HC Deb 05 May 1920 vol 128 cc2071-2
88. Captain R. TERRELL

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture whether he is aware that a large area of good arable land is to-day in the hands of land speculators and un tenanted, with the result that little or no effort is being made to cultivate it or sow it with spring corn; whether he will state whether the Ministry, through the county agricultural committees, is taking any steps to see that such land is properly dealt with; whether he is aware that speculation in agricultural land is causing a reduction in the production of foodstuffs, especially where the speculators are leaving the land without tenants; and whether it is intended to insert a Clause in the forthcoming Agricultural Bill which will have for its object the prevention of such speculation?


The Ministry is aware that a good deal of land speculation is now going on and that, as a result, some land is temporarily without tenants. The Agricultural Executive Committees, however, are fully alive to the situation, and in many cases are serving Cultivation Orders on the owners where there is sufficient evidence that they can be regarded as the occupiers for the purpose of D.O.R.A. 2M. The assumption contained in the third part of the hon. Member's question is no doubt correct in isolated cases, but there are no statistics available on the subject. With regard to the last part of the question, it is hoped that the provisions of the Agricultural Bill will discourage the evil to which the hon. Member alludes.


Can the right hon. Gentleman inform the House how many acres are affected by this land speculation?


No, I have already said that there are no statistics available.