§ 6. Sir H. BRITTAIN
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has any statistics to show the existence of an unsatisfied demand for small holdings; and, if so, what steps are being taken by the responsible authorities to meet it?
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Guinness)
The number of unsatisfied applicants for small holdings and cottage holdings on the lists of county and county borough councils in England and Wales on 31st December, 1928, was approximately 5,500. Powers have been conferred on councils by the Small Holdings and Allotments Act, 1926, to enable them to provide further holdings, with the aid of contributions from the State in cases where an annual loss is expected to result. The circumstances are not at 8 present altogether favourable to any great activity; nevertheless, schemes have been approved for the provision of upwards of 300 new holdings, and in addition many applicants are being settled as vacancies occur on councils' existing estates, which comprise about 28,000 holdings. Advances have also been made to about 100 applicants to enable them to purchase holdings from private owners.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Could not the steps taken include making the land cheaper and more accessible to labour? Is the right hon. Gentleman including in these steps any method of getting the land more cheaply?
§ Mr. GUINNESS
The land is bought at a fair price, and I certainly do not recommend any steps for taking it over on terms which would involve serious injustice to the present owners.