HC Deb 14 March 1973 vol 852 cc1274-5
12. Sir J. Gilmour

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he remains satisfied with the progress of the brucellosis eradication scheme in Scotland; what estimate he has made of when the whole of Scotland will he free from this disease; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Banff (Mr. W. H. K. Baker) on 21st February. It is impossible to forecast at this stage when eradication will be completed in Scotland, but the current rate of progress, with about half our cattle now accredited, is encouraging.—[Vol. 851, c. 95.]

Sir J. Gilmour

I congratulate my hon. Friend on the work which he and his Department have done in this matter. What incidents have there been recently of human beings contracting the disease?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

The question of disease in human beings is not one which concerns my Department. Certainly the only way in which we can finally eradicate this disease among human beings is by carrying through fully and vigorously the eradication among the cattle stock in Scotland.

Mr. Maclennan

How are the discussions going with the National Farmers' Union about the anomaly which has been uncovered under the voluntary eradication scheme as regards tax reliefs when cattle have been slaughtered? When does the hon. Gentleman hope that the Government will be able to announce their proposals to deal with this?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

This is a matter for discussion in regard to individual cases. If the hon. Gentleman has a particular case that he would like to draw to my attention I should be pleased if he would write to me.

Mr. W. H. K. Baker

What kind of comparison is there between the figures for England and Wales and the 50 per cent. that my hon. Friend mentioned for Scotland?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Both in relation to the rate that we have achieved so far and also in relation to the new eradication areas which we have been able to announce I am glad to say that I think that we are leading our friends south of the border.