HC Deb 06 March 2001 vol 364 c187W
Mr. Paice

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the proportion of abattoirs which have closed since 1 May 1997 due to costs of meat inspection. [151815]

Ms Stuart

No such estimate has been made. However, the Meat Inspection Charges Task Force says that it appeared to them that the main reason for small and medium-sized abattoirs going out of business at that time was the level of meat inspection charges.

The level of meat inspection charges has not been the only reason for business closures. Other factors, such as market changes, would be a more likely explanation for the long-term decline in the number of red meat abattoirs (which in England and Wales fell from 1,056 in 1979 to 410 in 1997 and 351 at the end of last year).

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