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Harvesting (Labour Supply)

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 24 March 1943

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asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the widespread feeling of uncertainty as to the availability of the labour supply for harvesting the ever-increasing acreage of land under the plough; and whether he can reassure food producers that he has plans in hand to prevent wastage of food through a failure of the supply of labour at the right time?

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture
(Mr. Tom Williams)

My Department and county war agricultural executive committees, with the co-operation of the Ministry of Labour, are making plans to ensure provision of the supplementary workers needed for harvesting this year's crops. These plans depend, of course, on the co-operation of farmers, who should notify their probable requirements well in advance to their employment exchange or county war agricultural executive committee.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the reason for the losses on the sugar beet crop last year was that the labour was not available at the right time? Is he not going to plan for that particular crop and for the potato crop this year?

I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that every step that can be taken to assure farmers of an adequate supply of labour for these very special crops is being made.