17 September 1999
Cattle passport fee could be delayed

By FWi staff

HOPES are rising that the government might delay the introduction of its planned £7 fee for cattle passports.

The charge is due to take effect from Monday 27 September and industry leaders were warned recently there was little room for manoeuvre.

But the government has not made any announcement nor laid the Statutory Instrument (SI) in parliament to introduce the charges.

The National Farmers Union is not reading too much in to the governments silence, however, said Carol Lloyd, NFU livestock adviser.

“We were expecting some form of announcement two weeks ago.”

All Britains farming unions maintain the government should continue to foot the £18m/year bill for running the British Cattle Movement Service.

Farmers cannot afford any extra costs at the moment, they insist.

According to Ms Lloyd, the fact that the SI has not been laid does not automatically mean that the government will not still pass the costs to producers.

A MAFF spokeswoman agreed that, while it was usual to observe the 21 day rule, it was not absolute and the necessary legislation could be introduced in an emergency.

But she could offer no indication of when ministers might announce their final decision on whether to introduce the £7 charge.