§ MR. HICKS BEACH (Gloucestershire, Tewkesbury)
I beg to ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether the attention of the Board of Agriculture has been drawn to the fact that in the Return of Holdings [Cd. 3408] issued by the Board in 1907 the number of small holdings therein stated to be existing in Gloucestershire is 6,585, whereas in a Return issued by the Gloucestershire County Council in December, 1907, the number of existing small holdings in the county is stated to be 12,363; whether the Board are aware that the county council Return has been carefully checked by independent persons; and whether he can state what steps the Board are taking to rectify such a gross error in their Return respecting this particular county, and similar errors that presumably exist in the Returns relating to other counties.
§ SIR EDWARD STRACHEY
The basis of the two Returns is entirely different. The Board's Return represents holdings of agricultural land in one occupation whereas in the county council's Return a holding is a "separate assessment of land." Careful inquiry into the matter at the request of the Board has been made by the Inland Revenue Commissioners with the result that there is no reason to question the accuracy of the official Returns.