New bovine compensation rates announced".... Presented by DEFRA as a fairer system that offers greater value to the taxpayer there is no route to appeal a valuation. DEFRA also hopes the category system will stem the spread of bovine TB by speeding the removal of infected animals from farms...."
Re Ben Bradshaw and the implication in the Farmers Weekly report that the compensation category system will "speed the removal of infected animals from farms"
Email received Feb 1 2006
"It wasn't the valuers holding up slaughter - it was sheer numbers of reactors! SVS can't cope as it is.
Reading and then Exeter University spent a large part of Defra's Tb budget telling the Minister that up to 85% of valuations were 'within limits'. Of the rest, the few over valuations were equally balanced by the few that were grossly under. And as farmers are unable to obtain insurance for Tb now, - "the exposure to risk is too high" said the loss adjusters - compulsory purchase money is all there is, for the reactor animal, her unborn calf, her production. Everything.
Defra (I hear) suggested a 50 : 50 underwrite with the insurers to cover compulsory purchase of Tb reactors, and were laughed out of the room.
"We are businessmen " the loss adjusters said!
I was told (by a loss adjuster) that Tb pay outs were haemorrhaging the whole farm insurance budget, hence no new insurance and premium for existing policies increased 10 fold, while the pay out halved.
Chap who spoke to us after the publication from Exeter Uni. said 85% was "as good as it gets". Not good enough for our Ben though.
Interestingly, testing is now a higher part of the Tb budget than farmer compulsory purchase monies. Bring on lay testers, he will say!
But if there are more and more breakdowns, requiring 6 tests per year instead of 1 then it's only a short term fix. Cattle slaughterings are up 36.6 % to November on 2004, so his lower tabulation valuation figure will only hold for 3 years or so at that rate.
He's obviously thinking that if the price is low enough, the farmers will have to sort out the problem for themselves. "