To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he proposes to make changes in the prices charged by the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service for its commercial services.
I have instructed ADAS that the prices it charges for its commercial services should be adjusted from time to time taking account of changes in costs, the competitive position in the market place as well, of course, as the legal requirement that such charges must be reasonable. The first adjustments will be made from the beginning of the 1988–89 financial year.The most familiar ADAS charges are perhaps those for advice. For these the hourly charge will remain at £28 (plus VAT) for up to two hours of advice which will help protect smaller farmers. However, if a contract necessitates over two hours of advisers' time, charges for the excess period over two hours will, from 1 April 1988, be levied at a rate of £30 (plus VAT) per hour.