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Poles (Farm Purchase)

Volume 462: debated on Monday 7 March 1949

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asked the Minister of Agriculture for what reason it is intended to settle 40 Poles on a farm at Conington Fen, Huntingdonshire, at the taxpayers' expense; and whether he will make a statement.

These Poles have not been settled on the farm at Conington Fen at the taxpayers' expense, but have purchased it on their own account.

Is the Minister aware that there are a great many British workers, including ex-Service men, who are keen to put their savings into smallholdings, and will he bear that in mind before he too readily grants, even at their own expense, the small amount of land available for settlement by Poles?

I have already explained that they were not settled on this land at the taxpayers' expense, and I have no power to prevent people from buying or selling land. With regard to the former part of the hon. Gentleman's question, the situation of this land and the poor quality of the soil are such that I would not attempt to place one British skilled agricultural worker upon it.

If I gave the right hon. Gentleman the names of British workers who are keen to settle on any land that they can get hold of, would he please reconsider this matter?

I have already had the area of land investigated by the county agricultural executive committee, and on their advice, I repeat, I would not place any British skilled agricultural worker on that particular area.