HC Deb 14 December 1938 vol 342 cc2017-85

3.50 p.m.

Mr. T. Johnston

I beg to move, That, inasmuch as the private ownership of land is a serious barrier to the full development of the agricultural, industrial, and social activities of the nation, this House calls for legislation authorising the State and local authorities to acquire land, rural or urban, at every convenient opportunity, such acquisition to be based upon fair compensation. The development of land ownership by the nation proceeds apace in this country, whatever Government is in power. The process goes on surely, remorselessly, and inevitably, with the general acceptance of all parties, and all that we can do now, in my view, is either to hasten or to retard the process. Two days ago in this House I asked a series of questions for written answers from various Ministers as to the extent to which the public ownership of the land in this country had already been reached, and if I may summarise the answers they show that in England and Wales there is already owned by public authorities 1,560,000 acres of agricultural land, and in Scotland there are 1,108,000 acres already in public ownership; that is, a total of 2,600,000 acres already nationalised. In addition, there are unknown and unascertained figures of the extent of foreshore in public hands. Further, there is road surface land in public ownership, amounting to 653,000 acres, making a total, on these figures alone, of well over 3,000,000 acres. Dr. Addison, now Lord Addison, has collected a vast amount of additional statistics on the subject, which he proposes, I understand, to publish at an early date. He adds the Duchy of Lancaster figures, the Duchy of Cornwall figures, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners' ownership, over 500,000 acres, making nearly 3,750,000 acres of the agricultural land of this country already nationalised. In addition to that, there are vast tracts of land in this land in the ownership of public authorities, on which I will say a word or two in a moment.

It is impossible, I understand, to get an exact statement of the extent of agricultural land in this country. Professor Stapledon, after making an exhaustive analysis of the subject, winds up with guesswork. But if we deduct the land under buildings, railways, mines, and so on, outside urban areas, we have in this country somewhere in the neighbourhood of 7½ to 8 per cent. of the total amount of land in agricultural areas already publicly owned. That has been done without bloodshed, without destroying anybody's religion, without breaking up homes, without any of the serious results with which the Anti-Socialist Union used to scare unreflecting citizens whenever the question of the public ownership of the soil was raised. This land, however, has been acquired in a haphazard way, parcels here, estates there, and this afternoon I should like to subdivide my remarks under three headings—first, the necessity for the acquisition by the State of all the remaining agricultural land; secondly, the necessity for puncturing swollen values of land in urban areas, so that the State or the local authorities may, when they require that land, secure it at a reasonable and not at an extortionate price; thirdly, there is the very much smaller problem of the land adjacent to boroughs, land which has already a high prospective building value.

The policy of the Labour party, as publicly announced, is to secure an enabling Bill, enabling the State or the local authorities under different circumstances to procure land upon reasonable terms. The State should be enabled to purchase its land at a price based upon Schedule A of the Income Tax Returns, and the local authorities, when they desire to purchase land, should not be compelled, as they are now, to state the specific purpose for which they require that land; they should have a general enabling power. But for my part—and I am sure I represent in this respect the views of the vast majority, if not all, of my colleagues on these benches—I say that we must take urgent steps to stop the gross exploitation of local authorities and private citizens that is rampant in our cities and our towns to-day through the high prices charged for land. So long ago as the year 1912 we had a Departmental Committee inquiring into tenant farmers and sales of estates. That Committee was presided over by Lord Haversham, and a majority of the Committee recommended, to quote their own words: some system which will protect the tenant against dispossession, while at the same time securing to the occupier all the advantages now enjoyed on well managed estates. This, in our opinion, can be secured by the acquisition and management of landed estates by the State. That was in 1912, the last Departmental Committee on the subject, and the majority of the signatories of that report were Members of the party opposite. The Haversham Committee went on to point out that the State could purchase in large blocks and could choose its own time, that it could acquire its land much more cheaply than the small purchaser could buy it, that it would save enormous sums in administration, and that it could borrow at lower interest rates. It would leave a tenant's capital free for his business, which, the committee stated: is primarily agriculture and not landowning. The committee, further, were strong in their denial that the tenants, or the majority of them, desired to buy the land at all. They went so far as to say that, on the evidence which they had taken from tenant farmers, only three out of the 40 had desired to buy their land: There is little desire for ownership in itself, and it is only advocated as an alternative to being turned out of his home. My first witness, therefore, is the Haversham Committee. I come now to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, whom I am glad to see on the benches opposite, who is rendering such valuable service to the State in his capacity as chairman of the Forestry Commission.

Colonel Sir George Courthope

Not chairman, but Parliamentary Commissioner.

Mr. Johnston

I should say that no man could better fill the post of chairman. In the Debate on 1st July of this year, my right hon. and gallant Friend, who is a considerable landowner and an ornament to the party opposite, boasted that the Forestry Commission have nationalised over 1,000,000 acres; and he has gone before the Public Accounts Committee and has claimed that the operations of the Forestry Commission were resulting in a profit to the State of over 3 per cent. on the State's investments in forestry. There is a department of landownership which is working at a profit. But he also declared that the condition of the privately-owned woodlands in this country was on the whole "deplorable," and he urged the State purchase of these plantations. I re- member well how the right hon. and gallant Gentleman seemed to swell visibly with pride as he told of the national parks that he and his colleagues were setting up, one park alone of 50,000 acres in Argyllshire, a park in the Snowdon district and another in the Forest of Dean. My second witness therefore is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman.

My third witness is the present Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax. When he was Mr. Wood he was Minister of Agriculture. In a speech on 9th December, 1924, he spoke of the obvious deterioration in the capital equipment of the soil, whether in buildings or in drainage, and said that: Many an occupying owner had sunk his capital in the ownership side and had left nothing for the maintenance side; and he asked, is the nation going to say, 'We cannot watch this process going on?' He added that within the next 30 or 40 years they would have something like nationalisation by a side wind. My next witness is Lord Bledisloe. He returned from New Zealand and wrote to the "Times" bemoaning the evidence of agricultural decay all around, and particularly the tumbledown condition of farm buildings here and the inadequacy of up-to-date plant. "Obviously," he said, "owners and occupiers are alike destitute of capital, the want being obvious when the roles are combined." Then there is Sir Daniel Hall, than whom no greater authority on agriculture will be quoted in this Debate. Sir Daniel Hall, in an address to the British Association meeting at Nottingham in 1937, called for the use of the land as a great estate managed by a business corporation, with ample capital to enable it to take a long view about development. Such a plan can only be attained under the national ownership of the land. Professor C. S. Orwin, the director of the Agricultural Economics Research Institute at Oxford, in his book "The Future of Farming," says: State ownership and nationalisation of land is no longer a matter of party controversy…Public opinion is moving steadily in the direction of the expropriation of the agricultural landlord by the State. Proposals to this end put forward some five years ago, based solely upon the economic needs of rural industry and without any political bias, have received support from all parties. Recently there has been issued an elaborate tome on agriculture, under the auspices of Lord Astor and Mr. Seebohm Rowntree, assisted by a staff of experts, including Sir Robert Greig and Sir Frederick Keeble. They sum up a series of considerations which they describe as "a powerful argument in favour of national ownership of land." Speaking of material advantages of State ownership they mention the borrowing of money cheaply and the possibility of large-scale drainage, and they say that with national ownership it would be possible to avoid the tendency whereby every subsidy given to the State becomes a rent subsidy to the landed interest. In the same volume it is pointed out that there are practical objections to wholesale and immediate nationalisation involving large-scale issues of Government stock, and because of the need for training local commissioners able to take the initiative. So, they say, the change should be brought about gradually and schemes should be devised whereby parcels of land could be transferred to public ownership from time to time in convenient units for administration.

Lastly, if I might, I would put myself forward as a witness. In the area in which I live there has been ever since I remember 4,000 odd acres of the finest agricultural land in central Scotland. Periodically they are under flood. I think that there have been on an average eight floods a year. I have seen cattle washed away, roads washed away, bridges destroyed. This land is rendered useless. It maintains nothing but sea gulls in the winter-time and mosquitoes in the summer. There are 165 riparian occupiers. Of these 165 about 145 were in favour of a co-operative scheme of drainage. All the farmers were in favour of it; every local authority was in favour of it; and most of the proprietors were in favour of it. Only a small minority were against it. They hung up the scheme and nothing could be done. A Bill was passed through the House in 1930 to enable it to be done and to charge the landowners compulsorily for their quota of the benefits they were to receive when the land was brought into use and cultivation. Since then nothing has been done. A diminishing number of recalcitrant owners by one pretext or another have held up the scheme, and it is only in February of next year that the.Secretary of State for Scotland declares that he will be able to get operations started under that 1930 Drainage Act. All these years wasted, thousands of acres of land useless within 20 miles of the City of Glasgow. You cannot raise the foodstuffs, you cannot employ the people; a small handful of recalcitrant proprietors of the land have stood in the way of a great national advantage.

Suppose that it were decided to acquire the ownership of all agricultural land and farm buildings for the nation, what would be the approximate cost and what would be the return? The Labour party proposes purchase on the basis of the returns for Income Tax under Schedule A. That is the net return to the landlord after deduction of allowed charges for maintenance, etc. The number of years purchase would vary according to either the tumbledown or the well-conditioned nature of the properties, and according to the different parts of the country where different values obtain. The only official estimate that I know of in recent years of the value of agricultural land in England and Wales—unfortunately I cannot discover any for Scotland—is to be found in the Agricultural Output Report of the Ministry of Agriculture, published in 1934, as Cmd. Paper 4605. It is there estimated that the total gross rental value of agricultural land, including rough grazing, is £36,700,000, and that is a reduction of 13 per cent. in the previous six years: that land has fallen in value. The capital value, they estimate, was £645,000,000, a decrease of £170,000,000, or 21 per cent. in the preceding six years. In 1931 the average selling value of agricultural farms of all sizes was £18 an acre, a reduction of £6 an acre, or 25 per cent., since the year 1925.

There is a profound truth, I think, in Orwin and Peel's book on "The Tenure of Agricultural Land," in which they say that there is no worse landlord than borrowed money. They estimate, however, that on the 22½ years purchase basis it would cost the State £1,125,000,000 to purchase it, but they admit that this is pure guesswork, and from these figures obviously there must be deducted the value of the land already under public ownership. Other estimates have put the purchase price, not at £1,125,000,000 but at £1,000,000,000; and still other estimates have put it at less. But an agricultural tribunal to meet difficult cases would have no difficulty whatever in assessing fair compensation. Lord Addison, whose view on these matters we all respect, puts the cost at £1,000,000,000 for buildings, land and woodlands, on a 20 years basis. He declares that it will be necessary to spend £250,000,000 in reconditioning, in draining, in fencing, in putting the land again into the good heart from which it has fallen in recent years. Bonds would have to be issued by the State, but the State can get cheaper money than the private borrower. In return for the bonds we should have a vast national asset. There would merely be a change in the ownership of the bonds. The bonds would be held at a lower rate of interest, and, despite the reconditioning that would have to be done, many authorities have declared that the State would make a profit on the transaction, even as the right hon. and gallant Gentleman who represents the Forestry Commisison in this House can show that the State makes a profit on its forestry operations, although the private landlord can make none.

Let me turn now to the question of urban land. Many of my hon. Friends who are to speak will deal in more detail with this side of the question. We should like to have an amending Bill which would enable local authorities to purchase land inside urban areas when they require it, without specifying for what purpose they want the land. We should also like to see something in the nature of rating and taxation of site values. The London County Council will shortly be coming to this House with specific proposals designed to that end. I will take London alone. I have here a report issued by the London County Council of its experiences in the years since the War. The average purchase price which the London County Council have been compelled to pay when they buy land for parks, for open spaces for people to breathe in, has been since the War 109 years' purchase. When they buy land for housing they have had to pay on an average 126 years' purchase of the value at which the land is shown for Income Tax purposes. I will give three instances. In Camberwell, for land with a rateable value of £42, they had to pay £8,000, or 190 years' purchase. In Wandsworth, for land rated at £14, they had to pay £9,450, or 675 years' purchase. [Laughter.] The joke is against us. At Woolwich, which is represented by a Member of the Cabinet, for land of the rateable value of £9, they had to pay £5,563, or 618 years' purchase.

I take it there is no public representative who dare get up in the House and defend an organised system of public plunder and robbery like that. I should like to draw the Minister of Transport into this discussion. Will he, or somebody representing the Government, tell us whether it be the case that there is an estimate in the Ministry to the effect that if the land for the Great North Road development in England and Scotland had been purchased prior to beginning operations to the extent of three miles each side of it, they could have built the road for nothing and had 200 per cent. profit on the deal? If this be approximately correct, as I am assured it is, we are all negligent, we are all responsible for this kind of public plunder which is permitted to go on side by side with every form of expenditure for public purposes in this country. For every £100 we spend somebody thrives while he sleeps; somebody adjacent exacts the last pound of flesh from the public pocket. There remains a third problem which I do not want to examine in detail. It is, in my view, the most difficult of the lot. That is the problem of land outside boroughs and adjacent to them, which has already acquired something in the nature of prospective building site value. My suggestion is that in this case, if commitments have already been entered into by the owners, special consideration could be given to them by the land tribunal, but I should pay nothing for conjectural values. I should purchase it only at agricultural value.

Let us suppose we had nationalisation for agricultural land. What advantages could we be reasonably expected to secure? First, the transfer of parcels of land for public purposes, such as roads, etc., would thereafter be free from protracted negotiations, expensive arbitration, and slow and cumbersome conveyancing. Indeed, conveyancing of land may cost 20 times as much as the transfer of an equal value of War Loan. Secondly, we could have closer land settlement, small holdings could be expedited, and the expenses of valuation and conveyancing could be diminished. Thirdly, afforestation of what are presently private estates could be expedited. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Rye (Sir G. Courthope) will be able to deal with that. Few private owners to-day can keep a forester. When land is sold off to-day nobody wants the woodlands. They are sold at break-up prices. Jobbers or dealers come in and, irrespective of the beauty or the amenity of the countryside, the timber is taken away. But the State never dies. If it owned that land it could use it from the timber point of view to the maximum, and not to the minimum advantage. Again, we would save much expensive administrative machinery presently employed in the assessment and collection of taxes upon property. We could consolidate our land into reasonable administrative units, and we should save considerable estate costs. Many estates are now badly assembled for management. We should preserve our beauty spots and places of historical interest. We should preserve our records. Many local records have been wantonly destroyed. With cheaper money and State ownership we should have better equipment of our farms, timely repairs, and a greater chance of prosperity.

