§ 38. Mr. RILEY
asked the Minister of Agriculture the total amount of financial assistance contributed by the State towards land drainage in England and Wales under the Acts of 1918 and 1926, respectively, and the total amount contributed by the owners of land and by local authorities during the same period?
As the reply is rather long, I propose with the hon. Member's permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Following is the reply:
§ The Land Drainage Act, 1918, empowered the Ministry in certain circumstances to carry out drainage works and to recover the whole of the cost from the owners. This power, which has now been transferred to councils of counties and county boroughs by the Land Drainage Act, 1926, was exercised by the Ministry to a very small extent, the total expenditure being approximately £10,000. The powers of the Act of 1926 are exercisable by the councils of counties and county boroughs, and the Act does not include any provision for State expenditure.
§ During the winters of 1921–1922 to 1925–1926 inclusive a large number of schemes of land drainage and water supply were, however, carried out by county councils and drainage authorities, towards which grants were made by the Ministry from the funds placed at its disposal for the alleviation of unemployment in rural areas. The total cost of these scheme is estimated at £1,400,000, and the grants made by the Ministry amounted to approximately £907,000. In addition to these grants towards unemployment relief, the Ministry has been enabled for a period of five years from the 1st April, 1926, to make grants to statutory drainage authorities towards the cost of carrying out comprehensive schemes of land drainage designed to confer a wide benefit upon agricultural land. These grants will be made from the sum of one million pounds which, as was announced some time ago, would be devoted to this object, subject to the moneys being voted by Parliament. Of the schemes so far formally approved, most of which have yet to be completed, 1168 the total cost is estimated at £346,000 approximately, and the State contribution at £156,000 approximately.