HC Deb 24 October 1940 vol 365 cc1139-41
46. Rear-Admiral Beamish

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that, apart from damage to house property, there is a number of bomb craters about the country in agricultural land and gardens; that the owners of such land and gardens have neither the labour nor the money to restore the damage; and what steps he is taking to rectify this position?

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

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply given on 16th October to a Question put by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Howdenshire (Colonel Carver).

Rear-Admiral Beamish

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that the War Office have already disclaimed responsibility and are not helping in this matter, and can he use his influence with other Departments in order to get the matter speeded up?

Mr. Hudson

Part of the answer given by the Parliamentary Secretary was: The acreage of agricultural land which has been rendered temporarily uncultivable owing to enemy action is infinitesimal compared with the total acreage under crops and grass in this country while the damage to buildings has been relatively insignificant. As regards the repair of farm buildings and plant damaged by enemy action, my right hon. Friend is prepared, on the recommendation of the War Agricultural Executive Committee for the county concerned, to consider action under the Essential Buildings and Plant (Repair of War Damage) Act, 1939."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th October, 1940; col.692, Vol. 365.]

48. Sir J. Lucas

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will take steps to enable farmers whose land is pitted with bomb craters to have these filled in and damage repaired without additional cost to themselves and without unreasonable delay; and to whom they should apply?

Mr. Hudson

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the answer which was given by my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for War to the hon. and gallant Member for Hertford (Sir M. Sueter) on 22nd October, as to the assistance which the Army is willing to give in this matter. Any further steps must await the result of the examination of the problem of insurance for war damage in industry generally.

Sir J. Lucas

May I ask for a reply to the last part of my Question, in which I asked to whom farmers should apply?

Mr. Hudson

To the war agricultural committees.

Lieut.-Colonel Heneage

Has my right hon. Friend taken into account the necessity of replacing broken land drains, which have a very deleterious effect upon the land?