HC Deb 22 March 1917 vol 91 cc2067-8W

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he has received favourable reports from the various centres of agriculture as to the supply of labour released from the Army and from civil employment; whether he is satisfied with the number of motors obtained; and, if not, what other method does he contemplate to make up for the shortage?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The War Office are providing some 27.000 soldiers to give assistance to farmers in the spring operations on farms, in addition to some 10,000 who will be available during the whole season in "Agricultural Companies." During the past week also a number of volunteers, secured under the National Service scheme, have been placed on the land, but the Board have not as yet received any information as to their efficiency. In reply to the remainder of the question, the number of motor tractors on loan through the county war agricultural committees, under Government auspices, is now 592. Of these, 118 are owned by the Government, 45 are caterpillar tractors lent by the Russian Government, and 429 are privately owned machines lent to the Government. The Board are gratified with the result, so far, of their appeal to private owners of tractors to lend them to the Food Production Department, so that they may be worked to the maximum of their capacity, and they do not think it will be necessary to take any other steps than those now being taken to increase the tractor supply.