§ 18. Mr. Wingfield Digby
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if a review of the scheme for compensating beekeepers for the voluntary destruction of contact colonies has yet been completed; and if arrangements will be made for commercial beekeepers to be included.
The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture (Mr. W. M. F. Vane)
My right hon. Friend is at present reviewing the Government's contribution towards the scheme operated by Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd. for encouraging the voluntary destruction of contact colonies in apiaries where European foul brood disease has been found. One of the questions is whether the Government contribution should be extended to cover commercial apiaries. The review will be completed before next year's season begins in April but I cannot, of course, anticipate the outcome.
§ Mr. Wingfield Digby
Is my hon. Friend aware that the disease known as European foul brood has spread to Dorset for the first time, probably from Kent, and has caused very serious and unexpected losses to breeders there? Will he give a very sympathetic answer when the report of the committee is received?
I have told my hon. Friend that an exhaustive review is taking place, but he will appreciate that I cannot anticipate the result.