7 March 1997

SQBLA fee due this year

MEMBERS of Scotlands beef and lamb assurance scheme face an annual charge, in the coming year.

Scotch Quality Beef and Lamb Assurance chief executive, Brian Simpson, insists the rate has not been fixed. But Scottish NFU area meetings are being told the annual fee will be £75. Mr Simpson did confirm that on-farm inspections cost an average £50 and administration of the scheme, which has almost 10,000 members, between £15 and £20 a farmer.

Farm assurance in Scotland used to cost farmers between £100 and £250 a year, depending on herd or flock size. But farmer charges were dropped when the meat trade, and the Scottish Office, gave financial backing to encourage support.

More recent government funding in Scotland, of £4.5m over three years to boost farm assurance and beef promotion, was dependent on equal funding by the industry.

A fee of £75 would raise half the amount from farmers. The remaining industry funding would come from the meat trade. &#42