HC Deb 28 October 1946 vol 428 cc277-8
49. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Minister of Agriculture, in view of the fact that the Norfolk A.E.C. charged £4 13s. 1d. per acre for unskilled German prisoners for chopping out sugar beet in West Norfolk and that the district rate for British labour is £3 18s. per acre, who benefits by this increase and to what account it is credited.

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Thomas Williams)

My information does not support the figure quoted by the hon. Member as the district rate, and I have no reason to think that the contract charge of £4 13s 1d. made by the Norfolk War Agricultural Executive Committee for hoeing and singling sugar beet is not generally accepted as fair and reasonable. Receipts for agricultural work done by prisoner-of-war labour accrue to the War Office.

Sir W. Smithers

Is the Minister aware that farmers all over the country feel that it is most unfair? They want to know who takes the profit, which is really coming out of their pockets.

Mr. Williams

I do not think that farmers all over the country think anything of the kind.

Mr. Dye

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there are no farmers in Norfolk who think that this charge is unfair?