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Bse Compensation Payments

Volume 571: debated on Wednesday 24 April 1996

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What was the saving to public funds incurred by paying 50 per cent. compensation on BSE-infected cattle before 1990; and what has been the further saving incurred since the reduction of compensation in 1994.

If compensation had been paid at 100 per cent. prior to February 1990 it is estimated that the Government would have incurred an increase in compensation payments of somewhere in the order of £3.5 million.Farmers receive the market value of their animals slaughtered as BSE suspects, up to a ceiling. The calculation of the maximum compensation rate for BSE suspect animals was changed with effect from 1st April 1994 to better reflect the age structure of the cattle population succumbing to the disease and so match market values more accurately. Had the previous method of calculation been used in the period 1st April 1994 to 31st March 1996 then expenditure on BSE compensation could have been up to £4.25 million higher, depending on the market value of the animals

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killed. There is no evidence that either of these changes has resulted in any under-reporting of BSE suspects.