2 April 1999

Milk promo levy halted

PLANS for a statutory levy to fund a generic milk advertising campaign, have been halted by farm minister Nick Brown who wants industry to consider a voluntary collection system.

The minister has advised the NFU that although the Milk Development Council would be the most appropriate body to collect a statutory levy, its current remit made that difficult.

A change in legislation would be required which would require both EU and Treasury approval, said Mr Brown. And he added that the situation was being complicated by the creation of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly.

A voluntary levy would, therefore, be the best alternative, suggested Mr Brown in a letter to NFU president Ben Gill.

But the recommendation has come as a shock to the NFU which had expected to get the go ahead.

for a producer poll to gauge levels of farmer support for a statutory levy.

Representatives from the union now hope to meet with MAFF officials to discuss the way forward.

NFU dairy spokesman Sally Gibbon said the union would keep working at the issue. "We are fully aware that farmers do want a generic milk advertising campaign to happen," she said.