HC Deb 16 December 1929 vol 233 cc986-7W
Viscount WOLMER

asked the Minister of Agriculture the approximate number of cows in use for milking purposes in England and in Wales?

1926. Mr. N. BUXTON

The numbers of each class of dairy cattle in England and in Wales as returned on 4th June, 1929, are shown in the following statement:

management, etc., were repaid annually to councils for each year up to the 31st March, 1926. The amount so repaid was £5,125,000, but it should be observed:

  1. (a) That the number of holdings only reached its maximum in 1923; and
  2. (b) That some part of the loss related to pre-War holdings upon which further money was spent after 1918.

As from 1st April, 1926, the Ministry pays to each council a pre-determined annual contribution for the whole of the council's pre-War and post-War holdings. The total amounts so payable in respect of the first four years were approximately as follows, and it may be assumed that the bulk is in respect of the holdings created after 1918:

1926 735,000*
1927 900,000
1928 890,000
1929 865,000

The contributions will continue at a progressively diminishing rate until by reason of the repayment of loans, the annual charges will fall to the level of the annual income.

(2) Holdings created under the Small Holdings and Allotments Act,

The number of new holdings or additions to existing holdings comprised in

*The full contribution of about £900,000 was reduced to this figure in consequence of overlapping with payments made under the arrangements in force up to 31st March, 1926.

schemes approved by the Ministry to date is 396. Including the cost of (a) providing additional equipment to some of the existing holdings, and (b) purchasing a certain amount of land previously held on lease, the approved capital expenditure is approximately £475,000. It is not yet known how much of this will be advanced by the Public Works Loan Commissioners, but all such advances will be made from the Local Loans Funds and will be repaid in full, with interest at the rate current at the time of borrowing. Some advances from the Commissioners may also be required in respect of operations by councils which did not need the approval of the Ministry because no annual loss is involved.

The Exchequer contributes a maximum of 75 per cent. of the annual loss resulting from the provision of small holdings under the Act of 1926. The contributions in respect of the approved schemes referred to amount to about £7,800 for the first year, but in respect of these holdings will diminish year by year as in the case of the holdings mentioned in paragraph (1).

(3) Approximately 350 small holdings above one acre provided by the Ministry itself under the Small Holding Colonies Acts, 1916 and 1918, and the Sailors and Soldiers (Gifts for Land Settlement) Act, 1916, are still retained, but it is impossible to separate the cost of providing these holdings from the total expenditure incurred in operating the Acts.