Scottish veto threat to MHS

Scottish ministers could throw Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) charging proposals into chaos if plan to go through with a veto on charging rises goes ahead.

Richard Lochead, cabinet secretary for rural affairs, admitted his favoured option was to veto the proposed 4% increase in MHS charges, recently approved by the Food Standards Agency Board.

Announcing his view at the recent Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers annual conference, Lochead said the FSA was showing a “lack of sensitivity” in asking for extra costs from the meat industry.

He told delegates: “Vetoing that 4% is certainly an option that I’m giving serious consideration too.” He later told reporters that a veto would be the favoured option.

Tim Smith, chief executive of the FSA, admitted that he did not know what would happen if a veto was used, suggesting the resultant situation would be a “constitutional” matter.

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