HC Deb 04 July 1940 vol 362 cc1003-4
55. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the uncultivated state of thousands of acres of land which are visible on a railway journey from Birmingham to London; and whether he will take steps to ensure improved cultivation of this land?

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. R. S. Hudson)

The county war agricultural executive committees, in consultation with my Department, have the matter of uncultivated or under-cultivated land under constant consideration, and all possible steps will be taken, whether by directions to the owners or occupiers of the land, by the termination of tenancies and re-letting or holdings, or, if necessary, by taking possession of land in suitable cases, to effect an improvement. I should add that, apart from administrative action of this nature, my Department, acting through the county committees, is assisting farmers in various ways with the object of enabling them to bring their land into a better state of cultivation.

Mr. De la Bère

Will my right hon. Friend pay special attention to the particular matter to which I am alluding here, because anyone who makes that railway journey knows that what I have said is true?

58. Mr. Craven-Ellis

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is satisfied that agricultural land in the county of Northampton is cultivated to its maximum, and that there is sufficient labour employed by the farmers to manage their farms in an efficient manner?

Mr. Hudson

I am not satisfied that in any county all the land is cultivated to its maximum capacity. It is for that reason that a farm survey is now being made in every county to ascertain how production can best be increased and what additional labour, fertilisers, etc., will be needed.

Mr. Craven-Ellis

May I ask how it is that Northampton County Education Committee has given an additional week's holiday to children to help on farms if there is adequate labour already available?

Mr. Hudson

That does not arise out of this Question.