asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that agricultural land requisitioned by a Government Department has been entered on without giving any notice to the cultivator so that part of the crop that might have been saved is wasted; and what steps will he take to prevent this sort of thing happening?
I have received complaints to the effect stated in the first part of my hon. and gallant Friend's Question. The procedure laid down, after consultation with my Department, for the requisitioning of agricultural land for other purposes should, with the co-operation of the farmers concerned, result in no avoidable waste of agricultural crops, and I am taking the matter up with the Department concerned.
I understand that in this particular case the occupier of the field in question did not take steps to salvage the crops until over a fortnight after he had been told to do so.
Mr. De la Bère:
It shows that there is no close contact between Departments. Why does not the Ministry of Agriculture get into touch with other Departments? Over and over again it is a case of bad old tricks and ways.
Compensation in respect of land of which possession is taken by a Government Department in exercise of emergency powers is payable by the requisitioning Department, and is required to be assessed in accordance with the provisions of the Compensation (Defence) Act, 1939. I am not aware of any case where; compensation properly payable in respect of the taking possession of agricultural land has been withheld, but if the hon. Member will furnish me with particulars of any such case, I shall be happy to look into it.