§ 54. Mr. Wingfield Digby
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on his policy regarding the future of statutory smallholdings.
§ Mr. Soames
The present policy on smallholdings was laid down 16 years ago under Part IV of the Agriculture Act, 1947. It is time that an independent body should take a look at the working of this 129W policy, and I have therefore decided to set up a Committee of Inquiry to review the working of existing legislation relating to statutory smallholdings in England and Wales, to investigate their economic position and current management problems, and to advise me on the future provision that should be made for small-holdings and related financial and administrative matters. The Committee's Terms of Reference are set out below.
Professor Michael Wise, M.C., Ph.D., F.R.G.S., of the London School of Economics has kindly agreed to serve as Chairman. I will make a further announcement when the Committee is appointed.
The following are the terms of reference:
To review and report on the working of existing legislation relating to smallholdings provided by County Councils and other authorities in England and Wales, to investigate their economic position in relation to estates owned or managed by them and their current management problems having regard to their statutory responsibilities; and to advise in the light of this review:—
- (a) on the future provision that should be made for smallholdings, including their use and management, and on any statutory or other changes that might accordingly be desirable having regard to all relevant factors, including developments in general agricultural policy and practice;
- (b) on the form which any future financial support might take;
- (c) on the division of administrative responsibility between central and local government or other authorities.