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Statutory levies retained in radical restructuring of levy boards

by 5m Editor
29 June 2006, at 12:00am

UK - Radical restructuring of the five levy boards will take place by April 2008 and provide better value and greater accountability for farmers and growers who pay the statutory levy, Defra announced today.

Statutory levies retained in radical restructuring of levy boards - UK - Radical restructuring of the five levy boards will take place by April 2008 and provide better value and greater accountability for farmers and growers who pay the statutory levy, Defra announced today.

The five levy boards, consisting of the British Potato Council, the Meat and Livestock Commission, the Milk Development Council, the Horticultural Development Council and the Home Grown Cereals Authority, will be replaced by one statutory levy board, with sector specific companies, in April 2008.

Minister for Sustainable Farming and Food, Jeff Rooker, said:

“We have retained the levy because there was overwhelming support for this from farmers and growers during the public consultation. But changes are still needed to the current structures to help the industry meet future business challenges. “

“We will appoint a new Chair and board to lead the process of reform, including a review of the needs of industry and the rates of levy. ”

“The industry has altered radically since the first levy board was established over 40 years ago and the new structure should bring substantial benefits for farmers and growers, including better value for money through improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery.”

The announcement follows a twelve week consultation on the recommendations of the independent Radcliffe Review into the levy boards and discussions with a number of key stakeholders. Separate consultations were undertaken in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The statutory levy has been retained, in line with Rosemary Radcliffe's recommendation, on the basis of market failure in the sectors concerned. The vast majority of respondents (92%), including all major stakeholders, to the public consultation supported retention of the statutory levies although a number did want to see improved value for money.

There will be six sector companies: horticulture; cereals & oilseeds; potatoes; milk; beef & lamb; and pigs. The new levy board will have the Chairs of the six sector companies on the board, plus four independents. Levy payers will be in the majority on the boards of the subsidiary companies.

Ministers in the Welsh Assembly Government and the Scottish Executive are making separate announcements today about the arrangements for meat bodies, Hybu Cig Cymru and Quality Meat Scotland.

Source: Defra - 29th June 2006

5m Editor