HL Deb 26 January 2005 vol 668 cc163-4WA
Baroness Byford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Following the foot and mouth disease outbreak in 2001, how many claims are outstanding; and what total amount is still unsettled. [HL357]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty)

Outstanding claims on Defra in respect of the foot and mouth dispute exist only where the claim is being disputed or has been rejected or is subject to arbitration. While we would like to draw a line under this matter by settling all outstanding claims, we can only do so when the amount claimed is correct and has been justified. There are several different categories of claim against Defra arising as a result of the outbreaks that remain unsettled. These comprise: 16 appeals against Defra's valuation of livestock that were compulsorily slaughtered during 2001 which are still under review;

26 claims for miscellaneous economic losses which Defra is defending;

17 personal injury claims which are the subject of investigation or negotiation;

94 undisputed claims for the remediation of damage to farm premises caused by disease control operations. The estimated value of these works is £250,000. In most cases Defra has agreed a programme of works with the farmer but payment is subject to the completion of the work by the farmer and the submission of satisfactory invoices.

Defra has not yet finalised payments totalling £40 million to 57 contractors who provided services or who claimed to have provided services during FMD in 2001. Nine of these cases are in the High Court, one is the subject of a police investigation and one has been referred to the Special Compliance Office of the Inland Revenue as the relevant investigating authority.

Defra is disputing charges totalling £3.2 million from 29 valuers who undertook livestock valuations during FMD.

Baroness Byford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 13 December (Official Report, Commons, col. 113WS), whether Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food officials reported appropriately the conditions on Burnside Farm to line managers and Ministers, given their attendance at the making of the video by Northumberland County Council on 24 and 27 February 2001; and, if so, on what date such a report was made. [HL466]

Lord Whitty

No such report was made to line managers or Ministers nor was there any requirement on the veterinary officers present on Burnside Farm on 24 and 27 February to make such a report. The overriding objective of the veterinary officers in attendance at Burnside Farm on 24 and 27 February was to oversee essential disease control operations on the farm.