§ 2.37 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask His Majesty's Government what is the average time before payment is made to land owners under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries water supply scheme after schemes have been completed and approved by the local officer.]
§ THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES (THE EARL OF HUNTINGDON)
My Lords, for smaller schemes, that are dealt with by county committees, the average time between the claim being made arid the grant being paid (when no special difficulty arises) is from three to four weeks. For larger 2 schemes that must be referred to the Ministry's Headquarters the average time is five to six weeks. These periods cover the final inspection of the work except when that is carried out before the claim is submitted.
§ EARL FORTESCUE
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Earl for his reply, and while doing so may I ask him why it is that in Devonshire it takes so long to make payments? I have had three cases of this sort. I was paid in respect of one after eight months. I was paid in another after four months; and I have not been paid for another after five months. I should be grateful if the noble Earl would look into this matter.
§ THE EARL OF HUNTINGDON
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl for the courteous way in which he has raised this question. It is regretted that payments have been so long in reaching him. In Devon, particularly, we have had very serious staffing difficulties which have caused considerable delay. I am glad to say that that matter is now being rectified.