§ Mr. A. BENNETT
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether the Statistical Department of his Ministry compiles and keeps up to date statistics showing the exact employment of the acreage of the country; whether, if this be so, he can now give further details as to the present uses of the 500,000 acres which, employed as arable during the War, went out of this form of cultivation afterwards and were used for building and industrial purposes, allotments, and park land; and whether, in view of the importance attached to official statistics dealing with the cultivation in general of land in this country, he will endeavour to obtain more detailed information with the object of maintaining confidence in the guidance given by his Department?
§ Sir R. SANDERS
Returns of the acreage under crops and grass are obtained annually in June from all occupiers of agricultural holdings exceeding one acre in extent. The local officers employed in collecting these Returns make every effort to see that all land used for agricultural purposes is properly returned, and it is improbable that any material area is omitted from these figures. The number of Returns received annually is upwards of 420,000, and it would be impracticable to trace individually the very great number of alterations which have gone to make up the total reduction in area to which the hon. Member refers. As I have previously explained this reduction is spread over years during which there were material changes in the distribution of land.