30 March 1999
Supermarkets to pay bigger safety levy?

SUPERMARKETS may have to pay more to support the costs of the new Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown had proposed a flat £90 fee for all food premises to help pay the £60 million cost of setting up and operating the FSA.

But small food outlets complained the levy would mean they would carry an unfair share of the costs.

Now the government is considering a compromise that would see a lower flat rate applied to smaller outlets of £50-£60 a year.

This would mean larger premises, notably supermarkets, would bear a higher charge.

A decision is expected shortly, because ministers are hoping to introduce the FSA legislation after the Easter Commons recess.