Food Standards Agency
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Update on impact of meat charging proposals
The Food Standards Agency has published an updated assessment of the impact of its proposals to increase charges for official controls on meat. The Agency is proposing to increase the charges paid by industry for the work carried out by vets and meat inspectors in slaughterhouses, meat cutting plants and game handling establishments.
This work ensures that businesses are meeting their legal obligations on meat hygiene and animal welfare.
The Agency is responsible for the official controls in the UK, and charges businesses for part of the cost of delivery of these controls. For many years there has been a shortfall between the cost of providing the controls and the income from charges. In 2010/11 the shortfall was £31.2m, which was met by the UK taxpayer.
In May 2010, the Board decided that as the regulator it should not be a function of the Agency to subsidise industry. Full cost recovery for meat official controls would relieve taxpayers of costs that should be met by meat establishments, and increase efficiency in the conduct of official controls at those establishments.
Following extensive public consultation and further Board discussions, final proposals have now been prepared. Under these proposals full cost recovery for meat official controls is expected to cost the UK meat industry an additional £17.93 million in 2014/15 (£16.36 million in Great Britain, and £1.57 million in Northern Ireland). The cost to industry is much lower than the shortfall of £31.2 million for 2010/11.
The cost to industry is much lower than the shortfall of £31.2 million for 2010/11. This is due to:
planned efficiencies in the delivery of official controls, which will save £5 million in Great Britain and £0.54 million in Northern Ireland
the removal of Great Britain pension deficit costs from the chargeable costs
the support to be provided to low throughput businesses by a tiered reduction from the full cost
The impact assessment is being published in its final draft form to allow stakeholders to see it before it is sent for the opinion of the independent Regulatory Policy Committee later in September. The Agency will discuss the proposals with Ministers in all four countries of the UK before any changes are introduced.
The Agency participates in the UK Government’s reducing regulation initiative, and these proposals will also be considered by the Reducing Regulation Committee.
As well as the full impact assessment a shorter summary has also been prepared.