Skip to main content
Normal View

Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 25 Feb 1976

Vol. 83 No. 11

Rates on Agricultural Land (Relief) Bill, 1975: Second and Subsequent Stages.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

The legislation which provided for relief of rates on agricultural land by way of the agricultural grant expired on the 31st December last. The purpose of the present Bill is to continue the application of the agricultural grant in respect of 1976 and 1977.

The agricultural grant is paid by the Exchequer to county councils to enable them to give abatement of rates to occupiers of agricultural land. In the present financial year £36.5 million will be paid over from the Exchequer to county councils by means of the agricultural grant to reduce the rates burden on the agricultural community. This is an increase of £6.28 million on the amount of the grant in 1975.

Under the scheme of allowances provided under the Bill, a primary allowance, as in 1975, will give relief of 100 per cent of the general rate in the case of land holdings the valuation of which does not exceed £20. In the case of holdings between £20 and £33 valuation this primary allowance will relieve 100 per cent of the rates on the first £20 of the land valuation and the rated occupier is liable for rates on the remainder only. Land holdings with valuations in excess of £33 qualify, as in 1975, for a primary allowance of 80 per cent in respect of the first £20 of the valuation and a supplementary allowance of 30 per cent on the remainder of the valuation.

The Bill provides for the discontinuance of the employment allowance of £17 per workman heretofore given to farmers subject to certain conditions. The original purpose of the employment allowance was to encourage the employment of workers in agriculture but it is doubtful that the allowance ever succeeded in this objective. Statistics show that there has been a steady decline in the numbers qualifying for the allowance all through the 23-year period since the initiation of the present allowance of £17.00 and this decline has raised increasingly serious doubts as to its continued usefulness. In the light of the foregoing and having regard to budgetary considerations the Government decided that the employment allowance should be discontinued.

Section 2 of the Bill provides that in future extensions of county borough, borough or urban boundaries, farmers whose land may be encompassed by revised boundaries will continue to enjoy the benefits of the rate reliefs afforded by the agricultural grant for so long as the land continues to be used solely or mainly for agricultural purposes. Heretofore, such farmers lost the benefits of the agricultural grant as a result of the redrawing of a boundary line. This section of the Bill is intended to preclude such losses in the case of future boundary extensions.

I commend the Bill to the House.

To be clear about the facts of the situation, this is another £½ million taken from the farmers by the present Government. That is clearly and unequivocally what it is.

The Minister says the agricultural grant is paid by the Exchequer to county councils to enable them to give abatement of rates to occupiers of agricultural land. This is not only so now but has been so for a long, long time. One would think by the Minister mentioning it in his address to the Seanad here today that he and his Government begrudge it when one takes into account that the people most affected by this Bill are the people who in the last 12 months have been severely taxed by the Government, the people who are the good farmers, giving good employment and who, in order to qualify to get this money, had to pay their social welfare contributions. Therefore, they were giving a good contribution to the State. They got nothing back from it.

The Minister for Labour some months ago gave an enticement to industrialists. If they had employed a man for nine or more months of the year and if they re-employed him in that industry the firm would receive a concession from the Government of approximately £12 a week. That, of course, did not apply to the agricultural sector. That did not apply where a farmer took on an extra man and it does not seem as though it will apply. It seems to be the opinion of agricultural people that this Dublin-orientated Government are positively dead against any progress or any investment by the agricultural sector in their own industry. Agriculture in this country, perhaps, even one part of it—the meat industry, for instance—is greater than the Navan mines, greater than the gas find off Cork in its own wealth and here we are allowing this Government —of not being able to stop them— to take away a concession that existed before now. A farmer who is not productive would not be entitled to this abatement in rates, if he were not employing a man and paying his social welfare contributions. Having been a member of the Agricultural Wages Board from the union representing that particular man can the Minister explain to us and, indeed, to all the agricultural community the reason the productive agricultural sector in this country were not entitled to the same facilities as industrial people when the Minister for Labour six months ago gave that concession for employment to bring people back into work?

