§ MR. BOULTON (Huntingdonshire, Ramsey)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that 800 men have been turned out of their allotments by Lord de Ramsey on his estates in Huntingdonshire, and that the urban district council has refused to put into operation its compulsory powers under the Local 699 Government Act, 1894; and what steps the Local Government Board have taken or intend to take to procure land for the men who have been deprived of their holdings.
The following Questions on the same subject also appeared on the Paper:—
§ MR. TREVELYAN (Yorkshire, W.R., Elland)
To ask the President of the Local Government Board, if he is aware that the urban district council at Ramsey, in Huntingdonshire, have refused to apply for compulsory powers to enable them to provide allotments for the 800 men who last January got notice to quit their allotments from Lord de Ramsey, and that eleven out of the twelve members of the council are tenants of Lord de Ramsey; and whether the Local Government" Board as an independent authority will use its influence to secure land on reasonable terms for the dispossessed men.
§ MR. NICHOLLS (Northamptonshir, N.)
To ask the President of the Local Government Board if he is aware that 800 allotment holders on the Ramsey Estate in Huntingdonshire have received from Lord de Ramsey notice to quit their holdings; that the Ramsey Urban Council have not applied for compulsory powers to enable them to provide allotments for these men; that by the taking away of these allotments the men are robbed of one of the most effectual means of preventing the rural labourer from overcrowding the labour market in the large towns; that their eviction will make thousands of allotment holders in other parts of the country now feel insecure; and that nearly the whole of the members of the urban council are Lord de Ramsey's tenants; and, if so, I whether the Local Government Board are taking any steps to help these men to secure suitable land for allotments.
§ MR. WINFREY (Norfolk, S.W.)
To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he will hold an immediate local inquiry into the circumstances under which the 800 allotment holders in the district of Ramsey have been turned out of their holdings by Lord de Ramsey, and the failure of the district council to supply them with land on fair and reasonable terms.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
Perhaps I may be allowed to answer together this and the three other Questions on the Paper relating to the same subject. I am aware that Lord de Ramsey has given, notice to 800 allotment holders on his estates in Huntingdonshire to relinquish their allotments, and that the Ramsey Urban District Council have declined to apply for powers to hire land compulsorily for allotment purposes. I have no authority to direct an inquiry of the kind suggested by my hon. friend the Member for South-west Norfolk, nor am I empowered to procure land for the men who have lost their holdings. The matter is one which rests with the district council, or, upon their default, with the county council. I have, however, not yet been informed by either of these councils of the reasons why they have not thought fit to exercise their powers under the Allotments Acts in the present case, and I am in communication with them on the subject. I may add that I have expressed my willingness to confer on the urban district council the power of hiring land compulsorily for allotments if the necessary application is made to me for the purpose.