HC Deb 27 April 1944 vol 399 cc932-3
51. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Ian Fraser

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will take steps to secure for the agricultural Industry economic security for at least four years, following the precedent of the recent arrangements for the mining industry.

Mr. Hudson

I stated in the House on 26th January that I was willing to consider with the National Farmers' Union whether the undertaking given to fanners that the system of fixed prices and an assured market will continue up to one year after the cessation of hostilities can be extended up to and including the harvest of 1947. Discussions are proceeding with the National Farmers' Unions of England and Wales and of Scotland, and I hope that the necessary conditions for an extension of the period of the undertaking will be agreed shortly.

Sir I. Fraser

Will my right hon. Friend take into account that not only the farmers, as represented by the National Farmers' Union, but farm workers, also, have done a very good job during the past four or five years and have earned the gratitude of the country? They have done their work without intermission. Will he bear in mind that a settlement for their future will give them just as much satisfaction as the recent settlement gave to those in the mining industry?

Mr. Shinwell

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that we on this side would appreciate anything lie can do to prevent farm workers' wages being reduced after the war?

Mr. Hudson

We are trying to get an agreed basis, first of all, for the collection of the data as to costings, wages and so forth, and, second, for the application of this data. I have every hope that we shall be successful, but these negotiations take a certain amount of time.

Mr. De la Bère

Is it not a fact that the farming industry is efficient?