§ Lieut.-Colonel CROFT
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the smallholders in the neighbourhood of Moordown, Bournemouth, hold the view that the rent of £4 per acre in that area is not a fair rent; and whether, since this land was previously let to a farmer for 30s. per acre he will cause inquiry to be made into these rents, in view of the difficulty of the smallholder to compete with produce grown on neighbouring farms at very much lower rents?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
As I explained on the 17th February last, in reply to the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. T. Griffiths), the rents of the civilian smallholders referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend were revised a year ago so as to accord with the rents payable by the adjoining ex-service tenants. Rents for small holdings are necessarily higher than rents of large farms owing to the large proportion of equipment required on a small holding. With regard to the small holdings in question, I have been in communication with the Hampshire County Council, and understand the matter will be considered by the Small Holdings Committee at their next meeting, but until agricultural conditions are more stabilised, I am not prepared to agree to permanent reductions of rent, but only to temporary abatements.