§ 25. Mr. Hoy
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many of the farm surveys carried out by sub-committees of agricultural executive committees during the past three years were found to have been undertaken without the prior approval of the Secretary of State in contravention of the Agriculture (Scotland) No. 2 Regulation, 1950; and what steps he has taken to protect Scottish farmers from this type of action in future.
§ Lord John Hope
Agricultural executive committees, under powers delegated to them, are free to carry out such farm surveys as they may think fit, and in their case my right hon. Friend's prior approval is not required.
§ Mr. Hoy
Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that, in a reply I had from the Secretary of State for Scotland, he admitted that certainly in many cases illegal notices had been served on these farmers? If the hon. Gentleman wants a reference to that letter, it is dated 1st August. If these inspections took place under a notice that was illegal, what steps is the Secretary of State taking to prevent a repetition of this conduct, and, furthermore, has he sent apologies to the farmers concerned?
§ Lord John Hope
I was bound to answer the Question as the hon. Gentleman asked it, in terms of agricultural executive committees. It is true, as the hon. Gentleman knows, that there was a case in which two inspectors of my right hon. Friend's Department, at the request of the A.E.C., carried out this inspection. In that case the notice was formally incorrect, but it made no difference to what, in fact, happened, and, as the hon. Gentleman knows, apologies have been tendered for it by my right hon. Friend.