Levy boards will ring-fence producer money

The man in charge of restructuring England’s agricultural levy boards has rejected accusations that money raised from livestock farmers could end up being used to fund activities that would benefit cereal growers and milk producers.

John Bridge, chairman of the Agriculture and Horticulture Levy Board, is overseeing the creation of the new umbrella body which brings together the activities of six bodies representing the range of agricultural sectors.

Due to be launched officially on 1 April, the board will see the abolition of the British Potato Council, the Home-Grown Cereals Authority, Horticultural Development Council, Meat and Livestock Commission and the Milk Development Council.

The new bodies are:

Bringing the different bodies together aims to save money by reducing overheads. However, the move has been heavily criticised by the livestock sector which fears levies from one sector could be used to fund the activities of another.

But Dr Bridge said: “Some of the accusations and points that have been raised about us having made decisions and done deals behind people’s backs are simply incorrect and unacceptable. By statute, all the levy monies raised in the livestock sector have to be spent in the livestock sector.”

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