§ MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether, in cases in which County Councils decide to let land for small holdings, the rent, as defined by the 18th section of the Small Holdings Act, must be sufficient to cover the instalments for the repayment of the pur- 1051 chase money, or only the interest thereon?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. H. GARDNER, Essex, Saffron Walden)
The question is one with regard to which it is not competent for me to give an authoritative decision; but, with a view to assist County Councils in the discharge of their duties under the Small Holdings Act, I made arrangements, in April last, for the submission of a case to the Law Officers of the Crown. These officers have recently expressed the opinion that where land is purchased by a County Council under the Small Holdings Act, and let, the rent should not be such as to cover annual instalments of principal borrowed, but a fair rent estimated so as to provide against loss, covering, with a fair margin for eventualities, the interest on all expenditure including purchase money. On receipt of the opinion, I gave instructions for the preparation of a Circular Letter to County Councils on the subject, and this has now been issued.
§ SIR R. PAGET (Somerset, Wells)
Will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to place on the Table a copy of the Circular and of the case submitted to the Officers of the Crown for their opinion?
§ MR. ACLAND
I shall be happy to show the hon. Gentleman a Circular sent to the County Council. As to the other matter, I will consider that.