Landlords are no longer able to fulfil their primary function—the only function which ever justified their existence—that is, they were able to claim that they provided the necessary maintenance capital to keep estates in good heart. We should readjust farm boundaries and organise drainage schemes. The agricultural worker would be better housed. We should have better water supplies. The £35,000,000 subsidies which this House is pouring every year into agriculture would not, any part of it, as it does now, disappear into the maw of private landlords. I wonder how many hon. Members who bombard the Minister of Agriculture about tariffs for agriculture have any idea of the interest which city finance has in the prosperity, not of agriculture here, but of our competitors abroad. I wonder how many hon. Members know that in this country there are investments in the Argentine amounting to £440,000,000 and investments overseas amounting to £3,800,000,000. These figures appear in the OFFICIAL REPORT of 3rd May, 1937. A great mass of that capital is invested in land exploration arid development companies which are competing with our agriculture at home. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

We on this side believe that the State should be the sole owner of the soil. We believe that when the State has become the owner of the soil our agriculture will be treated and regarded as a primary national interest and not, as it is to-day, a mere handmaid for certain almost bankrupt family investment trusts and private landlords whose day has gone. The landlord once had a function in rural Britain. He was a provider of capital for maintenance and development. For reasons that are beyond the scope of to-day's Debate he can no longer fulfil any useful function. He is an anachronism. Many of them, polite and friendly, are doing their best with limited resources, but their day has gone. The time has come, in the overriding public interest, when a system of a few persons owning the land while the many are landless must go, arid for it must be substituted a system of ownership in which we can all be owners through the State, all inheritors in our native land by virtue of our birth and our service to the community.

4.28 p.m.

Mr. Raikes

I beg to move, in line 1, to leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof: while recognising the value of the powers already existing for the State and local authorities to acquire land for essential purposes, this House is of the opinion that the abolition of the private ownership of land would retard its proper development and thus be detrimental to the interests of the nation. Like all Members of the House, I have listened with interest to the rather melancholy speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston). After listening to his survey of agriculture, I have realised, I think for the first time, what that phrase "inspissated gloom" really means. The right hon. Gentleman has called a certain amount of evidence which, he says, is in support of nationalisation. He called the evidence of the Forestry Commission and pointed out that the land which is owned by the Commission makes a profit. He did not point out the converse side of this question, that the Forestry Commission have always carefully avoided the use of those compulsory powers which lay at the basis of the scheme which the right hon. Gentleman has put forward. In point of fact, the Forestry Commission have avoided the use of compulsory powers. They have found it possible under the present system to get whatever land they required, at a cheaper rate, probably, than if they had used compulsion, and if there had had to be arbitration on a compulsory basis. I think that bit of evidence is not quite the formidable evidence which, had I been the right hon. Gentleman, I should have adduced as being the core and centre of an argument for land nationalisation.

The right hon. Gentleman quoted statements made by Lord Bledisloe, Lord Halifax and others to the effect that there is a diminution of the capital in the land since the War, but he did not suggest what would be a simple method of dealing with the decrease in capital available for the development of the land. Instead of spending I do not know how many hundreds of millions of pounds upon the purchase of the land by the State—we none of us know how much it would be—it would be far simpler for him to support a very simple little Measure to take the expense of Death Duties off agricultural land. At a cost of £2,000,000 a year he could make it quite possible for the agricultural landlord to play the part which even the right hon. Gentleman himself has admitted the agricultural landlord has played in the past in keeping agricultural land upon a proper basis. An hon. Member opposite is entertained by that observation, but I think the country would be very much more entertained by having the thing done simply at a cost of £2,000,000 a year instead of at the enormous expense which I have suggested it would prove, if, of course, we were to have fair compensation, on which I hope to make a few observations later, when I think we shall probably find there is a wide difference of opinion on the benches opposite regarding what is fair compensation, quite apart from the views of any other side of the House.

Before we go into that thorny problem, which is a vital problem, of course, When dealing with land nationalisation, it is only proper that I should remind the House that in spite of all the vicissitudes of agriculture since the War, in spite of the lack of capital and in spite of high taxation, all of which have played their part in making private ownership more difficult, private ownership has continued to keep its head above water to a very considerable extent. The fact that during the last 20 years there has been an increase in the gross output of agriculture in England and Wales of somewhere about 17 per cent. proves that even where the farmer who owns his own land is in difficulties, and even where the landlord is hard pressed for maintenance costs, nevertheless it has been possible, and it still is possible, for the produce of the land to be increased year by year and under a system which is still working, and working with a degree of success, from the point of view of the nation itself.

I may remind the right hon. Gentleman of what one branch of agriculture alone, wheat growing, has done with a little judicious assistance, under the present system, and without tearing that system to atoms. Since the right hon. Gentleman and his friends so fortunately retired from the Front Bench, somewhere about 600,000 more acres have been put under wheat alone. I know that there are other cereal crops which are doing badly, but I would remind hon. Members opposite that though they talk nationalisation till they are black in the face, and though they nationalise the whole of the land, that will not of necessity bring one more acre under cultivation for oats and barley, and those are the two branches of the agricultural industry which are suffering most at the present time. The success of barley growing depends to some extent upon the consumption of beer, and if the right hon. Gentleman and his friends started to nationalise all round, and did destroy the credit of the country, as they tried to do between 1929 and 1931—[Interruption.] I know that what happened only seven years ago is rather a sore point with hon. Members opposite, but that will not prevent them from doing it. It is as well to remind them that as a result of those two years of Socialism—well semi-Socialism: they did their best—there was a reduction in the quantity of beer drunk, and if that condition of affairs were repeated it would have an even worse effect upon barley growers at the present time. Knowing how Scotland has been affected, I waited with some interest to hear what the right hon. Gentleman would have to say about the oats problem. He indulged in a very wide survey, but he did not come down in detail to any branch of agriculture. I was hoping that at any rate he would tell me in what way the nationalisation of agriculture would bring back the principal consumers of oats, that is horses—are they going to do away with the tractor?—because that is the only way in which one could really bring back oat production on a large scale in this country.

Coming to the more general lines of the subject, it is true that in the course of the past 20 years and, if you like, under the present system, a fair amount of agricultural land has gone out of cultivation, but if we look at the figures we shall realise how great are the powers which exist under present conditions for local authorities and the State to acquire land. During the period from January, 1927, to December, 1936, somewhere about 809,000 acres of land went out of cultivation in England and Wales alone. During the same period, and under the powers which exist to-day, no less than 460,000 acres were taken for building and development, the Forestry Commissioners took 194,000 acres for woodlands, 25,000 acres were taken for allotments, 108,000 acres for sports grounds, 81,000 acres for miscellaneous purposes—the building of aerodromes and so on—and another 77,000 went to waste.

During the last 10 years in which we can note how land has either come into cultivation or gone out of cultivation in this country we find that 946,000 acres have been taken out of cultivation for the purposes I have mentioned, and as the whole of the cultivated land in England and Wales was reduced only by about 800,000 acres it is true to say that, in spite of all the difficulties the landowners and others have had to face, if it had not been for the cultivated land taken by the State and local authorities during those years there would to-day have been an increase in the area of land under cultivation. An hon. Member opposite shakes his head, but, after all, if 800,000 is taken from 940,000 there is a balance of 140,000 on the other side, and I fail to see how any mathematical gymnastics can get away from that salient figure, which is a fact and not a theory.

I should like to come next to the question of compensation. Let us suppose that in spite of all arguments the other way the State does take over the land of the country as a whole. The right hon. Gentleman told us that there would be compensation, and so far as I could gather from his speech it would be based upon the net return to the landlords in rent. Does the right hon. Gentleman speak for his party in saying that? I have before me certain statements made not so very long ago by other right hon. Gentlemen who, if I may say so, are as prominent in the party opposite as is my right hon. Friend. I have a speech by the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton) which appeared in "Forward" on 25th September last year which says: Compensation charges can be done away with as a burden by raising a capital levy on the same lines as the capital levy proposed by the Labour party after the War. I pass on to a speech by Mr. George Dallas, chairman of the Labour Party Executive, at Lancaster last year. Possibly the heady air of Lancashire had rather gone to his head. He said: You cannot go into a question like that [compensation] to-day. The best way is to issue to the landowners bonds and then if afterwards you want to relieve them of the money you have given them it is the simplest thing in the world to get it back by Income Tax or Super-tax. An excellent idea; but it did not seem to me that in the speech made by the right hon. Gentleman this afternoon he either gave or attempted to give an impression to the House that were fair compensation, based on the net rents to the landlords, given to the landlords in return for the nationalisation of the land, that by some hole-and-corner method his party would in some way or another take out of their pockets the money which had been received from the State. I do not know what else than a hole-and-corner method hon. Members would call it. I can understand the view which is expressed in certain quarters and held by certain hon. Members opposite that compensation, what they would call unearned increment, ought not to exist at all, and that they do not propose to give compensation, and I can understand the view of those who say that there ought to be compensation on the basis of general market values, but what I cannot understand, and what alarms the country more than anything else, is to find the party talking with two voices at once. When they are in the House of Commons they say, "Oh, yes, fair compensation," but when they are facing what may be rather a lively and enthusiastic meeting of landless men somewhere in the country they say, "Oh, it is all right. We will give them compensation but we will use the capital levy or a special Surtax or a special Income Tax to make certain that these landowners' bonds are not worth the paper they are written on."

Mr. Johnston

I think there is about a limit to this kind of thing. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, there is no excuse for that statement, as it is quite baseless. The official programme and policy of the party has been issued stating things in clear and explicit words, and he ought to be good enough to withdraw that statement.

Mr. Raikes

One statement which I have just quoted was made by the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland and the other was by Mr. George Dallas, who is supposed to be the greatest agricultural expert in the party opposite. I am not in the least prepared to withdraw what I have said and I am prepared—

Mr. Johnston


Mr. Raikes

—that the matter should be judged by those words, which are not mine but are the words of certain people who explain in the country the policy of the Labour party.

Suppose the land were nationalised; two classes of person would be affected, in the first place. The ordinary tenant would become the tenant of the State instead of the tenant of a landlord. There is also the owner-occupier who, in those circumstances, would also have become the tenant of the State. The present tenant has the advantage that his landlord is probably friendly, and that if he is a good worker he can change his farm and go to work elsewhere. Once he had become the servant of the State, and once one of the agricultural boards which appear in the Labour policy on agriculture but which have not been mentioned to-day, operating, as they must, from Whitehall, decides, rightly or wrongly, not to approve of the methods by which the tenant is tilling his own ground, that tenant has to go out of agriculture for ever, because there is no alternative. If he has made an enemy of one official, he is done for, and his life's work is over.

We have not been told what sort of rent would be charged by the State upon the change-over from present conditions to State ownership. If it is to be fair compensation, interest will have to be paid upon the landowners' bonds, but in that case the tenant will get no reduction in rent. There is at present no authentic figure of the actual amount of the rent that owners are getting, but the nearest figure is that which is quoted in Lord Astor's book. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman would not object to that figure, which suggests that to-day the landlords get rent which represents about 2½ per cent. interest on the value of the land. At the change-over it is not likely that the rent of the tenant would be reduced. Indeed, there would probably be an endeavour to put it up, in order to get it on the level with the general percentage charged on other businesses.

We have not heard much about the owner-occupier this afternoon, the man who has bought his own land, very likely after he has saved, worked and slaved in order to do so. In spite of some of the things which have been said from the opposite side of the House, there are many men who take a pride in ownership and long for the day when they can own their own property, just as there are many men in the poorest working-class districts of London and elsewhere who long to become owners of their own houses. What happens to the owner-occupier after the nationalisation of the land? He suddenly finds himself a tenant again, only now a tenant of the State. He is not told what his compensation is to be, and the view might very well be adopted that he ought not to have paid so much for the land under the capitalist system, and that, therefore, he would receive half; but we do not know. Perhaps we shall have some official statement on that point concerning the man who has sacrificed for years in order to become the owner of his land.

No real argument has been adduced up to now to justify the destroying of a system which, for all its weaknesses, has given, and as time goes on gives more, opportunity for private individuals to become owners of their own land. The old saying that private possession turns sand into gold is not yet dead in this country, even in the twentieth century. I hope that the Motion will be heavily defeated, and treated with the contempt which it deserves.

4.50 p.m.

Mr. Turton

I beg to second the Amendment.

I am sorry that in the course of the Debate heat has arisen from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston). We are trying to understand the difference between the policy announced by him at that Box and the old Socialist policy which I always thought was professed by Socialists in this House. I would like to get this matter cleared up. There is no need to have any hostility about it. I believed that the Socialist policy was founded on Mr. G. D. H. Cole. If it is not, I shall no doubt be corrected. I see some hon. Members opposite who, I believe, are devoted followers of Mr. G. D. H. Cole. The policy of Mr. Cole is: No Socialist can recognise any claim by private owners to receive back in some other form the value of their property when the public takes it over. Our object is expropriation. Has that policy been entirely thrown over? If so, we want to know. There is no need for anybody to be annoyed about it. If that policy has been wiped out, let us realise that the Socialist party no longer believe in real land nationalisation as we have always understood it.

This question of expropriation or compensation was gone into by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison) at the Labour Party Conference in 1935. I do not think that he has yet been turned out from among the leaders of the Socialist party, but I may find in my newspapers to-morrow morning that he has been. At that time he said, when discussing whether there was to be compensation or confiscation: The whole blessed thing is a matter of expediency. You have to ask yourselves whether it is worth while urging a policy you want at a cost of preventing yourselves from being politically competent to put it into force. I am sorry if I do not fully understand the rather curious phrases used by the right hon. Gentleman, but that was his way of saying that he wanted confiscation but would try to get it, first of all, with compensation. Later, as Mr. George Dallas explained, they would make that compensation nugatory. That may be politically expedient, but it is a very dishonest way of approaching the subject. The people of this country ought to be told exactly what the Socialist party want to do with the land. Do they want to take it over and pay its equivalent value, or are they trying to get something for nothing? That is what we want to know.

Mr. Gallacher


Mr. Turton

I know what is wanted by the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher). He is not a member of the Socialist party. He is a Communist, and his policy is perfectly clear. He comes here and tells it to the House. It is expropriation. He says that the land should belong to the Communist party. I suppose that he would be one of the largest landowners.

Mr. Gallacher

The hon. Member is making a statement about my policy; would he be good enough to quote from me to justify his statement?

Mr. Turton

I have not made a special study of the policy of the hon. Gentleman, but I will do so when he gets into power and will read what his policy will be, we may then have an opportunity of discussing his policy. What I have referred to is the published policy of the Socialist party.

Mr. Johnston

Published where?

Mr. Turton

In "Socialist Control of Industry."

Mr. Gallacher

If the hon. Member is now taking the attitude that he does not know my policy will he kindly withdraw the remarks?

Mr. Turton

I understand the hon. Member's policy to be that which the Communist party profess throughout the world, if he is a member of the Communist International. I understand that it lays down a policy for confiscating land. If there is some new policy I am quite ready to read what the hon. Member has to say. [HON. MEMBERS: "Quote."] That policy is the collectivisation of land, which should all belong to the Soviet, as in Russia. That is the Communist party's policy on land, and it has been tried out in Russia at a cost of tremendous misery to everybody involved. We are not concerned with Communist party policy, but are discussing the Socialist policy in regard to the land. I have been quoting from "Socialist Control of Industry," by G. D. H. Cole, and from the proceedings of the Labour Party Conference. I have also read the pamphlet of their party upon their new land policy.

