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Foot and Mouth Disease: Compensation

Volume 468: debated on Wednesday 28 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans his Department has to compensate lowland livestock farmers for losses incurred as a result of restrictions introduced in respect of the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease. (166481)

[holding answer 20 November2007]: We are acutely aware of the difficulties facing the industry at this time. Compensation is paid at the market value for animals and goods, which are seized and destroyed for disease control purposes. However, it is a long established principle that the Government do not meet the costs of consequential losses, which must be borne instead by the industry.

To help the industry at this difficult time, we announced on 8 October a package of assistance worth £12.5 million. This is to support those livestock farmers most severely affected by the outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD), including those in the restriction areas and hill farmers. Support has also been included for meat promotion and farming charities, and this will benefit all farmers. The process of implementing the support package is well under way and some elements have almost been completed.

The most effective and sustainable way to improve the position for farmers is a speedy resumption of exports. A new European Commission Decision this week will allow much of Britain to start exporting meat again under normal community rules, and with appropriate certification. We are doing all we can to obtain FMD free status at the earliest possible date in January.