HC Deb 02 November 1966 vol 735 cc446-7
21. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is aware of the sharp drop in the value of farm land; and what steps he is taking to restore the confidence of the farming community in this connection.

Mr. John Mackie

In recent months, the average price paid for farm land has fallen away somewhat from the record level reached earlier this year, but land prices are influenced by many factors besides the profitability of farming. The average price level is still higher than in any year before 1965, and it provides no evidence of any loss of confidence by farmers.

Mr. Digby

Is the Minister aware that Government district valuers are holding that it has fallen by £50 an acre in recent months, and some farmers estimate that it has fallen more? Is this not evidence of poor farming prospects under the present Government?

Mr. Mackie

I do not agree with that at all. This is one of the things that farmers are not anxious to see, namely, the high price of land in this country.

Mr. Manuel

Is the Minister aware that the price of farm land, not high quality agricultural land, has risen considerably, and that land is wanted either for the location of industry or the building of municipal houses?

Mr. Mackie

I agree with my hon. Friend.