HC Deb 13 March 1941 vol 369 cc1422-3
54. Sir I. Albery

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that some farmers in Kent have been returning seed and curtailing their vegetable crops on account of an expected shortage of labour for gathering the crops; and will he give an assurance that adequate steps will be taken to ensure the gathering of all crops planted?

Mr. Hudson

I was not aware of the facts stated in this Question, although I understand that there is some anxiety among farmers in North Kent as to what the labour position may be later in the year. While I obviously cannot give any guarantee as to what may be possible in any particular district in several months time, I can assure my hon. Friend that my Department, in co-operation with the Ministry of Labour and the county war agricultural executive committees, will take every practicable step to ensure an adequate supply of labour for the planting, cultivation and harvesting of essential crops. It will, of course, be necessary for farmers to co-operate by notifying their probable requirements in good time either to their local Employment Exchange, or to their county war agricultural executive committee.

Sir I. Albery

Has my right hon. Friend taken into account the fact that a great deal of the female labour which was to have been available to collect crops will not now be available owing to the increased demands for female labour?

Mr. Hudson

That is a matter which obviously we cannot overlook.

Viscountess Astor

Is not that entirely due to the lack of foresight on the part of the Minister of Agriculture before the present Minister?

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