§ 35. Mr. Hurd
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will consult with the Agricultural Mortgage 1408 Corporation and the Lands Improvement Company to ascertain to what extent landowners and farmers are now using the facilities for improvement loans to modernise buildings and equipment, and to consider whether amending legislation is needed.
The volume of loans sanctioned under the Improvement of Land Acts during the past four years has averaged just over £150,000 per year for improvements. I fully recognise the importance of adequate capital for permanent improvements and would refer my hon. Friend to my remarks on that subject in the debate on 30th April last.
§ Mr. Hurd
Does not my right hon. Friend agree that the sum which he has mentioned is very small in relation to the need? When he has these consultations with the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation and the Lands Improvement Company would he see that the facilities they can offer are in the form which farmers can best use?
I agree that the figures are not large. They represent only a very small part of the total lendings of these two organisations. My hon. Friend is no doubt aware that it is desirable at the present time to restrict capital expenditure even on projects which will be of very great long-term benefit. I hope that the necessity for that restriction will be only temporary.