FERTILISERS AND FEEDING STUFFS BILL [Lords]

TUESDAY, 30th NOVEMBER, 1926.

1739

The Committee consisted the following Members:

Nicholson, Mr. William (Chairman)

Alexander, Sir William (Glasgow Central)

*Bourne, Captain (Oxford)

Briant, Mr. (Lambeth, N.)

*Briscoe, Captain (Cambridgeshire)

Burman, Mr. (Duddeston)

Cadogan, Mr. (Finchley)

*Cautley, Sir Henry (East Grinstead)

*Christie, Mr. (Norfolk, S.)

Clarry, Mr. (Newport)

*Courthope, Lieut.-Colonel Sir George (Rye)

*Cove, Mr. (Wellingborough)

Cowan, Sir Henry (Islington, N.)

Davies, Mr. Evan (Ebbw Vale)

Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)

*Dean, Mr. (Holland-with-Boston)

Dennison, Mr. (King's Norton)

Elliot, Major (Kelvingrove)

Fenby, Mr. (Bradford, E.)

Gault, Lieut.-Colonel (Taunton)

Glyn, Major (Abingdon)

Grant, Sir James (Derby, S.)

Grenfell, Mr. David (Gower)

Guinness, Mr. (Bury St. Edmunds)

Hall, Mr. George (Aberdare)

*Hamilton, Sir Robert (Orkney and Shetland)

Hartington, Marquess of (Derbyshire, W.)

Holt, Captain (Upton)

Hopkinson, Mr. (Mossley)

Hudson, Mr. James (H udders field)

Hudson, Mr. Robert (Whitehaven)

*Hurd, Mr. (Devizes)

Jones, Mr. Mardy (Pontypridd)

Looker, Mr. (Essex, S.E.)

*Lynn, Sir Robert (Belfast, W.)

MacIntyre, Mr. (Edinburgh, W.)

*MacLaren, Mr. (Burslem)

*McLean, Major Alan (Norfolk, S.W.)

Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn (Kettering)

*Morrison, Mr. Hugh (Salisbury)

Morrison, Mr. Robert (Tottenham, N.)

Newton, Sir Douglas (Cambridge)

Price, Major (Pembroke)

Rawson, Sir Cooper (Brighton)

Rentoul, Mr. (Lowestoft)

*Rhys, Mr. (Romford)

*Riley, Mr. (Dewsbury)

*Ruggles-Brise, Major (Maldon)

*Shepperson, Mr. (Leominster)

*Sinclair, Major Sir Archibald (Caithness)

Solicitor-General for Scotland, The (Renfrew, E.)

Titchfield, Major the Marquess of (Newark)

Townend, Mr. (Stockport)

Viant, Mr. (Willesden, W.)

Wallhead, Mr. (Merthyr)

Warner, Brigadier-General (Bedford, Mid)

Waterhouse, Captain (Leicester, S.)

Williams, Mr. C. P. (Wrexham)

Williams, Mr. Thomas (Don Valley)

*Wilson, Mr. Cecil (Attercliffe)

*Windsor-Clive, Lieut-Colonel (Ludlow)

* Added in respect of the Fertilisers Feeding Stuffs Bill [Lorsds].—November 30, 1926.

Mr. COLOMB Committee Clerks.

Mr. ABRAHAM Committee Clerks.

1740
1741 STANDING COMMITTEE C Tuesday, 30th November, 1926.

[Mr. WILLIAM NICHOLSON in the Chair.]

[OFFICIAL REPORT]

FERTILISERS AND FEEDING STUFFS BILL [Lords] CLAUSE 1.
—(Obligation to furnish statutory statements)

Provided that the obligation so imposed shall not apply—

  • to sales of two or more articles which are mixed at the request of the purchaser before delivery to him:
  • to sales of small quantities (that is to say, sales in quantities of fifty-six pounds or less) if the article sold is taken in the presence of the purchaser from a parcel bearing a conspicuous label on which are printed in the prescribed manner the particulars required by this section to be contained in the statutory statement.
  • The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Guinness): I beg to move in Subsection (I, ii), to leave out the word "printed," and to insert instead thereof the word "marked." This Amendment deals with the proviso to Sub-section (1) which gives exemption, in respect of the statutory statement, to sales of small quantities. At present it provides that the labels on parcels must be printed. This provision seems unnecessary in the case of small traders, and, therefore, I propose to substitute the word "marked."

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSE 2.
    —(Warranties.)

    (4) Any statement as to the amount of chemical or other ingredients of an article sold for use as a fertiliser of the soil, or as to the amount of the nutritive or other ingredients of an article sold for use as food 1742 for cattle or poultry, which is made after the commencement of this Act in any written document (other than a statutory statement) descriptive of the article shall have effect as a warranty by the seller that the facts stated are correct.

    Mr. GUINNESS: I beg to move, in Sub-section (4), after the word "ingredients" ["chemical or other ingredients"], to insert the words "or as to the fineness of grinding." In certain places it is laid down that the fineness of grinding should be among the particulars given, and this is a drafting Amendment intended to bring Clause 2 into accord with the rest of the Bill.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSE 3.
    —(Right of purchaser to have article sampled and analysed.)

