15 March 1999
Billions lost to CAP fraud

BILLIONS of pounds of taxpayers money are being lost each year through waste, mismanagement and fraud involving the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), according to a the governments spending watchdog.

Sir John Bourn, the governments Comptroller and Auditor-General, uncovered a number of examples of money.

One involved durum wheat farmers who were overcompensated for low yields to such an extent that £2 billion was lost between 1994 and 1997.

As well as receiving a fixed minimum price, which made up for the yield, the farmers also received special aid for every tonne harvested.

Another example concerns 65,000 cattle, slaughtered under a scheme designed to prevent bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

The cattle could not be traced, the report says, even though farmers had apparently been compensated.