19 October 1999
Government lets EU £millions get away

BRITISH farmers are missing out on millions of pounds of European Union funds to tackle the spread of animal diseases such at bovine tuberculosis.

While Britain will receive around £50,000 to tackle the disease next year, Spain is to receive 100 times as much.

Yet bovine tuberculosis is a growing problem here. Trials are currently taking place to establish whether badgers transmit the disease to cattle.

The cash which the EU provides for eradication packages has just been announced, reports Radio 4s Farming Today.

A total of 50 million (£33m) is available in next years budget. EU funding must be matched by member-state funding.

The UK is to receive £600,000 to tackle bovine brucellosis, and £40-50,000 for bovine tuberculosis.

Four other countries will receive considerably more, most noticeably Spain which gets 100 times as much to tackle bovine tuberculosis because its government will match that.

Roger Waite of Brussels newsletter Agra Facts said: “On the TB front it is particularly curious, given the problem there is here with the disease at the moment.”

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) was unable to comment.

Money to eradicate BSE comes from a different budget.