§ 34. Mr. WEDGWOOD
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the fact that the present system of rating small holder's improvements is making the administration of the Small Holdings Act difficult; and whether he contemplates relieving progressive agriculture from the burden of the present rates upon improvements?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I have no information as to the first part of the question. My right hon. Friend is unable to make a statement as to any contemplated legislation on the rating system.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the right hon. 711 Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture made that statement in this House some days ago?
54. Mr. PARKER
asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether his Department is considering the possibility of establishing a system of Rent Courts for fixing the rents and tenure of agricultural land; and, if so, whether they will bear in mind that agricultural experts now hold that it is not desirable to perpetuate the large grazing farms of the present day, and that it may therefore be undesirable to create a tenant right in such large holdings?
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Runciman)
The Board are always ready to consider any proposal likely to affect the agricultural industry, and all relevant facts and opinions will be borne in mind.
§ 55. Mr. OUTHWAITE
asked if, in view of the fact that under the terms of the Small Landholders Act for Scotland Scottish small holders are not liable to be rated on their improvements, the President of the Board of Agriculture will take steps to place those who have acquired land under the Small Holdings Act for England and Wales in a like advantageous position?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave to a question on this subject addressed to me by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood) on Wednesday last.
§ 56. Mr. OUTHWAITE
asked if the right hon. Gentleman will take steps to give publicity to the fact that the assessment for rates on the Skidby estate was raised from £583 to £1,012 10s., and on the East Heddon estate from £633 10s. to £1,450, as a result of small holders coming into possession, so that applicants for small holdings in Yorkshire and Northumberland may realise the extent of the obligations they propose to undertake?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
My hon. Friend has already given wide publicity to the facts by calling attention to them in this House, and I do not think I need take any further steps in order to make them generally known.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
Can the right hon. Gentleman find out the number of people 712 who were employed on these farms before they were broken up into small holdings, so as to compare with the number now employed upon them?
§ Mr. MORRELL
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the mere fact of dividing farms into small holdings is now held to be sufficient ground for raising the assessment?
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
Will applicants be warned as to what is likely to be their fate if they secure this land with the liability incurred by the great increase in rates and probably on the rent compared with what the farm previously paid?