§ Baroness Byford
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What are the details of the policy announced by Michael Meacher in the House of Commons on 20 March to match-fund foot and mouth disease relief donations; and whether, and if so when, this policy has been changed to exclude donations from charities or companies. [HL316]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty)
There has been no change in the policy announced by my right honourable friend the Minister for Environment (Mr Michael Meacher) on 20 March to match donations from the public to help charities alleviate hardship as a result of foot and mouth disease.
Under the scheme, all donations from members of the public are eligible to be matched so long as they are passed to charitable bodies meeting the terms of the scheme. Donations from charitable trusts under the control of individuals and their families are also eligible. The scheme does not match donations from companies or corporate charities.
The scheme is administered on behalf of the Government by the Countryside Agency and it has been particularly successful. More than £10 million of government funding has been paid out in match funding to charities for the relief of hardship. The scheme has been extended until the end of September and, in addition, the general threshold for the amount that charities will have to collect has been lowered from £25,000 to £10,000 to help direct more funds to smaller charities.