HC Deb 24 May 1894 vol 24 cc1184-6
MR. ROUND (Essex, N. E., Harwich)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture if he is considering the Report of Mr. Hunter Pringle to the Royal Commission on Agriculture upon the corn-growing districts of Essex, recently printed; if his attention has been directed to that portion of the Report which refers to the increasing: average of derelict farms, and to the deplorable facts of farm houses, farm buildings, and labourers' cottages falling into ruin in many parishes; and if he can hold out any hopes of action on the part of the Government with the view to remedial legislation?

MR. DODD () Essex, S.E., Maldon

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether Mr. Pringle is correct in stating that the tithe per acre in land in Essex under all crops is 6s., whereas in Lancashire it is only 1s. 9¼d., and that if the tithe is taken on the basis of population it represents 6s. 4½d. in Essex and only 4½d. in Lancashire?


I must ask for notice of that. In reply to the hon. Member for Harwich, I have to say that I hope it is unnecessary for me to assure the ho… Member that I have watched the agricultural position in Essex with the greatest attention and sympathy for some time past; and with regard to Mr. Hunter Pringle's Report upon particular districts of the county, I am sure that the Commissioners to whom that Report is addressed will give the statements it contains their most earnest consideration. The concluding question of the hon. Member is identical with that addressed to the Leader of the House by the hon. Member for the South-Eastern Division of the county, to which my right hon. Friend will subsequently reply.


Do the Government intend to grant a day for the discussion of this question?


I cannot answer that question. It should be addressed to the Leader of the House.

MAJOR RASCH () Essex, S.E.

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the attention of the Government has been called to the concluding paragraph of the Report of Mr, Hunter Pringle, Commissioner to the Royal Commission on Agriculture, with reference to the County of Essex, in which it is stated that so serious are the complications involved that it seems as if the district might well become the subject of distinct and special Government supervision and assistance; and whether the Government are prepared to adopt Mr. Pringle's proposal; if not, whether they will give a day for the discussion of the matter, in order to lay before the House and the country the ruin of the agricultural classes in the County of Essex?


Can the right hon. Gentleman say if the figures in Mr. Pringle's Report to which I have alluded are correct?


No Sir. The attention of the Government has been directed to the evidence given before the Royal Commission, including the Report referred to in the question; but they cannot announce any action upon it until the evidence and the Report have been considered by the Commission, and their recommendations have been brought under the view of the Government.


As the right hon. Gentleman cannot immediately assist us, will he allow the map attached to the Report—a map which shows 60 miles of derelict farms in the County of Essex—to be exhibited in the House, so that hon. Members may appreciate the agricultural situation in the county?


That would be a very unusual proceeding, but I will consider if it can be done.


When is the Commission expected to report?


I am not in a position to say.