§ MR. STANLEY LEIGHTON (Shropshire, Oswestry)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether, in view of the importance of keeping accurate records from time to time of the number of landowners and the extent of their estates, and having regard to the fact that such Returns have been hitherto presented at lengthened intervals, the first being about 800 years old, and the second about 770 years later, the Government will make provision for the regular taking of a census of the owners of land at certain specified periods?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer this Question in his absence. On his behalf, I have to say as follows:—I have considerable sympathy with the suggestion made by my hon. Friend, and I should be glad if it were found possible to give effect to it. The difficulties in the way of obtaining the necessary information with accuracy are, however, very great, as was found when the Return of 1874–75 was prepared, and the attendant expense would, of course, be heavy. I shall be happy to look further into the matter, and if I can see my way to submit any practicable proposition to the Treasury on the subject I will do so. Possibly the difficulties which present themselves may diminish as the development of a system of land registration progresses.