HC Deb 04 April 1940 vol 359 cc313-4
47. Mr. Levy

asked the Minister of Agriculture what is the cost of raising, training and equipping the Women's Land Army; whether their work on the land is a success and acceptable to farmers; and is he satisfied that this organisation is efficient and economical?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

As the answer is long and contains a number of figures, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Levy

Can my right hon. Friend answer verbally the last part of the Question?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

Yes, Sir. I am satisfied that this organisation is efficient and economical.

Following is the reply:

The cost of providing four weeks' training on an approved farm for those members of the Women's Land Army who need it is £5 each, to which has to be added the cost of travelling to and from the place of training. The cost of training at Agricultural Colleges and Farm Institutes amounts to about double that sum, because a contribution has naturally to be made towards the expenses of the institution. The cost of equipping a Women's Land Army volunteer with the outfit necessary for her to undertake farm work is between £3 and £4.

The cost to my Department of recruiting volunteers, of organising their training, arranging to meet the employment demand from farmers and supervising the general welfare of the volunteers is expected to amount to between £60,000 and £70,000 during the financial year 1940. This covers administrative costs at headquarters, the cost of the county organisation throughout England and Wales and expenditure on recruiting and propaganda, including the proposed recruitment of an untrained Auxiliary Force for seasonal work during 1940. I am glad to be able to say that many messages of appreciation of the work that is being done by Women's Land Army volunteers are being received, and I am satisfied that the organisation of the supply of this valuable additional labour is not only essential but is both efficient and economical.