Foot-and-mouth bill hits 1.5bn

29 June 2001

Foot-and-mouth bill hits 1.5bn

FEARS that foot-and-mouth will cost more than BSE have been reinforced by figures showing that the government spent over 1.5billion in two months.

The now defunct Ministry of Agriculture spent 1.2bn on foot-and-mouth in April and May alone, during which the Intervention Board also spent 300m.

Another 35m had already been incurred between by the end of March, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

However, the true cost to the taxpayer is even higher because the figures do not cover work done by other departments such as the Ministry of Defence.

Although the crisis started 20 February, the epidemic has continued throughout June and shows no sign of a rapid conclusion.

The National Farmers Union estimates that uncompensated losses to farmers reached 1bn at the beginning of June and continue to grow at 250m a month.

Losses to tourism are estimated at 5bn this year.

The total cost will far outweigh that of the UK farmings other major catastrophe. BSE cost an estimated 4.6b to taxpayers and farmers.

The latest DEFRA figures show MAFF spent about 700 million in compensation to people affected by F&M in April and May.

Nearly 200m was spent on cleaning and disinfecting, while the cost of disposal and haulage of carcasses topped 150m.

Payments to agencies and individual vets involved in the disease control operation cost the ministry 79m.

Another 36m was spent running the operation that spanned almost the whole of the UK and involved thousands of people.

The Intervention Board spent an additional 300m in April and May.

It operates the slaughter disposal scheme, paying farmers for animals that have to be slaughtered for welfare reasons because of movement controls.

The number of outbreaks is rapidly approaching 1800, of which over 100 have been confirmed this month.


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