HC Deb 18 February 1954 vol 523 cc2148-9
43. Mr. G. Williams

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will set up a committee to inquire into the subject of common land.

Sir T. Dugdale

I have taken note of my hon. Friend's suggestion but cannot yet say whether it would be expedient to adopt it.

Mr. Williams

Whilst realising that this is a very controversial subject, may I ask whether my right hon. Friend is not aware that a great deal could be done to produce more on common land? As this is such an intricate subject, does he not appreciate that the only way to tackle it is by forming a committee to go into the whole matter?

Sir T. Dugdale

We are examining this matter very carefully and I am discussing it with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government. There are one or two points to be cleared up at present.

Mr. Snow

Is the right hon. Gentleman man aware that this is a problem all over the country? Does he remember the case of the Shenstone commoners which was referred to his Department and in which the legal tangle was such that his Department could not help?

Sir T. Dugdale

I do.

Mr. Baldwin

Would my right hon. Friend consult his liaison officers who are practical men who know about the subject, because the question of making common land of the maximum use to commoners and to the country is very important and must be tackled?

Sir T. Dugdale

Although the liaison officers give me valuable advice, I do not think that they could help me on a subject of this kind.