HC Deb 17 February 1965 vol 706 cc1184-5
31. Mr. Hendry

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take steps to implement the recommendation in the Verdon-Smith Report that there be developed a national meat inspection service.

Mr. Ross

I am at present examining this question in consultation with my right hon. Friends, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Minister of Health, as part of the wider issues raised by the Verdon-Smith Committee's Report.

Mr. Hendry

While I agree that a study of this question is very desirable on the part of the Ministers concerned, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that there are wide variations in the standards applied by local authorities in the inspection at the moment, and does not this indicate that there may be serious danger to public health if the standards are too low? In these circumstances, will he circulate local authorities laying down standards which should be applied?

Mr. Ross

As I have said, we are in consultation about this. I have received representations, and I take these representations and the point made by the hon. Gentleman with considerable seriousness.

Mr. Stodart

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of what he has said? Does not he recollect that no less than 10 days ago his right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture remarked that he had already, in his mind, made a decision on the Verdon-Smith Report? Is the right hon. Gentleman really asking the House to believe that he is slower in making up his mind than the Minister of Agriculture?

Mr. Ross

I do not recall that my right hon. Friend declared what that change was.