Mr. Johnston

The official policy of the Labour party upon the question of agriculture was passed at the annual conference of the party held at Leicester in October, 1932. I should think that about 1,000,000 copies of this policy have been distributed in the length and breadth of the land, but I hold a copy of it in my hand and I shall be glad to give the hon. Member a reading of it. Meanwhile, would he take it from me that, whatever Mr. Cole or other individuals may say, the policy of the party is set forth at the annual conference of the party, and, in regard to land, is for a fair compensation to be paid to existing owners.

Mr. Turton

The right hon. Gentleman refers me to a policy passed in 1932, but what I quoted from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Hackney was said in 1935 at an official Labour Party Conference. He said it was a question of expediency as to whether you first asked for compensation or for confiscation. He made it quite clear in that speech, and no doubt the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken will remember it. If not, perhaps he will refresh his memory by reading the report of the proceedings.

Mr. Montague

My right hon. Friend was supporting compensation in that speech.

Mr. Turton

The right hon. Gentleman said that they wanted confiscation but were asking for compensation. He said, "The whole blessed thing is a matter of expediency." We cannot really have a great party in the State led by political expediency. [Laughter.] If hon. Members laugh because they are called a great party in the State, that is not my fault.

Let us get back to the question of nationalisation of the land. Hon. Members appear to be adopting the policy of Lord Astor and Mr. Seebohm Rowntree. I think they will agree that the drafting of the Motion is on all fours with the recommendation made in that book that there should be a slow and gradual extension of the power of local authorities and of the State in the purchase of land up and down the country at its cost. I will ask the House to consider what advantage the landlord gets out of the land. There was one remark made by the right hon. Gentleman which slightly annoyed me, although I did not interrupt him, as I hoped to be able to speak on the matter. I am not quite as heated as he is, and I did not rise. He suggested that the subsidy paid to agriculture had gone into the pockets of the landowners and that the subsidy amounted to £35,000,000. I understand that the amount of the subsidy is in fact £14,500,000, but that small inaccuracy, being only 50 per cent. wrong, has been passed over.

Let us consider the position of the ordinary agricultural landowner. Let me be frank with the House. Here I am, an owner of land for nine years. I employed an agent for seven years, and for two years I have managed it for myself. I have kept accurate costings during all that time. I looked them up last week-end. Taking a typical cottage-holding, what was the rent received and what was the cost of repairs on that holding? I take first of all one holding. The rent was £5 a year, for a cottage and 1.3 acres. The cost of the repairs in the nine years has been £47 1s. 3d. and the rent received therefore was £2 1s. 3d. less than the cost of repairs. When the matter was brought to my attention the rent was raised to £6 upon a change of tenancy. Take the case of a farm of 154 acres, with a house, the rent is £100, tithe is £19, and the repairs in the nine years have cost £268 9s. 7½d. Those were just the ordinary repairs, without provision for improved cow byres, which actually have come in this year, and is not included in the nine years. On an ordinary average estate, the cottage holding has cost for repairs very nearly the level of the rent, while in the case of agricultural land the cost of repairs has been between 30 and 37 per cent. of the rent. Sir William Dampier's figures agree entirely with the figures from my own estate book, except that he does not include the figures for a cottage holding, where, owing to the high increase of building costs, the ownership is much more uneconomic.

It can be said generally that the rent which landlords are getting from their land varies from about 2 to 2¾ per cent. That is not rent in respect of mere derelict land; it is rent on improvements. The annual value of uncultivated land is, I should say, about 1s. an acre, that is to say, merely its value for the sake of the rabbiting. What farmers pay rent for is the buildings, the ditches, the fences and so on, and at the present time the yield is about 2¼ per cent. Nevertheless, people are still buying land. Their interest, and the interest of some of us who have inherited land, is not in making money out of the land, but in regarding the land as a charge to be handed down, and in looking after the people on the land. There is no other explanation of the fact that people buy agricultural land in these days except that they regard it as a charge, that they enjoy caring after the land, and that they have a deep interest in agriculture. It is said that that can be better done by the State or by local authorities—

Mr. Silverman

The hon. Member has been explaining that a landlord gets out of the ownership of land far less than he would get from the investment of a corresponding amount of capital elsewhere, and that what he is really interested in is the social pleasure, if I may put it in that way, of looking after the land. Is the hon. Member, then, saying to the House that all this question of the difference between fair compensation and expropriation is really quite beside the point, and that the landlords are not really interested in that at all, but only in the social position which they occupy by reason of their ownership of land?

Mr. Turton

I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman is so well versed in money matters that he cannot understand any incentive but a money incentive. What I was trying to point out to the House was that it is not the lure of money that causes people to continue to own land, but the interest and delight in looking after the land and improving it. Everyone who becomes an owner of land wants to hand on that land in a better condition than that in which he found it. Expropriation would mean that he could not do that. What would happen if the State or the local authorities took over the land? This has been done before. The right hon. Gentleman himself gave instances of the State ownership of land. He mentioned the successful instance of the Forestry Commission, who own 1,000,000 acres. But, in the first place, the Forestry Commission's land is not agricultural land; and, secondly, they are, I believe I am right in saying, in the fortunate position of paying no Death Duties and no taxes at all upon their land, so that they are in rather a different position from the private owner of land. But take the case of a body with which hon. Members opposite are well conversant. The co-operative societies own a great deal of land, and I have here the report of the Co-operative Congress for 1937 which shows the result of their management of land. It shows that on 56,000 acres in three years they lost £75,000. That is Socialism in practice, and—for I want to give credit where credit is due—the co-operatives are as efficient as any Socialists will ever be. Again, the local authorities have used the Small Holdings Act, and their loss to date on that branch of agriculture is £846,000. It has riot been a profitable venture.

The ownership of land by the State has never yet been profitable. In Yorkshire we had an example of it, after the War, in the Patrington estate. That estate consisted of 2,300 acres of good, strong warp land, which was used for 10 years as an experiment in State farming. In 1927 that estate had to be closed down, all the men had to be turned off, and the land went derelict, because huge losses were being made by the State in that farming venture. That is the only really big example that we have had in this country of the State management of land, and the party opposite wish it to be repeated up and down the country. I ask the House to be cautious in considering this policy of nationalisation. There has been in the last few years a change of tendency in land ownership. Just before the War, something like one-tenth of our agricultural land was owned by owner-occupiers. The proportion has increased by now from one-tenth to one-third—a very big increase. The figure of one-third is taken from Lord Astor's book. How are these men to be treated? That is the crux of the matter. The man who in 1920 invested all his savings in land cannot be treated, on the Socialistic policy of the right hon. Gentleman, by compensating him on the basis of Schedule A, because there is no Schedule A assessment on that land; and if you compensate him on the basis of Schedule B, you are going to take his land for very nearly nothing, because, owing to the serious condition of farming, his Schedule B assessment will be almost nil.

Those men are the backbone of England. It should be the object of this House to increase the number of owner-occupiers in the country. We want more smallholdings owned by their occupiers, and I cannot see why, if agriculture is made prosperous, that should not be a feasible policy. Then, instead of large areas of land owned by one landlord, you would have a number of smallholdings on the property, as used to be the case at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The change which has taken place in English agriculture has largely been a turning of these smallholdings into larger farms. That has not been for the good of the countryside or of the strength of England. Men have left the countryside because they could not have smallholdings. To nationalise the land would make matters even worse. There would be even fewer smallholdings. Of course, the larger the holding, the more economic it is. The right hon. Gentleman said that we should have to alter the boundaries, and the alteration of boundaries always means that the farms become larger and more mechanised, and fewer men are kept on the land. The policy of land nationalisation will drive men from the land at a time when everyone who cares for agriculture is trying to draw more men towards it.

I find it very hard to understand the Socialist party's professed sympathy with agriculture. Last night at a late hour we were being shown monster potatoes from one area in Lincolnshire, and we had a very eloquent speech from the hon. Member for Brigg (Mr. Quibell), but he never suggested, and the Socialist party never suggested, that there is anything wrong in the fact that these monster potatoes were being sold by his farmers at £4 a ton and were being retailed in London at £14 a ton. The Socialist party now say that the great cure for agriculture is that the State should own the land. I sometimes read that the Socialist party have a policy of guaranteed prices for agriculture, but I believe they are so torn and twisted by divisions among themselves that they dare not offer to put down a Motion in the House to that effect. I invite them to do so. They always win in the Ballot, but we never hear anything about their agricultural policy. This is a brave attempt by the right hon. Gentleman to bring in Lord Astor's policy of land nationalisation, but it is not going to do any good to agriculture. Agriculture is in a very serious position at the present time, and we do not want any change that will make rents higher, as will be the case with land nationalisation, because the costs of administration are bound to be higher. We want some form of price insurance in agriculture, and I invite the right hon. Gentleman, who, I recognise, has great ability, to direct his interest in agriculture to this question of price insurance or guaranteed prices.

Mr. Johnston

As the hon. Member refers directly to me, may I ask him if he has never done me the credit of listening to the questions which I have put perpetually in this House on exactly that point?

Mr. Turton

It is because I have listened with great interest to the right hon. Gentleman's questions that I would like him to introduce a Motion on the subject, instead of harking back to a policy which has had to be altered a great deal during the last two years, and advocating a milk-and-water variety of land nationalisation as proposed by Lord Astor. What is going to be the cost of the administration? What are you going to pay the men who will have to look after the nationalised land all over the country? At the present time the cost of land agency work comes out at round about 1s. an acre, but if you are going to follow the example of every other piece of Socialism, like the marketing boards, and give a man, not, as one would expect, from £600 to £1,000 a year, but £5,000 or £7,000, as was done by the Socialist party when they were in power—they gave £7,000 a year to Sir Ernest Gowers when they brought in their Coal Mines Commission in 1930—if that is to be the rate, the result of this Motion, if it is passed, will be that rents will go up all over the country and owner-occupiers will be driven out of their holdings.

5.16 p.m.

Mr. MacLaren

I should like, at the outset, to say that no better circumstance could have prevailed for a Debate such as the one we are having to-day. Last week this House was in a very excited mood over the question of a National Register, and I think the two hon. Gentlemen who have spoken to the Amendment were rather anxious to make that Register more compulsive than has been suggested by the Government.

Mr. Turton

I did not say that. I said that I wanted it to be voluntary and effective.

Mr. MacLaren

At any rate, their desire is that the manhood of the State should be enrolled, so that we should know what are the human resources that we have ready to defend the country if an emergency should arise. Why do we want to know the number of men we have ready in the event of war? It is to defend what? The land. We can in this House, if need be, conscript every man in this country to defend the land; but when it comes to asking, right under the shadow of that Debate, that the men of this land shall be not merely the conscript defenders of it but the participators in it—Englishmen, Scotsmen, Irishmen and Welshmen, in the real sense that they have an interest in it, we find that there are all sorts of reasons why that should not be. It would be a bad day for recruiting men into the Army if they read the speeches delivered here to-day I remember, during the last War, posters on the walls depicting a Highlander pointing to a beautiful glen behind him and saying, "Is this not worth fighting for?"—the suggestion being that it is the people's own land. They went further, and put posters all over the hoardings with the words in large type: "Your King and your country need you."

If this is the country of the people, let us establish the fact by nationalising the land of this country. There is no answer to that. It is no good saying, "Rise and sweep all the men into the Army for the defence of the country," and then saying to them, "After all, you are merely trespassers on the land of the country." You cannot play with the people like this much longer. Either this is the land of the people or the people are trespassers. Recently we heard hon. Members stand up in this House and say that it is dangerous that people should be allowed to walk more freely about the country. It is not dangerous to defend it; only to go about on it. The week before last, when we were discussing the Access to Mountains Bill, all the landlords were in the House. A good many of them are here to-day. When we have a Debate on the Special Areas or unemployment the benches are empty; but here they are now.

Mr. Raikes

I would remind the hon. Member that I spoke in favour of that particular Measure.

Mr. MacLaren

I know the hon. Member did, and I thought that day, "My dear old friend is progressing." But today the hon. Member has gone back. I am just opening in this way, because I think it is well, now that we are all rather on the move for the defence of the nation, that we should remind the people of the nation how much in fact they are the owners of the nation.

On the question of whether we should have nationalisation of the land or private ownership of the land, there should be a simple test, and that is: under what system do we derive the most from the land? If there is anything that is terrifying to any serious student in our time, it is to observe that in almost every country in the world, except, strangely enough, the dictatorship countries, there is a tendency for the human population to leave the land. There is also another tendency. It is that people do not look upon the land as the basis and hope of human society, but as the medium through which they can acquire vast fortunes, irrespective of the condition in which they leave the land when they have finished with it. You see this in Australia and in the United States. These vast countries are being destroyed by the ruthless misuse of this great gift of God; and then people leave it, and pass on to destroy some other virgin land.

This land question is more than a mere political question. It is at the bottom of human existence. Nay, more than that, without an attachment to the land civilisation is doomed. We in England could not think of a Shakespeare without thinking in terms of an attachment to the land of England. We could not think of Robert Burns without thinking in terms of the same attachment to the land of Scotland. The uprooting of people from the land means a spiritual loss to civilisation, and where people are driven from the country into this artificial civilisation of the towns it is a false existence. We hear on all sides of the decay of the family, but we observe that on this as upon other basic problems affecting the future of society our discussions are vague and superficial. Listening to Debates in this House one begins to wonder if fundamental thinking is an art of the past. The lives we live show the same thing. The art of the hand is going out; the device of the machine is taking its place. That is a danger to this or any other country.

It is of the greatest importance that we in this House at least should turn our attention to this question, not merely the matter of who owns the land or who does not—although that is very important—but what is the effect of our misuse of the land on our people in general; what is the spiritual effect of this constant divorcement of our people from the land? Surely there is not a landowner in this House who will not agree with me that this fair country called Great Britain, one of the fairest gems on the face of the earth from the point of view of land, is not being used to the extent that it ought to be used. It is not breeding, as it should, as fine a race as you will find in any other part of the world. There is no landowner in this House but admits that. Then why is it? It is too late in the day to deal with the historical analysis behind all this; I will say only that one cannot turn over the pages of the history of our country without feeling shocked and shamed at the developments which have led to the present position in regard to landowning in this country. The history of this country is sullied by the very sad way in which the average countryman in this country has been treated—as a serf, sometimes worse—and the land, not merely in the hands of laymen but in the hands of Churchmen, has been used not so much as a basis for life, for spiritual development, but as a means of extorting fortunes and livings out of the poor. It is time to turn away from this. England is not worth our calling upon one man to defend it if it is still to be a country where 2,000,000 or more are to form a hard core of unemployment in a land which in natural elements is rich beyond the dreams of men.

