HC Deb 07 December 1961 vol 650 cc1521-2
22. Mr. Hayman

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has formed of the cost of keeping an index of claims for compensation for fowl pest and for checking future claims with this index.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. W. M. F. Vane)

The annual cost of keeping a central aphabetical index of poultry-keepers who receive compensation for fowl pest would be about £150. An index of previous payments is unnecessary in order to check the validity of current payments, since compensation payments ale normally based on valuations made at the time of slaughter.

Mr. Hayman

Is not that reply extraordinary when compared with the reply the hon. Gentleman gave me on 6th November about the inordinate cost of keeping a check on such claims? May I refer the hon. Gentleman to a statement he made that one claim alone amounted to £⅓ million? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it has been suggested that that claimant got £250,000 last year and a substantial sum the year before? Does not the hon. Gentleman think that this is something that requires a thorough investigation?

Mr. Vane

My replies were not inconsistent, because the previous Question referred to making up an index of past claims. The reply today refers to the annual cost of keeping an index of future claims. It is possible to check back on any individual case where it appears to serve a useful purpose, but each claim must be decided on its individual merits.