Mr. De la BÃ¨re:
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether in view of the numerous cases of delay of many months in making settlements in connection with the grant for water supply schemes to farmers throughout the country, he will now give an assurance that he will amend the procedure with a view to expediting the settlements in future.
I do not accept the implication in the first part of the Question. Schemes must necessarily he inspected to ensure that they have been satisfactorily completed in accordance with the proposals originally approved, before grant can be paid. Once they are certified as complete, there is normally no undue delay in paying grant. Early this year, however, authority was given to deal locally with the great bulk of proposals for farm water supply schemes; and when schemes locally approved under these arrangements are completed, then certification and payment of grant will also be dealt with locally, thus expediting settlements.