The Motion we are discussing to-day, if I may say so quite frankly, gives me very great doubt. We are dealing with three types of land: agricultural land, what my right hon. Friend would call quasi-urban land around towns, and urban land. I have never at any time—and I say this to my right hon. Friend with due respect and regard for the years of effort he has put into this work—in my analysis of this problem been able to differentiate between agricultural land and urban land. It simply cannot be done. I have been in that technical fight far too long. When does agricultural land begin and urban land end? It cannot be defined. Probably, if it could, in a rough-and-ready way we might, in order to expedite the passage of the land from private ownership to the ownership of the State, say, "We will compromise; leave this to agriculture, pay a fair price for that, and proceed to deal with urban land." But I want to say this in fairness to the landowner. As the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) has said—I know it is true—there are many men owning land in this country who are not making a fortune out of it—far from it—but have a sentimental attachment to the land. Suppose you have such a landowner as that throwing out his energy, preserving his estate, looking after his labourers, seeing that his house is in good condition; he is subject to purchase at an arbitration price.

Take the land in the urban area. It is not going to be subject, under this Motion, to purchase at all; it is going to be subject to a squeezing process of rating and taxation. If you are going to deal with landlords in the main you had better deal with them by the same process. We cannot define the area of agricultural land; it cannot be done. It is becoming ever more difficult in view of modern developments, such as the vast expenditure of public money on new bridges, new roads, great public developments, passing right up and down the country. It is very difficult to know where agricultural land value begins and urban land value ends. My right hon. Friend said himself that the quasi-urban land was indeed the most serious part of his problem. Of course it is. When you begin to segregate land in this way according to its functions you inevitably come into difficulties of the kind he had in mind when you propose transferring it to State ownership. It is better to look upon land quite irrespective of the uses to which it is put and ascertain the site value of the land, whether it is used for urban or agricultural purposes or any other purposes. Once and for all, that settles the question of definition.

Ascertain the rental value or what the landowner would expect to receive from year to year for the rental of the land, free from all improvements, and proceed to deal with it by way of taxation and rating. If you are going to rate and tax the urban landowner, it would clarify the situation to extend the practice beyond the boundary of what is called agricultural land. In ascertaining the site value or the rental value of the land you are ascertaining only the value attaching to that land by virtue of the presence of the demand of the community round about it. It would be a sad day—and I say this with a certain amount of regret—for the Labour and Socialist movement of Great Britain to go back on the old demand that it made in its more virile youth, that the social value attaching to land should go back to the community who made it and that no compensation should ever be asked by or paid to any landowner for the value which he personally never made. I would warn the House, because on this matter I am very definite and determined, and will fight, if need be, against any attempt to raise public funds to pay for a value which is created by the community and at the same time call upon the community to pay for the value which it has created. It is immoral, it is not honest, it is not frank.

From the benches opposite we have heard of proposals that the land should be divided into more smallholdings. I agree. Nothing would please me better than to see the land of this country being used by having men living on it, even if they were only growing their own food and living their own lives on their own holdings, if you like, in co-operation with others, as is done in Denmark. Nothing would give hon. Members on this side of the House greater pleasure than to witness that prospect, but who is it that is stopping us from getting the land? Who is hindering us? Look at the prices which are asked for land when it is wanted for smallholdings. What happens? As soon as any corporation makes a move to get land outside, or contiguous to, a city for smallholdings, it is called upon to pay extortionate prices; even whether it is for smallholdings or for any other form of agricultural development. Once the landowner—and I do not blame him because the situation is such that it encourages him to act in such a way—knows that there is going to be a national move to develop smallholdings, or any agricultural development, naturally he is waiting there. He does not raise the price of his land. He does not do it automatically, it is done for him the moment the national movement is set on foot.

Mr. Turton

Is the hon. Member suggesting that agricultural land sold for smallholdings under the 1923 Act is not being sold at a proper price? In Yorkshire the price has been between £20 and £30 an acre.

Mr. MacLaren

Land required for smallholdings has been very dear and difficult to get. The price has been very high. Whenever land is acquired for smallholdings or allotments, we find the price is very high. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] That is so. I can turn it up; I do not want to do it because I do not like boring the House.

Mr. Loftus

The hon. Member said that "whenever land is acquired for smallholdings." Does he mean occasionally. He used the phrase as a generalisation. I know that in Suffolk we bought smallholdings at a very cheap price indeed.

Mr. MacLaren

Probably you did, but I think you will find that if you try to convert a farm into smallholdings the price you would have to pay would be higher than the price would be if you were merely using the land as a farm. I have illustrations here of prices paid for land for allotments.

Mr. Turton

Allotments are usually around the towns, whereas smallholdings are agricultural.

Mr. MacLaren

I know, but the same thing prevails, because, if there is a demand for the more extensive use of land, it naturally registers the rental value of it. The thing is scientific. Questions have been raised to-day with regard to farming wheat, and these questions were out of order, if I may say so. Other matters raised were something like this: Some prominent Labour men are ready to confiscate. Mr. G. D. H. Cole, we were told, stood for confiscation. I do not like the word "confiscation," but I must say, in deference to hon. Gentlemen opposite, that it was not really the Labour party who introduced confiscation. I understand that God made the land for the people, but the people have not got it. How did they lose it? Were the people compensated? I remember that my grandmother, who was very Irish, used to remind me when I went to Mass on Sunday morning that God made the land for the people but she said, "It is not God who comes round for the rent on Monday morning." By what device did the present owners come into possession of the land? We know perfectly well that they confiscated the land from their fellow men. Some will say that it is moral to take land without paying a halfpenny for it. If the Labour party said that I would admire them more than I do now because it would be bringing back to the people that which in the past was taken from them. There is no confiscation about that.

Another Labour leader is supposed to have said, "We will pay these Johnnies for the land, and then we will wait for the next Budget when we will sweat the compensation out of them by levying taxes." But that is what we do now. We have an Income Tax system which takes no regard of how a man gets his money. He may have sold property to the State for which he has received compensation, but the Exchequer does not say, "Is your income derivable from compensation from the State"? Not at all. The Chancellor of the Exchequer sends his sleuth-hounds to see how much he has got and then sweats him for Income Tax, so I do not see that there need be any weeping or tears over that.

I am glad that this Debate is taking place to-day, because it brings us back to the fundamental question of the land and its relationship to other economic activities in society. I am somewhat tolerated in this House for constantly concentrating on this land question. I do so because, as I said at the beginning, I do not think it is possible, even with the best designs or intentions in the world, to have a stable, worthy human society if it is divorced from its right to use the land in which it lives. I believe that the unhindered enjoyment of the land by the people is the basis of the truly just state of society. We have not got that. We are bound to have the opposite, if land is held out of use, millions of opportunities in the land locked up, and on the very same land men without jobs. Land closed against human use means the Employment Exchange open to hand out doles. If you will not solve the unemployment problem by opening God's opportunities so that men can use the labour power in their bodies to gratify their human desires, then go on preserving your historic monopolies which lock the door of the storehouse of life against human endeavour. Go on doing that, and as sure as day follows night unemployment will go on and increase in volume, and the cost of keeping it alive or the cost of keeping your unemployed from bursting into revolution will go up.

We have seen Government after Government in this House crumbling in face of the menace of unemployment. Your unemployment problem is based on the present land system, and the slums that infest every city in this country to-day are attributable to the land system. We talked about cancer the other day, and how is pervades the poorer sections of the community rather than the well-to-do. Probably there is some exaggeration even in that, but we have the Ministry of Health pouring out millions of pounds in this country to deal with preventable diseases which are bred by the very disease of the slums. All of this is due to the land system in this country. This land question is a comprehensive matter. There is no economic problem affecting mankind which is not traceable to the basic cause of the withholding of the rights of men to the use of land. It is for that reason—though I may not entirely agree with my right hon. Friend's formulated Motion—that I welcome this Debate to-day. I would to God that men would see a little more ahead than their particular private interests and would see that fundamentally we were all the creation of God's hand, and that we all have equal rights to the great storehouses he has provided for us—sunshine, water and land. Let no body of men stand in the way of the use of these God-given opportunities. I must not go further, because sometimes this matter brings one dangerously near philosophic and religious conceptions of life itself. I have said what I have said in the hope that the House will understand a little more clearly why some of us on this side are so intense and so sincere in regard to this basic question of the rights of men to use their own land.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. Owen Evans

I have listened with great interest to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Burslem (Mr. MacLaren), knowing as I do the deep interest he has taken in the study of the land question. This was a live question in the early days. When I heard him say, "God made the land for the people," it brought back to my mind the time when we used to sing that at political meetings, in order to bring home to the people the truth that the land did belong to them, that those who administer it are only trustees for the people, and that if it can be shown at any time that they are not good trustees and not doing their very best in the trusteeship which they are exercising, something else must be done. At one stage of my hon. Friend's speech I felt like saying once more: "God made the land for the people."

We have had two speeches from the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment. The hon. Member for South-East Essex (Mr. Raikes) advised the House to be very cautious in accepting the Motion. The Motion itself is an extremely cautious one. The spirit of gradualness permeates it from beginning to end. It recognises, as it must recognise, that this problem is an extremely complex and difficult one. The speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment were typically diehard speeches. They take pride in the fact that they are good old Tories, and they stand up, just as they did before 1914, for the rights of the landlords against the rights of the people. But I suspect that if we had a frank debate and hon. Members opposite were free to speak their minds openly and honestly, we should not have many speeches such as we have heard from the two hon. Members.

Things have advanced a great deal since 1914. The land question is as alive to-day as it was then, and it comes before us to-day in an extremely acute form. I was interested to hear some of the debating points of the hon. Member for South-East Essex with regard to compensation. He seemed to enjoy himself in quoting statements made by members of the Labour party, others who are not now members of the Labour party, others who belong to what is known as the common front, and also others who do not belong to any party, as to what measure of compensation should be paid. I am not going to be frightened by the question of nationalisation because of any fear that reasonable, equitable, just compensation will not be paid to those whose property is taken away. We know that every day in this country nationalisation is taking place. Every day some land is taken by agreement, by negotiation, or, failing agreement, by negotiation the landlord is compulsorily deprived of his land in the interests of the community. We on this side of the House believe that we can rely upon the good sense of the House when this question comes before it to lay down principles of compensation which are fair and equitable.

Another point which was raised by the hon. Member was that of the owner-occupier. He asked what was to become of the owner-occupier. I am sure the right hon. Member who moved the Motion was right when he said that there are remarkably few farmers to-day who want to become owner-occupiers. From his own personal knowledge, and I agree with him, farmers to-day will become owner-occupiers only in order to save themselves from having to leave their homes. We believe that it is not for them to supply the fixed capital for agriculture; in fact they cannot do so. The best they can do is to provide the working capital of the industry. Surely, the owner-occupier would not be worse off under a system of State ownership than he is under the present system. With regard to smallholdings, why should there be fewer under a system of nationalisation? It all depends on policy as to what is the best policy for developing and using the land under any system, whether private or public ownership. If smallholdings are good for the country and can produce food, especially certain kinds of food, then they have as good a chance, if not a greater chance, under the public ownership system than at the present time.

I noticed that the two hon. Members who supported the Amendment carefully fought shy of the question of the valuation of urban land. Remarkable figures were supplied by the right hon. Gentleman. When one hears the fantastic figures that are being paid for land alongside roads built at the expense of the community, one wonders how long this House is going to tolerate it. This is an old question. It was raised by the Liberal party in 1910, and still we are at it. Hon. Members opposite talk about expropriating the landlord. The landlords are expropriating the community time after time. I challenge anyone to say that it is a fair and just system to the community that these people should be able to take value which has not been made by them but by the community.

I am not afraid of nationalisation, and I would ask whether, in face of the opinions quoted by the right hon. Gentleman, hon. Members opposite believe that they can get away with it. If so, they are mistaken. This question of land nationalisation will gradually become more alive and more potent in the public mind as time goes on. I do not belong to that school which considers that nationalisation in itself and for the mere purpose of nationalisation is in any way desirable. To me it is purely a question of expediency. I would put htis point to the Government. We have a lot of patchwork in connection with agriculture, touching this and touching that, a subsidy here and a subsidy there, and I would ask the Minister who replies, how the Government are going to decide upon a long-term policy in agriculture without knowing the facts regarding it.

A very remarkable book has been written by Lord Astor and Mr. Rowntree, which was referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, in which they state that no survey of agricultural land has been made in this country since 1873. They point out the truth that we do not know to-day who owns the land, how many landlords there are, how big are their estates, how scattered they are, how many owner-occupiers there are, how far the owner-occupiers are being crippled by heavy mortgages on their land, and how much land is reasonably well cultivated. We all admit that a very large proportion of agricultural land in this country is reasonably well cultivated, and it is under private ownership, but we do not know how much is scandalously under-cultivated. We do know that considerable portions of land are scandalously under-cultivated. We do not know how far the arrangements between landlord and tenant have broken down, or how far each one has failed to perform his respective functions. I would appeal to the House and the Minister to consider this question in order to see how far the evils in private ownership—and we all know that there are evils—may be put right. I should like to know from the Government whether they are now prepared to go ahead in order to bring about a long-term policy in agriculture, of which we have heard so much. Let us examine the facts. I would ask for some official statement on that point.

5.58 p.m.

Colonel Sir George Courthope

The right hon. Member moved the Motion in a speech which I found most attractive, although I did not agree with all his conclusions. I should like to thank him very sincerely for the kind references which he made to the work of the Forestry Commission, and to my own part in it. He said kinder things about me than I personally deserve. I am very glad that my hon. Friend and colleague on the Forestry Commission, the Member for the Gower division (Mr. D. Grenfell) is here, and I only wish he had been present to hear his colleague's appreciative remarks. I want to look at this subject simply from the point of view of the future development of the Forestry Commission and of similar concerns run on the same kind of lines for the State. What I ask myself is, whether it is a sound thing for the Crown or public authorities to acquire large areas of land for public purposes—I am sure it is—whether they could do better by acquiring the land by voluntary negotiation, or whether it would do better in the interests of the State and the community if they made use of general compulsory powers?

Although it is not very clear from the wording of the Motion, I gather from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman that he contemplates compulsory nationalisation spread over a period of time. The transfer of land to the Crown and to public authorities is going on quite rapidly now. The general movement of social and industrial development is tending that way, and as far as one can see it is being accentuated rather than otherwise. The tendency of land to be transferred to the Crown and public authorities will continue. Economic forces may perhaps drive it at a faster rate than it is going to-day. I feel that in the interests of the State and the people it is better it should go on by a gradual process of voluntary transfer with good will, than by compulsory acquisition, which will alienate good will and, in my opinion, make the acquisition of land by the State a much more costly affair than it is to-day. I dread to think of the effect it might have on the Forestry Commission with which I am particularly concerned.

