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Land Ownership

Volume 557: debated on Tuesday 31 July 1956

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will arrange for a census of land ownership and the types and sizes of estates to be carried out at an early date.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government
(Mr. J. Enoch Powell)

No, Sir.

May I ask the Minister if he is aware that there has been no census of land holdings and owners in this country since 1873; and is it not time that in the management of the national estate of this country the nation should know who owns the land, how big are the various plots, and all about it?

There is provision for obtaining information about the ownership of land used for agriculture, but it is not clear that the immense labour involved in a complete survey being made and kept up to date would be justified.

May I ask the Minister whether he is aware that about 90 per cent. of the value of the total land of Great Britain is in the towns, which is not agricultural? Why does he shut his eyes to the fact that the landlords of the country have been robbing the people for years and will go on doing so—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am glad that the Opposition recognise it—and will go on doing so until he introduces a proper tax on land values?

Sir, was not that last question asked by the right hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes) one in particularly bad taste? We all know that the right hon. Gentleman has a lot of potatoes himself.

Mr. Speaker, on a point of explanation, may I tell the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Knutsford (Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport) that I have no potatoes at all. The Minister in this case is misguided. Is he aware that my interest is to get the land values, which the people have themselves created, returned to them, instead of allowing them continually to be robbed by the land owners?