HC Deb 16 July 1925 vol 186 cc1527-9
50. Mr. HURD

asked the Minister of Agriculture how much agricultural land, distinguishing arable from pasture, has been drained under the grants scheme since the War; what is the further acreage which it is estimated should be drained in the national interest; and whether, in order to prevent the dispersion of adapted labour and to save expense, an announcement of the Government's policy will be made in the immediate future?


As the reply is rather long, I propose, with my hon. Friend's permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Does my right hon. Friend realise the necessity of an early decision in this matter, and an early announcement, if the object is not to be frustrated?


Yes, I can assure my hon. Friend that I am quite alive to that, and I hope to make an announcement very soon.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that prohibitive prices are being charged for this drainage work, and, seeing that it is part of the Government's programme to stop profiteering, will they apply that to drainage and so assist landowners to drain their land?


I do not think that that arises out of the question, but perhaps my Noble Friend will await the announcement I have promised.

Following is the reply:

The area of land which has been benefited by the land drainage schemes for the alleviation of unemployment carried out with the add of grants from the Ministry is estimated as follows:

1921–2 342,000 acres
1922–3 913,000
1923–4 727,000

Information as regards 1924–5 is not yet available.

It is not possible to distinguish the area of pasture and arable land separately, and in a number of cases the same areas have derived benefit from schemes carried out in different years.

I regret that I am unable to give an estimate of the area of land which would benefit from drainage- works, but no doubt it is considerable.

As regards the last part of the question, I hope soon to be able to make an announcement.