HC Deb 17 February 1944 vol 397 c345
49. Mr. J. J. Lawson

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that at an auction held in Boston, Lincolnshire, on 10th February, farms were sold at considerably increased prices, the price in one case being treble that for which it was bought a few years ago; and what action his Department is taking to deal with this exploitation of the country during the present emergency.

Mr. Hudson

I have seen a report of these transactions. I have no powers to intervene unless it appears that food production may suffer as a result of action of speculators or of threatened dispossession of tenants who are farming the land well. This danger does not appear to arise in the present case, but county war agricultural executive committees are careful to watch transactions of this sort from the point of view of food production.

Mr. Butcher

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is two-crop land, and will he give some indication as to what price he and the Crown Agent are requiring for the Crown land in this area?

Mr. Shinwell

Surely the right hon. Gentleman will not lend himself to any abandonment of the traditional practice of letting some people make money at other people's expense?

Mr. MacLaren

Is not this extortionate price for farming land a natural sequence of subsidising farm produce?