HC Deb 26 July 1955 vol 544 cc985-6
44. Lieut.-Commander Maydon

asked the Minister of Labour how many requests for agricultural labour were registered at employment exchanges in the county of Somerset at 1st July, 1955; and how many such requests were satisfied by the employment exchanges in Somerset during the preceding six months.

Mr. Watkinson

On 29th June, when the last count was taken, there were 66 vacancies for agricultural workers registered at employment exchanges in Somerset. One hundred and twenty-seven agricultural vacancies were filled during the preceding six months.

Lieut.-Commander Maydon

Can my hon. Friend tell me whether these figures are characteristic of the picture throughout all rural areas in the country? Can he say whether these figures give some impetus to reconsidering the rules and methods for granting deferment to agricultural workers?

Mr. Watkinson

I think that what my hon. and gallant Friend would like to know is that we have recently held a meeting in this connection on the harvest prospects in his own county of Somerset. I am advised that it was agreed at that meeting, in which all sides of the industry took part, that there was no general shortage of agricultural workers in the county and that no difficulty was likely to be experienced in the harvest period.