Women's Land Army (Accidents, Legal Aid)
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether similar facilities for obtaining legal aid in the event of an accident are guaranteed to members of the Land Army as to members of the Fighting Forces or whether, in such circumstances, members of the Land Army are expected to rely on the support of their trade unions?
The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. R. S. Hudson)
Although the special arrangements for the provision of free legal advice to members of the Forces do not apply to members of the Women's Land Army, the latter can seek the assistance of voluntary associations, such as the poor man's lawyer or the citizen's advice bureau. In addition, of course, my Department, including headquarters and county offices of the Women's Land Army, are always prepared to give all the general advice and assistance they can in cases of accident.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that in a recent case no help was forthcoming from any officer of his Department?
I wrote to my hon. Friend giving a very complete list of the people to whom this girl's parents could apply for advice.
Workers' Transport (Petrol)
Mr. John Dugdale
asked the Minister of Agriculture the maximum amount of petrol which he instructs the county war agricultural executive committees should be used to transport a single land-worker to and from a day's work?
Arrangements for local transport of land workers to and from work are made at the discretion of county war agricultural executive committees who have been instructed to exercise a strict economy in the use of all kinds of fuel.
Does the right hon. Gentleman really think it right that a three-ton lorry, using 31 gallons of petrol, should be used to take four girls to work? Is that not waste of petrol?
I would not like to express an opinion on that without knowing the full facts. It might well have been an individual case.
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in order to allay growing discontent and give confidence to farmers as to the future in their farming operations, he will, at the earliest possible moment, make a full statement of the Government's plans for post-war agriculture in the United Kingdom?
I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 23rd September by my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister to the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Mr. de Rothschild) to which I am unable to add.
Arising out of that inconclusive answer, might I ask whether, in face of the strong feeling among farmers in the United Kingdom—and in no place more so than in Ulster—in favour of a definite post-war plan for agriculture, the right hon. Gentleman will take immediate steps to prepare such a plan, in order to prevent agriculture drifting well-nigh to disaster, as it did after the last war?
Will my right hon. Friend consider that what the agricultural community wants is a discussion in this House before the Government put forward any policy, so that the Government can hear the agricultural community's views?
Does the right hon. Gentleman not recollect how badly the Ulster farmers were let down after the last war? Will he not take any steps that he can to see that these loyal citizens are not discouraged in their efforts to grow more corn and more flax?
Sir J. Lamb
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the great hardship to many owners of livestock whose land adjoins that of the Forestry Commission by the fact that the Commission is under no statutory obligation to erect and maintain fences round land acquired by them for afforestation; and, having regard to the need for maintaining adequate supplies of home-produced meat, what action he proposes to take to enable this land to be grazed by stock to its full capacity in the national interests?
I have received no specific complaints of the nature referred to. If my hon. Friend will send me particulars of any cases in which difficulties have arisen, I shall be happy to look into the matter.
Rating And Valuation
asked the Minister of Health how many rating authorities have continued to revise the current valuation list in accordance with Section 37, Rating and Valuation Act, 1925, during the years 1939 to 1943; and how many rating authorities have postponed such revision, taking into consideration the provisions of the Rating and Valuation Act (Postponement of Valuations) Act, 1940?
Mr. E. Brown
As my hon. Friend is aware, the postponement of the compulsory quinquennial valuations does riot preclude either ratepayers or rating authorities or county valuation committees from making proposals interim for the alteration of the assessments of rateable pro- perties. I regret that I have no information to show how far either ratepayers or rating authorities have refrained from taking advantage of their rights in this respect.