HC Deb 08 April 1919 vol 114 cc1855-8
74. Major E. WOOD

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether he can now state the total amount of land acquired and held by the Board and the county councils in connection with the settlement of ex-Service men on the land?


The total area, of land acquired by the Board, or agreed to be acquired by county councils, with the Board's approval since the 20th December last is 21,888 acres.

75. Major WOOD

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether, in view of the fact that he has stated it is the intention of the Government to make provision for the advance of capital to suitable ex-Service men in the Land Settlement Bill, he will issue instructions that the contrary statement in the official pamphlet L. S. 2 should be corrected?


Yes, Sir. It is proposed to make the correction in the reprint of the pamphlet.

76. Major WOOD

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether he will consider the desirability of inviting the county councils to furnish a periodical return to the Board of the numbers of applicants for holdings, the amount of land held for this purpose by the county councils, the numbers of men accepted or approved for training, and the number actually settled on the land?


County councils have already been asked to furnish the Board with periodical returns containing the information asked by my hon. and gallant Friend.

Major WOOD

Can the hon. Gentleman state how often that return will be made?


I could not say exactly, but frequently anyhow.

78. Sir J. D. REES

asked the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies whether conferences have been held at the Colonial Office with the result that the official view has emerged to the effect that emigration in general from the United Kingdom should not, with certain exceptions, be encouraged by His Majesty's Government in any other way than by providing increased facilities for transport from one to another part of the Empire; if so, what is the nature of the facilities to be granted; will they include payment of travelling expenses; and, in that case, from what existing or from what new Grant will such funds be disbursed?


asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is yet in a position to state the Government's policy, financial and otherwise, with regard to emigration, more especially as it affects those discharged sailors and soldiers desiring to settle with their families on the land overseas?

15. Mr. R. GWYNNE

asked whether His Majesty's Government have come to any decision as regards granting State aid to ex-Service men desirous of settling in Canada; if so, what are the facilities given and to whom should application be made?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Lieutenant-Colonel Amery)

His Majesty's Government have come to the following decision: Ex-Service men, who are accepted as approved settlers under any settlement scheme of the Oversea Governments, or can show that they have assured employment awaiting them and are otherwise acceptable to the authorities of the Dominion to which they wish to proceed, will be given free passages for themselves and their dependants to the nearest convenient port to their destination overseas. The same privilege, subject, of course, to the same limitations, will be extended to ex-Service women, i.e., women who have served in one of the recognised women's service corps, including for this purpose the Land Army.

I should add that, in view of the prior claims of their own ex-Service men for resettlement, the Dominion Governments are not likely to be in a position to welcome any British ex-Service settlers before the end of the present year, even if shipping should be available for the purpose before that date. Applications from ex-Service men and women will, however, be received for a year from 31st December next or from the date of release from service, or if necessary for such period as may be found requisite as to afford them ample time in which to make their choice between the opportunities for employment and settlement available in the United Kingdom and those available in the British Dominions overseas.

Sir J. D. REES

Will the facilities to be granted to ex-Service men include payment of travelling expenses?

Lieutenant-Colonel AMERY

The facilities granted to ex-Service men will be a free passage to the port nearest to their destination.


Will the hon. Gentleman say what authority is dealing with the matter in this country?

Lieutenant-Colonel AMERY

It is being dealt with by the Colonial Office through a Committee dealing with overseas settlement.


Are we to understand from that answer that the conclusion come to by the Empire Settlement Committee that a board should be established is entirely disregarded?

Lieutenant-Colonel AMERY

No, Sir.


Will the hon. Gentleman say, then, when the board which was recommended is to be set up?

Major WOOD

Can the hon. Gentleman state if there is any arrangement in contemplation between the Department and the Dominions by which a board acting on behalf of the Dominions will be set up to interview applicants in this country?

Lieutenant-Colonel AMERY

We are in constant consultation with the representatives of the Dominion and Overseas Governments on this subject of the selection of suitable applicants.


Will the hon. Gentleman say whether it is or it is not the intention of His Majesty's Government to set up a board as recommended by the Empire Settlement Committee?

Lieutenant-Colonel AMERY

There is at present a Committee in the Colonial Office dealing with these matters which confers in Committee with overseas representatives. The question of setting up a Statutory Board as recommended by the Empire Settlement Committee can only be done by legislation, and, as the House is aware, there is a good deal of legislation before the House at the immediate moment.