate access to this source of borrowing should not be limited to actual farming practitioners and that the merchants the Parliamentary Secretary referred to be referred to other sources for credit.

I realise the part these merchants and co-operatives play. I am talking in particular about the private merchants. I realise that the part they play in the general agricultural economic structure is an important one.

I submit that by definition and by title the Agricultural Credit Corporation seems to support a special agency for the provision of credit for the farming industry alone. This, naturally, would embrace co-operatives, dairy co-operatives, meat manufacturing co-operatives. It is not as easy to see that it should also embrace private merchants who may have access to other sources of borrowing.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary give us some estimate of the slack we must make up in order to bring ourselves back to the position we would have been in at the end of 1972? Could he give us a corrected figure, if possible, or an actual figure and the coefficient in order to do the correction ourselves, of the quantities borrowed every year by farmers in the last three or four years? It will be necessary to take into consideration the enormous inflation of the Irish pound that has taken place in the intervening period because, in the words of the Taoiseach, of the responsibility of the Irish Government for creating the situation.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary, or some of his back-up officials provide us with some figures to point out the dramatic drop there has been in the number of suckler cows in that section of the beef herd? Lastly, could he fill us in on the amounts borrowed by, first of all, co-operative dairy enterprises and co-operative meat enterprises. Secondly, by similar enterprises, mainly in the meat sector, that are not co-operatives and lastly, general borrowings by merchants?

Before the Parliamentary Secretary replies I should like to deal with the Bill. This is a Bill that everybody welcomes. The amount of money allocated to the Agricultural Credit Corporation is being increased from £120 million to £220 million and this is welcomed. The farming community have shown a great capacity if given encouragement. If given the opportunity and credit they are prepared to put their shoulders to the wheel and make their industry expand.

I listened with interest to the points raised by Deputy Gibbons. As someone who is involved in agriculture I was disappointed with his attitude. His approach does not offer encouragement to the farming community. No matter what phase the agricultural industry is going through, instead of a ‘beal bocht' attitude towards that industry it needs vigour, determination and goodwill from this House.

I would also point out that in regard to the Agricultural Credit Corporation we should realise that the amount of money lent by them increased from £6 million in 1968-69 to £29 million in 1972-73 and in the current year they advanced £40 million to farmers and £16 million to other people.

The agricultural community had a difficult period during 1974, but the farmers are looking forward to considerable expansion in the coming year. The approach and the initiative the Agricultural Credit Corporation have shown in increasing their loans from £6 million in 1968-69 to a total of £56 million in 1974-75 for farmers and other people shows the confidence they have in the future of farming. The people should be told that we in this House recognise that the farming community are quite prepared, as they have been always in the past, to look for credit to enable them to expand their industry and their business.

We can discuss difficult times—I do not want to turn this into a political football because it would be unwise at this stage to do so—but we will have to look at some figures. If we study the figures for the number of people employed in agriculture we see the decrease in the farm labour force during the periods from 1951 to 1961 and from 1961 to 1971. Those who passed through this House during that 20 years and others concerned with agriculture will have to look into their hearts for the reason for the decrease in the numbers engaged in agriculture from 491,000 in 1951 to 372,000 in 1961 and down to 266,000 in 1971.

These are important figures and they will have to be borne in mind when we are talking about the farming community. All the Deputies listening in the House at the moment are from country constituencies. All represent rural Ireland and the farming community. When we see the decrease from 491,000 to 266,000 in the farm labour force it is time that all of us put our shoulders to the wheel to see where we can help.

Hear, hear.

Deputy Gibbons agreed with me before when I spoke about the farm employees holiday scheme. This Bill may be of help. If we allow the numbers of those engaged in farming to drop as they have been dropping over the past 20 or 25 years I fear greatly for our agriculture industry. Without people on our farms rural Ireland, as we know it, will be changed drastically.

All of us here, irrespective of which side of the House we represent, will have to bear this in mind. We may reach the situation where many farms will not be able to be worked because manpower will not be available. Without skilled manpower machines cannot be operated. A Bill such as this is a step in the right direction. It indicates that we are trying to do something to stem the flight from the land and to help the people of rural Ireland. Many Deputies wish to speak on the Bill, so I shall be brief.