  • The purchaser of any article included in the first column of the First or Second Schedule to this Act, or of any fertiliser or feeding stuff not included therein in respect of which a warranty, express or implied, has been given by the seller, shall, on payment of such fee (if any) as may be fixed under this Act, be entitled to have a sample, of the article taken by an official sampler in the prescribed manner and analysed by the agricultural analyst, and to receive from the analyst a certificate of the result of his analysis:
  • Provided that a purchaser of an article who requires a sample to be taken under this section shall, if so requested, furnish to the official sampler who takes the sample a copy of the statutory statement or warranty relating to the article.
  • A sample taken under this Act by an official sampler at the request of a purchaser shall be taken in the prescribed manner, and shall not be taken after the expiration of fourteen days from the delivery to the purchaser of the article sampled, or the receipt by the purchaser of the statutory statement or warranty,, whichever date may be the later.
  • Mr. GUINNESS: I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "a copy of." This Amendment and the following Amendment on the Paper have the effect of allowing the purchaser the choice of giving either the original warranty or a copy of it as he pleases.

    Amendment agreed to.

    1743

    Further Amendment made: In Subsection (1), at the end, to insert the words "or a copy thereof"—[Mr. Guinness.]

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSE 4
    —(Marking of articles prepared for consignment or delivery.)

  • Every parcel of an article included in the first column of the First Schedule to this Act when prepared for sale or consignment for use as a fertiliser of the soil or as food for cattle or poultry shall, if exposed for sale, or, if not exposed for sale, before being delivered to a purchaser or tarrying agent be durably and visibly marked with a mark or marks stating or indicating the particulars required by this Act to be contained in the statutory statement.
  • Any person dealing in any such parcels may for the purposes of this section keep in such form (if any) as may be prescribed a register of marks specifying the particulars which the several marks entered in the register are used as indicating, and the marking of any parcel with any mark entered in the register shall, for the purposes of this section, be treated as indicating that the particulars of the article are those entered in the register in relation to the mark:
  • Provided that—
  • on the sale of any parcel so marked the mark shall be added to the statutory statement; and
  • where the statutory statement received by the seller on the sale to him of the article contains any such mark, and the article has not been on his premises, that mark shall be added by him to the statutory statement required to be given by him to a purchaser.
  • If any parcel required under this Section to be marked is not so marked, or if from the analysis of a sample of the article taken by an inspector in the prescribed manner on the premises on which the parcel is exposed for sale or on any premises on which the article after having been so marked may happen to be before being delivered to a purchaser or carrying agent, it appears that the particulars marked or indicated by a mark are false to the prejudice of the purchaser, or do not include any particulars which are required by this Act to be contained in the statutory statement, the person selling or consigning the article or exposing it for sale shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.
  • Mr. GUINNESS: I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "delivered to a purchaser or carrying agent, "and to insert instead thereof the words "removed from the premises where it is so prepared." 1744 This Amendment is to make it clear that parcels must be marked before leaving the premises of the seller.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Mr. GUINNESS: I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "durably and visibly." This Amendment is to be read in conjunction with the next Amendment, which proposes, after the word "marked," to insert the words "in the prescribed manner." There are so many ways of marking, that it seems best to deal with it by regulation, and the effect of these Amendments will be to give us power to make the necessary regulations.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendments made: In Subsection (1), after the word "marked," insert the words "in the prescribed manner."

    In Sub-section (2 b), leave out the word "article" ["the article contains"], and insert instead thereof the word "parcel"

    Leave out the word "article" ["the article has not"], and insert instead thereof the word "parcel."

    In Sub-section (3), leave out the word "article" ["the article taken"], and insert instead thereof the word "parcel."

    Leave out the word "article" ["article after having"], and insert instead thereof the word "parcel."

    After the word "or" ["selling or consigning"], insert the words "having in his possession or disposition for the purpose of sale or."

    Leave out the word "article" ["consigning the article"], and insert instead thereof the word "parcel"—[Mr. Guinness.]

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSES 5 (Consignments ex ship or quay) and 6 (Sales in small quantities), ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSE 7
    —(Deleterious ingredients in feeding stuffs.)

  • Any person who sells or offers or exposes for sale for use as food for cattle or poultry any article which contains any ingredient deleterious to cattle or poultry, or has in his possession, packed and prepared, for sale for such use any such article, 1745 shall be guilty of an offence against this Act unless he proves—
  • that he did not know and could not with reasonable care have known that the article contained a deleterious ingredient; and
  • where he obtained the article from some other person, that on demand by or on behalf of the prosecutor he gave all the information in his power with respect to the person from whom he obtained it, and as to the statutory statement given to him, and as to any mark applied to the article when he obtained it:
  • Provided that proceedings for an offence under this Section shall not be instituted unless the article has been sampled in the prescribed manner on the premises on which it was sold or exposed or offered for sale or on which it was when prepared for sale or consignment, and the sample has been analysed in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
  • For the purposes of this section, any ingredient mentioned in the Fifth Schedule to this Act if present in a proportion higher than the maximum proportion mentioned in that schedule, and any substance which may be prescribed as being a substance which if present in a proportion higher than the prescribed proportion might, having regard to the quantity of the feeding stuff containing it, that might in practice reasonably be fed to animals, produce deleterious effects, shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to be a deleterious ingredient unless the contrary is proved.
  • Amendments made; In Sub-section (1), after the word "sampled," insert the words "by an inspector."

    Leave out Sub-section (2), and insert instead thereof a new Sub-section— (2) Any substance mentioned in the Fifth Schedule shall, if present in a feeding stuff or, where a maximum quantity with regard to the substance is indicated in the Fifth Schedule, if present in excess of that quantity, as the case may be, be deemed to be a deleterious ingredient unless the contrary is proved.—[Mr. Guirnness.]

