§ 47. Mr. Stokes
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that Fowes Farm, which comprises 262 acres in the parishes of Belchamp Otten and Belchamp Walter, remains derelict because the nominal owner is penniless, the tithe-owner and the Tithe Redemption Commission have orders to distrain for tithe annuities so that no one dare put anything on the land; and what steps he proposes to take to bring this large area of what was once excellent corn-growing land under cultivation?
§ The Minister of Agriculture (Colonel Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith)
The facts relating to the property mentioned have been brought to my notice by the Essex War Agricultural Executive Committee and I am considering, in consultation with the committee, what action should be taken in the matter under the powers conferred by the Defence Regulations. I may add that the hon. Member appears to be under a misapprehension in suggesting that one of the reasons for the present state of the land is the liability of the owner for tithe redemption annuities so that no one dare put anything on the land on account of this liability. If the owner let the land, the tenant would not be liable to pay any arrears of the tithe rentcharge or tithe redemption annuities, neither would his goods, stock, etc., be liable to be distrained upon in respect thereof.
§ Mr. Stokes
Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that for many years now the owner has tried to let the land? Is it not time that the whole tithe system was abolished?