§ Mr. Nicholson
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what has been the saving to the Department of Agriculture in revenue and staff employed since the introduction of the agricultural and horticultural grant scheme to replace the farm capital grant scheme; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Butler
Both schemes are financed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and introduction of the agriculture and horticulture grant scheme did not affect expenditure by the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland.
The change from the prior approval system under the farm capital grant scheme to the prior notification system under the agriculture and horticulture grant scheme resulted in less time being spent on initial field inspections with consequent reductions of 27 technical staff and 35 clerical staff. These staff reductions represented a saving to the scheme of £700,000 per annum at current salary rates.