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSE 8
    —(Penalties for failure to give and mis-statements in statutory statements.)

    (1) If a person fails to give a statutory statement in such form (if any) as may be prescribed in any case where he is required by this Act 60 to do, he shall be guilty of an offence against this Act. (3) If a person fails to add to a statutory statement any mark which by virtue of this Act is required to be added thereto, he shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.

    1746

    Mr. GUINNESS: I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "be guilty of an offence against this Act," and to insert instead thereof the words "on summary conviction be liable, in the case of a first offence, to a fine not exceeding five pounds, and, in the case of a second or subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding ten pounds." This Amendment is to be read in conjunction with a similar Amendment which comes next on the Order Paper. They are intended to differentiate by a lighter penalty between cases of negligent omission and cases of fraud.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendment made: In Sub-section (3), leave out the words "be guilty of an offence against this Act," and insert instead thereof the words "on summary conviction be liable, in the case of a first offence, to a fine not exceeding five pounds and, in the case of a second or subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding ten pounds."—[Mr. Guinness.]

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSE 9
    —(Inspection of registers and statutory statements.)

    (1) It shall be the duty of any person by whom a register under this Act is kept, or to whom a statutory statement relating to an article which has been sold by him but which has never been on his premises has been sent, to preserve the register or statement for such period as may be prescribed, and on demand by an inspector at any time within that period to produce it for his inspection, and if the person keeping the register, or to whom such a statutory statement was sent, fails so to preserve it, he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds.

    Mr. GUINNESS: I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "period" ["for such period"], to insert the words "(not exceeding four months)." It seems reasonable that there should be a time limit for the requirement of keeping the register, and we think four months is a fair maximum.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 10 (Relief from liability under the Merchandise Marks" Acts in certain cases) ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    1747 CLAUSE 11
    —(Enforcement of Act by councils of counties and county boroughs.)

  • It shall be the duty of the council of every county or county borough to enforce within their county or county borough the provisions of this Act, and for that purpose to appoint an official agricultural analyst (in this Act referred to as the agricultural analyst) and such inspectors and official samplers as; may be necessary:
  • Provided that every such inspector shall be a whole-time officer of the council.
  • Any such council may also appoint a deputy agricultural analyst, who shall in the case of the illness, incapacity, or absence of the agricultural analyst, or pending the appointment of the agricultural analyst, have all the powers and duties of the agricultural analyst; and where the deputy acts, this Act shall apply as if he were the agricultural analyst.
  • The appointment by a council of the agricultural analyst, or deputy agricultural analyst, inspectors, and official samplers, shall be subject to the approval of the Minister.
  • A person while holding the office of official sampler shall not engage in farming or any business connected with the manufacture, sale, or importation of articles used as fertilisers of the soil or as food for cattle or poultry.
  • The council of a county or county borough may concur with one or more other such councils in making any appointment which they are required or authorised to make under this Section…but this power shall be in addition to and not in derogation of the power conferred on councils by the Local Government Act, 1888, to appoint joint committees for the purposes of this Act.
  • Mr. GUINNESS: I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "council" ["officer of the council"], to insert the words "or in the case of a joint appointment of one or more of the councils concurring in the appointment." This is merely to provide for the joint appointment of an inspector by two councils.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Sir DOUGLAS NEWTON: I beg to move, to leave out Sub-section (3). This Sub-section lays it down that the appointment by a council of the agricultural analyst or deputy agricultural analyst, inspectors, and official samplers shall be subject to the approval of the Minister, and I cannot help expressing some surprise at such a Sub-section appearing in any Bill in this year of 1748 grace 1926, because county councils, which are the authorities charged with the administration of this Bill, have long ago attained their majority, and everyone regards them as thoroughly efficient and responsible bodies. I would ask the Minister, therefore, why it is that the approval of a Government Department to appointments of this kind is required. What added wisdom will be brought to bear on the matter I What advantage will be gained I It is clear that some additional expense will be incurred, and it is also clear that in some cases irritation may be aroused, and I suggest that it would be wiser to omit this Sub-section, which I cannot think will really tend towards the smooth working of the Bill. It is all the more surprising that a proviso of this nature should find its way into a Bill of this kind when we realise that there is no question of a grant. I think I am right in saying that the whole of the expenses in connection with these appointments will have to be borne by the local authorities and the local ratepayers, and here we have the anomalous position of a large and important local authority being charged with the duty of appointing officers of this kind, but that those appointments are to be subject to the criticisms or even to the veto of the Ministry of Agriculture. Even in the case of a medical officer of health or a road surveyor, the local authority has full power to appoint its own officers, and the administration at Whitehall has no power of intervention, although it is true that in those cases it has a power of cutting off the proportion of the grant which it finds, but in this case' a Government Department has a power of intervention, although it finds no grant whatever. I ask, therefore, that this Subsection might be reconsidered and that it might be made clear to us what are the advantages which will accrue from retaining it in the Bill. If no compensating advantages are forthcoming, I submit that it will be better to delete the Subsection.

