§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of AGRICULTURE (Mr. W. R. Smith)
As the reply is necessarily long, and contains a number of figures, I propose, with the hon. Member's permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Following is the answer:
§ As was stated in reply to the hon. Member for Gainsborough (Sir R. Winfrey) on 13th March last, small holdings are still being provided under the Land Settlement (Facilities) Act, 1919, but since 31st July, 1920, the Ministry has, in the interest of economy, laid down certain rules limiting the maximum capital cost and annual loss in the case of holdings provided on land acquired since that date. As a result of these restrictions, the acquisition of additional land for the provision of holdings has practically ceased. My right hon. Friend is, however, carefully considering whether it is possible to relax these conditions. According to returns furnished by councils, up to the end of 1922, 18,600 men had been provided with small holdings since the Armistice, of whom 16,801 were ex-service men. From the returns similarly furnished at the end of 1923, 21,358 men (19,190 being ex-service men) had been provided with holdings, of whom 2,750 (2,565 ex-service men) had left for various reasons. The returns furnished at the end of 1922 did not distinguish the men who had vacated their holdings, and did not in every case include such men. For this reason, it is not possible to give exact figures of the number of men who were settled during the year 1923 in England and Wales. As regards Leicestershire, the total number settled up to the end of 1923 was 193, including 186 ex-service men, of whom 21 had vacated their holdings up to that date. I have ascertained that the number actually settled in Leicestershire during the year was 15, including 13 ex-service men, in addition to which, two of the council's existing ex-service tenants were provided with additional land during the year.