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Volume 244: debated on Tuesday 11 November 1930

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asked the President of the Board of Agriculture what was, approximately, the number of male persons employed in agriculture in England and Wales, in Scotland, and the total in Great Britain, in each of the years 1871, 1911, 1921, and the latest year for which figures are available; how many in each case were boys between the ages of 10 and 14; and what area of land has been withdrawn from agriculture between 1871 and the present time by expansion of towns, by coast erosion, or other causes?

For various reasons the figures of employment in agriculture as disclosed by the Population Census returns are not comparable over a period of years. The Agricultural Tribunal of Investigation, however, gave careful consideration to this question and included in their report, issued in 1924 (Cmd. 2145) the following adjusted figures which in their view gave a more accurate representation of changes in the numbers of males engaged in Great Britain in agriculture and horticulture. The figures include farmers and graziers but exclude domestic gardeners and farmers' relatives under 15 years.

Figures in thousands.
15 years and over1,366·01,267·31,211·8
10 years and under 15.105·532·920·0
Separate computations were not made by the Agricultural Tribunal in respect of England and Wales and Scotland, but it has been estimated that the numbers of males engaged in the main classes of agricultural employment (apart from horticulture) in England and Wales and in Scotland were as follow:

Figures in thousands.
England and Wales1,222·6971·7907·9
Great Britain1,400·81,120·11,048·15
Comparable figures will not be available in respect of a later year until the results of the next Census of Population have been issued but the following table gives particulars of the numbers of male workers, regular and casual, employed on agricultural holdings (excluding the occupier) as returned on 4th June, 1921 and 1930.
Figures in thousands.
4th June, 1921.4th June, 1930.
England and Wales743·3644·8
Great Britain836·9734·5
With regard to the last part of the question, statistics of the area of rough grazings in Great Britain are not available prior to 1892, and I am unable therefore to indicate the area of land withdrawn from agriculture between 1871 and the present day.