HC Deb 13 April 1943 vol 388 c1062
76. Sir R. Glyn

asked the Minister of Supply whether the shortage of agricultural tools in Berkshire which prevents farmers providing agricultural workers with hay forks, spades, etc., will be rectified in time for hay harvest; and whether quantities of these goods are being supplied to local ironmongers in proportion to their normal requirements, bearing in mind the greatly increased area under cultivation and the fact that Italian prisoners of war working on the land have to be provided with tools by the farmers?

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply (Mr. Peat)

The shortages of agricultural tools in Berkshire are expected to be rectified in time for hay harvest. These tools are distributed to ironmongers throughout the country in quantities having direct relation to the current cropping programme of the Ministry of Agriculture. The fact that Italian prisoners of war are working on the land should not affect the position, as land workers are normally supplied with agricultural tools by the farmers.

Sir R. Glyn

Will my hon. Friend see to it that an inquiry is made in the Southern counties where they are so seriously short of these tools that work is being delayed on the land and a serious position created?

Mr. Peat

We are taking immediate steps to put that right.

Mr. De la Bère

Would my hon. Friend bear in mind the position in Worcestershire, and will he also put that right?