HL Deb 24 November 1977 vol 387 cc1079-80WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is now the total cost of distributing and processing the return headed Vegetables for Human Consumption and Flowers Return forOctober 1977; down to what size of holding is it the Government's policy to insist on submission of a return by the owner; and what public purpose is served by the whole exercise.


It is not possible to separate the costs of distributing and processing the October vegetables and flowers return from the costs of administering all other agricultural censuses, details of which were given in reply to a Question by the noble Lord on 14th March 1977. Only occupiers reporting at least 1.5 hectares of early potatoes or 0.5 hectares of vegetables on recent June census forms are required to complete the October return. The later inquiry is necessary to supplement the data collected in June, when not all of the vegetable and flower crops have been planted. Without it information about the horticultural industry would be seriously incomplete and decisions affecting the industry would be based on a measure of guesswork rather than on ascertainable facts.