HC Deb 04 August 1919 vol 119 cc8-9
24. Captain R. TERRELL

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture how much agricultural land taken over during the War the State is still farming on its own account; whether any statistics would be furnished as to the working of this land; and what was the future policy of the Department with respect to it?


I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT a detailed reply to my hon. Friend's question.

The following is the reply referred to

The acreage of land which the Board have taken possession, and are still in possession under Regulation 2 m of the Defence of the Realm Regulations is 52,180 acres, and of this an area of 31,198 acres is being farmed by agricultural executive committees on the Board's behalf, the remainder being let to farming tenants. Accounts of receipts and expenditure are rendered to the Board at stated intervals. They cannot yet be published in detail, but a statement will shortly be presented to the House giving the total expenditure and receipts in relation to the farming of these lands. As regards the last part of the question the policy of the Department, speaking broadly, is to withdraw from possession of lands that the executive committees are themselves cultivating, as soon as they are satisfied that other adequate arrangements can be made for their cultivation. Where the land is suitable for land settlement purposes, the Board hope that the county councils will consider the desirability of acquiring it. Where it is Considered expedient to continue in possession after the War has terminated, negotiations will be opened with the owner for a tenancy of the land for the maximum period permitted by the Defence of the Realm (Acquisition of Land) Act, 1916—that is to say, for two years after the termination of the War, or, with the consent of the Railway and Canal Commissioners, for a further period of three years.