§ MR. ROGERS (Wiltshire, Devizes)
I beg to ask the hon. Member for the Crewe Division, as Ecclesiastical Commissioner, whether the first offer of all vacant farms the property of the Commissioners will, in future, be given to the small holdings committee of the county in which they are situate.
§ MR. TOMKINSON (Cheshire, Crewe)
The Commissioners' practice has been and is to endeavour to utilise for small holdings and allotments all vacant farms which in their opinion are at all suitable for that purpose. They have also, since the Act, endeavoured by arrangement with their tenants to provide land when it is required for small holdings or allotments in localities where they have no vacant farms. A large number of small holdings and allotments have been and are being thus provided, in some cases by lettings to county and parish councils, and in others by direct lettings to the applicants.
§ MR. ROGERS
What proportion of the quarter-million acres owned by 1683 the Commissioners has been dealt with in this way?
§ MR. TOMKINSON
I cannot reply to that definitely, but I can inform the hon. Member that in and since 1906, forty-seven new lettings have been effected for small holdings and allotments comprising 1,606 acres upon the Commissioners' estates, the tenants being in twenty cases local authorities, and in the remaining twenty-seven cases individual tenants or bodies of tenants, in some cases very numerous. In addition there are now under consideration twenty-seven offers of, or applications which they expect to satisfy for land for the same purposes amounting to 1,430 acres. Quite recently 87 a. 1r. 31p. of land at Tarvin (Cheshire) has been sold by the Commissioners to the Chesshire County Council for this purpose.
§ MR. WINFREY (Norfolk, S.W.)
And in how many cases has there been an increase of rents to small holders as compared with previous rents?