What the Government are saying is that a farm worker is not alone a second-class citizen but is a third-class citizen. The Minister for Local Government is a man who knows what I speak about when I speak about farm workers. He spent a long time with them and working for them and he must know exactly what I mean. Because they are farm workers, their employer is not entitled to any facility under any national scheme created by this Coalition Government. It is a farce and it becomes a greater farce daily. In all spheres of agriculture, when it comes to the application of taxation, the productive farmer and the man who is concerned in the Bill from whom this £½ million is being taken, is the man who is daily being scourged and crucified by this Government. We see it in the taxes now being applied to co-operatives: we see it in the effort by the Minister to formulate the new system to deal with agricultural wages. There was nothing wrong with the old system. It had a fair and progressive organisation which struck a minimum wage rate for a worker, and every week there were applications in respect of people who were accepted into agriculture for permission to give them less than the recommended minimum.

I do not see what this Government are going to do to solve the problem of those people. Anybody who was on the old Agricultural Wages Board knows what I mean when I say that every month their biggest job was to try and fix a proper payment for people working in agriculture who were not fully capable and who were not able to go into industry. Farmers with a valuation of over £20 were employing those people and at least trying to give them a living when no other part of society would take them on. The Government are taking away any help given to such farmers by not allowing this £½ million to subsidise them in that small respect.

I say clearly and unequivocally that the Government are failing: for the sake of £½ million they are upsetting something that has been there for the last 20 or 25 years. It is a disgrace and it is a humiliation. It does not do them any good and does not do the worker, whom they purport to represent, any good. It is a shame that in the case of a productive farmer, a man who works and asks very little from the State, the Minister should state that there is abatement in rates from £20 or less, when we know that a man must have over £20 valuation before he gets the £17 concession. He must have over £20 PLV before he qualifies to draw the £17.

What does the Minister think he is doing by telling us that he is giving an abatement in rates to those under £20 and putting the nail into any man who has £20 valuation and upwards who is employing one man, two men or three men and who is paying a subscription to the State in the social welfare stamp and giving that worker at least a minimum wage? I cannot see where this Government are trying to help. It is a humiliation imposed on farmers by people who should know the situation, particularly the Minister for Local Government, who is with us today, and who knows exactly what I am saying. I fail to understand how he can come into this House and try to justify this deplorable performance to save £½ million on a section of the community which pumps millions of pounds into the pockets of the Government without any relief. Every morning we read in the papers about the application of taxes on farmers and we find perhaps a Dublin housewife who knows very little about farming agreeing with the Government.

I feel ashamed of the Minister for Local Government, a man who has tried to represent the farming workers all his life. It was always our policy, on this side of the House, to seek an increase on the £17. Figures between £26 and £36 were mentioned to this Minister and to the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries in this House. We have a complete reneging on the farmers again for the sake of a few women in Dublin who think the farmers are getting everything.

I welcome the Bill. Senator Killilea says there is no increase in this Bill. There is an increase of £6.28 million on the amount of grant for 1975.

For people under £20 valuation.

It is an increase to the agricultural community.


Tell the truth.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Senators should desist from cross talk.

I am telling the truth. This £6.28 million is an increase in grants in 1975 over 1974, which is a 20 per cent increase. I am glad that the Minister has introduced this measure. Senator Killilea says they have been looking for an increase in the £17 but it is 23 years since the £17 was introduced and for 16 years Fianna Fáil have been in power. Surely he had some influence then to increase that £17. He failed when he was making representations to his own party to get this increase. The £17 is so small that some other contribution should be made instead of it and I agree with the Minister. He is making the contribution that will be a help to the farming community.

Section 2 is a substantial improvement on the present position. When the county borough is extended the land taken over by the county borough will not now be increased in valuation. There will be no increase in tax until such time as that land is taken over for the building of houses. I agree with the Minister that that is a very good section.

I concur with what Senator Killilea has said. We are agreeing with the relief already given to various sectors under £20 valuation. I am in total agreement with that. It was Fianna Fáil who introduced that provision and we felt it was necessary at that time to try to help those people under £20 valuation. There is a large number of them in the country and they are trying to eke out an existence for themselves and their families. It is only right that we would do everything in our power to help them because many of them like to live in the surroundings in which they were born, and they like to have a reasonable existence. The burden of rates was pressing very heavily on them. It was a step in the right direction to give them these reliefs.