I think the hon. Member for Gower will agree with me that the Forestry Commission have acquired a million acres or so for the Crown much more cheaply than we could have done if we had utilised the compulsory powers which we possess. We should undoubtedly have had to pay more. In every case the land has been acquired or purchased with the good will of the people from whom we have acquired it, and the result has been that in our work we have been able to rely on their co-operation. All these advantages would have been lost, alienated, under a compulsory acquisition system. With regard to the use of the land by the people and for the people, the Forestry Commission have been able to establish and equip quite a considerable number of forest workers' holdings, and so far as my experience goes they are the most successful form of smallholdings attempted during recent years.

This development is likely to go on as our woodlands grow and the trees mature. They will require an increasing amount of labour, and consequently there will be an intensification of the settlement of forest workers' holdings. In the early days you do not want so much labour, but a fully matured wood wants more than one whole-time man for every hundred acres. In the Forest of Dean we employ one whole-time man for every 39 acres. I should not be in order to dwell upon this point, but I do want to stress the fact that the voluntary passage of land into the hands of the Crown under the administration of the Forestry Commission is working very well, and I believe it would be hamered, not helped, by the application of compulsory powers.

The right hon. Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) suggested that when I spoke last July on the Forestry Commission Estimates I expressed a desire that we should have in our hands all the private woodlands of the country. God forbid that we should have all the private woodlands. If we had to administer the mass of small woodlands which are at present in private ownership I am convinced that even the admirable staff which we have built up would be quite unable to cope with the work. I wonder whether hon. Members realise how small, on the average, privately-owned woodlands are. We in the Forestry Commission put 1,000 acres as the minimum forest which it is economic to administer. Most of our forests are very much larger. I was referred to by the right hon. Member as being a considerable landowner. I own, as a matter of fact, approximately 600 acres of woodland in Kent and Sussex. The average area of these woodlands is less than six acres, and I have about 100 of them. Think what an appalling problem it would be for a public Department to have to acquire compulsorily all these little plots of woodlands and try to make a decent job of it. It could not be done. I am only one of many hundreds of woodland owners whose small woodlands would be taken over under compulsory nationalisation and handed over to the Forestry Commission for management and control. In my opinion it would render unsuccessful all the efforts of the Forestry Commission up to the present time, of which I think we can reasonably be proud.

Mr. J. Morgan

Would not the transfer of such small pieces of woodlands and farms make it possible for farmers to use them for fencing purposes? There is no reason to 'move the copse from the farm.

Sir G. Courthope

The copse could not be moved. My argument is that it is better in the interests of the State, and when you are considering the work of the Forestry Commission, to leave it on a voluntary basis rather than advocate a universal compulsory system of acquisition, which I believe would rob our enterprise of the success which up to the present it has had. I am quite confident in my own mind that the modern tendency of social development will enable the Forestry Commission to acquire all the land they need as fast as they can reasonably handle it, and I think for other purposes that the Crown and local authorities will also find it possible to acquire on reasonable terms and at a sufficient rate all the land they want for the public services. I hope, therefore, that the House will not be misled, as I regard it, into advocating any compulsory purchase in place of the voluntary system which exists to-day.

6.10 p.m.

Mr. Stokes

Like other hon. Members, I welcome the opportunity of speaking in this Debate because I realise that the land question is a basic problem and that it has to be put right before we can build a reasonable and stable state of society. Two points were mentioned by the hon. Member who seconded the Amendment, to which I want to refer. The hon. Member for South-East Essex (Mr. Raikes) seemed to me to suffer from great confusion of thought. He did not seem to me to be able to differentiate between the ownership of land and the ownership of produced wealth. I do not wish to lecture the hon. Member, but one must be quite clear in one's mind what that difference is. To put it simply, land is a limited commodity; the land surface of the globe has been the same since Genesis and presumably will be the same until the world's end. Land, with its natural resources, is the source of all the produced wealth which man wants, and it is fundamentally unsound to confuse the two issues as the hon. Member did. The hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) referred to the question of subsidies and challenged the statement of the right hon. Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston) as to the subsidies which have been paid to agriculture. I have taken the trouble to collect the actual figures. My right hon. Friend was in fact not clamant enough in his figures. We claim that all these subsidies eventually go to the landowner, and the benefits accruing to landowners, including the bacon quota, amount to a sum of not less than £52,000,000 a year.

Mr. Turton

Will the hon. Member explain why he calls the bacon quota a subsidy?

Mr. Stokes

First of all the derating of agricultural land amounts to £15,000,000, the wheat subsidy to £7,000,000, the sugar-beet subsidy to £6,000,000, milk subsidy to £3,000,000, beet to £6,000,000 and the bacon quota is estimated to provide a further benefit of £15,000,000. The hon. Member may dispute these figures.

Mr. Turton

I want to know why the bacon quota is a subsidy.

Captain Heilgers

May I ask the hon. Member why he quotes the sugar-beet subsidy at £6,000,000 when it was less than £2,000,000 last year?

Mr. Stokes

If I accept the figure given by the hon. and gallant Member it is still a ghastly amount. The hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton claims that I should not regard a quota as a subsidy. I would ask him where does the money go eventually if it does not go into the pockets of the landowners? It seems to me that the private ownership of land involves what I call a double robbery; it allows the owner of land to appropriate the value created by the community, and in addition it obliges the Government to confiscate individual earnings in order to pay for the public services. As many hon. Members may know, I am engaged very largely in industry; and recently, when I made a tour of South-Eastern Europe, what struck me particularly was that the burden which industry has to bear in this country is out of all proportion to that which it has to bear on the Continent. Something has to be done if our export trade is not to be whittled away altogether. I throw out to hon. Members opposite the suggestion that if industry could be relieved of this iniquitous burden that it is now required to provide, and the benefit of which finds its way into the pockets of private landlords, it would be of great assistance to the export trade.

Mr. Annesley Somerville

Is it not a fact that a very large amount of the subsidies goes into wages? I know that the wages of agricultural labourers are not anything like what they ought to be, but is it not a fact that during the last four years the wages in agriculture have risen by 3s. 4d. per head?

Mr. Stokes

Surely, the hon. Member has gone back to my previous point. It is extremely difficult for a novice in this House to make a coherent speech with constant interruptions. I agree that some of the subsidies go into wages, but what I have been trying to point out is that a sum calculated to be not less than £500,000,000 is paid into the pockets of the private owners, companies, corporations, Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and so on every year for the right of the people to make use of land which really belongs to the people. When that figure is compared with the total rates throughout the country, one realises the disproportion, since the total rates amount to only £170,000,000. When one compares it directly with the amount of the export trade, the whole thing becomes fantastic. Our total exports in 1937 amounted to £560,000,000—and the payments to the landlords amounted to £500,000,000. If that burden could be got rid of and the rent could be appropriated for the use of the community, instead of being allowed to run away as it does now, it would be possible to bring down costs of production and prices, and thus give assistance to the export industry as a whole.

I listened with interest, but with a certain amount of scepticism, to the arguments that have been advanced in favour of the private ownership of land, and as I did so I threw back my mind to the Debate which took place not long ago on the question of coal royalties, when a Measure for public ownership with compensation was brought forward by the Government. I know that I shall not be allowed to-night to discourse on the inequities of that Measure; but it strikes me as being more than likely that land nationalisation will, in the not-very-distant future, become a Tory Measure, for the reason given by my right hon. Friend who opened the Debate. He pointed out that urban land would have to be dealt with in a very different way from agricultural land; I do not agree with that, but I accept his argument for the purpose of illustrating my point. He suggested that before urban land or land ripe for development can be purchased, a tax will have to be levied on it; and I suggest that immediately there will be a scramble by the landlords to get the highest possible price, and probably a land nationalisation Measure will be introduced by right hon. Gentlemen opposite.

There is another point I wish to make, a point on which I had an opportunity of speaking previously in one of the Debates on Defence, and I refer now particularly to the remarks made by my hon. Friend the Member for Burslem (Mr. MacLaren) this evening. In that Debate, I pointed out that the sums paid for aerodromes amounted to a very considerable figure, no less a sum than £2,500,000 being paid for 56,000 acres of land which had been completely derated and was considered valueless by the owners. My hon. Friend the Member for Burslem pointed out that when the Government ask people to join the Colours and give national service, they are in effect asking them to do one thing only, to defend land which does not belong to them. What the Government are really doing, in this aerodrome ramp and in other similar rackets that go on with the extension of armaments and so on, is to ask people to pay for their land before they are allowed to die for it. I cannot understand any sensible man putting up with that state of things. I wish that an analogy of that sort could be broadcast on the hoardings so that people could realise the terrible effects of this land monopoly and land racket.

We are asked everywhere to find some way of bringing peace to the world and providing plenty for all. I submit that it will be impossible to bring about the state of things which all of us desire for our brethren all over the world, whatever may be their race, creed or colour, as long as we allow the ever-increasing value of land to be privately appropriated. I should 'heartily support any Measures which would lead to the nationalisation of land, with this one qualification, that I wish to appropriate land values without paying any compensation at all.

6.22 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte

The hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes) seems to go farther than the right hon. Gentleman who moved the Motion, since he wants not only to nationalise land, but to do so without paying any compensation. Evidently, the hon. Member fails to realise that the value of land is caused mainly by the improvements, the buildings, fencings, drains, and so on, which have been supplied by the owners or their predecessors. I cannot see why land should be confiscated any more than factories, such as that of the hon. Member, should be confiscated.

Mr. Stokes

I am afraid the hon. and gallant Gentleman misunderstood me. I was not suggesting that improvements should be confiscated. I suggested that the people should take back what belongs to them, that is, the commonly-created value of land. I am prepared to pay such compensation as is necessary for improvements, if any, which have been made by the present owners of land.

Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte

I submit that the value of land without improvements, buildings, drains, fencings and so on, would be very low indeed. The hon. Member for Ipswich began his speech by expressing the old and familiar idea that the subsidies given to agriculture go into the pockets of the landlord. That is not so. The subsidies do not go to the landlords, but to the farmers and workmen. There is, of course, just a substratum of truth in the hon. Member's accusation, in the sense that over a very long period of years it is possible that, if agriculture is prosperous and there are many people seeking farms, the rents may go up when the tenants are changed, so that some small benefit from the increased prosperity of the industry may go into the pockets of the landlords. Speaking as a landowner, I cannot see any reason why a landowner should not share in the prosperity of agriculture if that industry is prosperous. It may be said that the subsidies to agriculture come out of the pockets of the taxpayers. Hon. Members must remember, however, that subsidies are given not only to agriculture but to other industries. Nobody makes such a tremendous fuss if the shareholders in the motor car industry or the hon. Member for Ipswich make very large profits out of their businesses, whatever they may be, as a result of tariffs; but the hon. Member for Ipswich thinks that it is a wicked thing that landowners should receive a single penny as a result of the increased prosperity of agriculture resulting from action by the Government.

Mr. E. J. Williams

Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman, as a landowner, defend a position in which landowners have received £2,500,000 for 56,000 acres of land needed for aerodromes in a national emergency?

Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte

All the land taken by the Government for aerodromes or for other purposes is valued by an independent valuer, and the landlords have to accept the price which is fixed by the valuer. It is fair on both sides.

Mr. Williams

Why was not this land rated?

Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte

The hon. Member for Cardigan (Mr. Owen Evans) suggested that it would be a good thing if the Government arranged for a general survey of the agricultural situation to be made by a completely independent body. I agree with the hon. Member. I think it would be an excellent thing if such a survey could be made. No doubt the Ministry of Agriculture have a great deal of information of that sort at the present time, but that information is not classified and available to the public. A survey of this sort would be of great value and would help the Government in fixing on a definite policy for the good of agriculture in future. I think it is generally admitted that the position of agriculture at the present time is not satisfactory, despite what the Government have done to help the industry. Some people maintain that the unsatisfactory condition is due to the inefficiency of the farmers, and some say that it is due to our system of land tenure. I believe that our farmers are the most efficient in the world, and that they are not inefficient is shown very clearly by the fact that between 1924 and 1936 the amount produced by each person employed in agriculture increased by 40 per cent. as compared with an increase of 31 per cent. in coal-mining, and an increase of only 25 per cent. in factories.

The fact is that the whole trouble of agriculture is that wholesale prices are far too low in comparison with the costs of production. Few people realise that if the cost of agricultural produce had gone up since 1914 to the same extent as the other items in the cost of living, the food bill of the nation last year would have been £400,000,000 more than it was. That, I think, shows that the trouble lies in prices, and no one can blame the system of land tenure in this country for the present world price of agricultural produce. I believe that the present system, under which a very large number of the agricultural holdings in this country are held on the owner-tenant system, is the best system which could be devised for this country. The owner supplies the capital necessary for the provision of buildings, fences, drains and so forth, and the tenant's capital is left free for use on farming implements and stock. The aation, I am certain, would not be able to supply at the cheap rate at which it is supplied by the landowner to-day without putting extra expense on the taxpayer.

Most landowners take a very serious view of their responsibilities. They all wish to do more for the people on the land than can be done for them at the present time, but the constant drain of capital from the land owing to taxation, and especially Death Duties, makes it very difficult for most landowners to carry out their responsibilities as they wish to do. Nobody regrets more than the landowner that he is not able to do more, but unless he is fortunate enough to be in a position to put into the land, money derived from other sources, he finds that he cannot do all that he would desire to do. There is not the least doubt about the fact that many owners put more money into the land than they can ever hope to get out of it.

In addition to getting cheap capital under our present system, the farmer gets security of tenure. In some cases there is almost too much security of tenure, because it is exceedingly difficult to get rid of a man who is a bad farmer. The farmer has practically complete security; he is able to farm with the minimum of interference and he can get repairs and alterations done in fairly quick time under our present system. If the land were nationalised he would lose those benefits. If he wanted to have replaced a few slates which had been blown down by a gale, or to have repairs done to farm buildings, he would have to fill up half-a-dozen forms and go to Whitehall or to the county offices, and it would probably take him weeks to have even the smallest repair carried out, under a system of nationalisation. We have also to consider the practical help which the farmer gets at the present time in the form of reductions of rent, which are almost invariably conceded by landowners in order to help a man to tide over hard times. Such concessions could not be given under a system of nationalisation. You could not expect a State official, dealing with public money, to give reductions in rent such as are at present by the landowner who is dealing with his own money.

About 40 per cent. of the land of this country is farmed by owner-occupiers and something like two-thirds of the owners of agricultural land, or rather more, own less than 500 acres each. Some of these owner-occupiers who have been forced to buy their farms would prefer to be under a good landlord. A good many others who have become owners of the land are as proud of their holdings as any Englishman is of his home. But they would gain nothing by nationalisation. All it would result in to them, would be interference and the necessity of having to pay a rent to the Government, because it is not to be presumed that the Govern- ment would give them the land for nothing. The good owner of agricultural land regards his ownership as a sacred trust, and, in spite of all the handicaps that he has to put up with, he does his best for the land. I believe that the landowners serve a very useful purpose in this country and I am certain that if, by nationalisation or any other means, the landowner disappeared from the countryside, the agricultural community and the agricultural industry would be very much worse off than they are at the present time.

