§ 41. Mr. LLOYD
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that experienced and responsible agriculturists in the county of Salop give it as their considered opinion that the labour position at the present time is more difficult than at any period of the War, and that, if the policy of the Government is not changed and the soldiers allowed to stay on the land, thousands of acres will not be sown this year; and what steps he proposes to take?
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Sir Arthur Boscawen)
The question of the withdrawal of the soldiers who are still at work on farms has been further considered by the Government, who have decided that 10 per cent. of the men, chosen from among those who are indispensable to agriculture, shall be retained. The duty of selecting the men to be retained is being placed on the county agricultural executive committees. In the meantime; the recall of the men has been postponed to 28th May, in order to enable the selection to be made.
§ Colonel MILDMAY
Is he aware that these men are skilled agriculturists and skilled horsemen, who are absolutely irreplaceable?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
We believe that the majority of the really skilled men will be retained in the 10 per cent.
§ Colonel GRETTON
In the event of more than 10 per cent. proving to be indispensable, what action will be taken?
§ Major O'NEILL
May I ask if there are county agricultural committees in Ireland, and, if not, what bodies should be applied to there for these releases?
§ Lieutenant-Colonel WEIGALL
In the event of county agricultural committees reporting that more than 10 per cent. are indispensable, will the Board of Agriculture use all their efforts with the War Cabinet?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
Certainly; we will do all we can to see that as many men are retained as possible in the interests of the industry.