BVA plea to government over looming welfare crisis
New British Veterinary Association President Malcolm Morley has urged the Government to extend the GB Energy Bill Relief and consider more support for already under-pressure veterinary practices to avoid a UK food safety and animal welfare crisis.
In his letter to the Chancellor, Mr Morley called for the Government to extend the GB Energy Bill Relief (which will also see the same reliefs applied in Northern Ireland) for essential businesses such as veterinary practices beyond March 2023.
He also call on as well for the Government to consider further support measures for vet practices, such as additional relief on business rates and a reduction in VAT.
Many veterinary practices have already experienced sharp rises in energy costs. This, combined with increased costs for equipment and medicines, has placed more pressure on a profession which is already struggling because of workforce shortages.
Malcolm said: “Vets play an essential role in monitoring and enhancing animal health and welfare, and food safety in UK agriculture, from the farm gate through to trade certification and border checks, as well as providing vital veterinary care for the nation’s pets. It is therefore essential to the UK economy, to our food supply chains, and to the health and wellbeing of our animals, that they are able to continue their work through the challenges we are currently facing.
“While we welcome the Chancellor’s announcement in the Growth Plan that the GB Energy Bill Relief Scheme will be in place for six months for non-domestic customers, we are extremely concerned that the subsequent increase in costs after this period will result in more practices being forced to close, further exacerbating the workforce shortages facing the profession, increasing the cost of veterinary services and having a devastating impact on the economy.
“With this in mind, we are urging the Government to extend the GB Energy Bill Relief for essential businesses, like veterinary practices, beyond March 2023. In addition, we are seeking the Chancellor’s urgent consideration of further support measures which may be provided to assist veterinary practices, such as additional relief on business rates and a reduction in VAT.”