1976 – Lord Wallace of Coslany Rose to Call Attention to the Need for Encouraging Home Production
Photo of House of Lords Chamber in London.The Lords acts as a revising chamber for legislation and its work complements the business of the Commons.
Allotments and Food Production
Lords Sitting 17 March 1976
Lord WALLACE of COSLANY rose to call attention to the need for encouraging home production of vegetables and fruit by greater provision of allotment plots and similar facilities including the restoration of waste land.
I want to make taste buds water in this House. Just imagine, having worked on a summer evening on the allotment plot or in your hack garden, you are tired out, and you cut yourself a beautiful fresh lettuce, pull a handful of spring onions; you have some nice crusty bread and cheese and, perhaps, a pint of cider. My Lords, it beats all the caviar you can buy at expensive prices, and I think I have made a few mouths water. I believe that a social change is taking place. I believe firmly there is in being a movement to return to simple values, such as the quiet cultivation of a piece of land.
The purpose of the debate is to draw attention to the urgent need for home food production, not only on economic grounds but more important still, on a social and recreational basis. This latter aspect has been overlooked for far too long. For too long a period the provision of allotments has been the Cinderella of local authority services.
I am sorry to say that in many areas allotments are regarded as more of a nuisance than a civic amenity. I well remember many years ago entering a council for the first time. The idea was to put all the young councillors on what they termed the cabbage and greens committee to pick up the work of the council. It was a committee which had no vote. One always tried to put forward to the treasurer and the council claims for water supplies and allotments, but invariably it was a long and hard battle to provide such essential commodities. Unfortunately, even today this attitude of mind continues, yet the value of allotment plots to the nation cannot be ignored, especially in these days of expensive imports of fresh vegetables.
It is estimated that an average plot of 10 rods can yield produce valued at between £50 to £75 per annum, and nationally can provide a production figure of at least £20 million to £37 million, based on the number of plots at present in use. Those are figures which I and others conclude is the average figure, but the Royal Horticultural Society say the figure is very much higher. Whatever the figures are, they are considerable and a vital contribution to the national economy.