HC Deb 09 March 1944 vol 397 cc2190-1
52. Mr. Leslie

asked the Minister of Agriculture what protection will be given to tenant farmers whose land has been purchased by outsiders at inflated values; and if he will give an assurance that the present occupiers will be allowed to continue occupancy at their present rentals to enable them to carry on the good work they have been doing during the war in producing food for the nation.

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

A notice to quit served on the tenant of an agricultural holding which has been sold since 3rd September, 1939, is null and void, under Defence Regulation 62 (4A), unless I consent thereto. While the primary object of the Regulation was to prevent speculation in agricultural land, its terms are sufficiently wide to enable me to avoid the disturbance of tenants who are playing their part in the increased home food production campaign by farming their land well, and this factor is one which weighs with me when considering applications for my consent to notices to quit. I regret, however, that I am unable to give an assurance that in every case falling within the Defence Regulation the circumstances would be such as to justify my refusing consent to a notice, and in any case I have no power to intervene in the question of rent.

Mr. Leslie

Will this position continue after the war, and enable the people who have done such excellent service during the war to remain on their farms, or are we to have a repetition of the so-called gentleman farmers such as we had after the last war, when the tenant farmer had to go?

Mr. Hudson

I think that is clearly a question which will arise when we come to consider the long-term post-war policy.

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