26 March 1999

Charges talks

FARMING leaders met junior farm minister Jeff Rooker this week in a last-ditch attempt to persuade the government to drop its plan to pass meat inspection charges back to the industry.

From Apr 1 the government intends to pass the £21m bill for specified risk material controls in abattoirs back to the meat trade. That was unacceptable, NFU deputy president Tim Bennett told Mr Rooker. The costs would further undermine profitability and competitiveness and drive some abattoirs out of business, he said. &#42