HC Deb 24 May 1973 vol 857 cc131-3W
Mr. Ralph Howell

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has completed his examination of the proposals for reorganisation of their smallholdings estates submitted by local authorities under Section 40 of the for the following items: eggs, butter magarine, carcase meat, bacon and ham, fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables.

Mrs. Fenner

The following tables, which are derived from the National Food Survey, show the changes in household consumption for comparable income groups in each year from 1968 to 1972 on the basis 1968=100:

Agriculture Act 1970; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Godber

My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I exempted 13 authorities at their request from the duty to submit proposals because the size or nature of their estates did not offer scope for reorganisation. We have now approved the proposals of the remaining 61 authorities.

The reorganisation proposals are designed to secure a balanced structure of viable full-time holdings in the long term based on the provision of fully commercial units but with a due proportion of intermediate or starter holdings to meet the needs of tenants with limited capital or experience and the retention of some part-time holdings in areas where these still have a useful part to play in the economic structure of the agricultural community. The success of authorities in achieving these objectives is illustrated by the fact that under the approved long-term proposals the number of fully commercial holdings in England will increase from 2,160 to 4,230 and the number of intermediate and part-time holdings will fall from 3,580 and 4,760 to 600 and 880 respectively. In Wales, where my right hon. and learned Friend and I have a joint responsibility, the long-term proposals provide for an increase in the number of fully commercial holdings from 205 to 466 and the number of intermediate and part-time holdings will fall from 481 and 558 to 177 and 150 respectively.

Although the implementation of the reorganisation proposals will necessarily be spread over a period of years, smallholdings authorities expect to be able to make satisfactory progress towards achievement of the long-term structural objectives in the first five years. My right hon. and learned Friend and I are grateful to them for the care and thought which they have given to the preparation of their proposals. The final form of the proposals as approved reflected a full measure of agreement with authorities.

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