§ Dr. Strang
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many veterinary scientists were employed on Government-funded projects at the Central Veterinary Laboratory by his Department on(a) the most recent date available and (b) 31 March (i) 1995, (ii) 1990, (ii) 1985 and (iv) 1980. 
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
I have asked the chief executive of the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Dr T. W. A. Little, to reply on my behalf.
Letter from T. W. A. Little to Dr. Gavin Strang, dated 5 March 1997:
The Minister has asked me to reply to your question on the numbers of veterinary scientists employed on Government funded projects at CVL for various dates. 
I should, perhaps, explain that we do not have a grade or job description that covers specifically "veterinary scientists". The table below relates to veterinary grades with an indication of the numbers of qualified vets in those posts.685W
Figures at March 1997 Figures at March 1995 Permanent veterinary 23 20 Permanent non-veterinary 19 18 Total 42 38
The figures are only available for these dates since the others you indicated relate to our pre-Agency days and they will, therefore, have been included in the replies by the Minister to the other questions you tabled.
As I am sure you know, as a result of the merger with the Veterinary Investigation Service in October 1995, CVL has been part of the larger Veterinary Laboratories Agency. In addition to the figures shown above there are a further 63 staff at March 1997 within the Veterinary Investigation Division (old Veterinary Investigation Service) of the VLA. Again, for the pre-merger dates figures for the Veterinary Investigation Service will have been included in the Minister's reply.
The figures I have quoted are for all our veterinary grade staff in CVL and we cannot distinguish those employed solely on government-funded projects. However, over 80 per cent, of our business is for MAFF and therefore the majority of staff in the veterinary grade will be employed on Government-funded projects.