HC Deb 06 March 1947 vol 434 cc645-6
46. Mr. Baker White

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the decision of His Majesty's Government to grant concessions in regard to food, housing and supplies of consumer goods to mine workers as the primary producers of fuel, similar concessions will be granted to farm workers as the primary producers of food.

The Prime Minister

I am well aware of the necessity for doing everything practicable to maintain and increase food production. At the same time the environment and distribution of the agricultural community are so different from those of the mining community as to preclude the extension to them of certain measures pro posed for increasing the supply of some foods and consumer goods to miners. In any event certain special arrangements in the way of food are already made for agricultural workers. In the recently issued Economic Survey for 1947 the Government recognised, as it did in the case of the miners, the importance of providing more houses for agricultural workers, and the question of making good this need is receiving special consideration.

Mr. Baker White

Is the Prime Minister aware that, throughout the war, agricultural workers continually increased their output, did everything the nation asked of them, never indulged in unnecessary absenteeism and, today, many of them are doing work heavier than the miners and for longer hours?

The Prime Minister

I think it is very undesirable to try to draw these comparisons.

Mr. Baldwin

Is the Minister aware that the extra rations granted to the farm workers are just bread and cheese, and does he not think, if it is possible to grant extra rations of bread and cheese, that the meat ration might be increased in view of the fact that agriculture is more important than coal mining?