Monday, February 7

Up Front Levy

Many of us who live in the counnry will forget the ghastly images of wasre and distruction of the Foot and Mouth desease of four years ago. Dor many businesses the crises is still a reality.

Settlements have been reached with 73 contractors, with savings to Defra totalling £40m.

But the remaining bills - together worth £260m - are still under investigation, with a number of contractors facing court action and Defra hopeful of clawing back a further £17m at least, according to the report by Whitehall spending watchdog the National Audit Office.

The foot-and-mouth outbreak cost the UK a total of more than £3bn, and the Government came under fire for providing excessive compensation to farmers for the culling of six million animals.

The European Commission last year rejected a Defra claim for £960m compensation for the cull, agreeing to pay only £350m because it believed that farmers had been given payouts worth two to three times the true value of their slaughtered livestock.

Defra is currently considering the introduction of a levy to ensure that industry shoulders a proportion of the cost of any future animal disease epidemic.
As always, we pay for the failure of politicians and civil servants - but not normally up front.

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