6.37 p.m.

The Postmaster-General (Major Tryon)

The House will allow me to say at the outset how fortunate we are in having had this subject raised in such a moderate and thoughtful a speech as that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Stirling (Mr. Johnston). If he will allow me to say so, it rather reminded me of those very interesting speeches on the subject of the land which we always expect to hear from the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams). Before dealing with the right hon. Gentleman's main contention, I wish to take up one or two specific points. The right hon. Gentleman alluded to the Kelvin drainage scheme and said that it had taken a very long time. That scheme was held up in 1930 owing to the report of the May Committee, for which I, certainly, am not responsible, but it is now going forward and I hope that when the work on that scheme has been completed the results will be satisfactory.

May I say in reference to the speech of the hon. Member for Burslem (Mr. MacLaren) and one or two other speeches from the back benches opposite, that I cannot imagine what those hon. Members would do on the platform if the landlords really did disappear from this country. The landowners seem to constitute a most valuable part of the repertoire of those hon. Members. At all events I wish to take up definitely a point which was made by the hon. Member for Burslem and also, as far as his speech was intelligible on any point by the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes). That was the suggestion that the people of this country could not be expected to go out and fight for the country if they did not own the land. Apparently, according to that idea, a man who was working in a factory before he agreed to go out to fight for his country would demand to be told whether the land on which the factory was built was in private ownership or was owned by the county council or the State, and, according to the answer which he received, would either dash off to fight for his country or refrain.

But the implication of the argument, which is a serious one, is wider than that. It is the suggestion that people cannot be expected to defend their country unless the State owns the land. We hear a great deal about disarmament. That argument, it seems to me, would disarm the whole of Europe with the exception of Russia. In no country does the nation own the land, except in Russia. I suggest to hon. Members opposite that they had better study what is happening in France which, I believe, is often quoted by them as a typical and worthy example of parliamentary government. There are no better defenders of the soil of their own country than the French peasants, and one of the reasons why they defend it with such tenacity and with typical French courage is because they own the land, which is not nationalised, but owned individually.

Mr. E. J. Williams

But they own it.

Major Tryon

They would not own it under the hon. Member's scheme of nationalisation.

Mr. Williams

Who would own it under that scheme?

Major Tryon

The hon. Member cannot get away with the statement that unless the land belonged to the State, the French peasants could not be expected to fight for their country. I never heard such rubbish in my life. [HON. MEMBERS: "What about the Post Office?"] I propose to deal with the Post Office, and probably what I have to say will not suit hon. Members opposite either. I now come to the Motion, which, I am suggesting should be amended. I wish respectfully to congratulate my two hon. Friends who moved and seconded the Amendment. I do so with the utmost sincerity, not only because they both delivered closely reasoned speeches based upon intimate knowledge of the subject, but also because I feel that they have in some ways an advantage over me in that they have both addressed the House several times this year, whereas I have to ask for some indulgence in addressing the House now in a general Debate, for the first time this year. I suggest that the Motion is contradictory. It begins by stating that private enterprise is a serious barrier, but in the latter and operative part it does not suggest that the barrier should be removed except in a small way and gradually.

The Mover of the Motion gave some figures which relieve me of the necessity of going over the same ground. There are, as he said, millions of acres at this moment not in private hands, but held as Crown land, or by the Forestry Commission, or by the Air Ministry, or in certain other ways. The amount of such land, according to figures given the other day by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, is about 2,500,000 acres, of which over 1,000,000 acres are in Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman opposite enlarged those figures quite properly, by including certain other land, but that shows that it is possible at the present time, for very large areas of land to be taken from private enterprise and used by the State when the State really needs it. It seemed to me unfortunate, that while we had many enthusiastic speeches from the Labour party saying what a splendid thing nationalisation of the land would be, they did not give us any examples of the successful operation of that process in other lands.

Of course, they all know the one country where land has been nationalised, and it is rather remarkable that they did not go into that case. I do not intend to say anything against the form of government of any other country, but it is remarkable that the one country where the political influence of the people is not felt to anything like the same extent as the political influence of the people in this country, is the country where nationalisation and Socialism have been kept going. I believe that it is due to the influence of public opinion here upon Members of Parliament that the Labour party have put down such a very weak and timid Motion on this subject. I will not myself say a word about Russia, but we are fortunate enough to have the statement of the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton), who, writing in "Forward" in November, 1932, said of Russia: Food is scarce, especially meat. It seems, therefore, that under Socialist management of the land you do avoid that excessive production which is complained of so very often by hon. Members and of which we are given lamentable examples such as that of surplus coffee being burned. In the case of Russia, apparently, you do not get excessive production, but inadequate production, and that is on the authority of the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland, whom I shall have much pleasure in quoting again. My view of this Motion is that it shows a great weakening of the Labour party's advocacy of nationalisation. To put it in a familiar form, it is rather a retreat from Moscow. I wonder that hon. Members oppositt did not give us the example, so often quoted, of the splendid success of farming in Denmark. Danish farming is universally admitted to be a great success, but in Denmark over 90 per cent. of the farms are farmed by owner-occupiers and are not owned by the State. I do not gather that there is any shortage of meat in Denmark.

Mr. MacLaren

There are no subsidies either.

Major Tryon

I am now coming to a wider point. I have the pleasure of knowing a great many of the members of the Agricultural Committee of our party, and I view with the greatest admiration the wide range of knowledge of agricultural subjects among these Members and among all the agricultural Members supporting the Government. They include people who have owned and farmed and managed land and have been responsible from day to day for the upkeep of buildings and so forth. They are in close touch with agriculture, and that is probably why they take a somewhat different view from hon. Members opposite, on the question of the advantages of nationalisation.

The conditions of farming in this country are quite extraordinarily varied. They vary not only from county to county but almost from mile to mile. I cannot conceive, therefore, of anything which could be less appropriate for being managed by bureaucracy, less likely to be successful, despite my profound admiration for the Civil Service, than farming from Whitehall. But this taking over the land is only part of the policy. Not only do they want to take over the land because of the power which it would give them, but they would like to farm it with the authoritarian power which, nationalisation would give them. It is the power over the farms and over the way in which they are managed that they want, but I cannot conceive that the Labour party with its Ministers doing this work and our great Civil Service employed for the first time on a huge scale on this work, would farm the land of this country half as well as the farmers who are now doing it.

I have in my hands a most charming book issued by the Labour party on their agricultural policy. When they wanted to get an agricultural policy, they did not go to farmers or farm labourers, but they derived their information from a number of sources, and largely, as we always describe it here, from another place. Here we have a prescription for agriculture produced by Lord Addison, who was a very skilled medical officer and for many years has taken an interest in agriculture. He proposes State management, controlled by officials and Ministers, of the most intricate conditions, varying, as I say, from county to county. I have been so fortunate as to read this book, and not only to read it through to the end, but to reach the picture on the back page, and there we see what is going to happen under the Labour policy for agriculture. There we see a picture of a rather forlorn looking family consisting of a father, mother, and child, but there is not in that picture a single thing of any kind being produced. But the sun is shining. The Labour party do not seem to be very active in contesting agricultural constituencies lately, but at all events in this picture the sun is shining. What is the result of their policy? It appears to be a colossal Government building entirely filled, apparently with officials, on whom the sun is shining. In the foreground there is a large double road, which would delight the heart of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport, and which apparently suggests that industry also has been nationalised, because along that road there is nothing of any kind proceeding.

I was challenged about the Post Office. I hope hon. Members opposite will loudly cheer this statement on that subject by their leader, which I will read: The difficulty is that the Post Office is not an example of Socialism but of State capitalism. He points out that the difficulty with the Post Office is that they have to make considerable payments to the Treasury, and that, in colloquial language, rather cramps their style. We are coming to this. There are two ways in which nationalisation could be introduced. You could introduce it bit by bit on the lines of the very timid Motion of the Labour party. In that case, if it does not pay—and I do not believe it will—you will have to levy taxation out of what is left of private enterprise to keep going. But supposing you nationalise everything, what will happen then? You will have to make it pay, and you will have to work the farms, but it is obvious that many of the sources of the income which you now get from the land will not then be available. There will not be, for instance, those death duties, which do undoubtedly bear heavily on the agricultural industry. When we hear of the land being in private hands, I hope it will not be forgotten that enormous burdens do fall on agriculture.

If you do away with the capitalists altogether, and everything is to be nationalised, you will have to make a profit from your State enterprises, otherwise you will have no revenue for your social services, and judging from the programmes and Motions put down in this House from time to time, the expenditure of the Labour party, if it came into power, is likely to be extremely high. You will want an enormous income somehow to keep all the social services going, and to judge from your views on another matter, on which I must not touch too closely, you will want a very large revenue to maintain those enormous armed forces for your foreign policy of intervening in various parts of the world. Therefore, I suggest that it is essential that all your nationalised industries should pay, and I say that under your scheme, agriculture will not pay, because it is too complicated and too intricate a matter to be managed and run by the State.

I would like now to take up a matter which is somewhat controversial. I suggest that some of the Labour party are in favour of confiscation. Is that denied?

Mr. Johnston


Major Tryon

I am not suggesting that the right hon. Gentleman is in favour of it. He is much too sensible a man.

Mr. Johnston

I mean the Labour party officially.

Major Tryon

Then I am sorry that the right hon. Member for South Hackney (Mr. H. Morrison) is publicly removed from any connection with the Labour party, because he is quoted as saying at a Labour party conference—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Are you ashamed of your own conferences? He was talking of confiscation, and I want to be quite fair and to say that he was opposing it, but he said: The whole blessed thing is a matter of expediency…You have to ask yourselves whether it is worth while urging a policy you want at the cost of preventing yourselves from being politically competent to put it into force. That is a very clear statement and shows that at all events large numbers of the Labour party are in favour of confiscation. Therefore, I see no reason why we should not quote these statements.

We think this Motion is capable of very great improvement. We do not like this Motion of hon. Members opposite. We suggest that it should be made much more definite, and we contend that there are at present adequate methods available for getting land for the service of the State. We are prepared to test in this House, by vote, whether they are in favour of individual enterprise being allowed to cultivate the land, or whether it is to be stamped out and nationalisation is to become the policy of the party opposite. On those two points we are prepared to challenge hon. Members opposite. I have not the least doubt that individual enterprise is much more characteristic of the character of our people than all this endless control by rules and regulations. I do not wish to use a phrase which would in any way upset hon. Members opposite, but I sometimes think that when we hear of the opinion of organised labour the better phrase would be the organised opinion of Labour.

6.57 p.m.

Mr. J. Morgan

At first I thought I should have to compliment the other side on having put up as their chief speaker the principal exponent in practical form of the success of nationalisation in the State in the Postmaster-General, but after congratulating the opening speakers on behalf of the Motion for their moderate approach to the subject, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman proceeded to make a thoroughly provocative speech right off the line of true discussion. We have not been discussing to-night the nationalisation of farming. We have been discussing a procedure for acquiring on behalf of the State larger tracts of land in this country. It is true that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman instanced Denmark as a country in which the private ownership of land, on the basis of the working farmer, appears, on the face of it, to justify the principle of the private ownership of land, but what is the true story of Denmark?

I have had the privilege and pleasure of going there several times, and I have taken a little trouble over Denmark, because it is a case that can be cited to confuse this issue. The fact is that Denmark was faced with the spectacle of the industrial revolution developing in its neighbours, Germany and Great Britain, in their use of coal, iron and every manufacturing process open to them; and the whole resources of the Danish State, from finance to education and every kind of commercial institution, were put behind the development of agriculture in Denmark, for the simple and solid reason that they had no other economic asset than the land available. It was the backing of the State from start to finish that put Danish farming on its feet, plus one other simple fact, that all its surplus products available for the overseas market—and it is only maintained on that basis—were put into the bottle-neck of a single port which enabled the grading and standardisation of its products to be carried out satisfactorily. But the interesting thing about Denmark is that in the last two general elections the Danish farmer has been in revolt against the burden of his mortgages. This has become a first-class agrarian issue in Denmark, and the State has had to take the first line of renovation of the industry by itself acquiring land and now putting settlers on the land as State tenants. That is a tendency which is developing even in Denmark.

There have been several other interesting comments to which I would refer before passing to my main line of approach to this subject. The hon. Mem- ber for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) rather tended to the idea that we should stimulate the owner-occupier in farming, and that was effectively met from this side, I thought, when the difficulty of establishing those people on the land was pointed out. He said one other interesting thing—that if agriculture could be made more prosperous then we should settle those people on the land. He also asked, Where was our policy of guaranteed prices? This issue is coming to the point where it ceases any longer to be academic, and has become an issue which will go right into the forefront of agricultural politics very soon. It is bound to happen. My right hon. Friend who moved the Motion said that the rent roll is round about £37,000,000 a year—a figure that was not denied. Then the figure was given, and again it was accepted after correction, that the total volume of the subsidies which can now be seen to enter farming is round about £34,000,000 a year. The relationship of the £34,000,000 to the £37,000,000 is rather suggestive. The £37,000,000 is the rent roll of the farming industry, and the £34,000,000 is the total of the subsidies.

Captain Heilgers

I did interrupt the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes) on that point. He said that the subsidies were £52,000,000. The hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. J. Morgan) has stated that the subsidies are £34,000,000. Let me quote "Your Britain," which I think the hon. Member will take as a good authority: At present the Government pays £14,500,000 of Britain's money in subsidies which are supposed to benefit the growers of food.

Mr. Morgan

I will, of course, accept even the figures that the hon. and gallant Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Captain Heilgers) has put forward, but he has excluded derating, which brings it up to £30,000,000. I will accept the figure of £30,000,000 a year if he will accept the statement that the rent roll is, roughly, £37,000,000. He says that the landlord has not benefited from the subsidies, but that wages have benefited. What has the farmer done about wages? Called upon to pay the wages laid down by the wages boards the farmer has adjusted himself to the position by discharging his men. They are leaving the industry at the rate of 1,000 a month. He has reacted to the wages boards by operating his farms with fewer men. But what has happened to his subsidies? The rent roll has remained practically static at a time when the depression of the industry ought to have brought about a reduction of the rent roll. When the farmer applied to his landlord—prior to the steps that were taken to assist him—he was told that assistance would be found by the Government. As he felt the pressure of depression and approached his landlord again, he was asked "How much wheat subsidy have you drawn? How much beef subsidy have you drawn? How much sugar beet subsidy?" His case for a reduction of rent has been affected—I do not want to exaggerate—by the knowledge which the landowners had that the Government have been paying a certain volume of subsidies to their tenants. As landlords they have become interested in that transaction.

Mr. Turton

There has been an economic survey of rents in Scottish agriculture, as I am sure the hon. Member will know, and that shows that rents have dropped from the figure of 110 in 1930 to 87 in 1937.

