HC Deb 25 March 1946 vol 421 cc27-8
59. Mr. Bartlett

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether farm workers who have been in the Forces for 12 months or more can now get their release on application to their respective Service Departments.

Mr. T. Williams

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Labour, gave to the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) on 7th March. The men to be offered release are identified by the Service Departments by reference to their central records on which the men's pre-enlistment occupations are recorded. Individual applications for release should not be made.

Mr. Bartlett

Does that reference to the earlier answer mean that men are automatically available for release, and that they do not have to make any application themselves?

Mr. Williams

That is so. Service Departments are offering to all agricultural workers, registered as such, free release if they have served 12 months.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

As a certain number of cases come to my attention where these men are abroad, and even in Burma, may I take it that not only are they being offered release, but also transport home?

Mr. Williams

Clearly, wherever a soldier is offered release, he obviously must be provided with transport home.

Lieut.-Colonel Byers

Can the Minister say when the majority of these men will be released? Can he give some date, such as the middle of April?

Mr. Williams

I am afraid not.

Lieut.-Colonel Byers

It would help a lot.

Mr. Williams

The hon. and gallant Gentleman must put that question to the Minister of Labour.