HC Deb 26 April 1951 vol 487 c569
49. Mr. Dye

asked the Minister of Agriculture what progress has been made in providing additional smallholdings under the Agriculture Act, 1947; and how many approved applicants are now on the waiting lists of county and borough councils.

Mr. T. Williams

By 21st April, 1951, 62 schemes had been approved, providing for 135 new holdings on 6,352 acres. At the end of 1950, which is the latest date for which I have information, there were on the waiting lists 4,094 approved applicants entitled to preference.

Mr. Dye

In view of the falling off in the number of skilled farm workers employed on farms, is it not important to speed up the efforts to provide smallholdings for these skilled workers, so as to encourage them to remain on the land?

Mr. Williams

I agree with my hon. Friend. He will be aware that for quite a time housing was priority No. 1, but more recently schemes have been approved at a more rapid rate than was the case a few years ago.

Mr. Turton

Is housing still priority No. 1?

Mr. Williams

Yes, in rural as well as urban areas.