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Ian Hudghton
Scottish National Party
Member of the European Parliament

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Press Releases
20 June
SNP Condemns £3.3 million "Oversight"

The SNP has today revealed that Scotland lost out on part of an EU package worth at least £3.3 million because the UK Government failed to get their claim in on time. The money, available through an EU package totalling 94.5 million Euros, to tackle animal diseases such as TSE (Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy), Brucellosis and TB, was dished out to all fourteen other member states earlier this year. But the UK Government was too late in applying and came away empty-handed.

SNP MEP Ian Hudghton tabled a question to the European Commission in May, and received their response this morning showing that

4.2 million Euros (about £2.8 million) had been earmarked for the UK under the TSE Monitoring Programme for 2003, and a further 765,000 Euros (about £510,000) for the 2003 Eradication Programme to target Brucellosis and TB. Scotland would have qualified for a chunk of these funds. Had their application been in on time, the UK might have received even more as any underspend by countries is apportioned out at the year end as required to countries facing additional costs.

Speaking from his office in Brussels today, Mr Hudghton said:

"Isn’t it amazing. When there’s money being handed out by the EU, the UK can’t get its act together to apply in time. It’s not exactly as if we don’t need money to help eradicate animal diseases in the UK – we hardly have an unblemished record on that with BSE and FMD still fresh in our minds. But sadly it’s what we’ve come to expect of UK representation in the EU. We’re always told we’re better off being part of a big country like the UK. In actual fact the UK has again shown itself to be the Weakest Link of the EU."

Mr Hudghton’s Westminster colleague, Annabelle Ewing MP, who had raised the issue in the House of Commons in March said:

"In March of this year, I asked the Minister to make a statement on why the claim had been submitted late. Back came the answer from Elliot Morley that the TSE claim ‘was not submitted as a result of an oversight’. Pretty expensive oversight that! Makes you wonder just how many more millions of euros we’ve missed out on due to London’s gross incompetence. Ian and I are liaising with colleagues in the Scottish Parliament in order that questions can be raised there to establish by just how much Scotland lost out through Westminster incompetence and what can be done to prevent future ‘oversights’."

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