    Mr. GUINNESS: I am glad my hon. Friend has given me an opportunity of saying that this proposal is not inserted in the Bill because we have any doubt as to the efficient way in which county councils will carry out these duties. The reason for its inclusion is that it was already provided in the existing 1749 law. Section (2), Sub-section (4), of the Fertilisers and Feeding Stuffs Act, 1906, states that "The appointment of an agricultural analyst, deputy agricultural analyst, or official sampler shall be subject to the approval of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries." We are, therefore, only re-enacting the existing system and applying it also to the new official, the inspector, but, further than that, this provision has been definitely recommended by the Departmental Committee, on page 54 of its Report, and, as my hon. Friend is aware, this Bill has been the subject of a good deal of negotiation and final agreement between the consumers, on the one hand, represented by the National Farmers' Union, and, on the other hand, the producers, represented by the Fertilisers and Feeding Stuffs Act Sub-Committee of the National Cattle Food Trade Association, the National Association of Corn and Agricultural Merchants, and other bodies. I think it would be very undesirable to upset that agreement by changing a provision which has worked quite well for the last 20 years under the existing law.

    Sir D. NEWTON: I cannot agree with all that has fallen from the lips of the Minister in his concluding sentence. I am fully aware that this Sub-section does appear in the existing Act, and also that it has given rise to a good deal of friction, but in view of what the Minister has said in regard to it being an agreed Measure, it is perhaps unwise for me to press the Amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Amendment made: In Sub-section (5), after the word "section" ["make under this Section"], insert the words "and as to the apportionment amongst the several councils of the expenses of any such joint appointment"—[Mr. Guinness.]

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSE 12
    —(Powers of entry and sampling.)

  • An inspector appointed by a council under this Act may at all reasonable times enter any premises in which he has reasonable cause to believe that there is any article included in the first column of the First Schedule to this Act which has been prepared for sale or consignment, or any article included in the first column of the First or Second Schedule to this Act which is stored for use and not for sale or manu- 1750 facture, and may take samples in the prescribed manner of any article on such premises which he has reasonable cause to believe to be such an article as aforesaid:
  • Provided that an inspector shall not exercise such power as aforesaid in respect of any premises situate outside the county or county borough for which he acts without the consent of the council of the county or county borough in which the said premises are situate or of some officer of that council to whom powers of giving such consent may have been delegated by that council.
  • An inspector appointed by a council under this Act may for the purposes of the information of his council take a sample otherwise than in the prescribed manner of any article which has been sold for use as a fertiliser of the soil or as food for cattle or poultry, or which he has reasonable cause to believe to be intended for sale as such; but the result of an analysis of a sample so taken shall not be communicated to any person other than the council.
  • An inspector appointed by the Minister may, if specially authorised in that behalf, exercise in any county or county borough the powers conferred by this section on an inspector appointed by the council thereof.
  • If in the opinion of the Minister the council of a county or county borough have insufficiently exercised their powers under this Act, either generally or in any particular case, the inspector appointed by the Minister may submit to the agricultural analyst for the county or county borough the samples so taken by him within ~that county or county borough.
  • Mr. GUINNESS: I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), to leave out the words "the information of his Council," and to insert instead thereof the words "this Act." This and the three following Amendments in my name deal with the taking of informal samples, which, of course, are in no way conclusive, and it would be an obvious injustice if the seller of these informal samples should be disclosed to anyone outside the office of the inspector. Therefore, I move these Amendments to ensure that secrecy is kept.

    Mr. T. WILLIAMS: Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will tell us whether it is the normal procedure for the seller of any particular commodity, when an inspector comes along and desires a sample, to ask the inspector to purchase that sample. One of these Amendments rather' has that effect. I do not object so much to the inclusion of these words, but I think the right hon. Gentleman might tell the Committee whether or not this is a precedent 1751 that may be followed, wisely or unwisely, in the future, for an inspector to be called upon by the seller to purchase a sample before he can perform his usual analytical work.

    Mr. GUINNESS: The hon. Member has raised a point that arises on a subsequent Amendment, at the end of Sub section (3), and I will answer it when we reach that point.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendments made: In Subsection (2), leave out the words "result of an analysis of," and insert instead thereof the words "name of the seller or purchaser or owner of the article of which."

    After the word "sample" ["analysis of a sample"], insert the word "is."

    Leave out the words "other than the council."

    In Sub-section (3), after the word "borough" ["that county or county borough"], insert the words "and the amount of any expenses certified by the Minister to have been incurred by an inspector appointed by him in the exercise of such powers as aforesaid shall, on demand, be repaid to the Minister by the council in default, and shall be recoverable from the council either as a debt due to the Crown or summarily as a civil debt."—[Mr. Guinness.]

    Mr. GUINNESS: I beg to move, in Sub-section (3), after the words last inserted, to insert new Sub-sections— "(4) Where a sample of a parcel packed ready for retail sale which is of fourteen pounds weight or less and is exposed for sale by retail is taken under this section, the retailer may require the inspector to purchase the parcel on behalf of the local authority or of the Minister, as the case may be. (5)In the exercise at any railway station or upon any railway premises of the powers conferred upon him by this Act an inspector shall conform to such reasonable requirements of the railway company owning or using 6uch station or premises as are necessary to prevent the working of the traffic thereat being obstructed or interfered with." Perhaps I might answer the question of the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) at this point. This provision for the purchase of the sample applies only to small parcels which are taken on the premises of a retailer, and it does not, of course, cover the manufacturer, 1752 whose products are sampled in the place of origin, and it does seem reasonable that where a prepacked parcel is broken open and, therefore, becomes unsaleable, the inspector should have to pay for it. There is a precedent for it. I think the hon. Member was a Member of the Merchandise Marks Bill Standing Committee, and will remember that we had a longish discussion on this very point. I think it was at the suggestion of a Member of the Opposition that a provision was inserted that in parallel cases payment should be made, and in fact that system already obtains, not by law, but by common practice, under the Sale of Food and Drugs Act, so that I think we are quite safe in inserting this small Amendment for the protection of the retailer trader.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSE 13
    —(Provisions as to analysis of samples.)

