HC Deb 16 February 1920 vol 125 cc542-3W

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture, whether his attention has been called to the very serious hardship which is being inflicted on farmers who are being dispossessed of their holdings by county councils who are acquiring their farms for soldiers' settlements; whether any compensation is payable to them for such interference; and whether it would be possible to limit the acquisition of farm land to cases where it can be bought with vacant possession or, alternatively, to cases of holdings exceeding a certain minimum area, so that as few farmers may be deprived of their livelihood as is possible?


The Ministry are aware that in some cases the acquisition of land by county councils for the purpose of the settlement of ex-service men on the land is causing hardship to the tenants whose holdings are being acquired, but the councils can, in my opinion, be trusted to acquire land with the utmost consideration possible for the sitting tenants. In reply to the second part of the question it may be said, generally, that in such cases the tenant farmer is entitled to compensation for his interest in the farm, and he may also be entitled to compensation for disturbance under the Small Holdings Act, 1910, or the Agricultural Holdings Act, 1914. With regard to the last part of the question, I fear that, owing to the large and urgent demand for land from ex-service men, it is not possible to give an undertaking that the powers entrusted by Parliament to county councils to acquire land will be limited in the manner suggested.