A heavy loss from an experiment of the Government

The County Council’s Finance Committee feared the purchase of land for smallholdings for demobilised soldiers would be a burden for years to come.

Finance Committee, 25 October 1919

It is known that there will be a heavy loss on the working of these schemes, which for the time being is estimated at about £800 per annum, but it is uncertain whether, as time goes on, these losses will tend to increase or diminish. The purchases are being made to carry out an experiment of the Government – intended primarily for the benefit of ex-Service men on the footing of the loss for the first seven years being borne by the State, i.e. the Taxpayers, instead of the Ratepayers, bearing the burden for this period. The question is who will bear it afterwards? The land is at present being bought at high prices, but with the prior approval and consent of the Board of Agriculture.

In 1926 there is to be a Valuation of all the lands held by the County for Small Holdings purposes, including those bought at the commencement of the movement when prices were much lower. If the balance of the loans raised to provide the total purchase price should then exceed the Valuation the Government will assume responsibility for the excess and provide the annual Sinking Fund charges in respect of it. If, however, the land should be valued at more than the outstanding loans the County would get nothing; and in either event, after 1926, the County would be left with the land on their hands and with the obligation of clearing off the remainder of the loans as well as with the prospect of bearing any annual losses on the working that there then might be….

The Council, in considering whether or not to increase their commitments in regard to Small Holdings on the above lines, may wish to bear in mind that the projects now being pushed by a Government Department are not entirely for the benefit of ex-Service men, but are open to civilians as well. The extent to which the County should embark on unprofitable schemes, which may ultimately result in a subsidy out of the rates to civilian Small Holders as well as to ex-Service men is for the Council to consider and determine.

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

An experiment of the Government – intended primarily for the benefit of ex-Service men

The Government was strongly encouraging local authorities to provide land for ex-servicemen to take up farming. Berkshire County Council was sceptical.

25 October 1919

[Referring to the purchase of land for smallholdings] It is known that there will be a heavy loss on the working of these schemes, which for the time being is estimated at about £800 per annum, but it is uncertain whether, as time goes on, these losses will tend to increase or diminish. The purchases are being made to carry out an experiment of the Government – intended primarily for the benefit of ex-Service men on the footing of the loss for the first seven years being borne by the State, i.e. the Taxpayers, instead of the Ratepayers, bearing the burden for this period. The question is who will bear it afterwards?

The land is at present being bought at high prices, but with the prior approval and consent of the Board of Agriculture.

In 1926 there is to be a Valuation of all the lands held by the County for Small Holdings purposes, including those bought at the commencement of the movement when prices were much lower. If the balance of the loans raised to provide the total purchase price should then exceed the Valuation, the Government will assume responsibility for the excess and provide the annual Sinking Fund charges in respect of it. If, however, the land should be valued at more than the outstanding loans the County would get nothing; and in either event, after 1926, the County would be left with the land on their hands and with the obligation of clearing off the remainder of the loans as well as with the prospect of bearing any annual losses on the working that there then might be….

The Council, in considering whether or not to increase their commitments in regard to Small Holdings on the above lines, may wish to bear in mind that the projects now being pushed by a Government Department are not entirely for the benefit of ex-Service men, but are open to civilians as well. The extent to which the County should embark on unprofitable schemes, which may ultimately result in a subsidy out of the rates to civilian Small Holders as well as to ex-Service men is for the Council to consider and determine.

Berkshire County Council Finance Committee minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

Training disabled Officers in Agriculture

Officers were helped to settle down as farmers.

Agricultural Instruction Committee report
18 October 1919

OFFICERS’ AGRICULTURAL TRAINING

The Board of Agriculture have furnished their observations with regard to the future working of this Scheme, the principal of which are (a) the number of allowances to be granted have been increased from 1,000 to 2,000; (b) the more stringent selection of candidates, and (c) grants hitherto paid to be regarded in future as maximum grants.

