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Welcome for DEFRA Move on Cost-Sharing

UK - NFU Scotland has welcomed the change of heart signalled by Defra Minister Lord Rooker on sharing the costs and responsibility for animal health policy.

In the last fortnight, NFUS has raised serious concerns at the proposals from Defra Ministers to press ahead with the imposition of animal health costs on farmers, including a disease levy, without honouring its promise to give the industry a far greater say in animal health and welfare policy at the same time.

However, at the Royal Show, Lord Rooker stated that the intention was that cost-sharing would go hand-in-hand with responsibility sharing. He said that nothing would be ‘railroaded’ through against the will of either industry or devolved administrations. New Secretary of State, Hilary Benn, made similar remarks, commenting that there had to be proper partnership dialogue.

UK farming industry leaders are expected to discuss the issue directly with Ministers later this month.

NFUS Chief Executive Andy Robertson said:

“Helpfully, it would appear that we have moved back to the more constructive dialogue that marked the beginning of the discussions. We are willing to sit down and talk about cost-sharing but, as we forcefully stressed last week, we will not do so without a concrete commitment to give industry a proper say on policy.

“The new Secretary of State and his junior Ministers have clearly recognised the strength of feeling over this issue within industry and the devolved administrations. Hopefully, we can now build on that to develop a new and better relationship with the UK Government on animal health issues.”

the Fish Site Editor

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