Uncultivated Land, Newmarket and South of England.

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture. – in the House of Commons on 16th July 1942.

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Photo of Mr Walter Ross Taylor Mr Walter Ross Taylor , Woodbridge

asked the Minister of Agriculture the area of cultivable land in the vicinity of Newmarket used for horse-racing and training purposes; and the area of such land already ploughed up?

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

Out of a total of 2,359 acres in the Newmarket area held by the Jockey Club for horse-racing and training purposes, 1,668 acres have been requisitioned or earmarked for military purposes and 196 acres have been ploughed up and put under arable cultivation, leaving an area of 495 acres for the original purpose. I should add that out of a total of 7,990 acres of grassland on stud farms in the same area, 2,910 acres have been ploughed up and a considerable part of the remainder is used for the grazing of dairy herds.

Mr. Taylor:

Having regard to the great reduction in the number of horses, will the right hon. Gentleman consider whether ground used for training might at least be further used for agricultural purposes?

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

No, Sir. I do not accept that, because it is earmarked for military purposes.

Photo of Major Frank Heilgers Major Frank Heilgers , Bury St Edmunds

Is the Minister aware that much of the remaining land is of very poor quality indeed, and unlikely to grow corn? Will he consider first ploughing up golf courses and other land used for sport before curtailing horse breeding further?

Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye

Why does not the Minister use his influence to get land such as this used for battle training purposes, and not allow the Secretary of State for War to steal all his good farms in East Anglia?

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that there are still in the South of England thousands of acres of commons and also of parks, public and private, uncultivated, though capable of bearing cereal crops; and whether he will instruct the war agricultural committees to use their powers to have these lands cultivated and take steps to ensure that they are supplied with the necessary labour and implements for the purpose?

Photo of Mr Robert Hudson Mr Robert Hudson , Southport

The extent to which land of the classes described can be brought into cultivation is conditioned, as my right hon. Friend recognises, by our resources of man-power and implements, to which I would add fertilisers. The augmentation of the supply of all these requirements is receiving my constant attention, but is not within my sole con- trol. No further instructions to war agricultural executive committees are needed to stimulate them to use their powers to the fullest extent consistent with the available resources.

Photo of Viscount  Turnour Viscount Turnour , Horsham and Worthing

In view of my right hon. Friend's reply and the bearing of the whole question on the shipping question, I beg to give notice that I shall endeavour to raise the matter on the Motion for the Summer Adjournment.