HC Deb 26 June 1940 vol 362 cc435-6
19. Mr. Lunn

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether war agricultural committees have to get his approval before they can take possession of under-cultivated land; and is he prepared to reduce the amount of correspondence and delay so that these committees can be given authority to increase food production without having to refer every detail to him?

Mr. T. Williams

Under the Cultivation of Lands Order, 1939, my right hon. Friend's consent is required to a War Agricultural Executive Committee exercising the drastic power of taking possession of land. In order, however, to facilitate procedure and avoid delay, my right hon. Friend has arranged for such consent to be given by the Department's local Land Commissioner in the case of farms which are not being cultivated according to the rules of good husbandry and for which a suitable tenant is forthcoming or of derelict land.

Mr. Lunn

Is my hon. Friend aware that some war agricultural committees are complaining very much about the delay in utilising derelict land for the purpose of food production? Will the Minister take steps to see this work is speeded up?

Mr. Williams

I have already explained in my reply that my right hon. Friend has delegated this power to the Land Commissioners, and as a result a good deal of delay ought to be avoided in the future.

Sir Francis Fremantle

Will the Minister see that information is given to the landowners as well as to the tenants, which is not always done?

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