asked the Minister of Agriculture what is the total annual cost to the taxpayer of county pest officers, fox control officers, assistant fox control officers and rodent operatives; and what is the approximate number of animals destroyed by them to the latest convenient date.
The net cost in the year ended 31st March, 1948, of the pests staff in counties, including those on fox control, was approximately £349,000. The number of animals destroyed is unknown. Most of them are killed in their holes
Is it not obvious to the Minister that this is an awful waste of money when compared with the results? Is he not also aware that if he would give say, Is. per rat's tail, and do away with all these officers, he would get more animals killed at a cheaper price?
The hon. Member must be aware that it would cost infinitely more to dig out foxes and so on, in order to provide statistics, than it costs actually to destroy them.
asked the Minister of Agriculture how many vehicles are used by pest and assistant pest officers of county agricultural executive committees, by rodent officers of local authorities and by rodent officers on his headquarters staff, respectively.
Pests officers and assistant pests officers who do not possess their own vehicles, use where necessary, vehicles supplied to the C.A.E.Cs. for general purposes. I am unable to say how many vehicles are used by these officers in the course of a year. I have no information about, nor responsibility for the vehicles used by officials of local authorities, and there are no rodent officers on my headquarters' staff.
What is an "assistant pest"?
Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it would be much more economical if there were one comprehensive service to deal with these pests instead of having different organisations dealing with the matter?
That is just what the prevention of Damage by Pests Bill is trying to do.