§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS (Birmingham, Bordesley)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether it is true that the Guardians of the Westbourne Union, Sussex, have taken land under "The Allotments Act, 1887," at a rental of £2 per acre; whether the land was hired from one of the Guardians; and, whether they are charging the labourers of Great Stoughton after the rate of £4 per acre, though the average rent of similar land in the neighbourhood is about 15s. per acre?
§ * MR. RITCHIE
The Local Government Board have received communications with reference to the land in question, and they directed one of their Inspectors to visit the district with the view of obtaining information as to the facts. It appears that the applicants for the allotments, through the clergyman of the parish, named two particular fields, parts of which they wished to be taken for allotments. These fields were the best land in the parish. The authority assented and came to terms with the tenants, who agreed to give up three acres and two and a half acres respectively. As the tenants were giving up parts of their best fields and what was practically accommodation land, the tithe rent of which was 4s. an acre, the authority considered that they were justified in paying a rent of 40s. an acre. They then appointed a committee to consider what should be charged for enclosing, road making, compensation for crops, and rates and taxes, instructing them to fix a sum which could be maintained before any competent valuer. The committee reported that an additional 40s. per acre should be charged for the extra outlay, making a total of £4 an acre to the hirers of the allotments. Forty shillings an acre for the incidental expenses appears high; but the committee explained that they had taken into account the probability or certainty of some of the allotments being unlet and thrown on their hands. 1341 Upon the facts ascertained by the Inspector, he came to the conclusion that the Sanitary Authority had honestly endeavoured to provide allotments, and that it would be difficult to prove that, under the circumstances of the case, £4 an acre was too high a rental.
§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS
I beg to ask the hon. Member for the Penrith Division (Mr. J. W. Lowther) whether Mr. Lea, the Trustee of the Broughall Charity land, after being directed by the Charity Commissioners to carry out the provisions of "The Allotments Act, 1882," still declines to take any action in the matter; and, if so, whether the Charity Commissioners have taken any steps to compel the said Trustee to carry out the provisions of the Act, as directed; and whether the Commissioners will forthwith appoint other Trustees for the charity land in question?
MR. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith)
The Charity Commissioners having been informed that up to the 9th of August Mr. Lea had failed to carry out the provisions of the Allotments Act, 1882, served him personally, through their solicitor, with a compulsory order under Section 10 of the said Act. No formal application has yet been made for the appointment of new trustees; but the matter is under consideration, with a view to adopt means for securing the letting of the land in allotments with the least possible delay.
§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS
May I ask whether in appointing new trustees the Charity Commissioners will consider the propriety of selecting one or more suitable persons from the labouring classes?