asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware of the desire of many county councils to acquire additional land for smallholdings and reduce the lists of approved applicants; and what advice and assistance he proposes to give to county councils.
I am aware that many county councils desire to acquire additional land for smallholdings, but I do not consider that such an extension is practicable in the immediate future by reason of the great shortage of building labour and materials, available supplies of which he must be concentrated on such urgent national needs as housing (including rural housing) and farm buildings. Nor do I consider that the provision of additional smallholdings for men returning from the Services is a matter of urgency. In the Government's view it is desirable that men coming out of the Forces who wish to take up agriculture as a career should take full advantage of the Government's Agricultural Training Scheme, even where they have had some previous experience of agriculture, so that they can obtain the necessary knowledge of up-to-date farming, methods before taking on smallholdings of their own. In the meantime, I am giving careful consideration to the question of future policy in regard to smallholdings.