New sliding scale of charges for Lion scheme

Egg packers signed up to the British Lion quality scheme have agreed a new system of charging to help cover the scheme’s administrative and auditing costs.

At a meeting on 4 October, British Egg Industry Council subscribers agreed the funding package, which will include a new minimum annual levy of £2,000.

In addition, the Lion levy will in future be paid on a sliding scale.

The current basic levy of 11p a case is retained for 2012, and will be reviewed annually.

But subscribers with throughput of less than 33,000 cases of eggs a year will pay 130% of the levy, while those with between 33,000 and 67,000 cases will pay 120%.

Those with between 67,000 and 100,000 cases will pay 110%, and those with throughput of 100,000 cases or more will pay 100%.

On this basis, a packer with 33,000 cases a year will be paying £4,356 in charges. The minimum annual levy of £2,000 will be applicable to all packers with less than 13,986 cases a year.

The new arrangement is far removed from the original plan put forward by BEIC subscribers last May to introduce a new minimum charge of £9,750 for new joiners.

The larger packers had argued that this minimum charge would ensure everyone was at least covering the basic costs of running the Lion scheme and would ensure more “buy in” from smaller packers.

But egg producer representatives expressed concern that the new charge could encourage smaller packers to look elsewhere for their quality assurance, leading to fragmentation.

Retailers were also concerned that the minimum charge could affect the availability of local eggs to their stores.

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