§ 49. Colonel Carver
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will investigate the case of Mr. Lund, of Throstle Field Farm, Thornton, East Yorkshire, who has been given notice to quit by the East Riding War Agricultural Committee, as 918 this farm of 89 acres, of heather land of poor quality, was bought for £700 about 23 years ago by Mr. Lund, has been farmed by Mr. Lund, who is 85 years of age, for 43 years, and as he has offered the land rent free, provided he may be allowed to live in his old age in his own house?
This case has already been fully investigated. The present owner-occupier of the farm is incapable, through age and other circumstances, of farming it properly, and the War Agricultural Executive Committee, after giving him ample opportunity either to sell or to let the farm to a competent person, have been obliged to take possession. My consent, which is necessary, has been given. I am informed that it would be impossible for the committee to let the farm to a satisfactory tenant without the use of the farmhouse and buildings, and I am afraid, therefore, that the suggestion in the last part of the Question cannot be adopted.
§ Colonel Carver
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this old man of 85 has offered everything he possesses in order that he may live and die in his own house, and could not a little sympathy be shown to him?
Every sympathy has already been shown, and every attempt has been made by the committee to reach a compromise. The task imposed upon the committee is to see that land is properly farmed and food is produced, and, although I am very sorry for the old man, if the land cannot be farmed without the house and buildings, I must have the house and buildings.
§ Mr. Granville
If the right hon. Gentleman turns this old man out of his house, is it not the responsibility of his Department to find somewhere for him to live?
No, Sir. My Department is in the same position as other Government Departments, like the Air Ministry or the War Office or the Ministry of Supply. If land has to be requisitioned or houses taken over, our task is to see that proper compensation is given.
§ Mr. Sorensen
Would it not be possible for neighbouring farmers to farm this land or for it to be farmed direct by the county war agricultural committee?
Obviously both those are possible solutions, and both those avenues have been explored, but in this case it has been found impossible to farm the land without the house and buildings.
§ Mr. Granville
Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise this case on the Adjournment.