HC Deb 26 November 1945 vol 416 cc889-90
53. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will confer with the Minister of Labour with a view to introducing a greater degree of flexibility into the demobilisation scheme for agricultural workers, in view of the falling-off in numbers available from prisoners of war and other sources.

Mr. T. Williams

1 am already in consultation with my right, hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service on this matter.

Mr. Vernon Bartlett

Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the imports a nee of informing the war agricultural executive committees that the emergency is no longer so acute in the Forces, and that they could do a great deal if they were more generous in their recommendations of Class B releases?

Mr. Williams

I am not unhopeful of something happening shortly on the lines indicated.

Mr. De la Bère

We must have more men on the land.

67. Lieut.-Colonel Dower

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many applications for the release of agricultural workers under Class B have been received by the Cumberland W.A.E.C.; how many such applications have been supported and forwarded to him by the Cumberland W.A.E.C.; in how many cases has his Ministry recommended release; and how many releases have actually been obtained.

Mr. T. Williams

Ninety-six applications for Class B release under the individual specialists scheme have been dealt with by the Cumberland W.A.E.C. up to date. Nineteen of these have been forwarded to my Department, which recommended seven to the appropriate authorities. Release has been approved in four cases, one has been rejected for noncompliance with the essential conditions, and the decision in the remaining two is awaited.

Lieut.-Colonel Dower

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that from his answer only four out of the applications from Cumberland have been granted under Class B? Is it not high time, in view of the shortage of labour on the land, that a different attitude was adopted towards this question?

Mr. Williams

The hon. and gallant Gentleman will agree, of course, that the numbers to which the Ministry of Agriculture were limited to the end of December applied only to specialists, and that unless the applicant complies with that condition he cannot be accepted.

Mr. Dc la Bère

Is not that policy limiting the food output?

Mr. Stephen

Can the right hon. Gentleman say if Cumberland can be taken as a sample for the rest of the country, and how many people were employed in making all the inquiries which secured the release of two or three people?

Mr. Williams

I am afraid that is another question.