    (4) Where a sample or part of a sample is under this section sent for analysis to the agricultural analyst or the Government Chemist, there shall also be sent to him any statutory statement or warranty relating to the article sampled or a copy thereof, and a copy of the particulars marked on or indicated by a mark applied to the article.

    Amendment made: In Sub-section (4), leave out the word "and" ["copy thereof, and"], and insert instead thereof the word "or."—[Mr. Guinness.]

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clauses 14 (Tampering with samples) and 15 (Obstruction of inspectors) ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSE 16
    —(Prohibition against disclosures.)

    If any inspector discloses, except for the purposes of proceedings for alleged offences, any information obtained by him in or in connection with the exercise of his powers under this Act, he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds.

    Mr. GUINNESS: I beg to move, to leave out the words "except for the purposes of proceedings for alleged offences." 1753 This Clause gives protection to traders against the disclosure of trade secrets, but, as drafted, it goes too far, and would prevent the necessary information being given by the sampler to the Government Chemist under Section 13, and this Amendment is, therefore, necessary to enable the administration of these powers to be secured.

    Mr. T. WILLIAMS: Is the right hon. Gentleman not going to retard or restrict the power of the inspector to do justice by moving this Amendment? It seems to me that even the Clause as it stands pretty well covers the average vendor or manufacturer of any kind of fertiliser, but if the person responsible for taking samples is not going to have these few words retained, he is going to be in a very awkward fix. Without some further explanation I do not think we ought to agree to adopt this Amendment. I do not know what the right hon. Gentleman's personal opinion is, but it-seems to me that this Amendment will so tie up the inspector that he will be handicapped in carrying out his normal duties.

    Mr. GUINNESS: I think the effect of this Amendment is contrary to what the hon. Member suggests. There may be many cases where further analyses have to be made by the Government Chemist, many cases where information has to be given to officials, but where no proceedings for alleged offences can be taken. Unless this Amendment be made, the necessary inquiries in the preliminary stages in all these cases will be prevented by this restriction as to secrecy.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendment made: After the word "Act," insert the words "except to persons acting in the execution of this Act and so far as such information may be necesary for the execution thereof.—[Mr. Guinness.]

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSE 17
    —(Financial provisions relating to the councils of county and county boroughs.)

    (2) The council of any county or county borough may fix the fees to be payable in respect of the making of any analysis by the agricultural analyst and the taking of samples at the request of purchasers, and the council may fix different fees for 1754 different articles and for different quantities of the same article or for different analyses of the same article.

    Amendments made: Insert Sub-section "(1) The council of any county or county borough may contribute towards the expenses .incurred by any agricultural body or association in causing samples to be taken by an official sampler in the prescribed manner for analysis by the agricultural analyst."

    Insert Sub-section "(3) The expenses of a council incurred in the execution of this Act (including any expenditure on the purchase by the council of articles for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this Act) shall be defrayed in the case of a county council as part of their expenses for general county purposes, and in the case of a county borough council, out of the borough fund or borough rate."—[Mr. Guinness.]

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clauses 18 (Returns of results of analysis) and 19 (Penalties for offences) ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSE 20
    —(Safeguards to traders.)

  • Proceedings for any offence against this Act to which the last foregoing section applies, other than an offence of failing to give a statutory statement prescribed by this Act, or to add to a statutory statement any mark required by this Act to be added thereto, shall not be commenced without the consent of the Minister; and where the proceedings are in respect of causing or permitting any name, mark or particulars to be false, or in respect of the presence in a feeding stuff of any ingredient included in the Third Schedule to this Act or of any deleterious ingredient, the consent of the Minister shall not be given until the part of the sample retained by the agricultural analyst has been analysed and a certificate of analysis given by the Government Chemist.
  • A person shall not be liable to conviction under this Act for applying a false mark to an article or making a false entry in his register or for failure to state the presence in a feeding stuff of an ingredient included in the Third Schedule to this Act if he proves—
  • that having taken all reasonable precautions against committing an offence against this Act he had not at the time of committing the alleged offence reason to suspect the correctness of the mark or entry, or the presence of such ingredient as aforesaid, as the case may be; and
  • where he obtained the article from some other person, that on demand by or on behalf of the prosecutor he gave all the information in his power with 1755 respect to the person from whom he obtained it and as to the statutory statement given to him, and as to any mark applied to the article when he obtained it.
  • A prosecution in respect of causing or permitting any name, mark or particulars to be false or in respect of the presence of any ingredient included in the Third Schedule to this Act or of any deleterious ingredient, shall not be instituted under this Act after the expiration of three months from the date on which a sample of the article was taken in the prescribed manner.
  • In any such prosecution as aforesaid the summons shall state the particulars of the offence alleged and also the name of the prosecutor, and shall not be made returnable in less time than fourteen days from the date on which it is served, and there shall also be served therewith a copy of any certificate of the agricultural analyst obtained on behalf of the prosecutor.
  • Amendments made: In Sub-section (1), leave out the words "other than an offence of failing to give a statutory statement prescribed by this Act, or to add to a statutory statement any mark required by this Act to be added thereto."

    After the word "particulars" ["name, mark or particulars"], insert the words "except particulars which are not required to be contained in a statutory statement)."

