§ 59. Mr. de Freitas
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food approximately how much foot-and-mouth disease has cost the taxpayer over the last twelve months.
About £2,650,000 has been paid as compensation for animals slaughtered during the past twelve months because of foot-and-mouth disease. Miscellaneous expenses have amounted to £215,000. Staff and administrative costs cannot be exactly calculated, but they are probably around £400,000.
§ Mr. de Freitas
In view of the enormous cost to the country of this disease, can the hon. Gentleman assure us that no research into the prevention and cure of it is held up in any way by shortage of money?
I can give that assurance. A great deal of research is going on in this country. The expenditure on research tends to rise. Our research institutions are looked upon by the whole world as the finest of their kind. In order that the matter should be kept in 1529 its right proportion, I should say that, although the cost of compensation this year has been very high, the average over the last few years has been nearer £800,000.