HC Deb 21 February 1927 vol 202 cc1387-8

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many small holdings were set up during the year 1926 by county councils and the Government; the acreage of land acquired; and the cost of same?


In 1926, 13 equipped holdings and two cottage holdings were provided by the Ministry on an area of 547 acres, while 13 areas of bare land comprising 120 acres were let to existing smallholders as additions to their previous acreage. The number of holdings provided by county councils during the year is not known, but the acreage of land acquired by them was 442 acres, of which 421 acres were purchased for £15,960 and 21 acres were leased for a rent of £29 a year. The last item does not include any lands which Councils may have taken on lease during the period from 1st April to 31st. December, 1926, when the consent of the Ministry was not required, but I have no particulars of any such cases.


Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that the progress made with the purchase of land for small holdings has been satisfactory?


No; it was fully realised that until the Act of last Session was passed the provision of small holdings was necessarily at a standstill, because it involved a loss, and there were no means of getting State assistance.

29. Mr. HURD

asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps he has taken to acquaint county and district councils of their powers under the Small Holdings and Allotments Act; and whether he will make any circular of the subject available to Members of this House?


A circular letter and explanatory memorandum were issued to county councils on the 31st January. For reasons of economy the documents have not been printed, but I am sending copies to my hon. Friend and I shall be glad to supply copies to any hon. Member who may wish to have them.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether that means that none have gone to the district councils? They take an important part in the Measure.


District councils only play a small part—by delegation from the county councils. The first steps have to be taken by the county councils, and I think the important point is that they should get to work.


Surely the Allotments Act is worked by urban district councils?


But we are not talking of the Allotments Act in this question; we are talking of small holdings.