A Norfolk MP has asked the prime minister to end compensation delays which are causing "significant losses" for poultry farmers dealing with bird flu culls.

Broadland MP Jerome Mayhew highlighted "the worst outbreak of avian flu ever recorded" during prime minister's questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday lunchtime.

He said hundreds of thousands of birds have been destroyed to stem the spread of the disease, after more than 40 cases were confirmed in Norfolk in the last month.

The epidemic has sparked a mandatory housing order to bring all captive and free-range birds indoors, and a move to bring compensation payments forward to the start of culling rather than the end, to aid cash flow for virus-hit farmers.

But, speaking on Back British Farming Day, Mr Mayhew asked whether the PM would take the opportunity to compensate farmers "for all affected birds from the date when disease is confirmed".

He said: "The government has acted quickly to bring forward compensation for live birds culled, to 48 hours after confirmation of disease, but even this short delay is causing significant losses to farmers in Broadland as the disease wreaks havoc on flocks."

Prime minister Rishi Sunak replied that Mr Mayhew was right to highlight the outbreak and said the government had toughened up biosecurity measures in response.

He confirmed that compensation will now be paid "at the outset of planned culling rather than the end" - a move which was announced by Defra as part of a package of support measures on Friday.

Fabian Eagle, a Swaffham livestock auctioneer who is also member champion for the rural economy at Norfolk County Council, welcomed the changes to the compensation structure.

"This strain of bird flu is particularly virulent and having your flock culled is an incredibly devastating thing to have happen," he said.

"The loss of poultry is significant and the change in compensation is a step in the right direction to ensure that farmers are able to continue producing the fantastic poultry that Norfolk is famous for."