HC Deb 09 July 1968 vol 768 cc201-2
5. Mr. David Watkins

asked the Minister of Power if the National Coal Board's proposal to impose triennial rent increases on tenant farmers occupying Coal Board farms is in accordance with Her Majesty's Government's policy on prices and incomes.

Mr. Freeson

My right hon. Friend, the Minister of Agriculture has recently written to the National Farmers' Union and the Country Landowners Association and drawn the attention of the N.C.B. to the need for restraint in negotiating farm rent increases. I am sure the Board will shew this in line with Government policy.

Mr. Watkins

May we take it from that that the National Coal Board will accept further responsibility in the matter of the modernisation of farmsteadings, in view of the proposed increases?

Mr. Freeson

The communication to the National Coal Board was in line with the letters which were written to the other two organisations, that restraint should be shown in this matter in line with the White Paper. It did not deal with the point to which my hon. Friend has referred.

Mr. W. H. K. Baker

Would it not be in the interests of the National Coal Board and, therefore, the nation at large, if the Board go rid of its holdings in agricultural land?

Mr. Freeson

No, Sir.