HC Deb 19 January 1937 vol 319 cc18-9
35. Major Stourton

asked the Minister of Agriculture what remedy the Government propose to apply to arrest the destruction of agricultural land for building purposes for lack of proper planning schemes by county authorities?

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. W. S. Morrison)

I understand that planning resolutions have now been approved to cover more than half the country, and that a number of the schemes which are being prepared contemplate substantial reservations of land for agricultural purposes. The extent to which such reservations will be practicable will depend primarily on the measure of agreement which can be reached between the local authorities who are responsible for the planning scheme and the owners of land included in the scheme.

Mr. T. Williams

Is the right hon. Gentleman not of opinion, in the light of his own and the Government's experience, that no efficient and adequate planning can take place until agricultural land is nationalised?

Mr. Morrison

No, Sir.

Major Owen

Is there any collaboration between the Minister of Agriculture and the Secretary of State for War or the Secretary of State for Air in regard to land taken for military purposes; and is the right hon. Gentleman aware that large tracts of valuable agricultural land have been taken over to be used merely for military purposes?

Mr. Morrison

I would not like to apply the adverb "merely" to military purposes which are, in themselves, sufficiently important, but I can assure the House that on questions which do affect my Department there is always consultation with my right hon. Friends.

Mr. T. Williams

Is it not the case that landowners who are able to obtain large prices and land speculators who are willing to pay large prices have no concern either with the food supply of the country or the position of agricultural labourers?

Mr. Michael Beaumont

Is not the only possible solution, to make agriculture pay?