HC Deb 22 July 1941 vol 373 cc787-8
42. Sir P. Hannon

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will give sympathetic consideration to those cases in which working gardeners are being called up for military service where their continued employment is essential to the success of extended food production which has been undertaken, and where the services of women war workers are not available?

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. Tomlinson)

Market garden workers are at present reserved under the Schedule of Reserved Occupations at the age of 21. This age will be raised to 25, probably in October next. Under arrangements agreed with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, other working gardeners will not be called up if they had reached the age of 30 at the time of their registration for military service, provided that they are employed whole time on food production and, in general, that the area devoted to food production in the garden in which they are so employed, is not less than three acres. This arrangement includes gardeners in private employment where the agricultural executive committee of the area certify that substitution by older men or women is impracticable. In exceptional cases, gardeners under 30 at the time of registration, who fulfil the conditions necessary for reservation above that age, may have their calling up deferred for a limited period.

Sir P. Hannon

While I thank my hon. Friend for his reply, will he consider exceptional cases which arise before the modification of the Order in October?

Mr. Tomlinson

Yes, I think that in exceptional cases provision is already made for deferment of calling-up if the case can be made out.

Mr. Pickthorn

Is there nobody in my hon. Friend's office who knows the difference between the words "substitution" and "replacement?"