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Farm Workers' Rations

Volume 486: debated on Monday 9 April 1951

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asked the Minister of Food whether, in view of the fact that agricultural workers residing in agricultural workers' hostels receive about 1s. 9d. worth of meat a week, he will increase the meat ration for all agricultural workers to bring it into line with that supplied in these hostels.

No, Sir. Other farm workers have other allowances. Agricultural workers' hostels receive supplies of rationed foods on the same basis as hostels for workers in other heavy industries.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary ask his right hon. Friend to reconsider this question, in view of the great dissatisfaction caused among other agricultural workers who do not get so much meat?

Is the Minister aware that agricultural workers are working under very arduous conditions? While not begrudging, and, in fact, welcoming, the extra meat allowed to miners, may I ask whether there is any reason why the meat producers should not themselves be put on the same ration?

We are most appreciative of the efforts that agricultural workers are making. That is why we recently—over the weekend—announced concessions.

Is the Minister aware that agricultural workers are now working under better conditions than ever? While we are very desirous of doing everything to help agriculture, would he consider that in the country there are opportunities that are not available in the towns of getting added food?

Would the Parliamentary Secretary consult the Leader of the House to see whether we can have time to discuss the Motion on the meat ration which is on the Order Paper in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Canterbury (Mr. Baker White), and others, including myself?

Is the Minister aware that agricultural workers will take note of the reluctance of the Government to do anything for them?

Agricultural workers will be well aware that there is appropriate machinery for consultation on these matters, and also that every opportunity in these consultations is taken by the appropriate unions.


asked the Minister of Food whether he will make arrangements for the agricultural workers' harvest and similar additional rations to be drawn in dividually this year rather than by the farmer in bulk.

The seasonal allowances to which the hon. Member refers are not extra rations for farm workers, but catering allowances for farmers to feed their workers on the job. A representative of the workers can collect these allowances if the farmer cannot do so.

Does not the Parliamentary Secretary recognise that the existing method of procurement of the rations is equally unpopular with both the farmer and the agricultural worker, and will he do something about it?

I am not so aware. As I have already indicated, there is ample opportunity for these matters to be discussed.

Will the hon. Gentleman consult the representatives of the farmers and the agricultural workers on this point and take their advice?