HC Deb 25 January 1940 vol 356 cc771-2
48. Mr. J. Morgan

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether the ploughing-up subsidy of £2 an acre is payable to either local authorities, associations of allotment holders, or individuals who dig an acre of qualifying land, or more?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

Under the Agricultural Development Act, 1939, seven-year grassland ploughed or otherwise broken up is not eligible for the grant of £2 per acre unless it is two acres or more in extent and is comprised in a farm. The grant is payable to the person at whose expense the land is broken up and brought into a state of cleanliness and fertility. It is immaterial whether the land is broken up by ploughing or by digging.

Parliament is being asked to pass amending legislation which would enable one acre or more of seven-year grassland, not necessarily comprised in a farm, to qualify for the grant and, under this legislation, applications would be accepted from local authorities, associations of allotment holders and individuals in respect of one acre or more of such land broken up and brought into a state of cleanliness and fertility at the expense of the authority, association, or individual. Land dug up collectively by allotment holders would not qualify for the grant under these conditions.

Mr. Morgan

If a body of workmen, say five in number, form an association and take up an acre of land and grow crops and if that is qualified land, does the Minister say that they are not entitled to the subsidy which would be granted to a company of farmers who got together for the same purpose?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

The object of the grant was to deal with the cultivation itself and the expense incurred in cultivation. If the allotment holders are taking up the work in their spare time, that would not count for grant.

Mr. Morgan

If the Minister means by "spare time," the time put in between jobs by semi-employed dock workers and people like that, and if he means that their labour and the funds of their little societies will not count for the grant of £2, then I think he is perpetrating a sheer injustice on the allotment holders.

54. Mr. Wilfrid Roberts

asked the Minister of Agriculture what penalties a farmer may incur in the event of his failing to comply with an order to plough out land?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

Any farmer who fails to comply with directions given to him under Regulation 62 (1) of the Defence (General) Regulations, 1939, is guilty of an offence against that Regulation and is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to a fine not exceeding £100, or to both such imprisonment and such fine.

Mr. Isaacs

Are owners of park land attached to private houses under any compulsion to plough up their land?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

That depends on whether it is agricultural land within the definition of the Act.

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