17 March 1998
Sewel rejects ‘VAT on food’ plan to fund FSA

SCOTTISH farm minister Lord Sewel has rejected plans to impose VAT on food as a means of funding the new Food Safety Agency

Maitland Mackie, boss of Mackies ice-cream, had suggested that a 1% VAT levy on food be introduced. But Lord Sewel was unimpressed.

The minister told the Scottish Food Conference in Edinburgh that the fine details of funding for the Food Safety Agency had still not been finalised. He said no decision had yet been made on whether primary producers would be asked to pay.

The Government estimates the agency will cost at least £100 million a year, which will mainly be paid for by the food processing sector.

The timescale for the agency to become operational is still unclear. But Lord Sewel said legislation could be presented to parliament late next year.

  • The Scotsman 17/03/98 page 29