HC Deb 25 July 1974 vol 877 cc1804-5
17. Mr. Kilfedder

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons have been provided with employment since the inception of the Countryside Improvement Scheme.

Mr. Moyle

5,644 jobs have been provided between 1st January 1971 when the scheme was started, and 31st March 1974.

Mr. Kilfedder

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that there are sufficient safeguards to ensure that this worthy scheme is not manipulated to large estate owners simply as a means of improving their own property at the taxpayer's expense? Will he hold a full investigation to find out how many landlords are employing people under this scheme—at only £3 per person per week—who formerly worked for them and continue to do the same work on their estates?

Mr. Moyle

I have seen the case that the hon. Gentleman raised with the Department of Agriculture. There is no evidence that the farmer involved made any claim on the scheme as a result of the facts that the hon. Gentleman brought to light. Given that there is a double check, in that the Department of Manpower and the Department of Agriculture are both involved, and that there is an initial inspection and a subsequent procedure for applying, the safeguards are considered adequate by the Department of Agriculture. Had the farmer that he has in mind used the procedure. I am sure that any disqualifying circumstances would have come to light.

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