The statutory levy is collected at abattoirs, but distribution is entirely dependent on their location.
HCC chief executive Gwyn Howells said that while the Welsh beef cow herd made up 17% of the GB total in 2007, HCC only received 6% of the levy. This was because most of the cattle raised by farmers in Wales on Welsh farms were slaughtered in abattoirs outside the Welsh border. “The bulk of the levy collected from Welsh cattle therefore went to other promotion agencies,” he said.
“The same is true of sheep. While Wales had 32% of the GB breeding flock in 2007, we received 28% of the levy collected. We estimate that, as a result, Wales is losing approximately £1m a year in red meat levy.
Giving evidence to the Assembly committee scrutinising the Assembly Government’s plans for the Red Meat Measure, Howells said that if a solution could not be found at GB level, the Red Meat Measure would give Assembly members the opportunity to create a levy collection system specifically designed for Wales.
Howells added: “HCC is in favour of a new system that is based on livestock breeding populations. Levy would continue to be collected at the point of slaughter, but would be redistributed to Wales, England and Scotland based on the location of the livestock.”