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Animal Health

Volume 468: debated on Monday 26 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what representations his Department has received from local councils on the funding of their budgets for animal health; (166483)

(2) what changes are planned to the level of funding of local authority health teams; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what funding his Department has provided to local authority animal health teams in each year since 2001; and what the projected expenditure is for 2007-08.

[holding answer 20 November 2007]: I have received a number of representations from local authorities about the direct funding available from DEFRA to supplement the resources available to them under the Revenue Support Grant for work on animal health and welfare. The funding paid to local authorities under these arrangements, which started in 2002-03, has been as follows:

Expenditure (£ million)











Local authorities submit bids annually to their local Divisional veterinary managers (DVMs), who are asked to certify that the proposed expenditure is eligible for funding. The bids are sent forward to a central point in DEFRA for authorisation.

For 2007-08, DEFRA received bids worth £9.77 million in total. This compares with an available budget of £8.5 million, which reflects a degree of underspending in previous years. DEFRA has issued allocations within the limits of the funding available. Authorities claiming up to £11,000 will receive the full amount of their bids. Other authorities have been told that their bids will be reduced by up to 12 per cent.

DEFRA is working with the Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) to improve the framework agreement governing this work and to ensure that the limited resources available are used to best effect.