HC Deb 29 June 1950 vol 476 cc2451-3
62. Mr. James Johnson

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is yet in a position to say what are to be the financial arrangements of the scheme for eradication of bovine tuberculosis which is due to begin on 1st October next.

Mr. G. Brown

Yes, Sir, I am glad to say that agreement has been reached with representatives of the National Farmers' Unions and Milk Marketing Boards in Great Britain on the basis of a plan for eradicating bovine tuberculosis by areas and on the necessary revision of the Tuberculosis (Attested Herds) Scheme which, as my right hon. Friend has already announced, will come into operation on 1st October, 1950. With permission I will circulate a statement giving details of this plan in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the statement:

Our general objective is to stimulate progress in the voluntary eradication of tuberculosis from herds in all parts of the country, and to eliminate tuberculosis entirely from selected areas as they become ripe for such treatment. Since 1944 owners of attested herds have received only the T.T. quality premium of 4d. per gallon of milk sold (if they held a T.T. licence) and there has been no payment for beef or rearing herds.

Under the new arrangements, which are to operate from 1st October next, there will be:

(1) An attestation bonus as a contribution towards the cost of eradicating tuberculosis from the herd. This will be at the rate of 2d. per gallon of milk sold for four years, and 1d. per gallon for a further two years or, at the option of the farmer at £2 per head of cattle for four years and £I per head for two more years.

(2) A continuing quality premium on T.T. milk in recognition of its superior hygienic quality at a minimum of 2d. per gallon from 1st October next until 31st March, 1954. The minimum rates in each subsequent period of two years will be settled biennially from 1952 onwards, any adjustments upwards or downwards in the guaranteed minimum being made in the light of circumstances. The actual rates will be subject to negotiation at the annual February reviews for 1951.

In addition to the above payments the owner of an attested herd in which reactors occur after the end of the fourth year will, provided that he has complied with the rules of the Scheme, be paid compensation in respect of those reactors. A revised Attested Herds Scheme embodying the above bonus proposals will be made at an early date to come into operation on 1st October next.

The general outline of the area eradication part of the plan, as agreed with producers' representatives, is fairly well known. Some details of the way in which it is to work, and of the areas first to be selected as free-testing and eradication areas are, however, still under discussion, but I hope to make a further announcement in due course. This part of the plan will also come into operation in October. The estimated additional cost of the new proposals as compared with the present arrangements is about £½ million in 1950–51 and just over £1 million in 1951–52.

Rapid progress has been made during the past few years in the eradication of tuberculosis from dairy herds. I feel confident that these proposals will ensure the continuation of that progress and also provide a new stimulus for the owners of other herds, thereby laying the fundation for the final eradication of bovine tuberculosis from Great Britain within a measurable time.