§ MR. GEORGE ROBERTS (Norwich)
I beg to ask the honourable Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether, when a local authority purchases land for small holdings, it is intended that the rent to be paid by the tenant to the local authority shall be fixed so as to cover the repayment of the purchase money borrowed by the local authority, as well as the interest on that purchase money; and whether, having regard to the fact that, under The Small Holdings and Allotments Act, 1907, tenents engage for the use and not the purchase of land, the Board will issue a circular instructing local authorities that rents should be fixed to cover the interest on purchase money, and not the repayment of purchase money.
§ THE TREASURER OF THE HOUSEHOLD (Sir E. STRACHEY, Somerset, S.)
The intention was as indicated in the first part of the Question of my hon. friend. It was considered that in view of the fact that the repayment of money borrowed for the purchase of land might extend over a period of eighty years, the additional rent which would be chargeable to the small holder would be but small, and not more than a reasonable equivalent for the advantages accruing to him by the use of the powers and credit of a public authority. The question is not however free from difficulty, and we are in communication with the Local Government Board and some of the county councils concerned respecting it. Perhaps my hon. friend will communicate further with me on the subject at a later stage.