In view of the Government's attitude towards inflation, does not the hon. Gentleman consider that any increase in farm rents should be investigated immediately? Is he aware that Woosnam and Tyler, agents in my constituency, wrote in July to certain farmers asking for a 75 per cent. increase in rents and that they have now written to say that in view of the situation in general concerning prices and interest rates, those farmers should ignore that increase because it is unrealistic in the present situation? Will the hon. Gentleman act swiftly to investigate the situation, as his Government did with regard to agricultural workers' wages?
These are two totally different matters. The rise in agricultural rents in 1967–68 was 6·3 per cent. In 1970–71 they rose by 5·8 per cent. Where a farm is let to a sitting tenant the rent can be increased only by agreement between the landlord and the tenant, and in the event of a dispute there is a statutory provision for settlement by arbitration, as the hon. Gentleman is aware.