Consultation on Cost-Share Scheme

UK - Scottish farmers were today asked to make their views known on sharing the responsibility and cost of animal disease with Government.
calendar icon 14 March 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead announced the first stage of a consultation with the livestock industry.

But he said Scotland was being "bounced" into the timetable set by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Mr Lochhead said:

"Taking forward an agenda of sharing the responsibilities and costs of preventing and controlling animal disease will undoubtedly be challenging.

"But we cannot sit by and let this issue be driven by the EU and by Defra. We have to develop an innovative solution for Scotland which fully reflects our own specific needs and builds on our already strong partnership approach.

"We must reach a consensus quickly. Despite our concerns being repeatedly expressed to Defra, we are being bounced into its timetable. Under its proposals, the transfer of responsibilities and costs could start as early as the second half of this year.

"This highlights the current anomaly which sees animal health policy set by us but the budgets reserved to Westminster.

"We will continue to press for Scotland to control the budgets as well as the policy but in the meantime we need the industry's views on these proposals which are based on the existing arrangements.

"Getting this right will enable us to forge an even stronger partnership with our industry and help us achieve a sustainable, economically vibrant future for Scottish farming."

The consultation announced today will last for four weeks and will focus only on the sharing of responsibilities and costs associated with Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs). Defra is currently consulting on the same issue south of the border.

The EU has recently published a Community Animal Health Strategy which also contains proposals for greater responsibility and cost sharing.

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