§ 16. Mr. Nicholls
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement about the implementation of the costs directive and the hygiene directive in their application to slaughterhouses.
§ Mr. Soames
In response to the widespread concern across Europe about the impact of these directives on small abattoirs, my right hon. Friend announced yesterday that he is arranging for the December Council of Agriculture Ministers to consider whether any further action at Community level is required to safeguard small traditional slaughtering businesses.
As far as implementation in Great Britain is concerned, local authorities are at present responsible for meat inspection and hygiene control in slaughterhouses and are required to charge for this service. Where their actual costs are higher than the standard charge specified in the EC decision on meat inspection charges, they have discretion to recover less than their full costs. The Department has this week issued further guidance which should enable some local authorities to provide the inspection service at a lower cost than they have been estimating.