HC Deb 21 October 1943 vol 392 cc1518-9
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?

Mr. Hudson

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- 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?

Mr. Hudson

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.

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