HC Deb 17 November 1949 vol 469 cc2190-1
50. Mr. Hurd

asked the Minister of Agriculture the saving in his Department's estimates to be effected by postponing the establishment of clean areas as part of a national scheme to eradicate bovine tuberculosis.

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Thomas Williams)

The precise sum will depend upon the financial details of the scheme, which still await further consideration and consultation with the interests affected.

Mr. Hurd

Is the Minister aware that the earlier statement he made about postponing the scheme for the eradication of bovine tuberculosis caused the greatest anxiety among farmers and the veterinary profession, and will he give an undertaking that he is going to make a proper start in October?

Mr. Williams

The hon. Member is a week too late. I made an announcement in this House last week, in answer to a Parliamentary Question, that we anticipated starting the scheme on 1st October, 1950.

Mr. Hurd

I said, a proper start.

Major Sir Thomas Dugdale

It is because of the two answers that uncertainty exists; one entirely contradicts the other. Could the Minister try to clarify the position at the earliest possible opportunity so that the industry may know where it is?

Mr. Williams

The hon. and gallant Member really misunderstands the position. The original deferment was only calculated for six months. I therefore took an early opportunity of warning the agricultural community that we anticipated starting, and properly starting, on 1st October next year.