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Orders of the Day — BSE Crisis

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:59 pm on 17th February 1997.

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Photo of Douglas Hogg Douglas Hogg Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 3:59 pm, 17th February 1997

I shall not give way.

As a result of the action taken, we are now in a much better state than anybody in those dark days of last March would have thought possible. BSE is in fast decline: the number of confirmed cases in the United Kingdom is falling by 40 per cent. each year. By 2001 or thereabouts, BSE will be out of the national herd. It is right to say that British beef is the safest and best in Europe.

Consumer confidence is recovering, and farm incomes have been supported. The essential links in the chain have been preserved. Those achievements are the product of a collective effort by farmers, by their representatives, by retailers, by scientists, by manufacturers and by the Government too. Together we have created the circumstances in which the British beef industry can face the future with confidence.

The motion is a cheap political stunt, and I invite the House to reject it.