asked the Minister of Agriculture if, in view of the fact that the accounts for 1947–48 of the agricultural executive committees show losses of £298 lost or stolen to agricultural executive committees and the Women's Land Army, £11,611 for machinery and implements lost, £995 for agricultural executive committee stores and equipment stolen and £1,048 for a stocktaking deficiency of bicycles, he will state what steps are being taken to detect and prosecute those responsible.
It is the duty of agricultural executive committees and the Women's Land Army to take all practicable steps to prevent losses of machinery and equipment. They are under instruction to report thefts to the police, with a view to detection and prosecution where possible, and to take suitable disciplinary action against the individuals concerned where losses are caused by negligence.
Is not the Minister aware that this petty thieving and purloining is inevitable under State control, and that if it had happened on a private farm the decent British farmer would have sacked the persons concerned?
I agree with the hon. Gentleman that there is too much private enterprise here and there.