§ 31. Colonel WEDGWOOD
asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the great unemployment, he will consider taking the same steps as were taken in the early part of the War in similar circumstances, and get local authorities to take land under the emergency powers for all who will use land for allotments and market gardens?
§ Mr. PARKER (Lord of the Treasury)
I have been asked to reply. The emergency, powers for the acquisition of land for allotments, which were exercised during the War under the Defence of the Realm Regulations, have been replaced by the permanent powers conferred on local authorities by the Land Settlement 731 (Facilities) Act, 1919. Under those powers local authorities can acquire land for allotments, by compulsion if necessary, on 14 days' notice, and the price or rent to be paid can be fixed in default of agreement by an official arbitrator under the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919. The Ministry is constantly pressing local authorities to exercise these powers wherever there is an unsatisfied demand for allotments.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
May I ask the Prime Minister, to whom this question was originally addressed, whether, in view of the serious unemployment difficulty in this country at the present time, he cannot undertake to do the same for these people out of work as was done during the War for people out of work, and secure them land for allotments? Is he aware that the 1919 Act is hardly being used at all, and that in any case it is no use to secure allotments for these people, because it requires local authorities to acquire the land, and during the War the land could be taken and handed back to the owners?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I think my hon. Friend is wrong when he assumes that the Act of 1919 is not being used. On the contrary, I believe it is being used on a very extensive scale; but, if unemployment continues, I think it will be worth while considering the question of the extent to which allotments might be used for the purpose.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is not so much a question of Acts of Parliament as of pressure from himself and by Government circulars urging the local authorities to take action?