06 November 1998
MLC free to raise levy ceilings

By Shelley Wright

THE Meat and Livestock Commission is free to increase levy ceilings, following a discussion in Parliament by the newly formed committee charged with assessing the proposal.

The MLC is seeking to raise the ceilings for both general and promotional levies on cattle and the general levy for sheep.

But officials stressed that there are no plans to increase the actual levies paid by farmers for at least one year.

“We have no intention of increasing the charges for 1999 but we need to adjust the ceilings to take account of possible future needs,” a spokesman said.

The ceilings put a cap on the levy rates the MLC can charge and any changes must be approved by parliament.

Meanwhile, MLC staff have embarked on a three-month tour of Britain to offer advice to farmers on surviving the livestock industry crisis and to outline the work being done by the commission to ease the problems.

Colin Maclean, MLC director-general, said: “It is vital at this time that farmers understand what we are doing and how they can survive the present problems.”