HC Deb 13 February 1947 vol 433 c522
52. Mr. Gooch

asked the Minister of Labour if he will remove the Control of Engagements Order and the Essential Work Order from agriculture and thus encourage recruitment to the industry.

Mr. Isaacs

My right hon. Friends, the Minister of Agriculture and the Secretary of State for Scotland and I, are agreed that it is necessary to retain the Control of Engagement Orders as applied to agricultural workers, and we anticipate that it will be necessary to retain them until the end of this year. We are, however, agreed that the Essential Work Orders should be removed from the agricultural executive committees, and I am giving three months' notice of such withdrawal forthwith.

Mr. Stephen

Can the Minister say whether this order applies to prisoners of war?

Mr. Isaacs

No; it applies to our own nationals who are covered by these orders.

Captain Crookshank

Will the Minister go a little further and tell the House exactly why it is necessary? It is all very well to say that it is, but could we know why?

Mr. Isaacs

For very much the same reason that somebody is asking why we cannot have some of these people retained. We want to keep these workers on the land for as long as we can.

Mr. Gooch

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that, by reason of their fine war record, the farm workers of the country have earned their freedom?