I hope to introduce this scheme on a pilot scale in Scotland in the autumn of this year. I propose to select for this purpose two or three counties within the area of each of the three Colleges of Agriculture. The details are still being worked out in consultation with the appropriate representative organisations. A further announcement will be made as soon as possible.
I am grateful for that reply. Will there be any restriction of acreage? Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether farmers who have already been keeping business records with the various colleges will be able to obtain the benefits of this scheme?
We must appreciate at the start that this is a pilot scheme and the requirements for the scheme are still to be fully worked out. Those farmers who are keeping records and come within the scheme should be eligible for grant. I hope soon not only to give further details but also to indicate in what areas in relation to the three colleges the pilot scheme will be operated.
When the scheme is fully operative, can we assess how much subsidy each farmer is receiving and whether he deserves it according to some kind of means test which the party opposite seems to favour in other fields?
He should support it because the more we get a sense of business into agriculture the more we shall be able to reduce the cost of agriculture, which will be to the benefit of everyone concerned.