HC Deb 02 November 1916 vol 86 cc1832-3

asked what steps the Board of Agriculture and Development Commission are taking to bring into immediate cultivation either the 12,000 acres now lying fallow or the many thousands of acres still unre- claimed; and whether any progress has been made in utilising the services of the German prisoners in the production of food?


A Committee recently appointed by the War Office is now, I believe, actively at work upon the consideration of proposals for the employment of German prisoners of war, including such proposals as my Noble Friend makes, and I will, at the earliest possible moment, see that he is informed of the result of their work.


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture if his Department will consider the advisability of preparing a scheme for using, if necessary, all land in this country which is suitable for the growing of wheat and vegetables, whether private lands, public parks, or any such lands, not at present being used in the best public interest; and to make more secure the food supplies of the nation?


No such scheme appears to be practicable, owing to the shortage of labour that exists for all agricultural work, but if my hon. Friend will be kind enough to make any practical suggestions, I shall be most grateful to him.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in many districts there has been a considerable addition to the food supply by working men utilising the land in their spare time, while in other districts nothing has been done?


The action that has been taken is largely due to the fact that we have brought the matter to the notice of the local authorities, and encouraged them to do everything that is possible in this direction. If hon. Members know where it is possible to do more in the way of allotments than is now being done, I should be glad to hear from them.