I would be grateful to the Deputy if he would relate his remaining remarks to the Bill.

Certainly. In regard to section 2, the amount of money allotted has been increased. A World Bank loan being negotiated will result in £8 million being given to the Agricultural Credit Corporation. There is an important difference between a World Bank loan granted to the ACC and loans being sought by farmers from the ACC. The ACC can only allow a moratorium for the payment of interest of one-and-a-half years, but the World Bank authorities allow a period of four years during which only the interest is repayable, and not the capital. There is a significant difference there and it is very important. We know there is a scarcity of money but the Agricultural Credit Corporation will have to provide similar terms for their loans to the farmers from their World Bank loan.

I am a solicitor and I deal with many of these loans. Farmers have great difficulty paying back loans, both interest and capital, where repayments commence after a period of six months or 12 months. I urge the Parliamentary Secretary, in consultation with his Minister, to do everything possible in regard to this matter to try to grant a period of approximately four years before capital repayments commence. This would be similar to the conditions attaching to the ACC loan from the World Bank. If the Minister can help out with that it would be very desirable.

In granting loans the ACC specify that, if a loan is not taken up within a period of three months or six months, depending on the way in which it is negotiated, it can lapse. There should be some arrangement whereby the ACC would not allow the loan to lapse. If a person is buying land, Land Registry and Land Commission consent has to be obtained and other processes may have to take place. There may be delay, too, on the part of busy solicitors.

Delays of the law.

It is unfair to a farmer to find that his loan may have lapsed. At present the banks are reluctant to grant bridging accommodation when the ACC are involved. I have nothing in writing to prove what I am saying but that is the position. You will be told politely over the telephone that you will not be accommodated. It is an important factor, and I would ask this to be borne in mind by the collectors in the agency and by the Minister and the Department of Finance. I welcome in particular section 4, which deals with remuneration of the chief officer of the corporation——

Acting Chairman

The Deputy must relate his remarks to section 2.

In regard to the Bill, very briefly——

Acting Chairman

The Deputy must relate his remarks to section 2 and not to the Bill in general.

I will. What worries me is that in a number of bodies such as the ACC there are people being paid from part of the money voted through this House, who are not being remunerated on a basis that is equivalent to other bodies. In The Farming Independent of Saturday, December 14th, 1974 there was a heading which referred to “State pay bias against farming boards.” This is something that has been practised for many years. This article says that none of the members of the six agricultural boards are paid whereas members of other boards are. It says that amazing discrepancies in the money being paid by semi-State boards to chief executives, chairman, and directors are revealed in a Farming Independent investigation, that the salaries of chief executives range from well over £12,000 per year to as little as £4,350. The article says that the remuneration appears to bear no relation to the importance or responsibility of the post and that the biggest losers are in the agricultural sector.

Acting Chairman

This is not relevant to section 2.

It is in that it ties in with the ACC at the moment. The point I am getting at is that it is important that the same scales of remuneration should apply to all semiState bodies. What we have allowed to happen is that people who are involved in the agricultural sector are not being paid on a similar basis to people involved in other sectors. This must change because we must attract the best people, the best brains, the best ability into Irish agriculture. Unless we do this, our farming community will not only not be in a position to increase and strengthen their position but they will barely be able to hold their own.

I shall be very brief. There is no man or woman who has any interest in agriculture who does not welcome the increase to the ACC, but one of the aspects of this increase which worries me is the question of who will benefit from the £100 million extra. Will the ACC have a policy of being liberal to those people who most need it, because there is an old saying that people who do not need money are those who can borrow it easily? I come from an area where people have had what the Parliamentary Secretary referred to as a brief recession in farming. The Parliamentary Secretary knows the situation was worse than a brief recession, especially for those people whose stocks are small, who had some small cattle last year and sheep this year. These are people who could not afford to manure their lands because of the high cost of fertilisers. The ACC have always been good to farmers, but I am wondering whether they will use this extra money to help those who borrowed money a couple of years ago for the purpose of stocking their lands but who were not able to live up to their obligations on account of the bad period for farming and who, consequently, lost out. These people will be looking for some help in order to be able to take advantage of the change that we hope for in agriculture.

