Budget cuts likely to hasten FSA full cost recovery

The 25% average reduction in government department funds announced by George Osborne in Tuesday's Emergency Budget are likely to force the FSA to seek full cost recovery of meat inspections by next year.

A spokesperson for the FSA commented: "The FSA Board has agreed that the continued provision of a subsidy to the meat industry is inconsistent with the Agencys position as regulator. As financial pressures increase, the continuation of the subsidy would force the FSA to reduce or end investment in other priorities. We will continue to work towards full cost recovery."

According to Stephen Rossides, director of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), "the requirement for substantial cuts in government department spending will, I would imagine, reinforce FSA's intent for full cost recovery in relation to meat inspection charges, and reduce the prospect of the 'subsidy' to industry being picked up elsewhere in government".

Ian Anderson, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) added: "The budget is likely to hasten the move to full cost recovery. With one source of the FSA's income significantly reduced it could also mean the size of costs is actually increased rather then reduced as we would like to see happen."

The FSA is due to meet 8 July with the BMPA, AIMS and SAMW to discuss cost recovery implentation.

Last June the FSA scrapped a proposal to increase charges to slaughterhouses by 4% after complaints by processors.

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