50. Mr. Donald Scott
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the urgent need for keeping gardens capable of food production under cultivation, he is considering the provision of the necessary labour; and whether there are any schemes for training girls for use in food production in private gardens receiving his support and approval?
The heavy calls on manpower make it necessary for owners and occupiers of private gardens themselves to give all the help they can in food production and to try to manage with the assistance of women and part-time local labour. Women's Land Army members are available for employment on food production in private gardens. Although farmers' demands must take precedence, a substantial number of volunteers have been placed in employment in private gardens after a short horticultural training.
Can the Minister say how many members of the Women's Land Army are being employed full-time in gardens?
§ Sir H. Williams
Can the Minister say how many spend a substantial period of their time filling up forms on which there are over 100 questions?
§ Mr. Garro Jones
Is the Minister aware that hundreds of thousands of small gardens have been left entirely uncultivated? Cannot he do something by encouragement and propaganda to deal with this position?
I have repeatedly called the attention of local authorities to this matter, and I believe that steps are being 335 taken wherever possible to see that these gardens are cultivated, but if the hon. Member has any particular case in mind, I will look into it.
§ 54. Mr. Loftus
asked the Minister of Agriculture why he has recently informed the Oxfordshire Garden Produce Committee that it is not the Minister's policy to stimulate the production in private gardens and allotments of surplus vegetables for sale?
The sentence to which my hon. Friend refers has been taken out of its context. I would refer my hon. Friend to the very full explanation of the policy decided on after consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Food which I gave in answer to a Question by the hon. Member for West Nottinghamshire (Mr. Hayday) on nth March.
§ Mr. Loftus
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that Reply I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.
§ 56. Mr. Leslie
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether an order can be issued to compel owners or tenants of gardens to clear their lawns of weeds in order to safeguard the growing of vegetables in adjoining gardens and allotments?
Under the Corn Production Acts (Repeal) Act 1921, directions can be given by a county council or county borough agricultural committee, requiring the destruction of certain injurious weeds, namely, thistles, docks and ragwort, whether growing on agricultural land or in gardens.