HC Deb 26 April 1948 vol 450 cc23-4
56. Mr. Bossom

asked the Minister of Agriculture what are the official hours of work for German prisoners of war employed on agricultural work in the county of Kent.

Mr. T. Williams

The Kent Agricultural Executive Committee, in consultation with the county branches of the National Farmers' Union and the Workers' Unions, periodically fix the hours of work of German prisoners in their employ to coincide as far as possible with the normal hours of work of farm workers in the county, which are at present from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Saturday.

Mr. Bossom

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that is not being carried out and that the result is that the farmers are having to pay overtime so that their regular workers' hours may coincide with those of the German prisoners? Could he not make these hours coincide in order to save farmers wasting their money?

Mr. Williams

I can assure the hon. Member that following his Question I have taken the matter in hand, and I am assured that the general allegations cannot be substantiated. There may be an odd case, since all these German prisoners leave camp at 6.30, of not being able to deposit the last prisoner on the farm at exactly 7 a.m. It does not run to half-hours and hours, but there may be a few minutes here and there. On the whole an attempt is made to land the prisoners on the farms by 7 a.m

Mr. Bossom

Will the Minister look into this further, because part of his information is correct and part is not?