22 April 1999
Scots nearer to MLC deal

By FWi staff

LIVESTOCK industry representatives will meet over the next two weeks to decide the future of the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) in Scotland after devolution.

MLC officials will decide an agreed position with executives from the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers and the National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS).

Agreement in principle on the future of the MLC in a devolved Scotland was reached in Edinburgh on Monday.

There were 20 representatives of various farm and trade bodies at the meeting, which MLC chairman Don Curry described as constructive, positive, and useful.

Jim Walker, NFUS president, said good progress had been made.

We have to be sure that all levies paid in Scotland are used in a cost-effective way, he said, adding that farmers must be given value for money.

Mr Walker declined to give further details at this stage, although the legality of any changes will have to be considered because a statutory levy is involved.

But Mr Walker made it clear that he was determined to have an agreed industry position before the new Scottish Parliament got a chance to legislate on the issue.

There are fears that such action could leave the Scottish meat industry without access to much of the MLC work which is regarded as essential by the trade.