HC Deb 11 July 1922 vol 156 c1077W

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the serious hardship being endured by ex-service land settlers through high rents and rates, he will direct small holdings committees to make reductions of rents regardless of what such land would make in the open market?


As I informed the hon. Member on the 5th inst., the cases of ex-service smallholders who suffered hardship owing to the drought and other exceptional circumstances last year have been dealt with by abatements of rent. Where exceptional circumstances demand it, I should be prepared to consider proposals by small holdings committees for permanent reductions of rent as from Michaelmas next. I do not think it is reasonable, however, to expect the State to meet the loss which will be incurred if small holdings are let to ex-service men at rents below the rents which could be obtained for such holdings in the open market. I think the House will agree with me that ex-service smallholders should pay a fair rent, and I am not prepared to adopt the hon. Member's suggestion that these holdings should be let at compassionate rents.

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