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Schedule 2 - Scrapie

Part of Animal Health Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:30 pm on 4th December 2001.

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Photo of Richard Bacon Richard Bacon Conservative, South Norfolk 6:30 pm, 4th December 2001

I, too, support the amendment. The Bill's emphasis on farmers' obligations, duties and responsibilities is massive. However, the Minister and his Department are obliged to do very little. Proposed new section 36K states:

''The Minister may make regulations providing for the payment by him of compensation in respect of loss suffered or costs incurred as a result of the exercise of a power conferred by or under this Part.''

If a constituent came to a surgery and explained that he was trying to claim compensation, what could one say if the Minister had chosen not to make the regulations? All one could do is point to the Bill and explain that a claim could have been made had the Minister bothered to make regulations, as he ''may'' choose to do, but that it appeared that he did not consider it worthwhile. That is what the provision boils down to in its present form. It seems reasonable that the Government should be obliged to set down regulations.

I recall the Minister saying, ''The key to this is transparency''. Let us take him at his word. Why does he object to the requirement to make regulations, under the word ''shall''? The amendment is reasonable, and it is about time that the Government realised that if the Bill is to be accepted by the farming community, it should not be a one-way street. The Minister should have duties and obligations, and the requirement to set regulations for compensation is reasonable.