§ 54. General Sir George Jeffreys
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the necessity of keeping down pests harmful to agriculture, he ensures a reasonable supply of cartridges to farmers desiring them for that purpose; and, if so, how these are made available?
Special arrangements are made for the supply of cartridges for pest destruction. A proportion of the reduced output is earmarked as an agricultural reserve which is issued only through permits granted by war agricultural executive committees.
§ Sir G. Jeffreys
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the procedure for obtaining cartridges takes considerable time and that immediate action for the destruction of pests is often very necessary?
§ Captain Cunningham-Reid
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that this year wild pigeons have done a great deal of harm to the agricultural war effort? Does he not think it would pay the country if, in order to encourage farmers to do away with pigeons and other pests, they could on demand be issued with cartridges free of charge?
§ Earl Winterton
Is my right hon. Friend aware that constant correspondence comes to Members from the South of England from farmers and war agri- 1519 cultural committees drawing attention to the impossibility of dealing with the grey squirrel and rabbit pests unless he insists on the appropriate Department supplying more cartridges?
I am aware of the difficulty, but it arises from the inherent conditions of the war and shortage of supplies. We have made a large amount of provision, and to the best of my knowledge the Ministry of Supply have dealt very generously with the requests that I have put forward.