29 March 2002

Welsh Meat needs more levy money

ANTUR Cig Cymru, the body set up to promote Welsh meat and otherwise known as the Welsh Meat Enterprise, will falter unless it has access to more levy money, claims the National Beef Association.

The NBA says that under the proposal to fund ACC presented by the Meat and Livestock Commission, the Welsh Develop-ment Agency and the Welsh National Assembly, the ACC will be entitled to less than £150,000 worth of promotional levy for beef, based on the number of cattle slaughtered within Wales.

But it says many more cattle – born, reared and finished in Wales – are slaughtered outside its borders in nearby English abattoirs. This means the promotional levy falls into English hands rather than Welsh, which Aled Edwards, chairman of NBA Wales, says is unfair.

He estimates that Welsh beef is probably missing out on at least another £140,000 worth of levy. "Although some of the £750,000 offered by the WDA is earmarked for beef, the combined total will not be enough. We want a fair levy and a fair budget to promote beef, it is important for the whole Welsh livestock industry. The point of principle we would like to establish is that it is the nationality of the man that pays the levy thats important, rather than where it is collected."

Don Thomas, general manager of Welsh Lamb and Beef Promotions, says he wants to secure as much of the £3.5m levy money generated in Wales as possible.

"We would like to have some control over the general levies collected in Wales as well and then discuss provision of MLC services. At the same time we want to develop the most appropriate structures to support that." &#42