12 March 1999

Meat industry costs rise

THE government will impose £21m additional costs on the meat industry from the end of this month, despite widespread industry opposition.

Regulations passing back to the industry charges for the enforcement of specified risk material controls in abattoirs and cutting plants were laid in parliament this week.

Junior farm minister Jeff Rooker said 26 responses had been received during the consultation period. "Almost all argued that the proposed charges should not be levied at a time when the livestock industry is still in great difficulties."

But, after consideration, Mr Rooker said the government had decided to push ahead with the charges.

He did, however, add that MAFF officials were looking at whether the costs should be based on abattoir throughput rather than an hourly rate to lessen the impact on small, low throughput slaughterhouses. &#42