asked the Minister of Agriculture why he has declined to give any encouragement to the carefully-prepared proposals of the East Riding County Council for reclaiming a large area of the foreshore in the River Humber between Sunk Island and Spurn Point, comprising 9,000 acres, in view of the unemployment in the East Riding of Yorkshire both amongst the industrial and agricultural population and of the successful reclamation in this area in past years, as, for example, Sunk Island itself, with its rich agricultural land, which was reclaimed by Crown action?
I explained the position in reply to a similar question by the hon. and gallant Member on 11th February, and there is nothing that I can usefully add to the answer which I then gave.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that since that date, there has arisen considerable unemployment among agricultural workers in the East Riding, and that the matter is becoming very urgent; and will he consider very carefully the plans put before him by the county council, which have been prepared by their experts?
The county council can, of course, approach the Unemployment Grants Committee for assistance in this matter, but I can only repeat that our experts advise that there is very little of this land—not more than 250 acres—which is ripe for reclamation.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the local farmers who know the land, and local agriculturists, are convinced that there is a very valuable area to be reclaimed—an immense area?
It is a matter for experts and engineers. It is no use spending money on reclaiming a large area of land which could give no agricultural value. It is necessary, if you are to get any return from reclamation, to delimit those areas where herbage is beginning to grow, and where there is some prospect of agricultural return.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the knowledge of his experts is as nothing compared with the knowledge of the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy)?