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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 February 2008, 16:17 GMT
Farmers' 8.8m compensation deal
Restrictions sign
Ministers estimate the 2007 outbreak cost Welsh farmers 21m
Sheep farmers in Wales will receive 8.8m to cope with the effects of last year's foot-and-mouth outbreak in England, it has been announced.

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones told AMs it brought the total support provided to farmers to 13m.

She said Welsh ministers would continue to press the UK Government to give farming across Britain further help.

But the Conservatives said the Labour-Plaid administration had "turned their backs" on Welsh farmers.

Ms Jones said the deal was based on careful analysis of all the available data and that the money had been found from areas of underspending in her department.

"I have consistently said that the Welsh Assembly Government will do all within its power to support rural Wales and the agriculture industry and today's announcement highlights that commitment," she said.

The financial package will need to satisfy the European Commission that it meets state aid rules.

The assembly government estimates the cost of the outbreak in England to Wales to be 21m, 19.6m of that in the sheep sector.

But the National Farmers' Union (NFU) Wales has put the cost at more than 40m.

A similar aid package for farmers in England was worth 8.5 million while the Scottish Government announced a 26m deal for its farmers last October.

'Bitterly betrayed'

Conservative rural affairs spokesman Brynle Williams said the cash Welsh farmers could expect was "nowhere near enough".

"This is a total disgrace, and farmers across Wales will have every right to feel bitterly betrayed by the Labour-Plaid administration," he said.

"How the rural affairs minister can call this a substantial aid package is beyond me," he added.

The foot-and-mouth outbreak was discovered in Surrey in August 2007.

There were no cases in Wales but restrictions were placed on the movement and trade of animals across the UK following the August outbreak and a second one in September.

Farmers in Wales did not automatically receive compensation because no animals were slaughtered due to the disease.

The restrictions meant animals could not be sent to the abattoir which lead to a loss of income and the additional cost of feed.


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