HC Deb 26 October 1943 vol 393 cc24-5
38. Mr. Snadden

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has now considered the question of providing more adequate security of tenure during the war for tenant farmers; and what action he proposes to take in this matter?

Mr. Johnston

The Defence Regulations already provide that all notices to quit must be timeously intimated to the agricultural executive committee for the district so that the committee may be in a position to act in the interests of food production, if necessary by requisitioning. The Regulations further provide that where land has been sold since 3rd September, 1939, no notice to quit is effective unless the Secretary of State gives his consent in writing. There have been very few complaints reaching the Department of Agriculture of cases which are outwith the protection of the Defence Regulations and the agricultural executive committees, but if the National Farmers' Union is able to collate and submit any evidence justifying further legislative proposals, immediate consideration will be given to it.

Mr. Snadden

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the existing Regulations do not give adequate protection, and is he suggesting that because only a few have been evicted up to date no duty devolves upon him to see that others do not suffer a similar fate? Will he not reconsider this matter?

Mr. Johnston

I have said that I am in touch with the National Farmers' Union in Scotland who have been asked for particulars of any evidence that might justify action.

Mr. Kirkwood

Does the Minister not think the time has now arrived to take the land out of the hands of the landowners and give it over to the State?