§ Lord BOYD-CARPENTER
asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many staff are employed on and on work connected with the Glasshouse Survey for December 1976 and the Glasshouse Equipment Special Inquiry; what is the cost to public funds of this operation; what is the smallest size of greenhouse in respect of which completion of the return is required; and what detriment to the public interest would be suffered by its cancellation.
§ Lord STRABOLGI
It is not possible to prepare separate costings for the December 1976 glasshouse census and the fixed equipment special inquiry, which were processed as part of the main December 1976 Agricultural Census. The work is undertaken by Agricultural Censuses and Surveys Branch, who are responsible for the conduct of all agricultural censuses. Information is not collected from occupiers with less than 100 square metres of glasshouses.
The glasshouse industry is a highly intensive and competitive sector of the larger horticultural industry and, as with agriculture in general, factual information is necessary if decisions are to be based on knowledge rather than guesswork. The industry needs to be well equipped to meet the challenges from rising costs and abroad and the fixed equipment special inquiry, held every three years, affords an opportunity to monitor the standards of glasshouses and glasshouse equipment in this country.