23 October 2001
Plans to cut welfare payments again

By FWi staff

THE government has unveiled proposals for another cut in compensation for livestock slaughtered under the foot-and-mouth welfare scheme.

Proposed reductions to payments under the Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme would be the third set of cuts since its introduction.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has sent proposals to cut compensation to industry organisations.

The proposed cuts include:

  • Cull/draft ewes reduced from 18 per head to 10;
  • All lamb reduced from up to 25 per head to 10;
  • Clean cattle reduced from 65p/kg lwt to 45p/kg;
  • Cows and heifers reduced from up to 700 to 350;
  • A new category of breeding ewes at 30 a head has been added
The scheme was introduced in March to help farmers unable to sell livestock because of falling feed stocks and overcrowding.

National Farmers Union deputy president Tim Bennett described the latest proposals as callous and ill-conceived.

“These farmers are desperate, they need hope, not despair. They need support from government, not further cuts.

The NFU will respond to these proposals in the strongest possible terms and hoped that the government would reconsider, said Mr Bennett.

A final decision on the cuts is likely early next week. The NFU said legal action against the government over previous cuts was continuing.

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