LAND SETTLEMENT FOR THE UNEMPLOYED
[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] Siu,—The work which the Land Settlement Association was set up' to do for the unemployed is now well under way. Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Malcolm Stewart, who pre- iented us with an estate at Potton in Bedfordshire, the first of our colonies," so to call them, is now in being, and the Asso- ciation has already authorized the buying of two additional estates in order to complete the first half of the programme which Mr. Stewart, now Commissioner for the Special Areas of England and Wales, has asked us to undertake to relieve un- employment in the Durham and South Wales areas. Actually, we hope to have six settlements, each of forty families, which means two hundred and forty families, or roughly a thousand people, in hand within the next twelve months.
Before we proceed to buy the next two " Pottons," I want, through your columns, to ask those landowners whom you number among your readers, and who can if they will, follow the example of Mr. Malcolm Stewart at Potton, to consider presenting us with the necessary land. Land, let me point out, ranks to its full value with donations of money in enabling us to claim the Government's pound-for-pound guarantee to contribute 175,000 a year to the land settlement experiment we are carrying out at the request of the Minister of Agriculture.
It is true that we already have promises of subscriptions amounting in total to a very considerable sum. But these sub- scriptions are, for the most part, spread over five, and in some cases seven, years ; and it is now that we want both the land and the money. Before, therefore, we encroach on what we have in hand to buy land—it is urgently needed for running expenses—I appeal to those of your readers who are already well endowed to consider giving us of their surplus—in this case, land.
This business of settling people on the land is very costly. Let there be no doubt of that. And it may be a useful cor- rective to the figures which are so light-heartedly quoted in many quarters if I give the actual facts. The cost of settling a man and his family on the land, according to our carefully considered calculations, is roughly £750. The cost of a complete " Potton," of which we want to have six going this year, is £30,000.
But there is this attraction. in giving a donation to the land settlement scheme. Each contribution is immediately doubled, if not actually trebled. A donation of £10,000 in money or in land, with the Government's contribu- tion and the corresponding contribution which the Com- missioner for the Special. Areas has promised in so far as the schemes affect the Special Areas, gives us that £30,000. A donation of £10,000 means, therefore, the starting of another " Potton."
And equally—the point may appeal to those who are unable to contribute in thousands-1250 becomes £750, which gives the donor the satisfaction .of knowing that he has been the means of placing a single family in a Potton settlement.
That is the appeal. I make to the generosity of your readers. Give us of your land, or give us of your money. Your gift is inunediately multiplied by three, and you have the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping in ,a practical experiment which the Government wants carried out, as well as making yourself responsible for a family or a group of families, in whom at the moment hope is dead, and to whom mere relief is a mockery of manhood.—I am, Sir, yours very truly, PERCY JACKSON, Chairman.
The Land Settlement Association Ltd., Broadway Buildings, Broadway, Westminster, S.W. 1.