Magazine article Public Finance

MPs Call for Animal Disease Levy

Magazine article Public Finance

MPs Call for Animal Disease Levy

Article excerpt

MPs have condemned as entirely unacceptable the failure by ministers to ensure that the costs of future outbreaks of animal diseases such as foot and mouth are borne by industry instead of taxpayers.

The Public Accounts Committee has criticised the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for not ensuring that, four years after foot and mouth devastated UK sheep farming, costs of similar episodes will in future be divided between the public and the farming sector.

Committee chair Edward Leigh demanded urgent action to set up a levy, paid by the agricultural sector in the event of another outbreak, to protect the public from picking up the tab again.

'If another outbreak were to occur tomorrow, the taxpayer would end up shouldering the bill once again,' he fumed. 'Defra must not delay in taking forward proposals to transfer part or all of the cost of future disease outbreaks to the industry. …

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