Levies could fall

John Bridge, chair designate of the new UK levy board, has said levies could fall.

John Bridge, chair designate of the new UK levy board, has said levies could fall as a result of the government's overhaul of the existing levy board structure. "The over-riding issue is one of the structure which will emerge and should result in immediate savings. I see it as process that will make the whole system much more effective. We will stabilise those levy rates and make them less of a burden for the levy payers."

He believes by pruning costs where there is duplication of activity such as research and development he will be able to achieve savings which can be passed down to the levy payers.

Like Rosemary Radcliffe, Bridge is an economist and is aware that he could seen as just another bureaucrat introducing another layer of bureaucracy. He deflects such criticism by pointing out there will only be one reporting mechanism into government which will be an improvement on the current one. "It will be more powerful as it is representative of six sectors and it will be able to deliver some powerful messages about the agricultural and horticultural sectors as a whole."

Bridge is keen to get things moving as quickly as is feasible as he is aware that levy payers don't want a gap but business delivered as usual. So he says his priorities are the publication of the executive summary by consultants Accenture by the end of December and having in place a shadow levy board and the six sector companies by March. "We need to act quickly as we need credibility."

See a full interview with John Bridge in next week's MTJ.

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