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Volume 360: debated on Thursday 9 May 1940

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asked the Minister of Agriculture what acreage of sugar-beet has been contracted for the 1940 season up to 6th May or nearest convenient date?

Contracts accepted by the British Sugar Corporation up to 4th May cover approximately 334,000 acres.

Is the figure not actually lower than last year's, and considerably lower than the figure set before the industry by the Minister?

It is perfectly true that the figure is lower than that for last year, but the contracts are still coming in at a greater rate than they were last year.

Is the Minister prepared to take special steps to get the acreage under sugar-beet which the Ministry of Food require?

We are doing everything we can, but one of the difficulties is the fear of a labour shortage.

But cannot you give a specific guarantee that the necessary labour will be available in the areas where sugar-beet is most grown?

Will the Minister prevent the Air Ministry taking land which has been planted to sugar beet and potatoes, for recreation grounds for aerodromes which are not even occupied, as has happened near Barnstaple?