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Farm Workers' Rations

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 4 May 1949

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asked the Minister of Food if he will consult with the National Farmers' Union and the National Union of Agricultural Workers in order to arrange a more satisfactory method of issuing the seasonal rations to farm workers this Summer.

My Department has been continuously in touch with both these organisations. The arrangements for seasonal rations were revised last Summer and I think they should work satisfactorily this year.

Has the Minister now agreed that these rations can be drawn directly by the farm worker, as the miner draws his extra rations?

No, Sir. In an answer which I shall give to another Question this afternoon the House will see the exact arrangements which have now been come to, but they do not amount to direct differential rationing, which we are advised against.

Would the right hon. Gentleman say who it is, or what organisation it is, that is objecting to the workers drawing their own rations, or is it he and his Department; and if so why?

Certainly my Department objects to extending differential rationing, I think for good reasons, and so does the Trade Union Congress Advisory Committee.

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that this is not only a question of a differential ration, but that it is a question of how the ration is drawn?

Yes, Sir. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman should know that that is precisely the question at issue. The way it is drawn at present does not amount to a differential ration, but the proposed way would amount to such.