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Workers (Civil Defence Duties)

Volume 388: debated on Thursday 22 April 1943

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asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is now in a position to make a statement on the arrangements which he has made in connection with the hours of duty as part-time workers in the Civil Defence services for full-time agricultural workers during the hay and harvesting season, having special regard to the short supply of labour available on many farms throughout the country?

Instructions have already been issued by the Home Office to Fire Force Commanders that in fixing the hours of duty of part-time personnel full consideration should be given to the ordinary employment and day-to-day obligations of the persons concerned. Similar instructions govern the service of other part-time Civil Defence personnel. I am assured by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and Minister of Home Security that he has no reason to think that local authorities will not pay full regard to the needs of agricultural workers at times of special pressure.

Will my right hon. Friend take active steps to ensure that all these local authorities really do realise the grave shortage of labour on farms? This really is a genuine matter which should receive every consideration. Local authorities are not always aware of the difficulties.

If my hon. Friend knows of any particular case and will let me know, I will have it looked into.