3. Mrs. Slater
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied that the salaries and conditions are sufficient to attract enough meat and food inspectors to deal adequately with meat inspection; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend has no responsibility for the salaries and conditions of officers employed by local authorities on meat inspection. As to the rest of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) on 5th February.
The hon. Gentleman says that his right hon. Friend has no responsibility for the salaries of meat inspectors, but has not he a responsibility to make representations to the Treasury that they should get a much better salary than they do at present because of the 28 per cent. shortage of inspectors in large cities and the need, in the interests of health, for there to be adequate inspection of meat?
We are in touch with my right hon. and learned Friend's Department. The result of the recent recruitment together with the steady reduction in the number of slaughterhouses is having an effect.
§ Mr. Darling
Can the Minister give us more information—not now, perhaps, but at some time—about this reduction in the number of slaughterhouses? We have the impression that more slaughterhouses are being opened. Will he bear in mind that it is five years since we had a categorical promise that there would be quick developments towards a 100 per cent. meat inspection?
There is definitely a downward trend in the number of slaughterhouses. I will send the hon. Member details.