HC Deb 20 December 1916 vol 88 cc1452-3
51. Mr. PETO

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether he is aware that in the Southern Command farmers are asked to pay the military authorities the full local rate of wages for any prisoners of war they may employ, and to provide sleeping accommodation for them; and whether, seeing that this course makes such labour dearer than British labour, and that this provision is acting as a complete bar to the employment of German prisoner-of-war labour, he will see that demands for payment are more in accordance with the prospective value of the labour, taking into consideration the difficulty of language and unfamiliarity with local and other requirements?


No, Sir, I have no information to show that farmers have been required to find lodging for prisoners without payment The question of terms generally is under consideration.


Does the rule which has been made as to the rate which farmers should pay these German prisoners of war emanate from the War Office or from the Institute of Labour?


I think that that sort of thing ought to be settled in consultation. I have consulted the Labour Adviser of the Government with regard to this and I propose to consult the Board of Agriculture.

94. Major ASTOR

asked the Home Secretary whether farmers wishing to employ German prisoners, either military or civilian, have to obtain the sanction of the local police?


As regards civilians, the answer is in the negative. The Home Office is not concerned with military prisoners. Fanners wishing to employ civilian prisoners of war in the production of food have only to apply to the Home Office. The Home Office uses its discretion as to consulting the police before the men are sent out, but invariably informs the police when they are sent, and requests them to return the men to the camp if they should prove unsatisfactory in any way.


Can the police refuse to sanction the employment of such prisoners if the Home Office approve?


No, Sir.