14 July 1998
Government trumps advisers over FSA funding

THE government is going against its own advisers by pressing ahead with plans to make retailers and caterers pay for the new Food Standards Agency.

The food industry, the cross-party Commons agriculture committee and the governments own better regulation taskforce, have criticised the Treasurys insistence the agency should by funded from licence fees paid by 600,000 food premises.

In a submission to government, the taskforce warns it would require a huge extension of bureaucracy and could threaten many small operations. “The regulatory burden will fall especially heavily on small business and charities and may make such worthwhile and attractive activities unviable,” it said.

It is understood Dr Jack Cunningham, agriculture minister, privately prefers the taxpayer to fund the agency.

The government plans to charge the UKs 600,000 food premises £100 each which would raise £60m towards the estimated £200m running costs.

The Ministry of Agriculture admitted yesterday it was “a difficult issue” which might not be resolved in time for the publication of draft legislation.

  • Financial Times 14/07/98 page 11