asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that prisoners of war have recently been withdrawn in considerable numbers from farms in North Somerset without warning, resulting in interruption in tarm operations; and whether he will take the necessary steps to stop such sudden withdrawals.
I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the withdrawal on 16th July at 48 hours' notice of 50 German prisoners of war stationed it Failand hostel. These prisoners were not in the agricultural allocation but had been transferred temporarily from the Ministry of Works. The farmers concerned had been informed that these men, who would not have been made available for agricultural work on other terms, might have to be withdrawn at short notice. The men in question are already being replaced
asked the Minister of Agriculture how many German prisoners of war will be available in Lincolnshire this year to help with the harvest; what is the estimated number which will still be available for the 1948 harvest; what plans he has made for meeting the labour shortage which will arise; and if he is satisfied his plans will meet the situation.
The number of prisoners available for agricultural work in Lincolnshire should be approximately 10,000 this September. While precise figures cannot be given, it may be expected that the great majority will have been repatriated by September, 1948. For a general account of the measures which His Majesty's Government are taking to assist and supplement the recruitment of labour by the agricultural industry itself, I would refer the hon. Member to my statement in the course of the Debate on the Distribution of Manpower on 19th March last.