I am glad that the Minister is taking the French to court. We asked him to do this a few months ago but he would not agree at that stage to do so. It is late in the day to take this action now because those who were engaged this year in lamb production were robbed. The action of the French was a breach of a principle of the Treaty of Rome. I hope the case against them will be successful.

Acting Chairman

This is not relevant to section 2.

I am trying to point out the type of people I would like to see benefiting from this £100 million. I have no wish to see the big businesses, be they private or co-operative, benefiting from it. These people have plenty of money now to apply for more money to borrow to expand. The ACC have been very helpful down through the years. I have been associated with small co-operatives which the ACC have kept in operation by their help. Three or four years ago when we entered the EEC the young people, particularly, were full of confidence. They borrowed money and spent it on the development of small farms. However, if now through no fault of their own, they are not living up to their obligations, they should not be denied some of this extra money. While it may appear to be a large amount, inflation will take care of some of it. However, it is welcomed by all sides of the House.

It may be difficult at this stage for the smaller farmer to regain confidence, to borrow and to start all over again. We asked for a subsidy for manures but this was not granted. Now we see factories being closed down, including the Nitrigin Éireann factory. The farmers have not had enough money to buy manure. I agree with Deputy Enright that the paying back of principal and interest together over a short period is a big strain on those people. They should be told to borrow and it should be made easy for them. They cannot go to the banks as the banks will not lend money to them.

I want to ask the Parliamentary Secretary how much of the £40 million that was borrowed by farmers went west of the Shannon?

Mr. Kenny

I cannot tell the Deputy that.

It is a very important question. Is it being borrowed by a few very large farmers or is it being borrowed by the ordinary small farmers, the people who were hit hardest during the recession last year? Could we get some indication of who borrowed the £15 million last year? If we got an indication of where the money went to we would know what we were voting it for. The ACC are getting a little bit tight about giving out money because they fear they will not be able to meet their obligations because of lack of funds.

I would like to see people encouraged to borrow money. We are hoping for things to change. Some young people I know have borrowed very heavily and were advised to borrow money. But if they were asked to borrow money again they would reply that they had a millstone around their necks for long enough. Unless there is an incentive for them to borrow they will not do so.

The land in my area is not as well stocked as it was. Cattle and sheep prices are very bad. There is a complete absence of manure buying. I should like the Parliamentary Secretary to give some indication of what part of the country the £40 million borrowed by farmers went to.

I should like to welcome the Bill. I hope this money will be used wisely. I would like to see less and less going into the bigger combines and more and more into the farmers' pockets.

The ACC should set up some kind of advisory scheme for young farmers before they start distributing money. Quite a lot of this money has not been used to the best advantage. Far too much of it, especially when things are bad, is put into elaborate buildings. Stocking and fertilisers are more important than elaborate buildings. £1,000 could be spent on a collecting yard when a few tons of pulp for the cows would be more beneficial. I would like more restrictions imposed at the time of borrowing by the ACC. I would like to see this money spent on real investment, stocks, fertilisers, and so on.

It might be a good idea if some of the money was spent on interest free or even low interest loans for farmers for fertilisers. If anything is to put on the brake on agriculture at the moment it is the lack of the use of fertilisers. It is the greatest damaging factor at the moment. I only hope that farmers can be encouraged to use fertilisers.

The ACC should not be looking for deadlines when it comes to repayments. Farming is a dicey game. Three weeks of wet weather from now until harvest time could wipe out a very valuable grain crop. Disease can also wipe out crops. Those of us who have borrowed know that when things are bad that is the time the weather will co-operate with every other factor in keeping one down. The ACC should adopt an approach completely different from that of the commercial banks. They should be lenient towards them in the bad years and allow them off the hook until such time as inevitably they will honour their commitments.

I would like to see the ACC, together perhaps with the co-operative societies and Farm Business Development, go into the banking field, as they do in some European countries. In this type of set-up a lot more sympathy would be obtained for Irish agriculture than would be obtained from a purely commercial bank. Now that money is scarce it might not be a bad time to think about it. The commercial banks do not show enough sympathy towards farmers. It is time the co-operative societies, with the ACC plus the FBD got together and started out on their own. Agriculture is our basic source of wealth. When agriculture starts to go downhill and when employment in agriculture starts falling off the whole country goes into a recession.

