§ 65. Mr. HURD
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware of the growing discontent created in many agricultural districts by the operations of syndicates of speculators who are buying estates over the heads of sitting tenants and then seeking to resell farms to the occupiers at fictitious prices or dispossess those occupiers by breaking up the properties into higher-priced lots regardless of the claims of cottagers and smallholders; and what steps are being taken by the Board of Agriculture in the matter in the interests of good husbandry and extended cultivation?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
The Board are aware of the feeling of disturbance which is being caused in many parts of the country by the operations of land speculators, and if these operations are prejudicial to the proper cultivation of the land action will be taken under the Board's powers under the Defence of the Realm 1679 Regulations. It may be necessary, however, to consider whether special legislation will not be necessary in order to deal with the matter.
§ Mr. BILLING
Would the hon. Gentleman ask the Press to give publicity to this statement, as it would do a great deal more than anything else to stop speculators if they thought they were on a bad horse?
§ Mr. C. F. WHITE
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there have been hundreds of cases in Derbyshire by a speculator of a syndicate who is Mr. Ernest T. Hooley, who is not unknown in the country?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
I have heard a syndicate connected with this gentleman has been at work in Derbyshire.