54. Colonel Dower
asked the Minister of Agriculture what are the total number of officials employed by the agricultural executive committees; and their cost to the taxpayer.
§ Mr. G. Brown
The total staff of county agricultural executive committees on 1st October, 1948, was 10,367. The estimated cost in the year 1948–49 is £3,707,000 in respect of salaries and £930,000 in respect of travelling and other general expenses.
While thanking the hon. Gentleman, may I ask if he is aware that in some parts of the country it is considered that these executive committees are over-staffed, and also that the cost to the taxpayer is far too high? Will he take steps to inquire into that?
§ Mr. Brown
We have the question of the staffing, the work and the administration of these committees closely under review between our own people at headquarters and the counties themselves. I have a keen interest myself in these committees and I would like it to be realised that, to a large extent, one has to set against these costs the great amount of food that is being produced now as a result of the efforts of many of these people which otherwise would not be produced.
Would not the Parliamentary Secretary agree that it would be much appreciated if his Department would publish separate accounts for each county agricultural executive committee?