HC Deb 11 March 1997 vol 292 c201W
Mr. Eric Clarke

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the impact of recent reductions in the budgets of projects relating to(a) animal welfare, (b) pig genome mapping and (c) development potential of quiescent cells derived from sheep embryos, foetuses and adults on the work of the Roslin Institute. [19019]

Mrs. Browning

Some reduction in MAFF funding of work at Roslin Institute is a necessary consequence of recent modest reductions in our overall research budget and also of changes in the funding arrangements for Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council institutes. We have, in addition, as part of our ongoing effort to ensure that the work we support is relevant to our current needs, redirected funding in certain areas:

  1. (a) following a review of our research on poultry welfare all contractors were invited to bid for new work. While the size of the overall programme has not been significantly changed, allocation of funds in accordance with our priorities has resulted in a loss of funding to Roslin Institute;
  2. (b) funding for work on the pig genome has lead to notable successes such that it now attracts considerable industry support, hence there is less need for MAFF funding;
  3. (c) the project on sheep cloning has achieved its aims.

However, most of the funds released from the last two projects have been redirected towards other work at the Roslin Institute.

Mr. Clarke

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what factors governed the length of notice given by his Department of recent funding reductions at the Roslin Institute. [19020]

Mr. Boswell

Every effort is made to give contractors as much notice as possible of planned changes to the funding of their programmes. MAFF wrote to the Roslin Institute in June 1996 and suggested that it should look for 50 per cent. co-funding for a range of its livestock science projects due to end between March and June 1997. Discussions with contractors on the programme of work on the welfare of poultry began with a formal review in 1995.

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