HC Deb 07 July 1960 vol 626 cc683-4
24. Mr. Willey

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the increases in farm rents resulting from the Agriculture Act, 1958.

Mr. Hare

The latest available information shows that the average level of farm rents in England and Wales in the year ended Michaelmas, 1959, was some 8 per cent. higher than in the previous year.

Mr. Willey

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that that justifies all the warnings which we gave when we discussed the Act in Committee? Does he not also realise that the farmer is put in an impossible position in that he sees his income falling and yet is told to reduce farming costs while rents are going up steeply against him as a result of Government policy?

Mr. Hare

The hon. Gentleman is using rather extreme language. With all his knowledge of agriculture, he knows perfectly well that rents generally have in no way kept up with the extra cost of repairs and so on. With this modest increase in rents, landlords will be able to give better service to tenants by keeping farms and so on in better condition.