HC Deb 14 February 1927 vol 202 cc549-50

asked the Minister of Agriculture what are the cumulative losses shown up to date in the combined balance sheet of the farm settlements of the Ministry of Agriculture; and whether further disposals of farm settlements are in contemplation?


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

Following is the reply:

The total loss shown in the trading accounts for the Ministry's farm settlements up to 31st March, 1926, the last date at which the annual accounts were made up, amounts to £494,855. This sum includes farm and estate losses in respect of several properties which, owing to a change of policy in the interests of economy, were sold shortly after being acquired by the Ministry, or were transferred to county councils after being equipped and sub-divided into small holdings. The amount mentioned also includes the loss on settlements still managed by the Ministry. In each case the loss shown in the balance sheet has been arrived at after providing for hypothetical interest charges, depreciation and headquarters' administrative expenses, which items account for approximately 80 per cent. of the total loss.

In addition to the sum already mentioned, the accounts of the Bosbury (Buchanan Trust) Estate show a loss of £13,874 up to 31st March, 1926.

The Ministry is at present in negotiation with the Nottinghamshire County Council concerning the transfer to the council of the Ministry's small holdings estate at Rolleston. Arrangements have been made to close the Patrington Farm Settlement at Lady Day, 1927, the lease of the estate being then surrendered to the Crown. No other disposals of farm settlements are in contemplation at the present time, other than of parts of estates which may be found unsuitable for the purposes for which they were acquired.