HC Deb 23 July 1952 vol 504 cc531-2
48. Sir L. Plummer

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he will institute pre-release courses in agriculture for National Service men in the Royal Air Force.

Mr. Ward

No, Sir. Facilities are provided to enable National Service men to study agriculture in their spare time throughout their period of service.

Sir L. Plummer

Does the Under-Secretary not agree that considerable checks have been placed on the development of agriculture by the continued call-up of agricultural workers? Will he do something to check the stoppage which is going on by giving National Service men an opportunity to study agriculture if they so wish?

Mr. Ward

I cannot say anything about the call-up of agricultural workers. National Service men are already free to study agriculture in their spare time. They are free to attend local educational classes; facilities are made available to them for free travel and, if necessary, they can take the correspondence course which is provided by the Army.

Mr. Shinwell

In view of the fact that the manpower needs of the Royal Air Force have been largely met, would it not be much more desirable to retain these agricultural workers in their proper sphere in the agricultural industry and release them at once?

Mr. Ward

The reinstatement rights of National Service men are fully safeguarded by statute, but the Services cannot be expected to equip them in working hours for civil life.

Major Lloyd

Would my hon. Friend assure the House that in such courses the opportunity will be taken for lectures to be given on how not to make losses on things like groundnuts?