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Volume 387: debated on Thursday 18 March 1943

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Workers' Cottages


asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the fact that at the present time four or more Ministries are interested in, and dealing with, the proposals for the erection of farm cottages for agricultural workers, he will give an assurance that effective co-ordination is being maintained, in view of the urgent national necessity for the speedy erection of these cottages?

Yes, Sir. I am assured that proper arrangements have been made for effective co-ordination at the departmental, the regional, and the local goverment level and that preparations for the erection of these cottages are in fact proceeding as fast as possible.

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that food is a most important munition of war, and does he not realise that without sufficient cottages for agricultural workers we cannot get the maximum output of food? Is not the Government's target of 3,000 cottages too small, and should it not have been 30,000 to make it adequate to the needs of the case from the point of view of the country's food supply?

I have heard something about all those points, and I am well aware of the need for building cottages, but that need has to be fitted in with a great many other claims.

Would my right hon. Friend consider having a talk with Lord Beaverbrook on this subject.

Dairy Equipment


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will confer with the President of the Board of Trade with a view to ensuring that the Government should allow the purchase of udder cloths and towels to be made coupon free and, in general, expedite the supply of dairy equipment, in view of the national necessity of maintaining the maximum output of milk from the farms?

A scheme is nearing completion which will enable dairy farmers to obtain towels and udder cloths without surrendering personal clothing coupons. Production of farm dairying machinery in 1943 is expected to be considerably greater than in 1942 and should be sufficient to meet farmers' needs.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is still very great difficulty in getting dairy equipment, and will he do everything possible to expedite it, and is he not aware that the National Farmers' Union have called his attention to its many times, with no great result yet seen?

Farms And Holdings (Tenancies)


asked the Minister of Agriculture how many farms he has found it necessary to take over and how many individual tenancies have been terminated by his Department under the Defence Regulations?

Up to 1st March, 1943, possession had been taken under Defence Regulation 51 in 5,631 cases in England and Wales, including portions of holdings, undeveloped building sites, parts of golf courses, private parks, etc. The number of farms included in the figure cannot be separately stated. In addition, the tenancies of 2,502 farmers had been terminated by notice under Defence Regulation 62, without the necessity for possession being taken.

Can the Minister give an assurance that he will not terminate the tenancies of any farmers without a review in his Department in London and not merely upon the advice of his regional or area officers?

Animal Food (Yeast)


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has con- sidered the possibility of using yeast as an animal food for the production of milk and eggs and for the improvement of livestock generally?

Yes, Sir. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of a notice recently issued by my Department.

Workers' Motor Coaches (Drivers' Idle Time)


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the drivers of motor-coaches who take agricultural workers to farms in Surrey, arriving about 8 a.m., stay with the coaches all day doing no work until the return drive in the evening; and whether he will take steps to prevent this waste of manpower?

I understand that the motor vehicles to which my hon. Friend refers are hired with their drivers by the Surrey War Agricultural Executive Committee for the transport of labour. The drivers are the employees of the owners of the vehicles, and neither my Department nor the Committee has any jurisdiction over them. Where possible, however, voluntary arrangements are made to employ the drivers in agriculture during the waiting period.