HC Deb 06 March 1906 vol 153 cc294-5
MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD (Liverpool, West Derby)

On behalf of the hon. Member for the Everton Division of Liverpool, I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that there are 70,092 acres of agricultural land in twenty-three counties of England now let by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests at an average rental of 21s. 6d.per acre, together with sundry vacant farms in Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, and other counties; and whether he will give instructions that all vacant lands and all lands suitable for farming purposes, as they fall vacant, of the above 70,092 acres shall be placed at the disposal of the county councils in which they are respectively situate, or of the adjacent cities, for the purpose of forming small holdings to bring the people back to the land, or for the purpose of use by the distress Committees for giving labour to the unemployed, rent in all cases being charged and collected at existing rates, and particularly that the lands in Cheshire should be made available for the county council of Cheshire and the adjoining cities of Liverpool, Manchester, and Chester.


The Commissioner of Woods will be ready to entertain applications from county and other councils to become tenants, at reasonable rents and subject to usual conditions, of agricultural lands that may from time to time be in hand. I may add that negotiations in which my hon. friend the Member for Newmarket is I believe interested are now in progress with reference to the taking of a farm at Burwell for the purpose of small holdings. There are no such lands in hand in Cheshire at present.