1 September 1995

Record super-levy, but producers can anticipate rebates

By Shelley Wright

DESPITE having to pay a record milk super-levy fine of £48.1m to Brussels by today (Friday), the Intervention Board says the final calculation should be lower, with rebates for producers.

An official said that until all the milk buyers supplied the board with more information it was impossible to arrive at a definitive figure.

"It is vital that farmers check the information they receive from their milk buyers and if there is any problem they must let us know," he said.

But Roger Clarke, commercial director at MD Foods, rejected the Intervention Boards attempts to lay the blame on producers and milk buyers.

"They were so late sending out the invoices, and there are a number of discrepancies in our statement that we still have to resolve. The Intervention Board claims its performance has been superb, but operationally they have been anything but satisfactory," said Mr Clarke.

He added that his latest estimate of threshold level for MDs producers was just over 1%. "We withheld money through the year from anyone who exceeded 105% of quota, so if we end up around 1% then obviously we will have to claw back the difference from some producers."

Milk Marque has not announced its threshold but has said its bill is just under £19m. That represents 43.5% of the total UK wholesale levy and is significantly less than Milk Marques 53% UK market share.

Waiting for further details

Chief executive Andrew Dare said: "We are still waiting for further details from the Intervention Board before we can finalise our threshold.

"But we can reassure members that in aggregate we have withheld sufficient monies to cover this liability."

Northern Foods is operating a threshold of 2.9% while Nestlé anticipates that 3% will cover its producers.

Scottish Milk has announced a threshold of 4.5% and a super-levy bill of £2.8m. It exceeded quota by 9.2m litres.