HC Deb 16 June 1938 vol 337 cc423-4W
Mr. Crowder

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the fact that the Crown Lands Department now possess a surplus of some £3,000,000, arrangements can be made to use this sum for the making of advances at reasonably low interest to those Regent Street tenants who would be prepared to capitalise part of the ground rents which they now pay and which are so excessive as to damage their business?

Sir E. Graham-Little

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the value of the securities held by the Crown Lands Department at the 31st March, 1937, was estimated at £2,942,631; what is the object of retaining this large

bordering counties during the week ended 15th June, 1938, and during weeks respectively three months and six months previously.

reserve of unused money; and whether arrangements can be made for it to be used in a manner which will be for the improvement of Crown property and for purposes to the mutual benefit of the Crown Lands Department and its tenants?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

By Act of Parliament the Commissioners of Crown Lands are required to invest in land all sums received in respect of capital, though they may expend portions of the capital upon improvements and are directed to invest in trustee securities when suitable investments in land are not available. The Statute does not include provisions enabling the Commissioners to make advances from the capital for the purpose suggested by my hon. Friend. As and when suitable opportunities occur, portions of the sum mentioned will be reinvested in land or spent in improvements as suggested by the hon. Member, but under the terms of the Statute any improvements made must be in connection with and for the benefit of the Crown Lands and must be such works as are specified in the Third Schedule to the Settled Land Act.