I hope this money is used in enterprises that will give the most profitable return.

I should like to join with the other speakers in welcoming this Bill, which provides additional money for the ACC. I agree with the sentiments expressed by the previous speakers. Sentiments expressed here are useless unless the lead is given by the Government. If we look back on the last two years in Irish agriculture we cannot truthfully say that any lead has been given by the Government in this field.

Agriculture is our major industry. I cannot see any other industry surviving the way agriculture has survived over the past two years. Farmers have suffered dreadful losses through bad cattle prices. The Government have done very little in coming to their aid. Some schemes which were introduced held out great hope to the farmers in the west of Ireland but unfortunately when they were introduced they did not help that much. I am thinking particularly of the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme and the Regional Fund. I fear that the Regional Fund will not help us in the west as we had hoped it would.

Deputy Enright criticised Deputy Gibbons for his béal bocht attitude in relation to Irish farming. Deputy Gibbons cannot be accused of this. If highlighting the problems that affect Irish farming can be termed the béal bocht attitude then we all have to participate in the béal bocht attitude. We all have to strive to get better conditions for the Irish farmers. Deputy Gibbons was merely trying to highlight the problems that affect farmers at present. We know that our national herd is being destroyed. This is unfortunate because much money was spent by the previous Government in trying to build up this herd. They had succeeded in building up a fine national herd. It is a pity to see it destroyed because markets are so unstable and farmers do not know from day to day where they are going. It is important that the Minister for Agriculture and the Government should give a lead in this respect and that agricultural industries should be carefully planned. We should have some national plan emerging now for Irish agriculture. This is not the case, unfortunately.

As I said at the outset it would be impossible for any of our industries to survive if there was not somebody at the head to give the lead; if there was not some plan for exports and some plan for markets. This is what is needed at the present time in Irish agriculture.

I have often wondered if the ACC are given an opportunity of going into the foreign market and trying to get clients from England and America to invest in the ACC here. This is something that could be followed up very successfully by the ACC if they were given permission to do so by the Government. I do not know if they have ever tried it or not, but I am sure that there are many Irish people in England and America who would be only too glad to invest in the ACC and would be only too glad to put some of their savings into this country if they were given the opportunity. The ACC might follow this up and see if they could do this. I am not sure if the Government would allow it or not. Perhaps they would be going into competition with the Government. It is certainly something that would be worth while following up. We know well that farmers over the past two years have tried to avail of credit facilities and many of them, as other speakers have pointed out, have suffered as a result of this due to the falling markets.

When going to borrow it is necessary for farmers to have drawn up a careful plan. There is no use in any farmer, big or small, going to the Agricultural Credit Corporation or to any other lending institution and asking for money if he has not some worth-while plan to put this money into production. This is where many of the farmers have got caught over the last two years. They have not planned their enterprise as they should have done. The officers of the Agricultural Credit Corporation and the agricultural advisory service could work better together and ensure that farmers are given the right kind of advice when they are availing of credit facilities of this kind. If farmers are going to borrow they should make sure that they have a good plan drawn up for them by an experienced man from the Agricultural Credit Corporation or from the advisory service. If they did this we would not have as many casualties as we have had over the last two years.

We all know that money can be got from the World Bank. Here again it would be impossible for any ordinary farmer to fill up the number of application forms that are required to qualify for a loan of this kind. Deputy Enright mentioned that he has filled up many of these forms. I agree that it would take a solicitor to answer all the questions that are asked in relation to these kind of applications. I can never understand why applications of this kind cannot be simplified. No ordinary farmer could give adequate answers to all the questions asked. If they were simplified perhaps more farmers would be inclined to avail of these loans.

