HC Deb 31 July 1974 vol 878 cc297-8W
Mr. Cryer

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made towards abolishing the agricultural tied cottage system.

Mr. Freeson

Following a meeting which my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Agriculture had with representatives of the National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers and the Transport and General Workers Union on 20th June my right hon. Friend has written to the unions to make clear the Government's commitment to abolish agricultural tied cottages.

As this will involve complicated legislation and a close examination of its possible impact on other aspects of housing and property law, I propose as an interim measure the restoration, as soon as legis- lative time is available, of Section 99 of the Agriculture Act 1970 to the form in which it was originally introduced by the last Labour administration. We would then proceed to a Bill to give to occupiers of agricultural tied cottages rights similar to those enjoyed by protected tenants under the Rent Acts. We shall also consult other interested parties about these proposals.

Meanwhile, I am seeking to increase local authority and housing association housing activity in appropriate rural areas. I have in mind both new buildings and the purchase and modernisation of existing buildings.