Scotland calls for ‘fair solution’ to red meat levy loss

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Red meat levy solution urged
The Scottish Government has called for a “fair solution” to the problem of red meat levy funding.

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said that levy-paying rural businesses in Scotland were currently losing out on up to £1.5 million (m) each year.

This is due to the fact that the levy is collected at a point of slaughter, regardless of where animals have spent their lives and where value has been added to beef cattle, sheep and pigs.

He has called on the UK Government to “stop pledging”​ and “start acting”.

“I believe the UK Government’s upcoming Agricultural Bill is the ideal mechanism to put this issue to bed once and for all,”​ he said.

He highlighted that almost £12m had been lost to the quality meat sector, adding this was “money which could have been used to the benefit of Scottish producers, including marketing and promotion of Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork to consumers at home and abroad”​.  

Ewing said he believed that, under the current system, Scottish levy-paying businesses were losing out on funding as the red meat levy did not reflect changes to the industry in recent years. He wanted levy bodies to have the ability to repatriate monies such as the red meat levy across borders.

Jim McLaren, chairman of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), said it was vital that a long-term solution to the issue of the lost levy was found as a matter of urgency.

“While the programme of joint activities paid for by a ring-fenced fund of £2m of AHDB ​[Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board] red meat levies is working well, it is very much an interim, short-term measure, which does not reflect the amount of levy we are losing to south of the border,”​ he said.

“The UK Government’s Agriculture Bill offers an opportunity to make real progress on this issue and QMS will continue to do all it can to highlight the importance of swift progress on the necessary legislative change.”

The Scottish Government and supply chain has been calling for the red meat levy issue to be resolved since 2007.

Related topics: Policy

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