04 February 1999
Blair to backtrack on food agency funding?

THE government implied yesterday it might change its proposal to impose a £90 flat-rate levy for village shops and supermarkets to fund the Food Standards Agency.

The government announced last week that it favoured a flat-rate levy, irrespective of the size of the business. Ministers argued that a common levy was easier to collect and cheaper to administer.

But the plan has provoked an outcry among small businesses and rural shopkeepers, who complain that the proposals are unfair and that retailers should not pay the government to do its work.

Prime Minister Tony Blair signalled yesterday (Wednesday) that he was prepared to reconsider the idea, when he was quizzed at Question Time in the House of Commons.

  • The Times 04/02/99 page 2, page 21 (Letters)
  • The Independent 04/02/99 page 8 (The House)
  • Financial Times 04/02/99 page 24 (Letters)
  • The Daily Telegraph 04/02/99 page 12