    After the word "false" ["particulars to be false"], insert the words "or in respect of failure to include in the particulars marked or indicated by a mark or entered in a register or written on a label, any particulars which are required by this Act to be contained in the statutory statement."

    Leave out the words "any ingredient included in the Third Schedule to this Act or of"—[Mr. Guinness.']

    Mr. GUINNESS: I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), to leave out the words "A person shall not be liable to conviction under this Act for applying a false mark to an article or," and to insert instead thereof the words "Where proceedings under this Act are taken against a person in respect of causing or permitting any name, mark, or particulars to be false, or for." It is not necessary to refer to the Government chemist cases where the offence has reference to the particulars which have to be inserted in the register under Clause 5, Sub-section (2, a and b)—that is, cases where the offence is that these particulars are alleged to be false.

    Amendment agreed to.

    1756

    Further Amendment made: In Subsection (2), after the word "Act" ["Third Schedule to this Act"] insert the words: "he shall not be liable to conviction"—[Mr. Guinness.]

    Clause, as amended, order to stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 21 (General provisions as to legal proceedings), ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSE 22
    —(Evidence of certificate of analysis.)

  • Where a sample which has been taken in the prescribed manner by an inspector or official sampler, and has been divided into parts and marked, sealed and fastened up as hereinbefore mentioned, has been analysed, the agricultural analyst's certificate shall at the hearing of any civil or criminal proceedings with respect to the article sampled be sufficient evidence of the facts therein stated, unless the defendant or person charged requires, either before or during the proceedings, that the person who made the analysis be called as a witness, or that the sample be further analysed by the Government Chemist.
  • In any legal proceedings the production of a certificate by the Government Chemist shall be sufficient evidence of the facts stated therein unless either party to the proceedings requires that the person who made the analysis be called as a witness.
  • Mr. GUINNESS: I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words, "either before or during the proceedings." This Clause, among other objects, provides that due notice shall be given to an analyst that he will be required at a hearing. Otherwise, he would have to attend all hearings, or, if he were absent, the case would have to be adjourned or dismissed. In order to give reasonable notice that the analyst must be present, we want to strike out the words "either before or during the proceedings" and leave it that notice has to be given in the ordinary course.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSE 23
    —(Regulations)

  • The Minister and the Board of Agriculture for Scotland jointly may, after consultation with the advisory committee to be constituted under this Section, make regulations for prescribing anything which under this Act is required or authorised to 1757 be prescribed, and generally for carrying this Act into operation; and in particular such regulations may provide—
  • for varying any of the schedules to this Act;
  • for prescribing the manner in which articles required to be marked under this Act are to be marked and the nature of such marks;
  • for prescribing the limits of variation for the purposes of this Act;
  • for prescribing the manner in which samples are to be taken and dealt with in cases where under this Act they are taken in the prescribed manner;
  • as to the method in which analyses for determining the percentages of particular substances are to be made;
  • as to the qualifications to be possessed by agricultural analysts and deputy agricultural analysts and as to the form of certificates of analysis given by them;
  • and where any schedule is varied by regulations so made, this Act shall have effect as if the schedule as so varied were substituted for the schedule contained in this Act.
  • For the purpose of assisting and advising them with respect to the making of regulations under this Act, the Minister and Board shall jointly appoint an advisory committee consisting of representatives of manufacturers and importers of articles used as fertilisers of the soil or food for cattle and poultry, and of the agricultural industry, together with such other persons as the Minister and Board may think desirable.
  • All regulations made under this section shall be laid before Parliament as soon as may be after they are made, and if either House of Parliament, within the next subsequent twenty-one days on which that House has sat next after the regulations are laid before them, presents an address to His Majesty praying that the Regulations or any part of them may be annulled, they shall thenceforth be void, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder or to the making of new Regulations.
  • Mr. GUINNESS: I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), after the word "shall" ["the Minister and Board shall"], to insert the words "after consultation with such associations as appear to them to represent the interests concerned." The object of this Clause is to provide for the appointment of an Advisory Committee. We have had many representations that specific mention should be made of various interests, and to avoid hurting people's feelings we think it will be best to mention none of these interests, leaving the matter to the Departments concerned.

    Amendment agreed to.

    1758

    Further Amendment made: In Subsection (2), leave out the words "consisting of representatives of manufacturers and importers of articles used as fertilisers of the soil or food for cattle and poultry, and of the agricultural industry, together with such other persons as the Minister and Board may think desirable."—[Mr. Guinness.]

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSE 24
    —(Meaning of certain expressions.)

    Where for the purposes of this Act the expressions "percentage of soluble phosphates" and "percentage of insoluble phosphates," are used in statements of equivalents, they shall be taken to mean respectively the percentage of tribasic phosphate of lime which has been and which has not been rendered soluble in water.

    Amendment made: After the word "and" ["which has been and which has"], insert the word "that"—[Mr. Guinness.]

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

    Mr. SHEPPERSON: This Clause mentions that the percentage of soluble phosphates and insoluble phosphates shall be taken to mean the percentage of tribasic phosphate of lime which has been rendered soluble in water. I know that that has always been the custom in the past, and what I would like to know is whether this Clause will in any way clash with the wording of Schedule 1, where, on page 21 of the Bill, it states that soluble phosphoric acid and insoluble phosphoric acid are to be stated in terms of phosphoric anhydride?

