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NFU’s Rallying Call to Livestock Farmers Over Cost Sharing Plans

by 5m Editor
12 December 2007, at 9:55am

UK - The NFU is urging livestock farmers to voice their feelings on the Government's plans to transfer millions of pounds of the cost of dealing with animal disease outbreaks to producers.

NFU have given a stark warning to Government about the industry's precarious financial position and that it could not contemplate having further costs imposed on it.

Defra has started an 18-week process of discussion with interested parties about the proposals and NFU President Peter Kendall said it was vital as many farmers as possible registered their views. Defra needs to be fully aware of the strength of opposition to the plans as it is one of the most important issues the industry has had to face for a long time.

"To suggest this idea now, at a time when we are still picking up the pieces from foot and mouth and bluetongue, is unbelievably insensitive and shows very poor judgement on the Government's behalf. We have a wounded industry at the moment and Defra is just rubbing salt into that wound," said Mr Kendall.

"As the joint industry statement said last week, this is a very complex issue and we need time to discuss it properly. It is unfortunate that Defra feels the need to go ahead with this consultation before the Secretary of State has responded to the statement," he added.

NFU recognises the tight budget controls that have been imposed on Defra by the Treasury. However, it says that the industry cannot make up the shortfall - it also has extremely tight budgets and many of the products from the livestock sector are currently being sold below the cost of production.

"To suggest we should pick up further costs from the government is just plainly out of the question. We are prepared to help Defra review its policy areas on animal health and welfare and look for savings and this is where responsibility sharing comes in. We firmly believe that if we worked together on these issues we could find savings for Defra, the livestock sector and the tax payer," said Mr Kendall.

"This is a critically important subject and I hope that farmers across England will respond to the Defra consultation document and make their views known."

5m Editor