asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has considered the resolution sent to him recently by a conference of Essex blacksmiths, saddlers, wheelwrights, thatchers and hurdlemakers, drawing attention to the small number of men now engaged in these essential trades; and whether he will introduce a scheme for training apprentices or take other steps to secure a revival of these trades?
My attention has been called to the resolution referred to by the hon. Member, and I am aware that the national bodies concerned are also considering the need for action to secure the revival of the crafts in question. For the steps which are being taken by my Department in the interests of rural crafts, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply yesterday to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Tonbridge (Sir A. Baillie).
Taking one of these crafts alone, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind, having regard to the acute shortage of rural houses, the importance of keeping alive the craft of the thatcher; and can he indicate whether these matters are likely to be covered in the forthcoming Luxmoore Report?