    Mr. GUINNESS: I really am not quite sure. We took all these details from the recommendations of the Technical Sub-Committee, and if there be any inconsistencies of that kind, they can easily be cleared up, before the Act comes into operation, by the New Advisory Committee which is to be set up and will advise the two Departments concerned as to the Regulations which have to be prescribed under the Act. I will draw the Committee's attention to this point?

    Question put, and agreed to.

    Clause 25 (Interpretation) ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    1759 CLAUSE 26
    —(Application to Scotland.)

  • This Act shall apply to Scotland subject to the following modifications:
  • References to the Minister shall, except in the provisions of this Act relating to joint action by the Minister and the Board of Agriculture for Scotland, be construed as references to the Board of Agriculture for Scotland:
  • The powers and duties of councils of counties and county boroughs under this Act shall be exerciseable and performed by the local authorities under the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894,
  • Such local authorities as aforesaid shall have the like power to appoint a joint committee for any purpose of this Act as is conferred by section seventy-six of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1889, on county and town councils for any purpose of that Act, and the provisions of the said section 6hall apply accordingly, and a reference to the Local Government Act, 1888, shall be construed as a reference to the provisions of the said Act of 1889 as so applied:
  • Subsections (1) and (4) of section twenty and subsection (3) of section twenty-one shall not apply.
  • Amendment made: In Sub-section (1, b), "1894" ["Diseases of Animals Act, 1984"], insert the words "and the expenses incurred under this Act by such local authorities shall be defrayed out of a rate to be levied, ascertained, fixed, and paid in like manner as the local rate under that Act"—[Mr. Guinness.]

    The SOLICITOR-GENERAL for SCOTLAND (Mr. MacRobert): I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to add the words "Provided that—

  • no proceedings shall be brought in respect of causing or permitting any name, mark, or particulars (except particulars which are not required to be contained in a statutory statement) to be false or in respect of failure to include in the particulars marked or indicated by a mark or entered in a register or written on a label any particulars which are required by this Act to be contained in the statutory statement or in respect of the presence in a feeding stuff of any deleterious ingredient until the part of the sample retained by the agricultural analyst has been analysed and a certificate of analysis given by the Government Chemist; and
  • in any prosecution to which Subsection (3) of Section twenty of this Act applies there shall be served with the complaint a copy of any certificate of the agricultural analyst obtained on behalf of the prosecution."
  • The reason for bringing forward this Amendment is this. Under para- 1760 graph (d) certain Sub-sections of the Bill are not applicable to Scotland. They are Sub-section (1) and (4) of Section 20 and Sub-section (3) of Section 21. The reason why these Clauses were not made applicable to Scotland was that in Scotland we have a different system of prosecution. Accordingly, these Clauses were left out, and some anxiety was created in Scotland as to the effect of their omission. A deputation, representing Scottish interests, was received by the Lord Advocate and myself last week, and the Lord Advocate then stated that he was going to amend the Bill in the, way I am proposing here. That met with the complete approval of the deputation. At that meeting he further undertook "To instruct the procurator-fiscals to consult with the Board of Agriculture for Scotland before instituting any prosecution to which the veto of the Minister in England would have applied." He gave that undertaking, and I now, on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Lord Advocate, formally and publicly confirm the undertaking then given. With that explanation, and as I have stated that this Amendment, is simply to re-enact certain provisions which are enacted in the English Clauses, I think the Committee should feel no difficulty in agreeing to the Amendment.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSE 27
    —(Application to Northern Ireland.)

  • This Act shall apply to Northern Ireland subject to the following modifications:
  • The regulations made by the Minister and the Board of Agriculture for Scotland shall apply to Great Britain only:
  • References to the Minister, and to the Minister and the Board of Agriculture for Scotland acting jointly shall be construed as references to the Ministry of Agriculture for Northern Ireland: Provided that the Ministry of Agriculture for Northern Ireland in lieu of appointing a separate advisory committee may in making regulations to be laid before the Parliament of Northern Ireland, act on the advice of the advisory committee appointed for Great Britain:
  • References to the Treasury shall be construed as references to the Ministry of Finance for Northern Ireland:
  • 1761
  • References to the Government Chemist shall be construed as references to the Chief Agricultural Analyst for Northern Ireland:
  • The reference to the Local Government Act, 1888, shall be construed as a reference to Article thirty-eight of the Schedule to the Local Government (Application of Enactments) Order, 1898:
  • References to Parliament and to His Majesty shall be construed respectively as references to the Parliament and to the Governor of Northern Ireland, and the reference to twenty-one days, occurring in relation to Regulations laid before Parliament, shall be construed as a reference to the period prescribed by Sub-section (1) of Section 4 of the Rules Publication Act (Northern Ireland), 1925.
  • For the purpose of Section six of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, this Act, in its application to Northern Ireland, shall be treated as if it had been an Act passed before the appointed day for the commencement of that Section.
  • Amendment made: Insert paragraph "(f) The expenses of a council incurred in the execution of this Act shall be defrayed, in the case of a county council, out of the county fund as a county at large charge, and, in the case of a county borough council, out of any rate or fund applicable to the purposes of the Public Health (Ireland) Acts, 1878 to 1918"—[Mr. Guinness.]

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    CLAUSE 28
    —(Short title, commencement, repeal and extent.)

