HC Deb 21 November 1939 vol 353 cc1016-7
61. Mr. Boothby

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that Government tractors and ploughs are now being held in store in various agricultural districts in Scotland; and whether he will give instructions for their immediate release to farmers who wish to purchase them?

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Colville)

It is necessary to have a reserve of tractors and implements in connection with the Government's scheme for increased cultivation, but arrangements are made, whenever possible, to release machines for private purchase, and a number have already been released. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of the circular issued on 3rd November to agricultural executive committees giving details of the Government's scheme.

Mr. Boothby

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, in certain districts in Scotland, farmers have been prevented from ploughing during the last few critical weeks by their inability to obtain tractors or ploughs, which were, in fact, stored in those districts; and will he do all in his power to release such implements, where practicable, in order that farmers may put them to good use?

Sir R. W. Smith

Is my right hon. friend aware that, in certain cases, farmers have purchased their tractors, but are unable to obtain ploughs to use with them, although these ploughs are stored by the Government?

Mr. Lunn

Does that not apply to England as well as to Scotland?

Mr. Colville

I cannot answer for England. I know that implements in considerable number are available, and if my hon. Friends like to discuss the matter with me I will see what I can do to help.

Mr. R. Gibson

While these implements are held by the Government will they be available for hire?

Mr. Colville

That is not part of the scheme.