HC Deb 11 March 1947 vol 434 cc1114-5
14. Mr. Tiffany

asked the Minister of Labour if agricultural workers will be granted the same exemptions in call-up to His Majesty's Forces as are granted to coalminers.

Mr. Isaacs

No, Sir.

Mr. Tiffany

In view of the fact that agriculture ranks with power, fuel and transport as a basic requirement, why should not the same exemptions he applied to agricultural workers as are applied to colliery workers?

Mr. Isaacs

At the present moment agricultural workers in certain classes are automatically deferred. We are proceeding under the arrangements for deferment, but it is not intended to grant actual exemption.

Mr. Wilfrid Roberts

Is it the right hon. Gentleman's intention to defer all agricultural workers this summer, at any rate?

Mr. Isaacs

I would not say that. There are a number of classifications, and I will he glad to send the information to my hon. Friend.

Mr. Bossom

Does not the Minister think that food is equally as important as coal?

Mr. Isaacs

The hon. Gentleman is asking me to express an opinion instead of dealing with facts.

Mr. Awbery

Will the building trade operatives also be included in the system of deferment?

Mr. Isaacs

I am answering the Question on the Order Paper.

Mr. Martin Lindsay

Does the Minister not appreciate that once again farmers are being asked to save the country, and they cannot do it if they are short of labour?

Mr. Isaacs

I said they were automatic ally deferred. There is a difference between deferment and exemption.

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