§ Mr. Byers
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many staff his Department employs on a regional basis in each standard English region; what is the cost of running these regional operations; what was the total budget for each region in the latest available year; and what are the main purposes for which the budget is used.
§ Mr. Jack
The Department's regional administrative organisation, consisting of nine regional service centres, employed a total of 1,610 staff as at 1 January 1995 with a budget provision for 1994–95 of £35.4 million, as published in the Supply estimates.
The regional service centres handle the administration of grant and subsidy schemes, licensing and various other services provided mainly to farmers and growers. The present organisation into nine regions was adopted in 1992 and was designed to match the distribution of the fanning industry rather than the standard regions used by other Departments.
Apart from the primary regional organisation, there are separate regional structures within the Department for the state veterinary service and various inspectorates, for which information in the form requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The executive agency, ADAS, also has its own regional structure.87W