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DEFRA's backward step will halt health policy, says NFU Cymru

by 5m Editor
25 June 2007, at 6:00am

UK - NFU Cymru President Dai Davies has issued a warning that discussions on the cost and responsibility sharing for animal disease between DEFRA and the farming industy, could be doomed if the Government does not change tack.

Mr Davies said that NFU Cymru has made absolutely clear to DEFRA that its plans to impose animal health costs and disease levies on the industry, while reneging on its promises to give the farmers a greater share of responsibility for the development and control of animal health policy, is a disastrously backward step.

"We have spent the last six months in discussion on the cost and responsibility sharing agenda and at the eleventh hour, DEFRA have effectively pulled the plug on the whole exercise," said Mr Davies.

In addition, he said that the Government had made it clear that they intend to proceed on a cost-only basis, which made a complete nonsense of the six months commitment by the industry, and indeed the devolved administrations, made to the working Group set up to find practical and cost effective solutions.

"We have repeatedly stressed that a true partnership between Government and the industry required a great deal of trust, but the latest moves by DEFRA shatter any trust that may have been established," said Mr Davies. "We work extremely closely with the Welsh Assembly, which has responsibility for animal health policy, but DEFRA are using their control of the budget to impose 'cost-only' legislation upon the industry. This is hardly an advert for integrated and meaningful devolved Government."

Another meeting will be held this week and hopes to make further progress.


5m Editor