Clause 7. — (Amendment of statutory provisions as to compulsory acquisition of land for allotments, 9 & 10 Geo. 5, c. 59, 8 Edw. 7, c. 36.)

Part of ALLOTMENTS BILL [Lords]. – in the House of Commons on 2nd August 1922.

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Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I desire to make the most strenuous possible protest against the action taken in another place in connection with this matter. In March next a quarter of a million allotment holders of this country have, under the D.O.R.A. Regulations, to give up their allotments. Both the Minister here and the Under-Secretary in another place, in introducing this Bill, gave, as one of the principal reasons for the Measure, that it was to secure allotments for these quarter of a million men who have to give up their holdings in March next. There was a Clause in the Bill giving at least 12 months to local authorities to procure other allotments in place of those that had to be given up. In the other place that was deleted altogether. The Minister then introduced a Clause putting the period at six months. In Committee, I questioned the Minister as to whether that time would be sufficient, and he said that it would, but that it would, perhaps, be barely sufficient. The proposal now before the House is that the period should be reduced to four months, I cannot conceal from the House my great apprehension that this period will not be sufficient. I doubt very much whether during the next four months it will be possible for local authorities to conform to this, and while I cannot disagree with the course my right hon. Friend is taking, I do want to point out to the House that the position in which we are put to-day has been caused by the vote of only 30 gentlemen in another place, to a large extent, I believe, utterly irresponsible to anybody. I have the very gravest doubts as to whether the position is sufficiently secure. I agree that we are in a very difficult position to-night, because if this matter be prolonged further, there is very great risk of not securing this Bill at all. It is only that consideration which, as far as I am concerned, makes me agree with the pro-position before the House. But I do desire to put before my right hon. Friend the necessity, if this Measure be passed, of immediately communicating with the local authorities, and asking them to take the earliest possible steps to put this Section into operation.