§ 13 and 14. Mr. Peyton
asked the Minister of Agriculture (1) if he will outline the principal functions performed by the provincial offices of his Department; and to what extent these functions have been increased over the past four years;
(2) why, during the past four years, the total number of staff employed in the provincial offices of his Department has been materially increased.
§ Sir T. Dugdale
The principal functions of the provincial officers in my Department are to give specialist advice in the various branches of agricultural science and advice on estate management, land use and smallholdings. In the past four years, there has been some expansion of these functions. The increase in staff has been due to the requirements of the work arising out of these functions, but I have given instructions that there are to be no further increases in provincial office staff without my approval.
§ Mr. Peyton
While accepting the Minister's reply, may I ask him to ensure that where possible there shall be a reduction in staff? May I also ask him to ensure that in the field of research there is no duplication of work and that the same tasks are not performed by industry, by the universities and by his own Department?
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
Has not the increase in staff been accompanied by a large increase in food production?