Sir A. BOSCAWEN
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.