Select Committee on Agriculture Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Meat and Livestock Commission (H 8)

  Thank you for your letter inviting submissions on the above topic. In autumn 1999, our Chairman, Don Curry, was invited as part of the Review of Regulatory Burdens to chair the working group examining the IACS and Inspections Working Group. The MLC's views are therefore well represented by that report and in its recommendations.

  Since that report was produced in December 1999, a number of recommendations have been acted upon and there has been progress made with others.

  Examples of new developments are set out below. MLC is now consulted on the draft guidance notes and forms for most of the livestock premium schemes (recommendation 1) before they are published and disseminated to producers. To reduce the burden of form filling by producers (recommendations 6 and 7), MAFF census branch has consulted the industry on a greater use of sampling in obtaining livestock census results. MLC is fully supportive of other initiatives which may result in a greater use being made of information which already exists on other databases such as those for the livestock premium schemes.

  Cattle Count 2000 was carried out on 10 September 2000. Once all the back data from this inventory is added to the Cattle Tracing System, this should then provide the opportunity for MAFF to seek full operational status and bring with it a reduction in the administrative burden for producers (recommendations 16, 22 and 23). We are also fully supportive of the initiatives and pilot schemes to encourage the industry to make grater use of IT for both record keeping and in submission of claim forms.

  It is important that progress on these and in the other areas identified within the IACS Working Group Report continues. The rationalisation of farm inspections is an area of opportunity highlighted in the report. New and extra administrative requirements introduced as part of Agenda 2000 has resulted in additional burdens which the industry has had to content with. While this support is vital to the livestock industry, we believe that the way in which these schemes are implemented ought also to be subject to review and scrutiny to ensure that they do not add further unnecessary burden to the industry.

27 October 2000

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