asked the Minister of Agriculture from what date the proposed reduction in the assessments on agricultural land is to take place; whether the basis of the new Exchequer contributions will be the total of the amounts appearing in the valuation lists at such date; whether such basis will be revised from year to year: and whether the basis upon which the Exchequer contributions are payable under the Agricultural Rates Act, 1896, will be brought up to date, so that the total Exchequer contributions in respect of agricultural land assessments will be calculated and paid upon the basis of the total of the existing assessments?
As the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already announced, it is the intention of the Government that the reduction in the assessment of agricultural land shall take effect as from the beginning of this financial year. The precise basis of the Exchequer grant to be given in respect of the loss so caused in local revenues is at present under consideration, but, as my hon. Friend will see from the reply given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the hon. and learned Member for West Fulham on the 26th April, there is no intention of increasing the grant payable under the Agricultural Rates Act, 1896.