We all know that farming is a very hazardous occupation irrespective of whether you are a small or a large farmer. Much of the industry in this country is very dependent on the farming community. Were it not for the farmers, hard work and the materials they produce, thousands of factory workers would be unemployed. This is something that those workers in industry must realise. If things are not going well in agriculture there will be mass unemployment all over the country. The people who milk the cows and do the ordinary chores on the farm have not a very attractive life and it is certainly not one that you can fit into set hours. You cannot be looking at the clock and saying you will finish at 5 o'clock or 6 o'clock. You must have a system and try to follow that system—a system that will comply with nature and match with the seasons. Crops have to be saved. There are various hazards that those working in industry might not appreciate.

Let us be quite clear that those who live and work on the farms are highly-skilled people. They have built-in knowledge handed down from generation to generation which should be highly valued by all the people of this country. Here in the Seanad we should do everything possible to ensure that the people who are working on the land get every possible assistance. We should try to ensure that there would be better agricultural planning so that we will not have the disastrous situation that has hit this country in the last three years. Farmers do not know where they will get a market for their produce or what the price will be. Consequently this year we will have mass unemployment in the meat industry. If the farmers producing these goods were treated reasonably and paid a proper price for the articles produced it would assist in keeping many of our people in secure employment.

The wiping-out of the £17 concession for certain farmers is a very niggardly approach. The amount involved is only about £500,000. We have had a very severe budget which leans very heavily on the farmers. In particular, there is this new tax on farmers. The additional tax will eventually be passed on to the farmers. The increased tax on petrol will hit the farmer heavily because the majority of farmers, especially in the dairying industry, usually use the motor car to take them into town with the milk. The motor car is very essential to them. It was not worth any Government's while to wipe out a mere £17 which was paid to certain farmers if they employed a man. The Government will certainly lose very heavily in so far as the farming community is concerned by using this approach. They are creating a difference between the industrial worker and the person who works on land.

The agricultural worker, as I said already, is a very skilled man. He has techniques and skills that are not easily acquired. The industrial worker cannot feel that he is better. Very often the industrial worker works in protected surroundings and sheltered employment and may be better catered for in many ways. It is very significant that this Government, having allowed a situation to develop where we have 120,000 people unemployed, did not feel that it was vital to maintain, at least, the number of people working on the land and eventually to increase the number who would go into agriculture and produce necessary raw materials.

I am not arguing that £17 is a very great amount. There is not a county council in Ireland that have not, down the years, made requests to have that amount increased substantially because it was money well spent. I am sure that all over Ireland the people are very disappointed that instead of increasing this amount the Minister has thought fit to wipe it out completely. This is certainly a step in the wrong direction.

Certain reliefs and concessions that did not exist previously are given in the Bill to people if the boundaries are extended. We welcome that because if a man is engaged in agriculture inside an urban boundary or otherwise he should get the various reliefs. Perhaps his proximity to town in days gone by may have given him a slight advantage but nevertheless he is engaged in agriculture. I think that any Government in a country where over 38 per cent of our work force are employed in agriculture, where we have a wonderful potential within the EEC, where our climate is suitable, where we have good green grass and skilled workers, should try to ensure that proper advantage be taken of our situation and ensure that we would produce sufficient raw material to increase the number working in milk powder factories and meat factories and various other ancillary industries that stem from agriculture. In this way we would reduce the number of unemployed.

It is not the amount at stake in this measure but the attitude that this Government seem to have to the farmers in general that worries me. I think it is deplorable. A Government should try to encourage people in farming to expand and produce more. As I said at the beginning, it is a vitally important industry to our prosperity and our economy in general. There should be no stigma attached to the person who works on a farm. He should be treated like any industrial worker and should be given equal—if not better—facilities. He is the man who is keeping thousands of others in employment. He has his own little factory. Family farms where people work as a family unit producing the necessary goods and milking the cows keep these industrial workers in employment.

I want to voice very strongly my objection to this £17 being withdrawn. What most people expected was that it would be raised to £100 or even a more realistic figure.

There are several sections in this Bill which must be welcomed. We congratulate the Minister for having brought the measure before us today to enable us to pass on this additional Exchequer and financial contribution to the agricultural community. Members on both sides of the House must welcome any move in which the agricultural sector can be and is being assisted by the Government. A sum of £36½ million is not a sum to be scoffed at. Certainly an increase of over £6 million in this present financial year is something that should be put on record as indicating the genuine concern by everybody on this side of the House for the agricultural sector and for the employment of agricultural workers.

