8 March 1996

April increases for MLCslevy rates

By Rebecca Austin

MEAT and Livestock Commission (MLC) levy rates are to rise from April, it was announced this week.

The biggest percentage increase has been in the general levy for calves, (up 75% to 14p a head). But in absolute terms, cattle show the greatest rise with 25p added to both the general and promotional levies (see table).

Income from general levies is expected to bring in about £42m. This goes towards research, administration and MLC blueprints. The levy is equally split between producers and the industry.

As television advertising rates are currently running ahead of inflation MLC has had to increase promotional levies to maintain the same volume of advertising as last year. This totals about £15m and is solely farmer funded. Of that about £10m goes towards television advertising.

Stephen Rossides, head of the NFUs livestock department said the NFU generally accepted the rise in levies, though the cattle and sheep committees were concerned at the growing imbalance between the general and promotional levies.

"Farmers are carrying the overall burden for financing MLCs promotional work and the NFU would like to see more funding for this purpose generated through the general levy," he said. "Apart from that, the NFU remains strongly supportive of MLC. It has done great work in the past year promoting the industry and counteracting media focuses on BSE.