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Thursday, 29 November, 2001, 13:00 GMT
Farmer's 1.3m damages payout
Sheep in the Brecon Beacons
Culling has led to large compensation claims
A farmer from mid Wales has been paid 1.3m in compensation for the culling of his livestock during the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The payout to the un-named Powys farmer - the biggest payment in Wales so far, was condemned by Newport West MP Paul Flynn speaking in the House of Commons.
Testing in the Brecon Beacons
Testing of animals was extensive

To date, 41 farmers across the UK have received more than 1m each in compensation since the outbreak began in February.

Farming Minister Elliott Morley told MPs that almost 300 more received between 500,000 and 1m.

Elsewhere, a farmer in Monmouthshire received 705,000 while one in north Wales was paid 645,000 for stock destroyed during culling measures.

The payments were condemned in the Commons by the Newport West Labour MP Paul Flynn.

Mr Flynn told Parliamentary questions that farmers may be on their knees but only to hold a begging bowl.

Crisis in Wales
Total confirmed cases UK-wide: 2,030 - with 118 in Wales
Powys - 78 cases
Anglesey - 13 cases
Monmouthshire - 20 cases
Caerphilly - 2
Rhondda Cynon Taff - 1
Neath Port Talbot -1
Newport - 3
In August, the European Union's Food and Veterinary Office reported that UK farmers were possibly receiving "excessive payments" for culled livestock.

But president of the National Farmers' Union Cymru Hugh Richards has repeatedly challenged the EU claims.

He said farmers had not only lost the value of their livestock but the earning potential that went with it.

Mr Richards said he had been told of at least three farmers in Wales who are seeking in excess of 1m for lost stock.

"We have only been paid for what our stock is worth," Mr Richards told BBC News Online Wales.

Hugh Richards, president NFU Cymru
Hugh Richards: Unhappy with criticism of farmers

With all respect to government officials, they could have objected to the claims.

"We have no power to decide the figures ourselves."

And Mr Richards suggested that if any worker - even an Assembly Member - was to go without their pay cheque, they would face serious difficulties of their own.

"I have spoken to three farmers in Clwyd who told me they have not been paid for the last four months.

"I had one farmer on the telephone on Sunday threatening suicide and I have given his name to the Samaritans.

"Another told me was bankrupt and a third said he would have to sell land to keep the bank happy.

"The pressures these farmers are under is constant."

Mr Flynn has also challenged the levels paid to valuers visiting Welsh farms, who are up to 1,500 a day.

But Defra - the recently reformed agriculture ministry - said the figures were based on a 1% fee on all the animals checked, based on a minimum of 500 and maximum of 1,500.

See also:

31 Jul 01 | Wales
A Brecon farmer's struggle
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