§ 2.50 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the report of the committee appointed by the Minister of Agriculture to inquire into complaints raised against the British Egg Marketing Board has been received, and whether it will be published.]
§ THE MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO (LORD CHAMPION)
My Lords, I assume that the noble Lord refers to the report of the committee of investigation, who have been considering the report submitted by the Consumers' Committee last June on certain complaints against the British Egg Marketing Board. The report has now been received, and an announcement giving the Committee's conclusions will be made this week. My right honourable friends have decided to publish the report in full by making it available on request.
§ LORD HURD
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for that Answer. May we take it that the extraordinarily long time that this inquiry took means that there were some rather exceptional circumstances? Because, surely, in an ordinary case, it must be the policy of the Ministry of Agriculture to try to clear up any doubts about the working of a marketing scheme as quickly as possible, rather than leave it six to eight months.
§ LORD CHAMPION
Yes, my Lords, that is certainly the intention and the 366 desire of the Minister; but, as the noble Lord knows, this case had certain complex issues, and the Minister does not think that, in the circumstances, the report was unduly delayed.
My Lords, can the noble Lord say why the report will be made available only on request? Is it not possible to have it put in the Printed Paper Office?
§ LORD CHAMPION
No, my Lords. We think this is a report which will have a limited appeal, and we think that the request could be made quite easily by noble Lords. The noble Earl will receive a copy if he makes such a request.