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Department Of Agriculture (Scientists And Advisers)

Volume 80: debated on Wednesday 12 June 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he plans to reduce the number of scientists and advisers employed in Northern Ireland agricultural research institutes and veterinary research institutes controlled by the Department of Agriculture;(2)if he has any plans to privatise work presently carried out at veterinary research laboratories at Stormont and Omagh;(3)if he plans to introduce fees for advisory services and diagnostic laboratory testing provided at Stormont and Omagh, Northern Ireland.

In the context of the report of a study of the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service by Professor Bell and of the reductions in public expenditure on research, development and advisory work by Agricultural Departments in Great Britain announced in Cmnd. 9428, all agricultural research, development and advisory work in Northern Ireland is being reviewed. No decisions have yet been reached on staffing levels or the introduction of charging for services. There are not at present any plans to privatise the work of the veterinary research laboratories at Stormont and Omagh; the opportunities for privatisation are kept under review.