§ Sir F. WISE
asked the Minister of Agriculture what has been the total loss on the agricultural institutes for the last year in England; how many agricultural institutes are there; and do any of them pay their way?
§ Mr. BUXTON
I presume the hon. Member refers to the nine farm institutes in England, of which eight are provided by county councils and one by a private benefactor. The eight farm institutes provided by local education authorities serve as the headquarters of such authorities' systems for providing technical advice and instruction in agriculture and allied subjects; the returns supplied to the Ministry do not enable the cost of all the work, which is centralised at the institute, to be stated separately from the cost of outside work in the county,i.e., itinerant classes, advisory visits to farmers, etc.; but I may say that the total expenditure of the eight county councils concerned on agricultural education in 1922-23 amounted to £72,436, towards which grants amounting to £49,048 were made by the Ministry. I would point out to the hon. Member that educational work of this character cannot be expected to pay in the commercial sense, but that it is none the less of the utmost value and importance to the nation.1021W