asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the adverse weather conditions recently, which have almost completely held up farmers' ploughing operations, and of the urgent need in the national interest of securing a greatly increased harvest this year, he proposes to take any special steps to see that farmers complete the programme which has been laid down?
It is true that weather conditions this winter have been very unfavourable but the Government attaches the greatest importance to the fulfilment, in the national interest, of the programme of ploughing up two million acres in the United Kingdom in time for the coming harvest. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister stressed this when he addressed the chairmen of the County War Agricultural Executive Committees and I think my hon. Friend can rest assured that these committees, to whom has been entrusted the organisation of the programme throughout the country, fully realise the urgent nature of their responsibilities. I am confident that, as weather conditions make ploughing operations possible, farmers will use every endeavour to makeup for lost time.
Will the Minister take steps to see that an adequate supply of labour is available for farmers in order to carry out the ploughing? Many men have been released from agricultural work for a month or six weeks when the ground was under snow and at that time it was impossible to do anything. Will the Minister see whether the authorities can now release the necessary labour?