Mr. Morgan

I am developing the argument of my right hon. Friend, and the figure he gave was not contested at the time by the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton. I will continue the argument. He asked why we do not produce our guaranteed price system, which we stand for, and which is being increasingly accepted among the farming community as being the way through. He asks why we do not produce it first. What happened after the War? The hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton reminded us that before the War there were very few owner-occupiers of farms, but immediately after the War the number increased to about 40 per cent., and to-day 3½ to 4 out of every 10 farms are nominally owned by the farmers. Numbers of estates were thrown on the market after the War. On an estate of 15 farms—and I know several—there would be three thoroughly indifferent farms. The tenants would be men who were quite reckless about the state of their land and would be seen more often than they ought to be in the local market town. There would be four or five tenants who were farming moderately well and employing a certain measure of labour; and there would probably be three tenants who were farming extraordinarily well, tenants of whom the landlord was proud.

The War sent agricultural prices up, and it is significant that that was the moment chosen by the landlords to dispose of a large proportion of their estates. Agriculture had become more prosperous and they saw an exceptionally good chance to get rid of their estates. What was the position of those 15 tenants? The landlord would quite nicely and properly, give them the first option to buy and in some cases they would buy their farms. But supposing the farms went to auction, as in some cases they did. The man who had farmed indifferently, in spite of the operation of tenant right, would be able to get his land almost at a song. Nobody would want his thistle-ridden land. The fact that he had been an indifferent farmer gave him an advantage when it came to the purchase of his farm. The man who had been farming moderately well would get his farm at a moderate price. But what about the man who had been farming really well? If his farm came into the open market and he had to buy it he would find there would be competition for his farm, and the value of his work would be discounted to a very large extent by the increased price for that farm finding its way to the landlord. His land would realise at auction £10 or £15 on acre more than the land which had been indifferently farmed, (so proving that a landlord to some extent benefits from the good work of a good tenant. Precisely the same thing would happen if we brought forward our plan for guaranteed prices and succeeded in prevailing upon the country to accept it. The moment we undertook to give the cereal farmer his price and the fat bullock man his price, and put the milk industry on a satisfactory footing, the advantage would be discounted forthwith in an increase in the value of the land. We want to stop that. We fully intend to put farming right but—

Sir Ernest Shepperson

I am sorry to interrupt, but I should like to say that between 1914 and this day, when the subsidies have been given, the rents of land have not gone up, though in that period agricultural wages have gone up from 15s. to 35s., and, therefore, I submit that the agricultural labourer has benefited.

Mr. Morgan

I am pursuing a main line of argument, and while I have no desire to pass the hon. Member's argument by, I ask him, in view of the time, to allow me to develop my own argument. I am convinced that we are discussing a very substantial Motion. Thoughtful people in charge of estates, whether as owners or managers, are realising that the issue of the nationalisation of farming land is of growing importance and is one which will be faced by one side of the House or the other within a reasonably short time. Hon. Members opposite have no objection to the principle. They nationalised tithe, nationalised a property right which pays a revenue. It was a simple financial operation, carried overnight without a single disturbance of the kind which the Postmaster-General indicated to-night. A considerable sum was in-volved in that transaction. Some £80,000,000, or thereabouts, was paid for a right that was not economic, not remunerative and not earning, but a right that was about to be extinguished in the ordinary process of time as a feudalistic institution; yet hon. Members opposite succeeded in getting cash value for it before it was extinguished by public opinion. The operation was perfectly simple. It involved no confiscation. It carried in it the principle of compensation for a right that was very arguable. It was carried, with support, in principle, from this side, on the basis of compensation. I suggest that the principle of nationalisation is not objected to any longer on the other side of the House. Members there are interested only in the terms on which the transaction shall be carried through. We have given every assurance on the point. This Debate is approached from this side on the declared presumption that we accept the principle of compensation, and the principal speaker from the other side had no right to draw the red herring of confiscation across the issue.

Mr. Turton

Of four Socialist speakers who have addressed the House two have been in favour of expropriation without compensation and two with compensation.

Mr. Morgan

May I respectfully point out that the two hon. Members who did ask for confiscation qualified their support of our party on this Motion, and I hope he will accept that as sufficient? The discussion to-night has been conducted on the basis I have stated, and he ought to accept it on that basis. Hon. Members opposite will admit that the state of the land at the moment is deplorable. They have supported their party's programme for developing the fertility of the land by means of special subsidies. The policy has been mainly of assistance to the landlords, but they started it on the ground that the land had been falling out of condition.

There is the problem of the milk supply. There are 120,000 farmers trying to produce milk, and only 22,000 of them are capable, with their equipment, of coming up even to the graduated standard of milk production. In the first place they have not the cowsheds. If we were to schedule cowsheds as we schedule slums half the cowsheds would be shut down from the production of liquid milk. That is known to hon. Members opposite who are landlords. The problem of the Milk Board is that they have found that at least half the farmers have not facilities for cooling their milk on their farms. That is a problem in the national milk supply of the adequate equipment of the dairy farms. Hon. Members on the other side know that the Fens at this moment may at any time be flooded as they have been in recent times. What is the problem of the Fens? The time has come when £10,000,000 of public money is needed to put the Fens right, and yet hon. Members on the other side dare not propose that public money to that volume should be expended on private property in the Fens with all the complicated and difficult machinery that is there to collect it back again for the public revenue. Some of the Fens are now in a derelict condition, and the finest land of the country is subject to the flooding menace.

Sir E. Shepperson

The Fens are the most fertile part of the country.

Mr. Morgan

I agree, but they are being made unfertile by the flood menace every year soaking the land. Land that lies under water in the winter loses half its value in production, because it is cold arid clammy when the time comes for it to be got into a condition for cropping.

What have we really to consider in this Motion? I am not opposed to the landlord system as such. I am primarily interested in handling the agricultural problem properly as soon as possible, because it cannot go on as it is. We must face the fact that, somehow or other, the farmer has not benefited by the subsidies which the Government have given him. We have evidence for it as recently as the meeting at Lincoln. The farmer is not doing that because he likes to be a revolutionary and play into the hands of this party, but he has been driven to it by the attitude adopted to this problem by the other side. He will listen to us because we are propounding an effective policy that will get him out of the mess. The private landlord is no longer capable of playing the part in the development of the farming industry that the great landlords of the past did—and I willingly give them testimony for that. We have only to mention the names of men like Cope and Townshend to realise the part played by landlords in the development of farming. We have only to think of the Bed-fords with their great afforestation schemes to see how the landlords of the past gave an indication to the way in these matters. The landlords are not doing that to-day. They are taking as much rent as they can reasonably get in the circumstances. I am speaking generally. They are waiting on the assistance that the Government may give to the industry to see whether they can meet the demands of their tenants for a reduction. It depends on the financial assistance which the Government can give whether they will get an even 2½ per cent. on their money invested in farm lands, and not on the farmer's capacity to pay.

We know the state of the land to-day and we all deplore it. We know the villages that were founded in the great days, and we know the argument that the village which has evidence of a single interest in it and an interest in the life of the place is all to the good. But that is not the story. The story is the evidence of decline, and some instrument must now be brought in to recover good management of the land and good farming. What alternatives do you put up? Your main argument has been that we should encourage the settlement of small occupying farmers on the land. Hon. Members know that the problem of farming to-day is the problem of working capital. If we bring forward our schemes for wheat, pigs, beef and milk on the basis of guaranteed prices, what will happen? The farmer will have to find enough capital with which to buy good pigs, good cows, and more implements and fertilisers. Are you prepared to give him that working capital, because that ought to be the first charge on the industry?

Mr. Speaker

I would remind the hon. Member that he should address me.

Mr. Morgan

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. What do hon. Members on the other side want? They want the owner-occupier to be given a vested interest in the land, that he should take a pride in his efforts and be secured a return for the effort he puts in. Security of tenure is what he wants and what hon. Members opposite would like to see him have, but why should he be called upon to gather together every little bit of cash that he can put his hand on and then, as to 50 per cent. of it—because I doubt whether any mortgagee would give him any more—he must mortgage himself to some outside interest, which is now increasingly becoming of the moneylender type, and thus loan the whole of his cash capital merely to get the right to farm? We say, let him farm and let the State acquire the farm and give the farmer the right to be on it; and let him use his own capital for its development.

Why is farming so badly off, and why does farming not hold the interest of this country to the extent to which it is entitled? It is still the basic industry and still has the greatest volume of output, in spite of its difficulty. The reason is that this country is dominated by the simple fact that nine people out of 10 live in the towns and have a towny mind and outlook. They live in the industrial areas, and commercial, banking, financial and national institutions invariably invest their money and pursue their activities in a precisely opposite direction. They will have £1,000,000,000 invested in the farming of the Argentine, Australia or South Africa, and when the Argentine comes to this House or the Government and asks for a market to be found for its produce, who in this House will defend farming in the Argentine? Members for the City of London, because they have a vested interest in the state of farming in the Argentine. We have to find an instrument that will give the finance of the State a vested interest in farming in this country. If there were £500,000,000 of land bonds available to the financial interests of the City of London, which we would acquire as a security for taking over the agricultural land, it would not be only the hon. and gallant Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Captain Heilgers) who would be on his feet for farming, or the hon. Member for Thirsk and Molton; it would be the hon. Members for the City of London, who would draw our attention to the fact that every penny we spend on the land to improve its production would increase the value of the securities they held in their safes and deposits. They would have a vested interest in promoting good farming. We have somehow to find an alternative in place of the private landlord, who once gave that support to the industry in the form of permanent long-term capital. The practical alternative is the State and the best possible terms that agriculturists can arrange with the State. Our proposal to acquire agricultural land under a bond system, as in the case of tithe and mining royalties, would present no difficulties, and would for the first time find this House and the commercial institutions with a vested interest in the fate of farming.

I must touch on the question of urban values. How can agricultural land acquired by the State operate in regard to those interests? We would be ready to give exemptions to any class of interests that would prefer to be outside, broadly speaking, such as smallholders, the border-line interests on the edge of large cities and developing areas. We would have no objection to giving them the alternative of the policy of the taxation

of land and site values, or of giving them the option of being acquired by the State or of coming under the policy advocated in this Motion. They might prefer to be bought outright by the State, but the agricultural land acquired by the State could be used to puncture the urban values that are so obstructive in the way of urban and civilised development. A corporation wishing to have a housing development on the outskirts of a town would be able to approach the land authority owning the agricultural land for land at a reasonable price. That in itself would deflate the values in the towns.

I hope that all Members on all sides will consider this Motion seriously. This policy is in the forefront of the Labour party programme, and has not been hidden in any way as has been suggested on the other side. It represents a substantial contribution to the problem of the farming industry, and it will lead to a permanent and abiding interest in agriculture, so that, whoever the Minister of Agriculture may be, there will be a continuity of interests in the industry, because there will be this heritage of State ownership of the land to preserve and develop it. I hope the Motion will receive support from the other side of the House of those who have hitherto been against the principle embodied in it.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 122; Noes, 219.

Division No. 19.] AYES. [7.30 p.m.
Adams, D. (Consett) Daggar, G. Hopkin, D.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Dalton, H. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)
Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford) Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) Jones, A. C. (Shipley)
Adamson, W. M. Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Kelly, W. T.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Day, H. Kirby, B. V.
Altlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Dobbie, W. Kirkwood, D.
Banfield, J. W. Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G.
Barnes, A. J. Ede, J. C. Lathan, G.
Barr, J. Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Leach, W.
Bartlett, C. V. O. Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. Leonard, W.
Batey, J. Frankel, D. Leslie, J. R.
Bellenger, F. J. Gallachar, W. Logan, D. G.
Bonn, Rt. Hon. W. W. Gardner, B. W. Lunn, W.
Benson, G. Green, W. H. (Deptford) Macdonald, G. (Ince)
Bevan, A. Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) McEntee, V. La T.
Brown, C. (Mansfield) Griffiths, J. (LIanelly) Maclean, N.
Buchanan, G. Groves, T. E. MacNeill Weir, L.
Burke, W. A. Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Mainwaring, W. H.
Charlaton, H. C. Hall, J. H. (Whiteshapel) Mander, G. le M.
Chater, D. Hardie, Agnes Mashers, G.
Cluse, W. S. Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Messer, F.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Milner, Major J.
Cocks, F. S. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Montague, F.
Collindridge, F. Hills, A. (Pontefract) Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.)
Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford Hollins, A. Muff, G.
Nathan, Colonel H. L. Silverman, S. S. Viant, S. P.
Noel-Baker, P. J. Simpson, F. B. Watkins, F. C.
Oliver, G. H. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe) Watson, W. McL.
Parkinson, J. A. Smith, E. (Stoke) Welsh, J. C.
Pearson, A. Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly) Westwood, J.
Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W. Smith, T. (Normanton) Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)
Pritt, D. N. Sorensen, R. W. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Richards, R. (Wrexham) Stephen, C. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Ridley, G. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng) Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)
Riley, B. Stokes, R. R. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Ritson. J. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.) Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens) Summerskill, Dr. Edith Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Sanders, W. S. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Sexton. T. M. Thorne, W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.-
Shinwell, E. Thurtle, E. Mr. J. Morgan and Mr. T.
Silkin, L. Tinker, J. J. Johnston.
Acland-Troyte, Lt-Col. G. J. Fleming, E. L. Magnay, T
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Foot, D. M. Maitland, A.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Fox, Sir G. W. G. Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Fremantle, Sir F. E. Manningham-Buller, Sir M.
Aske, Sir R. W. Fyfe, D. P. M. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
Baillie, Sir A. W. M. Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley) Markham, S. F.
Balfour, G. (Hampstead) Gluckstein, L. H. Marsden, Commander A.
Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M. Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C. Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M.
Barrie, Sir C. C. Goldie, N. B. Maxwell, Hon. S. A.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Gower, Sir R. V. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J.
Bernays, R. H. Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral) Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham)
Bird, Sir R. B. Grant-Ferris, R. Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.)
Boulton, W. W. Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Moreing, A. C.
Boyce, H. Leslie Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester) Morris-Jones, Sir Henry
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Gretton, Col. Rt. Hon. J. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)
Brass, Sir W. Gridley, Sir A. B. Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)
Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Grimston, R. V. Munro, P.
Brocklebank, Sir Edmund Gritten, W. G. Howard Nall, Sir J.
Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.) Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake) Nicholson, G. (Farnham)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Guinness, T. L. E. B. Nicolson, Hon. H. G.
Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.) Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W. O'Connor, Sir Terence J.
Bull, B. B. Hambro, A. V. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Burton, Col. H. W. Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Palmer, G. E. H.
Butcher, H. W. Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Patrick, C. M.
Campbell, Sir E. T. Hely-Hutchinson, M. R. Peake, O.
Carver, Major W. H. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P. Perkins, W. R. D.
Cary, R. A. Hepburn. P. G. T. Buchan- Petheriok, M.
Castlereagh, Viscount Hepworth, J. Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester) Herbert, Major J A. (Monmouth) Pilkington, R.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Higgs, W. F. Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Holdsworth, H. Procter, Major H. A.
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Holmes, J. S. Radford, E. A.
Chorlton, A. E. L. Hopkinson, A. Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.
Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead) Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L. Ramsbotham, H.
Colman, N. C. D. Howitt, Dr. A. B. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
Conant, Captain R. J. E. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Rayner, Major R. H.
Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.) Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport) Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Hume, Sir G. H. Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Hunloke, H. P. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L. Hutchinson, G. C. Ropner, Colonel L.
Cox, Trevor James, Wing-Commander A. W. H. Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Joel, D. J. B. Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Cross, R. H. Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth) Rothschild, J. A. de
Crossley, A. C. Jones, L. (Swansea W.) Rowlands, G.
Crowder, J. F. E. Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose) Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.
Cruddas, Col. B. Kerr, H. W. (Oldham) Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.
Culverwell, C. T. Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Russell. Sir Alexander
Davidson, Viscountess Kimball, L. Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)
De Chair, S. S. Lamb, Sir J. Q. Salmon, Sir I.
De la Bere, R. Lancaster, Captain C. G. Salt, E. W.
Denman, Hon. R. D. Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.) Samuel, M. R. A.
Denville, Alfred Leech, Sir J. W. Sandeman, Sir N. S.
Donner, P. W. Lees-Jones, J. Schuster, Sir G. E.
Drewe, C. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Selley, H. R.
Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury) Levy, T. Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)
Dugdale, Captain T. L. Lewis, O. Shepperson, Sir E. W.
Duggan, H. J. Liddall, W. S. Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Duncan, J. A. L. Lindsay, K. M. Smith, Sir Louis (Hallam)
Dunglass, Lord. Lloyd, G. W. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Eskersley, P. T. Loftus, P. C. Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.
Edmondson. Major Sir J. MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'I'd)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. McCorquodale, M. S. Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
Emery, J. F. Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight) Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (N'thw'h)
Emrys-Evans, P. V. McEwen, Capt. J. H. F. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Errington, E. McKie, J. H. Sutcliffe, H.
Everard, W. L. Maclay, Hon. J. P. Tasker, Sir R I.
Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne) Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend) Womersley, Sir W. J.
Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.) Waterhouse, Captain C. Wood, Hon. C. I. C.
Thomson, Sir J. D. W. Watt, Major G. S. Harvie Wragg, H.
Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C. Wedderburn, H. J. S. Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.
Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L. Wells, Sir Sydney Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Wakefield, W. W. Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)
Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan Willoughby de Eresby. Lord TELLERS FOR THE AYES.-
Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull) Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G. Mr. Turton and Mr. Raikes.

