asked the hon. Member for St. George's-in the East, whether he is aware that in many districts the term "potato gatherer" is used to describe those engaged in harvesting the crop and the term "potato-picker" is used to describe those engaged in sorting potatoes at the pie; whether he is aware that both these employments are ordinarily adopted as subsidiary employments only, and not as the principal means of livelihood; and whether, in view of the fact that by Special Order, No. 916, of 1912, persons engaged in harvesting the crop are exempted from insurance if they are not already insured persons, he will advise the National Insurance Commissioners to exempt those engaged in sorting potatoes at the pie from insurance if they are not already insured persons?
The evidence put before the Commission by the representatives of agricultural interests at the time when the Order referred to was under consideration indicated that persons engaged in harvesting the crop were ordinarily persons who were not at other times employed within the meaning of the Act, but that the work of sorting potatoes at the pie was generally undertaken either by permanent farm hands or by women who engage in the regular series of field employments. As at present advised, therefore, the Commissioners do not consider that employment in sorting potatoes at the pie can properly be regarded as a subsidiary employment only.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in certain parts of the country the facts are precisely the opposite of those he has stated?
Oh, no; I have stated that evidence was secured from persons, competent to speak on behalf of the agricultural interests.
Does the hon. Gentleman propose to take steps to ascertain the real facts in other districts so far as they can be obtained?
I imagine that the evidence taken referred to all districts; if the hon. Member has any other evidence perhaps he will lay it before the Commission.