Britain risks losing pounds 1bn in BSE aid from Europe

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The Independent Online
A billion pounds of European subsidies, granted to help Britain pay for its BSE crisis, are in danger of being withdrawn because of the Tory Government's incompetence, according to Labour's deputy leader, John Prescott, writes Stephen Castle.

Mr Prescott has warned that the European Parliament is due to debate a report from the European Commission's committee of inquiry on the BSE crisis urging that Britain be made to repay the aid.

He has also revealed that the remains of more than a million slaughtered cattle are being stored in 41 cold storage units,10 dry warehouses and two dockside container sites, at a total cost of pounds 43m so far. The revelation comes a day before Agriculture Minister Douglas Hogg faces a censure vote in the Commons.

In today's Independent on Sunday, Mr Prescott argues: "As part of the 'over-30-month-old' slaughter scheme, 1.2 million cattle have been slaughtered, but the Government does not have the capacity to dispose of them.

"No one knows exactly how or where these carcasses ... can be destroyed. So we face the choice of turning power stations into incinerators, creating mass graves, or maintaining mountains of containerised carcasses."

Prescott writes, page 23