Industry Call for Ministerial Talks on Cost-Sharing back

by 5m Editor
29 June 2007, at 11:25am

SCOTLAND - NFU Scotland and other UK farming unions have told Defra officials today in London that direct talks with Defra Ministers on proposals for sharing the costs of animal health and welfare policies must now take place.

Last week, NFUS warned Defra against trying to impose animal health costs, including a disease levy, on the industry and going back on a promise to give industry a far greater say in policy in return.

“We have told officials that we want to meet Defra Ministers, who ever they may be following the likely reshuffle, next month."

NFUS Chief Executive Andy Robertson

At today’s meeting with officials, industry representatives reiterated that discussions could not continue unless Ministers committed in forthcoming legislation to either establishing a joint industry/government policy making body or delaying cost-sharing proposals until such moves to share responsibility came about.

Industry will meet Ministers next month to discuss the issues with them directly.

Speaking from London after the meeting, NFUS Chief Executive Andy Robertson said:

“We were told today by Defra officials that they recognised our concerns.

“Defra Ministers are clearly isolated as both industry and devolved administrations are clear that a November timetable for legislation without a commitment to a bigger industry say in policy is unworkable and unacceptable.

“We have told officials that we want to meet Defra Ministers, who ever they may be following the likely reshuffle, next month. We want a serious discussion on the next steps, bearing in mind we have been sitting round a table with officials for six months and thought there was a mutual understanding of where we were heading. That understanding was completely undermined by signals that Ministers were now planning to press ahead with cost-sharing without giving industry what it had been promised.

“Ministers need to come to next month’s meeting with an open mind and hear first hand how seriously we view any attempt to impose costs on industry and back-track on promises to share responsibility on policy-making.”

5m Editor