I agree with the other speakers who mentioned the serious plight in which farmers have found themselves in the past two years. Now perhaps there is a chance for the market to show an upward trend although there is not much sign of that yet. Farmers who have suffered over the past two years and who have been put in such a terrible plight by falling markets and so on should be helped now to try to get them over this situation. There is no point in coming along and telling those farmers that they did not fulfil their obligations for the last two years and accordingly they cannot qualify for further loans. It would be far better if some of this money could be spent in helping to get those farmers out of the mess they have got into through no fault of their own. I would support any move made to provide interest-free loans for that kind of farmer. Most of them borrowed money in good faith. They were led to believe that everything was going to be rosy and that they could improve their herd and take land. They did this at very high prices. Unfortunately they got their fingers burned but it was not their fault. For that reason I think they should not be victimised. They should be helped to get over this because it is important for all of us that the farming community be helped. It is important for the nation that every farmer who can survive should be helped to do so and that we keep as many farmers as possible on the land. We could do this by giving them interest-free loans to get them over this very difficult situation. If they got over this year they might be in a better position to survive in the years ahead.

I should like very briefly to welcome the significant increase in capital for the ACC and to compliment the new chairman and board, the general manager and staff of the ACC, for the obvious confidence that the administration have in them. This increase——

Small wonder.

——in capital must be related also to the demand on the service. That indicates an increase in the confidence that the ordinary borrowers, the farmers, have in the ACC. This surely is the result of the tremendous expansion in the service over the past few years. I believe the farming community ought not be apprehensive about borrowing. In the present climate and with the great guarantees of the CAP, progressive farmers could borrow up to almost 50 per cent of their assets.

They will not get it.

We never had this kind of guarantee before. The future for agriculture and people who are prepared to work in agriculture must be quite good. I should like to ask the board of the ACC to place a little more confidence in people who have not got their registration or their deeds in order and perhaps be a little more liberal with unsecured loans.

On a point of order I beg Deputy McDonald's pardon but I want to ask what the position is. The Fianna Fáil Party have an amendment to section 4. We would like a chance to move it if possible. Do we have to conclude the Bill by 5.30 p.m.?

Acting Chairman

We must conclude the Bill by 5.30 and therefore your amendment goes by the board if it is not reached before 5.30.

I would like to compliment the board of the ACC for last year. Many farmers found difficulty in meeting their commitments and their payments and the ACC have a great understanding of that difficulty. This is a new trend in the policy of the ACC and is one that is to be welcomed.

In conclusion, as a logical follow-up to the allocation of time motion perhaps the Whips could do something with the division of time among the various parties. Perhaps we should ask for the introduction of a list of speakers system as we have in the European Parliament which would bring about a better balance in the time allocated.

This is primarily a financial agricultural Bill to benefit the farmers. I doubt if there is anybody in this House—and I have counted them before the other rural-urban Deputy came in—who wishes to obstruct or hinder the passage of this Bill because it is primarily to benefit conditions of the agricultural community. During the debate, Deputy Gibbons went into detail, as he was entitled to do, about the causes and effects of the past three years on the agricultural community and mentioned that I should give him precise answers on certain questions. Most of the questions he asked would be found in the Ministry for Agriculture section of the Central Statistics Office. If I had the information I would willingly give it, but I have not got that type of information here. However, there is no direct relationship between the figures and the ACC lending which is only one source of capital for farming. The ACC provide about 40 per cent of the credit.

Acting Chairman

It is half past five and the hour has elapsed. I must put the question.

May I protest on behalf of this party at the cavalier way in which this Bill is being driven through the House without proper examination? As the Parliamentary Secretary has just said, it is of the greatest importance to the farming community. The discussion is being deliberately stifled. This party wished to move an amendment that we felt to be very important since it concerned the methods by which the present Government seems to perpetuate itself by the progressive importation of party people on to the boards of organisations such as the credit corporation.

Acting Chairman

The time limit has been agreed to and we must carry out the order of the House.

It was not agreed. It was opposed.

Acting Chairman

The motion was agreed.

Is it not astonishing how quickly the left wing liberals become fascists? The jackboots are all over the House.

It being 5.30 p.m. the following question was put by the Chair in accordance with the Order of 9th July, 1975: "That the Bill is hereby agreed to and is Reported to the House and the Fourth Stage hereby completed and the Bill is hereby passed."