Dáil Éireann - Volume 576 - 03 December, 2003
Written Answers. - Animal Disease Levies.
Mr. R. Bruton Mr. R. Bruton
71. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the plans he has to reverse his decision in the Estimates of 2002 to double disease levies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29235/03]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh):The disease levies were doubled with effect from 1 January through the Bovine Diseases (Levies) Regulations 2002 (S.I. No. 596 of 2002), which were approved by the Oireachtas. The increases were made against the background of the overall budgetary situation and the high Exchequer costs of the TB and brucellosis eradication schemes. It was also done because of a major part of the expenditure related to compensation. The unit cost of reactors increased significantly under the on-farm market valuation scheme that replaced the reactor grant scheme in April.
The increases were also made in the context of the revised arrangements for the TB and brucellosis schemes that were introduced in April 1996 following agreement with the farming bodies. Under these arrangements it was agreed that the levies would contribute some £10 million a year or 50% of the compensation costs over the 1996 to 1999 period. For a variety of reasons the levies contribution fell short of the 50% target. Compensation payments totalled some £120 million over the four years and le levy receipts reached £45 million for the same period. In the subsequent three years levies accounted for less than 25% of compensation payments.
In accordance with the agreement on Sustaining Progress, it is stated that the Government will:
 Continue measures to reduce disease levels in the national herd. Value for money reviews of expenditure will be carried out during 2003 with a view to identifying savings while protecting consumer health, animal health and animal welfare and complying with statutory requirements. In the light of these efficiencies disease levies will be reviewed from 1 January 2004.
Dáil Éireann 576 Written Answers. Animal Disease Levies.