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Farron accuses government of forcing farmers to "pick up the tab" over disease cost sharing proposal

June 30, 2009 12:00 AM

Government plans to charge livestock farmers for dealing with animal disease outbreaks will heap more financial pressure on farmers according to Liberal Democrat Defra Spokesperson Tim Farron.

PM Gordon Brown announced his intention to introduce an Animal Health and Responsibility and Cost Sharing Bill during yesterday's Draft Queens Speech which outlined his priorities for the next legislative session.

Mr Farron has condemned the Government's decision to force farmers to "pick up the tab" as reckless and has warned that further attempts to increase industry contributions for disease prevention will only cause further damage to the industry.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"The government wouldn't ask communities affected by swine flu to pay to cover the cost, so it's completely unfair that farmers are being forced to pick up the tab.

"I'm amazed that Gordon Brown has the audacity to even suggest that livestock farmers should pay these increased costs, especially since the 2007 Foot and Mouth outbreak clearly came from a Government licensed premises.

"Everyone within the farming industry understands the need to protect public health. But in the current economic climate there can be no justification for shifting the cost to hard pressed livestock farmers."