§ Mr. Wade
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the total sum distributed during the last 12 months in grants for farm improvements; what are the total administrative costs of this service; how many staff are employed on this work; and what consideration he has given to effecting economies by simplifying the procedure.
§ Mr. Scott-Hopkins
In the year 1963 £9,893,000 was paid in grants under the Farm Improvement Scheme in the United Kingdom. The total administrative costs, based on the most recent figures available, are estimated at about £1,300,000. This work represents only a part of the full duties of many of the staff involved but it has been estimated that the equivalent of 700 full-time staff are employed on this work.
The procedures used in administering the Scheme are constantly under review and changes are made to simplify them whenever possible within the limits imposed by the requirements of the Agriculture Act, 1957, and by the need to ensure that the large amount of public money involved is wisely and correctly spent.