52. Mr. De la Bère
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in connection with farms which become available and to let, he will introduce some method whereby the war agricultural executive committees, or other recognised bodies, should certify that the proposed tenant had had previous farming experience, either as an owner or tenant; and what steps he proposes to take to prevent the realisation of farms at inflated prices to members of the public who were not farmers and had had no farming experience.
As the answer is rather long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Mr. De la Bère
Is my right hon. Friend aware that no person who was not a shopkeeper prior to the commencement of the war is allowed to commence in business? Why should speculators with no farming experience be allowed to acquire farms and prevent others with fanning experience from continuing farming?
Mr. De la Bère
My right hon. Friend will appreciate that it is a very appropriate supplementary question?
§ Following is the answer:
§ Under existing emergency legislation it is provided that where the tenant of an agricultural holding receives from or gives to his landlord notice to terminate his tenancy, the landlord must inform the war agricultural executive committee within one month of giving or receiving the notice. This enables the executive committee to ensure that proper arrangements are made for the farming of the land at the expiration of the notice to quit. With regard to the second part of the Question, my hon. Friend is probably aware that under emergency legislation it is provided that where the whole or any part of an agricultural holding has been or is sold since the outbreak of war, any notice to 371 quit the holding given to the tenant is null and void unless my consent is given. This has proved an effective deterrent against speculation in agricultural land. It does not, of course, cover cases of sales of their holdings by owner/occupiers, but I consider that the powers already possessed by executive committees with regard to taking possession of land and service of directions on occupiers are sufficient to ensure proper cultivation in such cases of transfer.