Over the past few decades, even taking into consideration the agricultural allowance, agricultural employment has, unfortunately, dropped considerably. I am sorry to say that this £17 allowance, which has been in existence for over 20 years and has remained unchanged for this length of time, has not proved a stimulant to the agricultural community to employ men. It has been availed of by excellent farmers to claim a rebate on their rates under this heading, but it never stimulated employment. I doubt very much whether it affected one iota the employment of any agricultural worker in this country.

I have been quite vocal on several occasions on this £17 allowance. I have looked for adjustments to keep it in line with the contributions under the Social Welfare Act, towards which it was originally geared. Even in the last Administration, all our pleadings for an upping of this figure fell on deaf ears. We were completely ignored. There were calls recently for it to be raised to £100.

This Government are both deaf and dumb.

If it was to be used as an employment stimulant it should not be judged on what value it would have as a relief of rates. For many of the farmers who would wish to qualify under this £17, the total rate would not be £100. Senator Killilea said that farmers with less than a £20 valuation did not get it; of course they did not get it because they did not pay rates. This was a rate relief, not an employment stimulant. The most important aspect of this—and I hope the farming representatives realise this—is that this kind of money is available to them to supplement their rate bill of £36½ million. We must remember also that over a period of 30 years Government by another party, no serious effort was ever made to relieve the rate burden on the farmers. Until the Coalition took office in 1973 there was no effort whatsoever by any previous Government to remove what were then colossal charges on the rates for health and housing subsidy. We have done something constructive by relieving the farming community to the extent of up to £4 in the £ in rates which was transferred to the central Exchequer, where we always said it should rightly lie. This has been a major contribution. I do not think the farmers have really appreciated what was done for them. Listening to the farming leaders, one would get the impression that nothing was being done, except the initiation in principle of taxation of farmers, particularly those in the higher valuation bracket. They say that they have never objected to the principle of farmers paying taxes. It is good to hear the farming leaders saying that. Anybody who pays tax for the first time is always in trouble when some new Bill comes in but everybody should pay their fair share to the Exchequer, to meet all the demands that are placed upon it.

No other section of the community has to pay three taxes.

The rates can always be claimed off taxes. By the time they all get down to keeping their accounts very few of them end up paying any tax.


The other important matter in this Bill is the extension of urban boundaries to encompass additional agricultural land. This important step ensures that when land within the urban boundary continues to be used for agricultural purposes it will enjoy relief. That is a major consideration. Anyone who does not recognise it as such certainly does not understand what this Bill is doing. Merely to decry the £17 is rather naïve.

Any time somebody loses something there is usually an uproar. My initial reaction to this £17 was, "What a pity," because I felt that maybe it had done something in the past. The only justification for it was that it gave something to farmers who had sons who wished to remain on the land. It was probably some incentive to them to ensure that they kept the sons. If the farmers who worried about this £17 availed of the employment premium allowance of £12 a week for every worker they employed in agriculture, I think agriculture would benefit much more.

I do not think a lot of this Bill. The Minister said he is giving £36½ million to farmers, an increase of £6.28 million. I do not think the Minister is justified in saying that. This grant depends on the rate in the £ struck by each county council. Every public representative knows that the rate in the £ struck by the county councils during the past few months has increased considerably due to the amount of cut-back in the grant from the Government for road and local improvement schemes. This £6.28 million which the Minister thinks is a hand-out is not a hand-out. Despite what Senator Ferris says, that agricultural grant was introduced by the Fianna Fáil Party.

I do not see the reason for taking £500,000 off the agricultural industry. It is our primary industry. We export more agricultural produce than the exports of all the other industries put together. Why hit the agricultural community when they are doing their best to build up the economy? It has been said that this £17 is no incentive to keep people in employment on the land. It is well known that due to the increasing use of farm machinery fewer men are working on farms now.

If you go along the road today you can see potatoes growing, ready for digging. If you had travelled along that road 20 years ago, you would have seen about 20 men there digging with their spades. Those days are gone. There is no need to employ so many men on farms now, because there is machinery available to do the work. Agriculture is not decreasing. It is wrong to say that because fewer men are engaged in agriculture output is decreasing. More agricultural produce is being exported now than ever before. The only difference is that machinery is now doing work previously done by farm workers. Farms are now almost entirely mechanised. Were it not for the use being made of farm machinery, about 200,000 men would be employed in agriculture.

