Government ordered to pay back 35m in ewe premiums

07 May 1998

Government ordered to pay back £35m in ewe premiums

By FWi staff

THE UK Government has been ordered to repay £35 million in farm aid to Brussels because of irregularities in the way money was distributed under the Sheep Annual Premium Scheme.

European Union officials said yesterday that the UK had failed to guarantee proper checks when distributing money to farmers. Most of the irregularities referred to money distributed under the ewe premium scheme of 1994.

Under EU Commission rules, individual member states are responsible for distributing cash grants from Brussels. Italy must pay back £70m.

A MAFF spokeswoman assured FWi that British farmers would not lose out over the debacle, saying the Exchequer would have to find the money.

“The Commission has claimed the money back. What they will do is deduct the money from their future advances. Government is going to have to find extra money to maintain the scheme,” she said.

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