HC Deb 08 July 1942 vol 381 cc762-3
35. Sir Ralph Glyn

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in consultation with the Board of Control, arrangements may be made for suitable mental patients to be employed at fruit picking during the season in view of the shortage of labour?

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture (Mr. T. Williams)

Arrangements have already been made for suitable mental patients to be accommodated in hostels and to be employed in agriculture under the directions of county war agricultural executive committees. Institutions have also been urged by the Board of Control to organise working parties to help farmers with seasonal work. I understand from the Board of Control that there are very few suitable patients available who are not either covered by these arrangements or employed in the Institutions' farms and gardens in the production of food for consumption in the Institutions.

Sir R. Glyn

Can my right hon. Friend say what steps can be taken by owners of orchards to get this labour?

Mr. Williams

Surely the thing to do would be to apply to the county war executive committees, making their needs known.

Sir R. Glyn

Is my right hon. Friend aware that these committees say they have no powers?