DECLINE OF AGRICULTURE.
the past twenty years in Sussex, and have come to the conclusion that there is between 400,000l. and 500,000l. less spent per annum in the cultivation of the soil in Sussex alone. This is a very important point to bear in mind in dealing with the question from a local point of view. It means that enormously fewer men are employed in the cultivation of the land. At least two-thirds of the sum I have mentioned would be spent in actual wages to labourers, and if the figures will bear examination, and I am satisfied that they will, they mean that between 7000 and 8000 fewer men are employed in agriculture in Sussex than twenty years ago. The hop industry has been most seriously affected. There are 5600 fewer acres under hops in Sussex than there were twenty years ago. I can speak from personal experience as manager of my father's estate in the neighbourhood of Battle, that whereas when I was a boy there was a hop garden on every farm, there is now not a single hop garden on the Normanhurst estate. Allotments and Small Holdings Acts are suggested for meeting the difficulty. Are they likely to be of great effect? During the past six years the only business done by the Allotments and Small Holdings Committee of the East Sussex Council was to receive a formal application for the enlargement of Hailsham cemetery; there had been no applications for allotments or small holdings. I have as a landowner granted facilities for small holdings or allotments where there has been a demand for them, but I do not think much is to be hoped for from an extension of the Allotments and Small Holdings Acts until there is a greater demand for land.
The real difficulty of the farmer is the question of