HC Deb 13 February 2004 vol 418 cc128-9W
Mr. Paterson

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many civil liability(a) claims and (b) actions (i) have been initiated and (ii) are pending, by or on behalf of her Department against (A) contractors, (B) farmers and (C) others, in respect of claims made for works undertaken on behalf of her Department; how many court hearings have been completed; how many cases have been successful; and how much money has been (1) recovered and (2) saved as a result of these actions. [150554]

Alun Michael

The Department launched civil proceedings against one contractor in the Mayors and City of London county court and obtained judgment against the contractor on 6 January 2004.

Three prosecutions were commenced into fraudulent claims for compensation by farmers: one farmer pleaded guilty, two farmers were acquitted. There are no outstanding civil or criminal prosecutions against farmers.

Currently, there are five civil cases in the Courts pertaining to expenditure with contractors on goods, services and works during the FMD outbreak in 2001. It would be inappropriate to comment on cases that are the subject of ongoing court proceedings. Similarly, public comment cannot be made on civil or criminal cases that are pending.