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Volume 436: debated on Monday 28 April 1947

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asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps are being taken to bring about the cultivation of an increased number of allotments.

A circular letter, a copy of which I am sending to the hon. and gallant Member, was addressed to local authorities on 7th January last emphasising how essential it was, in the national interest, that they should once again make the maximum effort to ensure the cultivation for vegetable production of all allotments and private gardens in their area, indicating the lines on which national propaganda was proceeding, anti urging them to support it by conducting their own local propaganda campaign.

Will the hon. Gentleman consider making a broadcast to householders to get busy on their allotments? Will he also consult his colleagues in the Fighting Services, to see that more food is grown in camps, both here and in Germany? Further, is he aware that it is not possible to send seeds to Germany by post, and will he get this rectified?

A fortnight ago I mentioned allotments specially in my broadcast. My Ministerial colleagues are helping all they can to sow the good seeds of digging for plenty.

Will the right hon. Gentleman prevent local authorities from taking away existing allotments, which is happening now?

We have done our best with local authorities, and with a good deal of co-operation, to dissuade them from taking over allotments for playing fields, and that kind of thing, but where it is a question of housing, then it is a 'different matter.

Will the Minister say why nothing was done for allotment holders under the Agriculture Bill? Does he anticipate introducing early legislation to encourage security of tenure for allotment holders?

As the hon. Gentleman knows, there are I10 Clauses in the Agriculture Bill, which called for 26 meetings of the Committee before we got it through the Committee stage—

—and to deal with every conceivable agricultural possibility in that one Bill would take a very long time.

Will my right hon. Friend consider the launching of a Government campaign for speeding up allotments, similar to that which took place during the war, in order to supplement the efforts of local authorities? Will he consult the National Allotment Society?

There is a campaign going ahead, and to add to that I have promised the hon. Member and his colleagues that I will attend the National Allotment Society's annual conference.