15 March 2002

Scots & Welsh keep meat levy

MEAT promotion bodies in Scotland and Wales received a boost this week with the announcement that, from October, all levies collected on slaughter stock will be retained for domestic use rather than being handed to the Meat and Livestock Commission.

There has been growing frustration in Scotland that the £4.1m levies collected on stock sold for slaughter has gone to MLC, with less than half coming back for Scottish meat promotion.

But rural development minister, Ross Finnie, announced on Monday that he has reached agreement with DEFRA that Quality Meat Scotland, the organisation charged with quality assurance and red meat promotion, should become legally responsible for all MLC functions in Scotland. "A consultation on the detail of this change will begin later this month," said Mr Finnie.

And Welsh Meat Enterprise will retain about £1.6m in levies collected in Wales.

AN MLC spokesman said there would be agreements with the Scottish and Welsh bodies about what core services they would buy from the commission.

"The key for levy payers is that there is no duplication of effort or overhead, because that would be a waste of money," he said.

How the removal of funding will affect the MLC is unclear. "The commission is looking closely at its strategy and structure," said the spokesman. &#42