Scots send red meat levy plea to Cameron
Published:  06 August, 2013

First Minister for Scotland Alex Salmond has written to David Cameron in an attempt to save Scottish farmers £1.4m.

This is not the first time Scotland has asked for action, as Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has also made representations for a change to the red meat levy previously. However, Salmond renewed calls at the weekend in his letter to the UK Government, in which he asked for a policy to repatriate the levy income paid by Scottish livestock producers, “which is spent in England and Wales due to a flaw in current arrangements”, he said.

Farmers in Scotland lose more than £1m every year through the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affair’s (Defra’s) red meat levy, he claimed.  

“Scottish Government figures show that real term farm income has only now recovered after the devastating BSE outbreak in the early 1990s. Despite Scottish farmers producing record gross output value, input costs have also hit record highs, particularly in feed, fuel and fertiliser,” Salmond’s letter said.

He also explained that the figures demonstrated the urgency of the action needed to change the levy system. He said the money, which is currently being spent in England and Wales, could be used to “promote our world-class Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork”.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Defra said: “Much of the money raised through red meat levies benefits the Scottish industry, in particular the £7m used to promote British meat to UK and export markets. We are looking at alternative levy options, but are clear that any change must not place additional burdens on businesses.”