§ 39. Colonel WEDGWOOD
asked the Prime Minister whether notification has been issued by the Board of Agriculture or any other Government Department to 2050 the effect that, far from increasing the number of allotments, it is now desirable that allotments taken up under the Defence of the Realm Act should cease and the land be restored to the owners?
The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Sir Arthur Boscawen)
I have been asked to answer this question. The Ministry has notified the various local authorities that the Minister's possession of land acquired under the Defence of the Realm Regulations for allotments should cease not later than 25th March, 1923, but the authorities have been instructed to take immediate steps to negotiate for the acquisition, under the Small Holdings and Allotments Acts, of such land in order that the allotments may be put on a more permanent basis. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the circular letter which explains the matter in greater detail than can be dealt with by question and answer.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Are we to understand that, at a time when money is so difficult to come by, the allotment industry is only to go on if the land be definitely purchased, while, under the Defence of the Realm Act, the people could have the use of allotments until the land was required for building purposes?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
No, Sir. In the first place, the liability of the State for land under the Defence of the Realm Act is very heavy; and, in the second place, if my hon. Friend will read the provisions of the Small Holdings and Allotments Acts, he would find that local authorities possess the most ample powers of hiring compulsorily.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I have asked over and over again what steps are being taken to meet the present unemployment by increasing allotments and small holdings?