Quality Meat Scotland Board Submits Recommendation

The board of Quality Meat Scotland has this week submitted to Cabinet Secretary, Richard Lochhead, a recommendation to increase levy rates.

The submission follows many weeks of engagement with levy payers and Scottish red meat industry representatives. This included 12 open meetings around Scotland where the priority was to encourage attendees to ask questions and air their views.

“Feedback from these meetings, and other soundings with key industry representatives, on the proposal to raise levy rates has been resoundingly positive. This has given the QMS board a clear signal to proceed with submitting the recommendation to the Cabinet Secretary,” said QMS Chief Executive, ‘Uel Morton.

“We have also been very encouraged over recent weeks by the vast majority of levy payers who have voiced their support for what QMS is delivering for the industry. This has been very much appreciated by both the board and staff,” added Mr Morton.

The proposed increase in levy rates, effective from April 2010, are as follows: cattle - 93p; sheep - 13p and pigs - 21p.

The increase would allow QMS to maintain and develop its current levels of activity for the Scottish industry’s brands – Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork – and its work to improve the efficiency of the red meat supply chain in Scotland.

“The proposed levy increase would allow QMS’s marketing and promotion expenditure to return to over £2.5m and enable industry development spend to be maintained at over £1m, at a time when production and processing efficiency is crucial,” said Mr Morton.

It will also, he observed, allow QMS to be able to robustly respond to challenges such as the anti-meat lobby and give a sound funding base from which QMS can attract additional funding from Government and other bodies.

For every £1 of cash which QMS received from levy payers during 2009 a further 24p was generated from sources including Government and EU through co-funding and partnership working.

A response from the Cabinet Secretary is expected before the end of 2009.