Question put, "That the proposed words be there added."

The House divided: Ayes, 203; Noes, 123.

Division No. 20.] AYES [7.40 p.m.
Acland-Troyle, Lt.-Col. G. J. Grant-Ferris, R. Nicolson, Hon. H. G.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. O'Connor, Sir Terence J.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester) O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Gridley, Sir A. B. Palmer, G. E. H.
Aske, Sir R. W. Grimston, R. V. Patrick, C. M.
Baillie, Sir A. W. M. Gritten, W. G. Howard Peake, O.
Balfour, G. (Hampstead) Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake) Perkins, W. R. D.
Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M. Guinness, T. L. E. B. Petherick, M.
Barrie, Sir C. C. Hambro, A. V. Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Haslam, Henry (Hornoastle) Pilkington, R.
Bernays, R. H. Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Bird, Sir R. B. Hely-Hutohinson, M. R. Procter, Major H. A.
Boulton, W. W. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A P. Radford, E. A.
Boyce, H. Leslie Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan- Ramsay, Captain A. H. M.
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Hepworth, J. Ramsbotham, H.
Brass, Sir W. Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin)
Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Higgs, W. F. Rayner, Major R. H.
Brocklebank, Sir Edmund Holdsworth, H. Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.) Holmes, J. S. Reid, W. Allan (Derby)
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.) Hopkinson, A. Ropner, Colonel L.
Bull, B. B. Howitt, Dr. A. B. Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
Burton, Col, H. W. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Butcher, H. W. Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport) Rothschild, J. A. de
Campbell, Sir E. T. Hume, Sir G. H. Rowlands, G.
Cary, R. A. Hunloke, H. P. Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.
Castlereagh, Viscount Hutohinson, G. C. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.
Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester) James, Wing-Commander A. W. H. Russell, Sir Alexander
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Joel, D. J. B. Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth) Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)
Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead) Jones, L. (Swansea W.) Salt, E. W.
Colman, N. C. D. Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose) Samuel, M. R. A.
Conant, Captain R. J. E. Kerr, H. W. (Oldham) Schuster, Sir G. E.
Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk. N.) Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.) Seely, Sir H. M.
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Kimball, L. Salley, H. R.
Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Lamb, Sir J. Q. Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)
Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L. Lancaster, Captain C. G. Shepperson, Sir E. W.
Cox, Trevor Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.) Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Leech, Sir J. W. Smith, Sir Louis (Hallam)
Cross, R. H. Lees-Jones, J. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Crossley, A. C. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Spears, Brigadier-General E L.
Crowder, J. F. E. Levy, T. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'I'd)
Cruddas, Col. B. Lewis, O. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Culverwell, C. T. Liddell, W. S. Sutcliffe, H.
Davidson, Viscountess Lindsay, K. M. Tasker, Sir R. I.
De Chair, S. S. Lloyd, G. W. Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
De la Bère, R. Loftus, P. C. Thomson, Sir J. D. W.
Denville, Alfred MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G. Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.
Drewe, C. McCorquodale, M. S. Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury) Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight) Wakefield, W. W.
Dugdale, Captain T. L. McEwen, Capt. J. H. F. Wallaoe, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
Duggan, H. J. McKie, J. H. Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Duncan, J. A. L. Maclay, Hon. J. P. Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)
Dunglass, Lord Magnay, T. Waterhouse, Captain C.
Eskersley, P. T. Maitland, A. Watt, Major G. S. Harvie
Edmondson, Major Sir J. Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest Wedderburn, H. J. S.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Manningham Buller, Sir M. Wells, Sir Sydney
Elliston, Capt. G. S. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)
Emery, J. F. Markham, S. F. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Marsden, Commander A. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
Everard, W. L. Maxwell, Hon. S. A. Womersley, Sir W. J.
Fleming, E. L. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Wood, Hon. C. I. C.
Foot, D. M. Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham) Wragg, H.
Fox, Sit G. W. G. Moreing, A. C. Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.
Fremantle, Sir F. E. Morris-Jones, Sir Henry Young, A. S. L. (Pertick)
Fyfe, D. P. M. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.)
Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley) Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Gluckstein, L. H. Munro, P. Mr. Turton and Mr. Raikes.
Gower, Sir R. V. Nall, Sir J.
Adams, D. (Consett) Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Pearson, A.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) Pethick Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.
Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford) Groves, T. E. Pritt, D. N.
Adamson, W. M. Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Richards, R. (Wrexham)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Ridley, G.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Hardie, Agnes Riley, B.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Ritson, J.
Banfield, J. W. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
Barnes, A. J. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Sanders, W. S.
Barr, J. Hills, A. (Pontefract) Sexton, T. M.
Bartlett, C. V. O. Hollins, A. Shinwell, E.
Batey, J. Hopkin, D. Silkin, L.
Bellenger, F. J. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Silverman, S. S.
Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W. Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Simpson, F. B.
Benson, G. Kelly, W. T. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Bevan, A. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Brown, C. (Mansfield) Kirby, B. V. Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)
Buchanan, G. Kirkwood, D. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Burke, W. A. Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G. Sorensen, R. W.
Charleton, H. C. Lathan, G. Stephen, C.
Chater, D. Leach, W. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Cluse, W. S. Leonard, W. Stokes, R. R.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R. Leslie, J. R. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Cocks, F. S. Logan, D. G. Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Collindridge, F. Lunn, W. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford Macdonald, G. (Ince) Thorne, W.
Daggar, G. McEntee, V. La T. Thurtle. E.
Dalton, H. McGhee, H. G. Tinker, J. J.
Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) MacLaren, A. Watkins, F. C.
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Maclean, N. Watson, W. McL.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Mainwaring, W. H. Welsh, J. C.
Day, H. Mander, G. le M. Westwood, J.
Dobbie, W. Mathers, G. Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)
Dunn, E. (Rather Valley) Messer, F. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Ede, J. C. Milner, Major J. Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Montague, F. Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)
Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.) Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Frankel, D. Muff, G. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Gallacher, W. Nathan, Colonel H. L. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Gardner, B. W. Noel-Baker, P. J.
Garro Jones, G. M. Oliver, G. H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Parkinson, J. A. Mr. T. Johnston and Mr. J.

Main Question, as amended, put.

The House divided: Ayes, 164; Noes, 116.

Division 21.] AYES. [7.48 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J. Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh, W.) Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon, Sir G. L. Hepworth, J.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. Herbert, Major J. A (Monmouth)
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Cross, R. H. Higgs, W. F.
Aske, Sir R. W. Crossley, A. C. Holdsworth, H.
Baillie, Sir A. W. M. Crowder, J. F. E. Holmes, J. S.
Balfour, G. (Hampstead) Cruddas, Col. B. Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J.
Barclay-Harvey, Sir C. M. De Chair, S. S. Hopkinson, A.
Barrie, Sir C. C. Denville, Alfred Howitt, Dr. A. B
Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H. Dugdale, Captain T. L. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)
Bernays, R. H. Duggan, H. J. Hume, Sir G. H.
Bird, Sir R. B. Eckersley, P. T. Hutchinson, G. C.
Boulton, W. W. Edmondson, Major Sir J. Joel, D. J. B.
Boyce, H. Leslie Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Merioneth)
Braithwaite, Major A. N. Elliston, Capt. G. S. Jones, L. (Swansea W.)
Brass, Sir W. Emery, J. F. Kerr, Colonel C. I. (Montrose)
Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Fleming, E. L. Kerr, J. Graham (Scottish Univs.)
Brocklebank, Sir Edmund Fremantle, Sir F. E. Lamb, Sir J. Q.
Brooke, H. (Lewisham, W.) Fyfe, D. P. M. Lancaster, Captain C. G.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley) Leech, Sir J. W.
Browne, A. C. (Belfast, W.) Gluckstein, L. H. Lees-Jones, J.
Bull, B. B. Gower, Sir R. V. Levy, T.
Burton, Col. H. W. Grant-Ferris, R. Liddall, W. S.
Butcher, H. W. Grattan-Doyle, Sir N. Lindsay, K. M.
Campbell, Sir E. T. Greene, W. P. C. (Worcester) Lloyd, G. W.
Cary, R. A. Gridley, Sir A. B. Loftus, P. C.
Castlereagh, Viscount Grimston, R. V. MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Gritten, W. G. Howard McCorquodale, M. S.
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Guest, Lieut.-Colonel H. (Drake) McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.
Clarke, Colonel R. S. (E. Grinstead) Guinness, T. L. E. B. McKie, J. H.
Colman, N. C. D. Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Maclay, Hon. J. P.
Conant, Captain R. J. E. Heilgers, Captain F. F. A. Magnay, T.
Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk, N.) Hely-Hutchinson, M. R. Maitland, A.
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P. Makins, Brigadier-General Sir Ernest
Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Radford, E. A. Sutcliffe, H.
Markham, S. F. Ramsbotham, H. Tasker, Sir R. I.
Marsden, Commander A. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin) Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Maxwell, Hon. S. A. Rayner, Major R. H. Thomson, Sir J. D. W.
Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Reid, W. Allan (Derby) Tryon, Major Rt. Hon. G. C.
Meller, Sir R. J. (Mitcham) Rickards, G. W. (Skipton) Wallace, Capt. Rt. Hon. Euan
Morris-Jones, Sir Henry Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry) Ward, Lieut,-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge) Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)
Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Rowlands, G. Waterhouse, Captain C.
Munro, P. Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R. Watt, Major G. S. Harvie
Nall, Sir J. Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury) Wedderburn, H. J. S.
Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H. Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen) Wells, Sir Sydney
O'Connor, Sir Terence J. Salt, E. W. Whiteley, Major J. P. (Buckingham)
O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh Samuel, M. R. A. Womersley, Sir W. J.
Palmer, G. E. H. Schuster, Sir G. E. Wood, Hon. C.I.C.
Peake, O. Selley, H. R. Wragg, H.
Perkins, W. R. D. Shepperson, Sir E. W. Wright, Wing-Commander J. A. C.
Petherick, M. Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich) Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Pickthorn, K. W. M. Smith, Sir Louis (Hallam)
Pilkington, R. Somerville, A. A. (Windsor) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Ponsonby, Col. C. E. Spears, Brigadier-General E. L. Mr. Raikes and Mr. Turton.
Procter, Major H. A. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Adams, D. (Consett) Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, S.) Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) Richards, R. (Wrexham)
Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford) Groves, T. E. Riley, B.
Adamson, W. M. Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Ritson, J.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Hardie, Agnes Seely, Sir H. M.
Banfield, J. W. Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Sexton, T. M.
Barnes, A. J. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Shinwell, E.
Barr, J. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Silkin, L.
Batey, J. Hills, A. (Pontefract) Silverman, S. S.
Bellenger F. J. Hollins, A. Simpson, F. B.
Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W. Hopkin, D. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Benson, G. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Smith, E. (Stoke)
Bevan, A. Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)
Brown, C. (Mansfield) Kelly, W. T. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Buchanan, G. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Sorensen, R. W.
Burke, W. A. Kirby, B. V. Stephen, C.
Charleton, H. C. Kirkwood, D. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Chater, D. Lathan, G. Stokes, R. R.
Cluse, W. S. Leach, W. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R. Leonard, W. Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Cocks, F. S. Leslie, J. R. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Collindridge, F. Logan, D. G. Thorne, W.
Cripps, Hon. Sir Stafford Lunn, W. Thurtle, E.
Daggar, G. Macdonald, G. (Ince) Tinker, J. J.
Dalton, H. McEntee, V. La T. Watkins, F. C.
Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) McGhee, H. G. Watson, W. McL.
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) MacLaren, A. Welsh, J. C.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Maclean, N. Westwood, J.
Day, H. Mender, G. le M. Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)
Dobbie, W. Mathers, G. Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) Milner, Major J. Williams. T. (Don Valley)
Ede, J. C. Montague, F. Wilson, C. H. (Attercliffe)
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Hackney, S.) Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. Muff, G. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Frankel, D. Nathan, Colonel H. L. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Gallacher, W. Noel-Baker, P. J.
Gardner, B. W. Oliver, G. H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Garro Jones, G. M. Parkinson, J. A. Mr. J. Morgan and Mr. T.
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Pearson, A. Johnston.

Resolved, That, while recognising the value of the powers already existing for the State and local authorities to acquire land for essential purposes, this House is of the opinion that the abolition of the private ownership of land would retard its proper development and thus be detrimental to the interests of the nation.

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