HC Deb 07 December 1971 vol 827 cc1097-8
1. Mr. Pardoe

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many administrative officers and how many field officers were on the strength of National Agricultural Advisory Services in June, 1970, and how many of each category are currently on the strength of the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Anthony Stodart)

On 1st July, 1970, in the separate services now embodied in A.D.A.S., there were 489 officers with substantial managerial responsibility out of a total staff of 5,391. The corresponding figures for 1st October, 1971, were 487 and 5,393. Within the total there has been a significant reduction in staff in the agricultural advisory service which has been offset by increases in supporting staff required for brucellosis work. Many of the managerial staff also undertake some field duties.

Mr. Pardoe

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, in spite of the much-heralded claims that the Minister would slash the staff available to his Department, these figures show that he has not done so but that he has succeeded in shattering the morale of one of the finest agricultural advisory services in the world?

Mr. Stodart

I do not accept that. The hon. Gentleman cannot have heard my answer, in which I said that there had been a significant reduction in staff in the advisory service, which has been offset by the need for staff for brucellosis work.

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