The Sub-committee submit the following information:

Applications received
Withdrawn 3
Transferred to other counties 2
In abeyance 1
Returned to Board of Agriculture 2
Refused 23
To be interviewed 5
Interviewed 43
Total 79

Applicants interviewed
Transferred 3
Refused 5
Withdrawn 5
Recommended for grant 30
Total 43

Applicants recommended
Placed 26
To be placed 1
Withdrawn 3
Total 30

Applicants at present in training 23
Applicants relinquished training 1
Applicants not commenced training 3
Total 27

Number of farmers selected as suitable to give training 32

TRAINING OF DISABLED OFFCIERS

The Board of Agriculture and Fisheries have taken over the responsibility of training disabled Officers in Agriculture, who are eligible for training under the Royal Pensions Warrant, and the Committee are asked to cooperate in the administration of the Scheme. The functions which the Committee would be called on to perform are (a) to act as advisors to the Board and to candidates; (b) to assist candidates to get into touch with suitable farmers; and (c) to supervise the training. All allowances and fees will be paid direct by the Board.
Acting upon the Board’s suggestion, the Committee have delegated the local administration of the Scheme to the Officers’ Agricultural Training Sub-committee.

Smallholdings and Allotments Committee report, 18 October 1919

COOMBE ESTATE

Mr A C Cole offered his Coombe Estate (about 2,300 acres) for a colony for the settlement of ex-Service men, and the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries requested that the property should be inspected…

The Committee have received a full report by the Land Steward, but cannot recommend it for either Small Holdings or Land Settlement….

While recommending schemes for Small Holdings which show a heavy annual deficit, the Committee have requested that the attention of the Council should be drawn to the fact that such schemes are not only approved by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, but are undertaken primarily to provide for the settlement of ex-Service men, to whom preference is recommended under the Land Settlement (Facilities) Act.

Berkshire County Council minutes (C/CL/C1/1/22)

Are you doing your part in this time of the Nation’s Trial?

Maidenhead gardeners were encouraged to grow food.

READ! IT IS URGENT!! IT CONCERNS YOU!!!

URGENT APPEALS AND WARNINGS BY LORD RHONDDA and MR. PROTHERO

LORD RHONDDA, The Food Controller, gives Notice that unless we Ration ourselves, we shall be rationed!

Mr PROTHERO, President of the Board of Agriculture, says without a vast increase in HOME PRODUCTION OF FOOD we can scarcely hope to hold out!

2,400,000 Acres of new land must be broken up before next April to produce Food for next year!

Are you doing your part in this time of the Nation’s Trial? Are you cultivating all the ground you can? Are you securing the Best Possible Crops? Webster’s Noted Seeds will enable you to do so. But they are scarce, and the demand will be heavy. Moral: Order Extra Early. Catalogues will be ready early in the New Year, and can be had Free, on application to

124, High Street, and Station Front,
MAIDENHEAD.
And at the COOKHAM and BOURNE END BRANCHES.

DO YOUR BIT, AND HELP TO WIN THE WAR

Advertisement in Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, December 1917 (D/P181/28A/26)

“100,000 tonnes of potatoes could be added to the food supply of the Nation”

Winkfield people hoped communal effort would help with food shortages.

WINKFIELD WAR ASSOCIATION.

Mr. Asher has generously presented a spraying machine for potatoes for the use of the parish, but though it was ordered by the Association 5 or 6 weeks ago it has not yet arrived. When it comes it is hoped that we may be able to have a demonstration on the allotments in Winkfield Row and make arrangements whereby the machine can be used to the best advantage.

The Board of Agriculture assert that if small growers of potatoes in England and Wales would spray their crops this year, 100,000 tonnes of potatoes could be added to the food supply of the Nation.
The Association has also taken steps to try and insure that an adequate supply of coal shall be available next winter for those who cannot store coal in large quantities in the summer, and they have applied to the Coal Controller for leave to buy 250 tons at once. No reply has yet been received, but we hope to be able to state that this effort has been successful and give full particulars of the terms on which the coal can be bought next winter.

Owing to War conditions it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep our Choir up to anything like full strength in either men or boys. We should therefore welcome any assistance from the congregation, and in the hope that it will lead to more hearty congregational singing we ask all able to do so to attend the short practices which will be held in the Parish Room every Sunday evening at 6 o’clock.

Winkfield section of Winkfield District Magazine, July 1917 (D/P151/28A/9/7)