asked the Minister of Agriculture, approximately how many new combine harvesters will become available to the British agricultural industry in time for the harvest of 1949; and how many of these will be available to farmers in the county of Essex.
Over 2,000 new combine harvesters should be available to the British agricultural industry for the 1949 harvest. A Press notice is being issued informing intending purchasers of the supply arrangements. I cannot say how many combines are likely to be available to farmers in Essex. Quotas for the machines for which demand is heaviest will be allocated to county agricultural executive committees as soon as possible after 1st November, 1948, which is the latest date for committees to receive applications for the makes subject to these quota arrangements.
Will my right hon. Friend say whether some of these combine harvesters can be made available to smaller farmers, or groups of smaller farmers, instead of allocating the whole of them to the big farmers?