Saturday, February 5

Owed from Foot and Mouth

A businessman says he is still owed £500,000 by the government for removing and burying carcasses after the foot-and-mouth crisis.
Robert Pugh, from Shropshire, left his business selling agricultural machinery to help organise equipment and labour for a cull at 40 sites in the county.He says that after four years the government is still querying the bill.The outbreak, which began in 2001, led to the slaughter of 6.5m animals andruined many farms and rural businesses.
It is estimated to have cost the UK up to £8bn.Organised burningMr Pugh's claims follow the National Audit Office's report into the outbreakwhich revealed that some of the contractors who helped in the clean-up operationare still owed money.His company organised the burning and burial of dead sheep and cattle acrossmuch of Shropshire.
Mr Pugh told BBC News said: "It was absolutely, incredibly badly run."The opportunities to exploit it were there and we didn't and that's what reallyhurts.
"We viewed ourselves as heroes at the time because everything they asked us todo, we did and at the end of the day when it was done, this is the situation wehave found ourselves in."£1.1bn compensation
His wife Caroline added: "Hundreds of tonnes of timber and coal had to beordered and supplied."A huge amount of equipment went into helping it all go together - we're talkingof hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of disinfectant."The National Audit Office says farmers received more than £1.1 bn incompensation for animals that were slaughtered for disease control purposes and some £200m for animals slaughtered for welfare reasons.But figures from the European Union show the British government paid out toomuch compensation after the crisis. Lawyers and forensic accountants are nowchecking the details of each bill.
The National Audit Office says overpayment was due to the sheer volume of caseswhich put compensation schemes under enormous pressure and led to costs beinghigher.
Story from BBC NEWS:

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