HC Deb 10 July 1947 vol 439 cc248-50W
Sir E. Graham-Little

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will investigate a case, details of which have been submitted to him, of an ex-Service man who was dispossessed in favour of an employee of the Oxfordshire A.E.C. resulting in the destruction and sale of specialised fruit orchards established in 1887, and leaving the ex-Service man and his sons without employment after their term of service and without compensation which was refused by the Oxfordshire A.E.C.; and it he will make a statement.

Mr. T. Williams

The facts of the case are briefly as follow: In October, 1940, the tenancy of the holding was terminated under Defence Regulation 62 on the ground that it was not being cultivated in accordance with the rules of good husbandry. The landlords, the Oxfordshire County Council, then took steps to reclaim the land and relet it to a satisfactory tenant. I understand that the council first installed one of their own employees on the holding and carried out the initial work of reclamation during the winter of 1040. Then they let it to an employee of the Oxfordshire War Agricultural Executive Committee for a year under an arrangement requiring further improvements. At Lady Day, 1942, the holding was let to the present tenant who is not an employee of the Committee.

There is no provision for the payment of compensation under the Compensation (Defence) Act, 1939, to a tenant whose tenancy is terminated under Defence Regulation 62, and any claim under the Agricultural Holdings Act, 1923, lies entirely against the landlord. The tenant in this case was accordingly referred to the council. I am informed that the fruit trees which were the main subject of dis- pute were planted by the tenant's father in contravention of an express prohibition in the terms of his tenancy agreement. The council took the view that there was no legal claim for compensation for these fruit trees, and that anyway the dilapidations far exceeded the value of the trees to an ingoing tenant.