The sum of £17 was an incentive for young men to remain on the farms. The payment should not have been withdrawn, rather should it have been increased six or seven or ten years ago. I endeavoured to have this done. A similar payment should also be given to female farm workers. Even if the Fianna Fáil Government did not grant an increase in the payment, at least they did not withdraw it. This Government should not have withdrawn this payment.

Mayo County Council is seeking a sum of £1,900,000 for local improvements schemes. If we could get this £500,000 which the Minister is taking from the small farmers in the West of Ireland for our local improvements schemes, we would be very pleased. Without some help we will never get these schemes under way. What is the justification for stopping this payment? How can one Minister justify the taking away of the £17 per head incentive payment for workers in the agricultural industry when another Minister, at the same time and with the same socialistic outlook, gives the industrialists £12 a week to employ a man? What is to stop an industrialist, who takes on a man and gets the £12 allowance, after three months sacking him and telling him to come back again in a few months when he will re-employ him and receive another £12 allowance? If a farmer did that he would be castigated. A farmer with a valuation of over £20 gets no rates relief, but an industrialist gets tax reliefs of all descriptions for a period of 20 years, plus a grant from the IDA. Is this because we have a Dublin-orientated Government? We have no representative from Connacht in the Cabinet. If I am not mistaken, we do not have one representative in it from Donegal right down to Kerry. There is one member from Limerick, but he has not got much time for the farmers because his chief concern is for the Gaeltacht. I do not see how the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries can justify taking away this £17 incentive payment from a farmer who employs a man and yet give £12 to an industrialist to re-employ a man who was declared redundant a short time previously. The situation is ridiculous.

With regard to section 2, this provision is long overdue. Not alone that, but where at the present time a man is living in a town and has a farm outside that town and works that farm primarily for agricultural purposes, he should be entitled to all the reliefs that are available to a farmer living out in the countryside. I regret the Minister saw fit to deprive the farmer of the assistance he was receiving to help him to keep his young family on the land.

I do not agree with what Senator Killilea said about social welfare insurance stamps. A farmer employing his son is entitled to this relief without having to pay social insurance, but if he employs a man who is not a relative he must pay social insurance. It is grossly unfair to deny the small farmer payment of this £17. I urge the Minister to reconsider his decision.

I was looking out for some evidence of pragmatists of the centre, but there did not seem to be any of them around. Perhaps eventually we will find them, because they seem to have an idea to be way out on either one side or the other.

Senator Killilea and Senator Garrett suggested that the premium did not apply to farmers, but it does. They might brush up on their knowledge of farming legislation. It would surprise them to know what farmers are entitled to and are receiving under this Government. Instead of telling some person who had never applied for the £17 that he is losing it they could tell him he would get £12 per week if he employed a worker. I would be very glad—I made this challenge in the Dáil also—if somebody from the west, or anywhere else in Ireland, would give me evidence of a farmer's son who had stayed working on the farm for 52 weeks of the year because his father got £17 off the rates. I want only one example. I do not think that people would be so foolish in this regard.

I should like to know what exactly the Opposition want in this regard. The £17 is no use. Even though I represented farm workers as a trade union official for years, I continually stated, in the other House, that the £17 was no incentive and it never kept anybody on the land. Some Fianna Fáil Deputies agreed with me that it was no use, even when their own Government were in office. The Fianna Fáil Government did not do anything about increasing this figure. The reason for this was that even if they increased it to £100, or as was suggested in the Dáil, £200, the people who would get it would be the wealthy farmers; none of the small farmers would qualify for it because they would not be paying that much rates. Therefore what the Fianna Fáil Senators want is that the ordinary people paying income tax and other taxes should be asked to pay a higher rate of tax in order that the wealthy farmers could get a hand-out from the Government. I do not agree with Members of the other House or of this House or with leaders of certain organisations who continually seek hand-outs for farmers. I know farmers perhaps better than most people because I dealt with them for a long number of years and I found them decent, honourable people who were not looking for hand-outs. It grieves me to hear people continually moaning that the Government are not giving enough hand-outs to farmers.

At the same time, Fianna Fáil say the Government must cut down on expenditure. In this situation they are talking out of one side of their mouth now and five minutes later they are talking out of the other side. Alternatively, they say something today and when it is reported correctly in the press the following day they say that that was not what they meant at all, or they forgot they said it.

Another point which is important is that the Opposition are trying to say that £500,000 applying to all farmers, which is about 30p per week, is more important than £6.28 million which the agricultural community is receiving this year.

