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Machinery Service, Dorset

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 8 April 1954

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asked the Minister of Agriculture for what reason Dorset was the only county in the south of England, with the exception of the Isle of Wight, to maintain an agricultural executive machinery committee; what profit or loss has been made by the Dorset committee during the last two years; and what were the figures in each year.

The County Machinery Service in Dorset is being maintained to deal with reclamation and similar work involving the use of specialised machinery. Experience has shown that private contractors are not at present available to deal with all the work of this kind that has be done.

During the past two years, operations in the county resulted in losses of £5,597 and £1,518 respectively, representing the recovery of 83.3 per cent., and 94.9 per cent., of total expenditure.

In view of these losses, does not my right hon. Friend think it would be wiser to wind up the Dorset committee as he has done other committees in the West Country? May I ask, further, how much greater would have been the loss had it not been for work done at Crichel Down?

No, Sir. The Dorset committee is doing good work. The loss in the financial year, 1953–54, is not expected to exceed £2,000, and it is hoped that the service will be self-supporting in 1954–55.