§ MR. H. H. MARKS (Kent, Thanet)
I beg to ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether he can state the terms upon which the Burwell Estate, in Cambridgeshire, has been let to the hon. Member for Newmarket, and whether his rent was fixed with the object of enabling him to sub-let in small holdings at rents within the means of the agricultural labourers whom he has displaced.
§ MR. CLAUDE HAY
I beg also to ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, into how many holdings has the Burwell Estate, in Cambridgeshire, been cut up, and what is the price per acre charged; and how this compares with rent charged by the Crown to the lion. Member for Newmarket.
§ MR. BRIDGEMAN (Shropshire, Oswestry)
May I further ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, what rent is obtained by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests for the Burwell Estate under the scheme of conversion into small holdings; and what restrictions, if any, were made as to the rent which the tenant may charge in subletting to small holders.
§ SIR EDWARD STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)
The farm at Burwell has been let to my hon. friend the Member for Newmarket on lease for twenty-one years at a rent of £700 a year in addition to land tax, drainage, and sewer rates and all other rates and taxes except landlords property tax and tithe. This is the full market price for land in the neighbourhood. In addition the Commissioners have agreed to spend not less than £1,500 in alterations and additions to the buildings and cottages, and on this sum my hon. friend pays interest at 4 per cent, per annum. No restrictions were made as to the rent charged to my 1124 hon. friend's sub-tenants. The responsibility of the Commissioners ended when the lease was signed and they are in no way concerned with the subsequent arrangements made by my hon. friend, but I am authorised by him to say that he has divided it into fifty-nine holdings, and that he has charged his tenants rent sufficient to cover the rent he is paying together with interest on all outlay and a sufficient margin for expenses of management.
§ MR. WINFREY (Norfolk, S.W.)
Arising out of that Question I beg to ask the hon. Baronet whether it is not a fact that previous to this farm being divided into small holdings the Commissioners of Woods and Forests had for two years failed to find a tenant to take it, and had farmed it themselves without profit to the Crown. And whether it is not a fact that everyone of the displaced labourers has secured equally good terms of employment in the neighbourhood and a considerable number much better payment than they were receiving under the Crown.
§ MR. LONSDALE
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that Question was asked by a Member of Parliament who acts as private secretary to the President of the Board of Agriculture?
§ MR. H. H. MARKS
Can the hon. Gentleman say if any one of the thirty-nine labourers dispossessed by the granting of this lease has been put into the newly created holdings?
§ SIR EDWARD STRACHEY
I am informed that all the labourers working on the estate had an opportunity of taking a holding and eight or nine did so.