Welsh red meat body warns of £500,000 levy loss

Welsh red meat levy body Hybu Cig Cymru warns it could lose up to £500,000 in levy money following the closure of the Welsh Country Foods lamb processing plant in Anglesey.

The plant, which employs 350 people and processes around 640,000 lambs a year, is set to close today (Friday 12 April) after Dutch owners Vion failed to find a buyer for the site.

HCC has described the closure of the plant as a “major blow to the entire Welsh sheep industry” and warned it could lose half a million pounds in levy – 13% of total levy and around 16% of sheep levy – if lambs are now sent across the border to England for slaughter instead.

In 2011-12, HCC collected a total of £3.91m in levy money of which £3.12m came from sheep.

“This would obviously have an impact on our continuing work to promote the Welsh Lamb brand, affecting farmers across Wales,” said HCC chairman Daid Davies.

“I hope that Vion will continue its efforts in coming weeks to try and find a suitable buyer for Welsh Country Foods so that Wales doesn’t lose this valuable facility.”

Levy is collected at the point of slaughter, rather than where the animal was born and reared. Both HCC and Scottish red meat levy body Quality Meat Scotland has repeatedly called for a change in arrangements to ensure the levy from Welsh and Scottish-born animals is delivered to the relevant levy body.

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