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Bovine Tuberculosis: Compensation

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) from which individuals and organisations his Department has sought advice on modifications to the table valuation system for compensation for cattle culled as a result of bovine tuberculosis in the last 12 months; (203451)

(2) what options for modifications to the table valuation system for compensation for cattle culled as a result of bovine tuberculosis he has considered;

(3) when he expects to make modifications to the table valuation system for compensation for cattle culled as a result of bovine tuberculosis.

The Government recognise that the new compensation system, based on table valuations, which was introduced in February 2006, is not supported by many in the farming industry.

DEFRA has not ruled out the possibility of changes to the current compensation system, but any changes would need to be justified and take into account the interests of all parties, including taxpayers. They would also need to take account of the extensive evidence in the level of over-valuation experienced under the previous system based on individual valuations. DEFRA held discussions with members of the Cattle Compensation Advisory Group about possible modifications to the new system without reaching any consensus. Discussions have also taken place with representatives from the organic farming sector to consider their view that system enhancements are needed for organically produced cattle.

A Judicial Review challenge concerning the table valuation system will be heard in the High Court in early June and any decisions about modifications to the system will take into account the judgment in that case.