3 August 2001

Keep MLC Scottish levies in Scotland

ALL levies collected by the Meat and Livestock Commission in Scotland should be retained in the country to promote Scottish meat, says farm minister Ross Finnie.

His proposal is now being considered by the other UK farm ministers, because any change would need an agreed alteration to MLCs statutory remit.

Under current arrangements, about £2m of the £4m levies collected in Scotland by MLC is returned to Quality Meat Scotland, the organisation responsible for promotion and quality assurance in the Scottish red meat sector.

The rest is kept by MLC, which has always maintained that some money from Scotland should continue to go south because, the organisation argues, Scotlands producers benefit from things like national generic meat promotion and research and development.

Meanwhile, QMS has launched a £15m three-year strategy for the Scottish meat industry, with farm and quality assurance and investment in the "Specially Selected Scotch" brand at the top of the agenda. QMS says consumers will increasingly opt for brands they can trust to deliver the reassurance that the highest farm and quality assurance standards have been applied.

As well as a major marketing campaign in England for SSS beef, QMS aims to develop a new marketing plan to differentiate Scottish lamb and will build on the "Lean and Healthy" campaign for SSS pork. &#42