Farmers Guardian 27 July 2001

 

Court 'test case' on compensation

 

Welsh Assembly Rural Affairs Minister Carwyn Jones is being taken to court for non-payment of interest on compensation for stock slaughtered as part of the foot-and-mouth cull.

 

Fellow Assembly Member Peter Rogers, who farms on Anglesey and is Conservative agriculture spokesman, says he is taking the action as a test case for the hundreds of farmers shortchanged as a result of delayed compensation payments.

 

He lost all his stock in early April after confirmation of foot-and-mouth on neighbouring farms and says he was promised compensation in three weeks.

 

It was only this week, after a solicitor's letter to Mr Jones, that his compensation cheque arrived. But it did not cover lost interest for the three month delay. As a result he is instructing his solicitor to prepare a claim against Mr Jones in the Small Claims Court.

 

A spokesman for the Assembly said every endeavour was made to process and pay compensation payments as soon as possible.

 

"Currently all claims are being processed within 10 working days in Wales. We have to follow financial guidelines on processing these payments as it is public money that is being spent," she said.

 

"With an emergency situation such as the foot-and-mouth outbreak, there has been a large number of payments to be processed and inevitably there have been some delays, but they are the exception rather than the rule."

 

Carwyn Jones has also hit back.

 

"I would challenge Mr Rogers directly to reveal the amount of compensation he has received, to see if he has been hard done by," he said.