HC Deb 30 May 1940 vol 361 cc655-6
51. Mr. Craven-Ellis

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether the local agricultural war committees throughout the country have made an estimate of the derelict land in their respective areas; what is the total area of such land; and has any scheme been prepared to cultivate same with a view of increasing food production?

55. Mr. Lunn

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that there are thousands of acres of good land in this country which might be growing food, but the landlord or tenant is either unable or unwilling to make use of it for that purpose; and whether he will see that all such land is taken over by his Department under the Emergency Powers (Defence) Bill, and used for growing more food for the nation?

Mr. Hudson

The extent to which derelict land can be restored to cultivation is one of the points to which I am giving earnest attention. I can, however, give no precise figures at present.

Mr. Craven-Ellis

When my right hon. Friend gives this matter his attention will he make provision for derelict land to be cultivated by fanners who are adjacent to it?

Mr. Hudson

I have the necessary powers and propose to exercise them.

56. Mr. Liddall

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his Department has yet adopted the suggestion made some months ago that idle grasslands in Sussex should be used for increased production of vegetables; whether he has made this suggestion to the Sussex county authorities; and, if not, will he do so now that the stoppage of imports of vegetables from the Low Countries can be partly remedied in the manner indicated?

Mr. Hudson

I am not sure what suggestion my hon. Friend has in mind. A proposal which originated in Sussex for the cultivation or grazing of roadside wastes was communicated to all county councils in England and Wales early in April.

Mr. Liddall

The suggestion is to bring about an increased production of vegetables. Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the farming community are now looking to him for a lead and a drive?

Mr. Hudson

The suggestion which was circulated covered cases where waste land might be used for allotments.

Viscountess Astor

Will my right hon. Friend remind the people that vegetables are much better for them than beer?