HC Deb 29 March 1922 vol 152 cc1368-9W

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is giving his attention to the crushing burden of rates on agricultural land; whether he is aware that, since the Road Board grants are confined to assistance in the upkeep of classified roads and only a small proportion of the mileage of country roads are so classified or can be classified, and since the wear and tear of roads is mainly due to traffic which pays nothing locally towards the greatly increased cost of their repair, the addition to the local rates is a burden on agricultural land for which it obtains little or no benefit in return; that the cost of maintaining pauper lunatics is three times as great as before the War and is a further burden on local rates for a purpose that is in no sense local; and whether, in view of the depressed outlook for agriculture, it is the intention of the Government to introduce legislation to relieve land from the excessive burden of rates for the purposes mentioned and other purposes, and in particular to amend the Agricultural Rates Act so as to carry out its original purpose of defraying out of the Exchequer one-half of the rates assessed on agricultural land?


Yes, Sir, I am giving close attention, in consultation with my colleagues, to the heavy burden of local rates on agricultural land, but I am not yet in a position to make any announcement as to the Government's intentions in the matter.

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