Skilled Agricultural Workers.

Oral Answers to Questions — Military Service. – in the House of Commons on 26th March 1942.

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Photo of Sir Adrian Baillie Sir Adrian Baillie , Tonbridge

asked the Minister of Labour, in view of the paramount rôle of the agricultural industry in this country, who is the final authority in regard to the calling up of skilled farm-workers for military service or other war duties?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

The executive authority for this purpose under the National Service Acts is the Minister of Labour and National Service, who acts in accordance with the general policy approved by the Government. The selection of men to be called up is carried out in consultation with the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, through the county war agricultural executive committees.

Photo of Sir Adrian Baillie Sir Adrian Baillie , Tonbridge

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that there is still considerable anxiety in agricultural communities, and will he bear in mind that since the Home Guard is now on a compulsory basis, it would be better for the skilled farm worker to remain on the land, where, after all, he is making his best contribution to the war effort, and receive his military training in the Home Guard?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

Agricultural workers have been protected to a higher percentage than anybody else in the country, and I am afraid that agriculture, equally with other industries, must make some contribution to the Fighting Forces.