Any cut to TB payments unacceptable – Lockhart

Upper Bann MP and DUP Westminster EFRA spokesperson, Carla Lockhart, has said any proposal coming from DAERA at the behest of the Secretary of State to cut the compensation payment level to farmers impacted by TB in their herd would be “wholly unacceptable”.
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Carla Lockhart said: “The Secretary of State sits behind a plush desk issuing diktats to local departments to find cost saving measures, but in doing so he shows absolutely no understanding of the pressures people are facing.

“This is obviously the case in his instruction to DAERA to explore cutting compensation payments to farmers who have instances of TB in their herd.

“I would encourage Mr Heaton-Harris to come with me to a farm, of which sadly there are many, on which TB has decimated the herd, and caused huge financial pressures to the farming family concerned.

Carla Lockhart MP (Pic supplied by Carla)Carla Lockhart MP (Pic supplied by Carla)
Carla Lockhart MP (Pic supplied by Carla)

“Let him look those farmers in the eye and tell them ‘the compensation payment you received was excessive’.

“He couldn’t be more wrong and yet he pursues this aggressive agenda of inflicting pain on those already facing huge pressures.”

She continued: “All this is done under the veil of addressing the public finance. We all know however that it was only a matter of weeks ago that the same Secretary of State indicated a blank cheque was available for Casement Park’s redevelopment.

“It does make you seriously question the priorities of the NIO – is a state of the art stadium/concert venue more important than farming families income and the future sustainability of those family farms?

“The Secretary of State needs to step back from punishing farmers. Indeed, his Government would be better spending time and resource in tackling TB, and directly resources towards reducing the impact of TB on farms.

“No farmer wants to be in the position of getting compensation for TB outbreaks on farm, it is not through choice. The NIO should recognise this instead of adding to an already difficult situation,” Ms Lockhart ended.