HC Deb 10 April 1922 vol 153 cc36-7
67. Lieut.-Colonel HILDER

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is prepared to recommend the carrying out of works of land reclamation where suitable men who are now unemployed could be given the opportunity of doing some productive work, payment for which would take the place of the present unearned payments?


I am not clear as to the particular type of reclamation work which the hon. and gallant Member has in view, but the whole question in its relation to the alleviation of unemployment has constantly engaged the attention of my Department. I have been forced to the conclusion that the difficulties, such as, for example, the uneconomic aspect of the work, and the necessity for the construction, in most cases, of special hutted camps, render reclamation less suitable for the purpose in view than the schemes for land drainage now being carried out by unemployed labour under the supervision of my Department.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that private farmers have made application for powers to reclaim land, and that the application involves a reclamation of only half the amount in area of some of the schemes that have been put before his Department, and which he has declined to undertake?


The House decided by a vote taken last autumn that the best plan of relieving unemployment in country districts was by drainage schemes and water schemes. Those have been carried out successfully, and I do not think that I am at liberty at this stage to consider reclamation.