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QMS Board Welcomes Decision
The board of Quality Meat Scotland today (Monday 21st December) welcomed the decision by Cabinet Secretary, Richard Lochhead, to accept its recommendation to increase levy rates.
Donald Biggar, QMS chairman, said the levy increase – the first for eight years - will ensure the Scottish red meat industry is underpinned by a sound level of investment in marketing and promotion and improving industry efficiency.
"As an organisation we had reached a financial crossroads, faced with scaling back our activities on behalf of the Scottish red meat industry. However, today’s announcement will allow QMS’s marketing and promotion expenditure to return to over £2.5m and maintain industry development spend at over £1m. It will also allow QMS to continue to respond robustly to challenges such as the anti-meat lobby,” said Mr Biggar.
- The increase in levy rates, effective from April 2010, is as follows: cattle - 93p; sheep - 13p and pigs - 21p.
- Levy rates have remained unchanged since 2001 for cattle and sheep, and since 1999 for pigs. During that period inflationary erosion coupled with reducing numbers of livestock produced in Scotland have impacted on QMS’s spending power from levy.
- Since 2001 static levy rates have failed to keep pace with the average price producers receive for their livestock. In that time cattle, sheep and pig prices have all increased by a consistent 58%. Current levy rates as a percentage of average livestock values are relatively small – less than 0.5% for cattle and around 1% for sheep and pigs.
- Without a levy increase, the anticipated decline in QMS’s income during the next financial year and beyond, would limit its ability to promote the brands (Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork) and improve the efficiency of the red meat supply chain in Scotland.
- Income from levy in 2008/09 was down to £3.9m compared with £4.2m in 2007/08, with estimated income for 2009/10 down to £3.7m. One example of the squeeze on resources was the consolidation of Scotch Lamb marketing campaigns from spring and autumn to autumn-only this year.