"Animal disease levy must be scrapped" - Farron
Local MP Tim Farron has today expressed his dismay at the news that the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is considering imposing a levy on farmers to meet more of the costs incurred by major disease outbreaks. The amount that each farm pays will be based on the size of each farm and its operation. The news comes as DEFRA announced it was to make £300m of emergency cuts from its annual budget.
Despite the recent outbreaks of foot and mouth, blue tongue and more recently bird flu, the Department seems intent on pushing ahead with the plans and the £12m announced as a support package by Hillary Benn in September is well short of the required amount.
Responding to the news, Tim Farron said:
"A Government facility was responsible for the outbreak of foot and mouth this summer, and yet they still expect farmers to foot more of the bill. The Government hasn't paid up this time round and it seems that in future they will expect farmers to do so for them."
Commenting on the budget cuts, Mr Farron said:
"I simply cannot believe that in light of the events of this summer that the Government is cutting such a vital budget by such a significant amount. The farming industry suffered to the tune of over £200m this year, but still DEFRA sees fit to make £300m in cuts. This is yet more evidence that this Government is not doing enough for our rural economy."