§ Major Sir KEITH FRASER
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture if he is aware that dairy cows are being sold and land is lying unsown owing to the shortage of labour in Leicestershire; if so, what steps are the Government taking to remedy this very serious state of affairs; if he is aware that Leicestershire has added 50,000 acres to its pre-war arable acreage; and, if so, what steps the Board of Agriculture is taking to minimise the evils arising out of the shortage of labour?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
Representations have been made to the Board by the Leicestershire Agricultural Executive Committee that there is a shortage of agricultural labour in Leicestershire, but, as the hon. Member is aware, the Government decided that all but 20 per cent. of the soldiers working in the county must be withdrawn as they are required for military duty. The labour required by farmers can, therefore, come from civilian sources only. Arrangements have been made by the Board whereby the county agricultural executive committees will cooperate with the Employment Exchanges in order to obtain as far as possible the labour required.
§ Captain R. TERRELL
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture what steps he proposes to take, in view of the corn and hay harvests coming so close together, to ensure an adequate supply of labour; and whether he will state what is the anticipated shortage?1726W
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
It is impossible to estimate the number of extra labourers that will be required by the farmers for the hay harvest. As I stated in my answer to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Harborough, labour can now only be obtained from civilian sources and the agricultural executive committees have been advised to co-operate as far as possible with the Employment Exchanges, with a view to obtaining and placing the necessary labour.