Levy bodies need to be modern and flexible – NFU

Statutory levy boards should be retained as long as they have a modern, relevant structure and provide value for money for their stakeholders, according to the NFU.

This is the organisation’s main conclusion in its response to the DEFRA consultation on the Radcliffe Review of Agricultural and Horticultural Levy Bodies.

NFU president Tim Bennett said: “NFU members are the major stakeholders of the levy bodies. It is vital we see their needs addressed in this review.

“It is the NFU’s view that levy bodies should demonstrate value for money for its stakeholders; they should be accountable, transparent and clear in their objectives.

They should also be specific in their roles – they should not be seen as an extension of DEFRA and neither should they tackle the wider food chain activities.

“We want well run, flexible levy bodies which reflect the needs of the specific sectors they represent.”

Mr Bennett added that levies in the UK currently added up to £55 million, so the levy boards needed to take their direction from the people who paid them.

“They must identify what their sectors need, they must get support from their levy payers and then they must set their budgets and levy rates.”