§ 2.28 p.m.
§ LORD DOWDING
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether construction has yet been started on the new abattoir in Newcastle, and, if not, when it is estimated that the building will be begun and completed.]636
THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD (LORD ST. OSWALD)
My Lords, it was never expected that building on the new slaughterhouse at Newcastle would begin this year. The Council have every expectation of keeping to the programme they set themselves. They intend that building will start at the beginning of next year and that the slaughterhouse will be completed within two years. This rate of progress reflects credit on the Council and their officers having regard to the great amount of detailed preparatory work needed for a project of this size.
§ LORD PEDDIE
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord opposite whether Her Majesty's Government are aware that the trade in the Newcastle area has indicated that the charges, which are likely to be raised against them concerning this new abattoir, are high, and high in consequence of the high capital cost brought about by the location of the abattoir? I wonder whether the noble Lord could give us some indication of the Government's opinion on that particular view point?
LORD ST. OSWALD
My Lords, the location is certainly agreed as between all parties concerned; in fact the location has been available for some time. To the best of my knowledge the charges have not yet been decided, but if they have I certainly have not been informed what they are. I will certainly make inquiries following the noble Lord's supplementary question, but in fact I cannot satisfy him to-day because I do not myself know whether the charges have been decided.
§ LORD PEDDIE
My Lords, could the noble Lord give some indication, then, as to whether any challenge has been made by the trade in the Newcastle area concerning the location of the abattoir?