To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether he will consider changing the system charges for examining dairy premises under the Milk and Dairies Hygiene Regulations from a fixed charge to one based on litres produced; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what steps he has taken to ascertain whether an alternative to the present regime might offer a more cost-effective service for examining dairy premises under the Milk and Dairies Hygiene Regulations; and if he will make a statement;
(3) whether he has considered offering for competitive tender the examination of dairy premises under the Milk and Dairies Hygiene Regulations.
§ Mr. Donald Thompson
As I told my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Bennett) on 26 January, at column 175, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I have arranged for a formal efficiency scrutiny to be carried out with the view to identifying possible economies in the way this work is done. The examining officer has wide terms of reference and he is therefore free to address the options suggested by the hon. Member: he is consulting interested organisations, including the Farmers Union of Wales. His report is due in May and his recommendations will then be carefully considered.