HC Deb 22 July 1936 vol 315 cc447-8

asked the Minister of Agriculture the number of small holdings in the county of Durham and the number of persons, including tenants, who are employed; and whether it is the intention of the Government to increase the number of smallholdings in the near future?


On 4th June, 1935, the latest date for which figures are available, the number of smallholdings (i.e., holdings above 1 acre but not exceeding 50 acres) in the county of Durham was 3,344, of which approximately 360 were Statutory holdings created under the Smallholdings and Allotments Acts, I have no information as to the total number of persons employed on these holdings. As regards the last part of the question, the Land Settlement Association was formed in 1934, at my right hon. Friend's request, to carry out experimental schemes for the provision of smallholdings for unemployed men, and the Commissioner for the Special Areas is also providing opportunities for the settlement of unemployed men from the Special Areas. As a result of the activities of the Association and the Commissioner, provision has so far been made for the settlement of 106 men on county council smallholdings in Durham, while 164 men from the county have been settled on smallholdings in other parts of the country.


Will the hon. Member bear in mind the grave unemployment situation in the Durham area and the impossibility of obtaining employment for large numbers of persons, and will he take whatever steps are possible to expedite the activities of the Land Settlement Association and other bodies?


I will certainly bear that in mind, but the initiative in these schemes must come from the county council.

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