HC Deb 17 July 1980 vol 988 cc1734-5
3. Mr. Heddle

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what criteria he adopts when considering applications for short fixed-term licences granted under section 2 of the Agriculture Holdings Act 1948.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Jerry Wiggin)

In general terms, ministerial approval to a section 2 short-term letting or licence is given whenever it would be unreasonable to require a full agricultural tenancy to be entered into.

Mr. Heddle

Will my hon. Friend state how many licences have been granted by the Government on land not owned by local councils, and for what reasons? Most particularly, will he agree that a more liberal use of the provisions of section 2 of the 1948 Act would release more land to enable young farmers to get on the ladder and eventually assume an agricultural tenancy?

Mr. Wiggin

I have not the figures for the last year, but in the last five years 6,797 such lettings have been given. My hon. Friend will realise that those tenants do not have security of tenure. This is a licence and a special issue that should not be treated as a way of getting round the main legislation.