asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if, pursuant to his reply of 27 February, to the hon. Member for Teignbridge (Mr. Nicholls) Official Report, column 644, he is now able to announce further details of the economies and improvements in the efficiency of the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I have now revised our proposals for economies and improvements in the efficiency of ADAS, so as to save a total of 334 ADAS posts and 75 non-ADAS posts. These savings take account of independent market research on certain animal health schemes, which suggests that demand for these schemes justifies the retention of a number of posts which would otherwise have been lost. As a result, the post losses in the State Veterinary Service can be reduced from 141 to 108. The new figures also take account of 30 badger operator posts which are no longer needed, consequent on the recommendations of the report on badgers and bovine tuberculosis by Professor Dunnet's review team which was published on 7 April. The revised distribution of ADAS post losses is accordingly Agriculture Service, 107; Agricultural Science Service, 82; Land and Water Service, 37; and the State Veterinary Service, 108.As part of the measures to improve efficiency and economy it is intended to make some changes in the local organisation of ADAS. In a number of cases, adjacent animal health offices will be amalgamated under one divisional veterinary officer, although veterinary services will continue to be provided from most of the offices affected. Analytical chemistry facilities will be withdrawn from Newcastle, Reading. and Bristol to concentrate this discipline on one laboratory per region. The local offices at Chester and Brigg (Humberside) will close, with services being provided from the divisional offices at Crewe and Beverley respectively. The Ulverston (Cumbria) office will also close, except for market days, service at other times being provided from the Kendal area office.I have placed in the Library of the House a more detailed statement of these economies.