QMS to continue focus on marketing

Uel Morton, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) chief executive, said the organisation’s priority, in terms of budget spend, remained marketing the Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork brands.

QMS’s budgeted external spend for the 2016/17 year is £5.26m, slightly up on its external spend of £5.1m for 15/16.  

“It is important to note that over 70% of this external spend is allocated to marketing and other consumer-facing activities with less than 20% of our spend focused on our industry development activities,” said Morton.

Levy income for the financial year ending March 31 2015 was £3.97 million, down by £123,000 on the previous year.  

“The loss of levy to other parts of Great Britain continues and the actual amount of levy received for the year fell short of our initial budget estimate, by £52k. Our forecast for levy income for the year ahead is £4.19m which is an increase of £215k on the year just past.”

On the issue of levy repatriation – the recovery of levy which is “lost” from Scotland due to livestock being slaughtered south of the border – he said there had been some welcome progress at the end of last year in discussions with the other GB red meat levy organisations.

“Significantly, there is agreement amongst the GB red meat levy organisations that the present system of levy distribution is unfair and an alternative method should be adopted.

“However, we have to recognise the legal framework we are in and the solution requires an amendment to legislation in England, Wales and Scotland. This proposal is currently with ministers in Westminster, Cardiff and Holyrood and we look forward to progress in the coming months,” he said.

The QMS team, he said, has worked hard to bring in grants, against a backdrop of tight public sector budgets.

“Grant income for the year past was £785,000 which is a great boost to our activities on behalf of the industry. For the year ahead we have already secured £721,000 in grant income for the industry and we hope to be able to confirm some further grant funding in the coming months,” said Morton.

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