Time for deeds from DEFRA?

15 February 2002

Time for deeds from DEFRA?

THE government has dodged most of the serious policy questions over the past few months by hiding behind the policy commissions report, according to the chairman of the Tenant Farmers Association.

In a speech at the TFAs AGM on Tuesday (Feb 12), Reg Haydon said now the report had been published DEFRA had to deliver.

"A principal benefit of the reports publication is that DEFRA now has to do some work," he said.

"Since coming into existence following the general election it has been able to dodge most of the serious policy questions by deferring to the expected report.

"We await with much expectation the governments response which we are told will follow a period of consultation with the industry in March."

Mr Haydon said given the extent of the devastation caused by foot-and-mouth, the government had acted "dishonorably" in setting up several inquiries into the matter.

Mr Haydon said any hope the inquiries would identify a better way to handle disease outbreaks had been dashed by the contents of the governments Animal Health Bill.

"It seeks only to provide ministers with broader powers to slaughter animals and reduce valuations," he said.

"Despite some of the assurances we have been given by ministers, we continue to tell them that to accept the bill…would represent a tremendous leap of faith." &#42

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