  • This Act may be cited as the Fertilisers and Feeding Stuffs Act, 1926.
  • This Act shall come into operation on such day not earlier than the first day of January nineteen hundred and twenty-seven as may be appointed for the purpose by the Minister and the Board of Agriculture for Scotland jointly.
  • The Fertilisers and Feeding Stuffs Act, 1906, is hereby repealed:
  • Provided that nothing in this repeal shall affect any appointment made under that Act, but any such appointment shall have effect as if made under this Act.
  • Mr. GUINNESS: I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), to leave out the word "January" ["first day of January"], and to insert thereof the word "July" It was hoped originally that this Bill might have been passed before the House rose for the Summer Adjournment, and the delay necessarily involves the insertion of a new date for the Act to come into operation, and we propose to postpone it until July.

    Amendment agreed to.

    1762

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    NEW CLAUSE
    —(Exemption for sales under statutory authority and for sales by sheriffs and bailiffs.)

    This Act shall not apply to the sale of an article used as a fertiliser of the soil or as a food for cattle and poultry where the sale is in exercise of a statutory power to satisfy a lien, or where the sale is made by a sheriff, bailiff, or other officer to satisfy a writ of execution or warrant, or decree of any court or a distress for rent or warrant of distress.—[Mr. Guinness."]

    Brought up, and read the First time.

    Mr. GUINNESS: I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time." The object of this new Clause is evident. It is to give protection from the provisions of the Bill on the sale of articles where the seller is not selling as part of his trade or business.

    Question put, and agreed to.

    Clause added to the Bill.

    NEW CLAUSE
    —(Application to City and Port of London.)

    This Act shall apply to the Port of London and the City of London subject to the following modifications:—

  • The sanitary authority of the Port of London as regards the district of that authority and the Common Council of the City of London as regards the City of London shall, to the exclusion of any other council, perform and exercise the duties and powers by this Act imposed and conferred on councils of counties and county boroughs;
  • The expenses of the Port of London sanitary authority and the common council incurred in the execution of this Act (including any expenditure incurred in the purchase of articles for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this Act) shall be defrayed out of the general rate of the City of London.—[Mr. Guinness.]
  • Brought up, and read the First time.

    Mr. GUINNESS: I beg to move, "That, the Clause be read a Second time." This Clause has been drawn up at the request of the City of London. It is merely to provide for their special conditions, and it is not objected to by the other London local authorities.

    Question put, and agreed to.

    Clause added to the Bill.

    1763 First Schedule.
    —(Articles to which all the provisions of the Act are applicable.)

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this be the First Schedule to the Bill."

    Mr. SHEPPERSON: I wish to raise a point on this Schedule in reference to the statutory statement to be obtained, in particular with regard to the phosphoric manures. It is obvious that the value of any fertiliser is in proportion to the degree of its solubility. Potash manures and some nitrogenous manures are soluble, but this is not the case with all phosphoric manures. In the Schedule, in the case of raw phosphate or phosphate rock, ground and ungrounded, it is necessary that the amount of phosphoric acid be stated. This is here in an insoluble form. In superphosphate it is necessary that the amount of soluble phosphoric acid should be stated. In compound fertilisers containing phosphates it is necessary to state the amount of phosphoric acid, but not to indicate the degree of solubility of the phosphates. The point I wish to raise is that there is a degree of solubility between the soluble phosphoric acid in monobasic phosphates and the insoluble phosphoric acid in tribasic phosphates. There is another phosphate known as dibasic phosphate of lime which, though not soluble in water, is soluble in ammonium citrate, and will be slowly available as plant food. I wish to know whether, at a later stage, it will be possible, in such phosphatic fertilisers as basic superphosphate and other com- 1764 pound manures, to state the amount of phosphates soluble in ammonium citrate, so that to the purchaser the value could be given of the phosphates so soluble. It is in the interest of the purchaser, when he buys a compound manure, to know that it has a certain amount of phosphate. It is further in his interest to know whether those phosphates are insoluble tribasic phosphate of lime, or soluble monobasic, or whether they contain dibasic phosphate which is soluble in ammonium citrate, or as in basic slag, a tetrabasic phosphate, which is also soluble in ammonium citrate. I wish to know whether in future it would be possible to insert in the description of manures the percentage of phosphate soluble in ammonium citrate.

    Mr. GUINNESS: That is a point that is eminently suited to the technical committee, and I shall certainly see that the Advisory Committee's attention is drawn to it. In case the Official Reporter is not sufficiently familiar with these very technical terms, I may perhaps have the exact details of my hon. Friend's suggestion sent to me, and I will see that it is brought to the notice of the Advisory Committee as soon as it is received.

    Question, "That this be the First Schedule to the Bill," put, and agreed to.

    Remaining Schedules agreed to.

    Title agreed to.

    Bill, as amended, ordered to be Reported to the House.

    The Committee rose at Five Minutes after Twelve o'Clock.

    THE FOLLOWING MEMBEES ATTENDED THE COMMITTEE:

    Nicholson, Mr. William (Chairman)

    Bourne, Captain

    Briscoe, Captain

    Christie, Mr.

    Dean, Mr.

    Gault, Lieut.-Colonel

    Glyn, Major

    Grant, Sir James

    Grenfell, Mr. David

    Guinness, Mr.

    Hamilton, Sir Robert

    Hurd, Mr.

    MacIntyre, Mr.

    McLean, Major Alan

    Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn

    Morrison, Mt. Hugh

    Newton, Sir Douglas

    Shepperson, Mr.

    Solicitor-General for Scotland, The

    Townend, Mr.

    Wallhead, Mr.

    Warner, Brigadier-General

    Waterhouse, Captain

    Williams, Mr. Thomas

    Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel