§ Mr. Buchan
As my right hon. Friend explained in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Whitehaven (Dr. Cunningham) on 21st May—[Vol. 874, c.112–13]—the additional eradication areas then announced constitute the maximum additional commitment we can undertake at this stage, having regard to the availability of veterinary staff and our responsibilities for other animal health 474W matters. We are naturally anxious to extend compulsory eradication to Northamptonshire as soon as possible, but I cannot yet forecast when it will be possible to do so.
§ Mr. Peart
The hon. Member is aware that the rate of progress in eradicating brucellosis is conditioned by the availability of veterinary staff and by the nature and extent of my other animal health responsibilities. Pay is an important factor in recruitment to the State Veterinary Service; the Government have recently announced pay increases for the scientific grades, from which the veterinary officer grades will also benefit. Improvements in organisation and in other matters concerning the Ministry's veterinary staff are also under consideration.