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Foot and Mouth Disease: Subsidies

Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 24 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if he will ensure that there is parity in the financial assistance packages introduced for farmers in the UK following the recent foot and mouth outbreaks; (157424)

(2) what discussions he plans to have with devolved administrations on developing packages of financial support to farmers following the recent foot and mouth outbreaks.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what resources he plans to make available to the devolved administrations to support welfare packages for farmers in light of the recent foot and mouth outbreak. (157741)

[holding answer 15 and 16 October 2007]: We are working closely with the devolved administrations during the current foot and mouth disease and bluetongue outbreaks to co-ordinate our response. DEFRA has had a range of discussions with both the Scottish Executive and the National Assembly for Wales, on the disease situation and control measures at both ministerial and official level.

Certain functions under the Animal Health Act 1981, including disease control functions were transferred to the National Assembly for Wales under the Transfer of Functions Order 2004 (SI 2004/3044). Similarly, certain functions on disease control relating to the Animal Health Act 1981 were transferred to the Scottish Executive under the Scotland Act.

However, DEFRA has agreed to make payments on behalf of the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Executive for animals killed and property seized due to foot and mouth disease. This does not however extend to specific Welsh or Scottish schemes to protect animal welfare or to support farmers during disease outbreaks. Such schemes remain the responsibility of the devolved administrations who have decided to introduce, their own during the current outbreak.

In my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State’s statement to the House on 8 October, he set out an aid package for the English livestock sector to assist those farmers most affected.