§ 24. Mr. Peyton
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to be able to make a statement on future slaughterhouse policy.
§ 40. Captain Pilkington
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and food when he expects to complete his study of the report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Slaughterhouses and of the comments of the organisations that have been consulted about it.
I would refer my hon. Friends to the reply I gave to the hon. Members for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) and Accrington (Mr. H. Hynd) on 24th November.
§ Mr. Peyton
I appreciate the complexity and difficulty of this matter, but will not my right hon. Friend do his best to end the period of uncertainty as soon as possible? The inter-Departmental Report has been in his hands for a very long time now. Is he aware that this uncertainty is doing a good deal of damage?
While I can give the assurance that I will do my very best to reach a decision, I do not think I can agree that this Report has been outstanding for a very long time.
§ Captain Pilkington
May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he is likely to be able to dispose of the matter before, say, another six months?
§ Mr. Willey
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is considerable anxiety about this, that we cannot be content with these assurances being given time after time but that we must have effective action?
I realise, as the hon. Gentleman says, that there is great anxiety about this matter. It is a most important matter which is going to settle policy for a very long time, and we must be very sure that we are taking the right action.
§ Mr. Callaghan
Will the right hon. Gentleman keep in mind one point not referred to in the Slaughterhouses Report, namely, the amenities of local residents who have to live in the vicinity of these slaughterhouses? Will he arrange to site them in places where they will not be an inconvenience to these people?
I think the responsibility in regard to the exact siting of these slaughterhouses falls on the local authority rather than on me.