The Minister had to give it.

Whether I had to give it or not, one thing is certain, that if Fianna Fáil were in power still, the farmers, in common with every other ratepayer, would be paying £4 in the £ more than they are paying and nothing would be done about it. I do not want to hear anything about them taking the rates off the ordinary dwelling. A White Paper was produced a year before the election and a document was produced immediately before the election in which no reference whatever was made to this question of rates and Fianna Fáil did not intend doing anything about it until they found the ground slipping from under their feet. The £17 is only about 1 per cent of a man's wages for a year. I do not believe that for many years it had any influence in keeping extra men on the land.

It should be noted that the agricultural grants allowance relieves 81 per cent of the rates on land in County Galway, and 84 per cent of all land-holding in County Galway is 100 per cent derated. Senator Killilea did not know that——

By the Fianna Fáil Government.

Senator Dolan might remember that the agricultural grant meets about 82 per cent of the gross rates on land in County Cavan, and that only 611 farmers out of the 3,535 with holdings over £20 valuation benefit from the employment allowance there. Ninety-four per cent of land holdings in Mayo—I am sorry my good friend from Mayo is not here— are fully derated, and he talks about the terrible thing I am doing to the farmers in Mayo. Only 366 farmers from a total of 32,000 holdings in Mayo benefited by the employment allowance in 1975. Taking that alone, it shows that it was right to do away with the £17; it was a bad system. Maybe it was only £500,000 but if we talk about £500,000 being insignificant, as we seem to be doing here, we have not got our priorities right. That £500,000 was spent, and is being spent, to help in other ways. Incidentally, the local improvement scheme allocation for Mayo, is almost the biggest in the country, £118,000.

The Government should be ashamed of themselves.

When Fianna Fáil were in office they were not one bit ashamed when they were giving very much less, but they thought they could get away with it. They thought they had the Mayo people in the palm of their hand and they did not realise the situation until the by-election a couple of months ago.

With regard to the other question, that of bringing in the urban areas, reference was made here, as well as in the Dáil, to the question of what should be done with those who are already included. It was put in rather a peculiar way by Senator Garrett but I think he meant the same thing; he referred to a person living in a town and working on a farm. I presume what he meant was that the farm was within the urban boundary. That same suggestion was made by one of his colleagues in the Dáil, that it would be right to give the same treatment to the people who are having their land taken over now by an urban boundary as to those who are already included, and that it was inconsistent to have different rates paid by farmers inside and outside the boundary.

For the information of the House, I should like to point out that under the original system which operates now urban districts pay 60 per cent of the rates; the boroughs, except Dún Laoghaire, pay 75 per cent of the rates; Dún Laoghaire pays 50 per cent; Dublin County Borough pays 50 per cent; Cork County Borough pays 50 per cent; Limerick County Borough pays 60 per cent; Waterford County Borough 70 per cent, and somebody talks about being consistent. Before people start to talk in public they should check their facts. It is very useful because then they will not make stupid statements as have been made in this case.

What I propose to do in this Bill is to ensure that in relation to the many areas of land which will be taken into urban areas, the people concerned get the same treatment as if they were outside as long as they use it as agricultural land. Subsequently, I would like to see all the areas treated in the same way, and, please God, in the years to come I propose to do something about that.

The situation is that with the exception of the £17 this matter is not contentious, and if we look at the £17 I think we must admit that is not contentious either. It is a little bit of make-believe that some people think it is incumbent on them to make noise about it, but in their hearts they know quite well it never kept anybody on the land. Even in the days in which it was introduced it did not keep people on the land. It does not do it now. It was a joke giving £17 and asking somebody to pay, in many cases, over £2,000 for it.

There were a number of comments made here about rates for farm workers which might not be in order, but nobody in the agricultural community who has any respect for farm workers will cry salt tears for the Agricultural Wages Board. The Agricultural Wages Board when set up first set a floor under agricultural wages in 1936 when they paid 24/- per week, but for years and years we have had agricultural workers being treated as if they were not second-class citizens but ninth-class citizens. When everybody else was getting a natural wage increase these people were getting very much less and were asked to like it. I would like some of the people who are getting annoyed about whether or not there should be equal pay for women to search back and see the assistance they gave when some of us were looking for equal pay for farm workers.

Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take remaining Stages today.
Bill put through Committee, reported without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.